We have become a society of seekers – seekers of meaning to life. Many people participate in almost any kind of sp0iritual or religious experience that comes their way. Some of this seeking is fueled by undefinable needs, but some is fueled by the relentless power of marketing. Browse through any chain or religious bookstore, and the marketing is evident. Even popular music proclaims the search. Spiritual or spirituality have become buzz words during the last several decades.
Definitions of spirituality are as numerous as the writers. They depend on religious perspective whether Jewish, Christian, Buddhist or New Age. As a Christian, I am drawn to Elisabeth Koenig’s definition: “Spirituality is a relationship with God’s Holy Spirit, known through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and the transformational life that should result.” In other words, spirituality is about our relationship with God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, and the change that relationship will bring in our lives.
Spiritual growth is a process – a difficult process that is not a secret guarantee of salvation nor does it bring everyone to the same ideology or theology. Spiritual growth is about each of us learning to listen to God’s voice within our lives; about developing a deeper relationship with God; about gaining self-knowledge and understanding; about praying and following spiritual disciplines; and about experiencing transformation to become more Christ-like.
None of us have arrived in our relationship with God. We are all seeking to deepen that relationship and to become more Christ-like. Consider these questions as you assess your spiritual condition:
Do I take time for daily devotions and prayer?
Have I participated in group Bible study or spiritual enrichment opportunities?
When did I participate in a spiritual retreat? Is it time to do so? (See Scarritt Bennett’s event calendar for suggestions for this fall)
Spirituality is both personal and communal. Remember that Israel’s relationship with God was grounded in the covenant and involved the entire community. They reminded each other through stories and prophets of their struggles and of God’s promises. Even today we need to remind each other of the injustices and evil in the world, and we must be seekers of a relationship with God that involves us in doing justice proclaiming and living in hope of God’s shalom. Our individual seeking can only be done effectively as we also seek to build a community that struggles together in the faith.
Karen Lafferty expresses it well in her hymn “Seek Ye First:”
“Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness,
and all these things shall be added unto you. Allelu, alleluia!
Ask, and it shall be given unto you; seek and ye shall find;
knock, and the door shall be opened unto you. Allelu, alleluia!
@1972 Maranatha! Music
Be seekers on the spiritual journey!
Joyce D. Sohl has been Laywoman-in-Residence since 2009 as a full-time volunteer. She retired as CEO of United Methodist Women in 2004. She is the author of 4 books, a teacher, retreat leader, writer and non-professional musician. Here at the Center her work is in the area of Spirituality & the Arts with such programs as Tuesdays in the Chapel, Vespers & All That Jazz, Poet’s Corner, and quarterly retreats and art exhibits.