What is Spiritual Formation anyways???
If you have ever found yourself asking this question, you are not alone. Recently I asked the members of our Spiritual Formation team to come up with one word to describe this ministry and just about everyone came up with a different word!
People shared words like: awareness, centering, foundation, growth, and journey.
The term ‘Spiritual Formation’ is difficult to define. People describe ‘Spiritual Formation’ differently because we experience our connection to God in different ways.
The heart of Spiritual Formation is about deepening your connection to God and here is the secret about Spiritual Formation: you are most likely already doing it!
There are little moments that we try to build into our day to pause and really experience something. A mother might gather her children up before heading out the door in the morning for a 30 second group hug. Someone might have a practice of walking early in the morning to take in some silence before the start of a busy day. As a congregation we take a deep breath before each service to help us to slow down and pay attention to God.
Other programs like Companions, and Lenten Studies help people to deepen their faith through spiritual practices and study in small group environments. Even Mission and service are forms of Spiritual Formation when we spend time reflecting on what we have experienced and how the person and work of Christ helps us to translate our experience.
No matter what variety of Spiritual Formation you make apart of your life, when you take even a moment to become aware of where God might be at work right then and there, you connect with God. Our connection with God is how we experience life in all of its abundance and how we are continually transformed!
Most of us love the Christmas season, even while it can also be full of the frenzy of shopping, traveling, and holiday parties. “Advent” is intended to be a time of waiting, of slowing down and appreciating the longing and anticipation of hopes that have not yet come to be. Last year, Pastor Lauren asked the advent question “what are we waiting for?” Her Advent guide focused on themes of waiting for salvation, belonging, courage, and grace.
This year’s Advent devotional, similar to last year’s, asks you to slow down for just a few minutes every day, and ask yourselves questions like, “What is it we hope for?” and, “What does God hope for in our world?”
May this season of Advent be one where you experience the joy and peace of God’s love, which is faithful and constant. May this season of Advent also be one where you look outward to reach a hand to others, helping them to see the joy and peace of God’s love. In a season where days are short and nights are long, and ending a year that feels increasingly dark, may we look expectantly to God’s light, Jesus, who shines in the darkness.