“That we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.”
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
Now that Lent is over, how did your Lenten disciplines go? I always find it helpful to look back and reflect on activities that I’ve undertaken.
One of my Lenten disciplines was the careful and prayerful daily reading of the Fruit of the Spirit Lenten Devotional 2019 booklet, comprised of reflections written by St. Paul’s community members. I was pleased to discover many new ideas and to learn much from, and about, my fellow faith travelers.
It also struck me that the kind of faithful devotional thinking in that booklet would make a great basis for similar kinds of spiritual conversations. I wonder how often many of us pursue matters of faith and belief in casual conversations we have with family members, friends, or acquaintances. Probably not very often.
We may be afraid to broach faith matters, especially in our current national climate where faith words and faith beliefs have become narrowly partisan or downright mean. But if we don’t try to reclaim open, accepting, and grace-filled conversations about important spiritual matters, I don’t expect anyone else will.
Aren’t there things important enough in your life of faith to lead you to be willing to bring them up in a conversation with others? Not a dogma. Not a sales pitch. Not what ‘the church’ or what any other person says. What you think about. What you wonder about. It doesn’t even have to be something you are necessarily sure about.
And by ‘conversation,’ I’m thinking of a two-way street, where we try to listen as much as we talk, and where we try to learn as much as we share. This implies a kind of vulnerability and openness. But isn’t it within vulnerability and openness that the Holy Spirit can find room to work?
Remember that the Bible does not present a systematic theology. The Bible is a series of ongoing stories. Jesus told stories. Your life of faith is part of that story. Each of us has our own faith story. And sharing your story in faith conversations keeps that same scriptural story alive in today’s world.
Think about it. Your words may be just what someone you’re talking with may need to hear. Think about the tremendous value you, and others around you, might receive from simply engaging in a spiritual conversation. Think about risking enough to share something that is near and dear to your soul in a spiritual conversation.
The Rev. Bill Queen
Interim Rector, St. Paul’s Church