Sunday, June 26, 2016

Of things spiritual

Joyce Sasse, - A mountain-man friend wrote in his memoirs about finding connection with the church through a minister he admired. One thing led to another. My friend and his family became involved in church activities and he became part of the congregation’s building committee.

When the family started attending Bible Study, under the leadership of the “new” minister, things changed. Asked for an explanation of a particular story, a persistent young family member sought more clarification. The minister finally declared “(It’s like that) because I said so.”

That authoritarian response was enough to turn the whole family away from institutional religion …!

Over the years the Church is seen to be the place where one goes for baptisms, wedding and funerals. Clergy are trained in Biblical studies, learning how to offer pastoral support and represent their particular Denomination in the community.

But, rather than being told what they should believe, seekers of faith-matters want help reflecting on their own experiences with the Almighty. Ready answers and “because I said so” answers don’t cut it. The point is to find ways to help enable dialogue and enrich an individual’s insights. Each of us has to find our own way to meet God face-to-face.

My friend had many experiences with the Creator as he traversed the deep valleys and stood on the peeks of the Rockies. He also witnessed ceremonies celebrated with his Blackfoot neighbours and saw the way their traditions nurtured them. He treasured the relationship he had with those Christians who encouraged him on his spiritual journey. At the conclusion of his memoir he shared a quote from Henry David Thoreau. “Let nothing come between you and the light. Respect (others) … When you travel to the celestial city, carry no letter of introduction. When you knock, ask only to see God – not one of the servants.”

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