On September 23rd, Adult Formation launched its theme for the year, “Bread for the Journey.” In our opening session, Rich Goldhor ably led us through a discussion about the spiritual practices that feed us, that help us through our day, through the challenges and joys of our lives. Perhaps for some, this was a new discussion. For others, it helped us take the time to write down and discuss with those at our table the things that feed and nurture our spiritual lives.
Hadley Hall was full of energy that morning. I could feel it, hear it, and sense it by the way that people leaned in to listen to one another. Near the end of our time, Rich invited us to write on post-it notes one or two things that feed us on our journey of life. We stuck them on the doors leading out to the cloister garden. Here are some of the responses. Those with a number in parenthesis indicates more than one person responded in like manner:
The Holy Eucharist (3)
The Prayer of St. Francis (2)
The Lord’s Prayer (4)
A daily practice of meditation and prayer
Compline (from the Book of Common Prayer)
Collect: “Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work or watch, or weep this night. And give your angels charge over those who sleep. Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary, bless the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the joyous, and all for your loves’ sake. Amen.”
An attitude of receptivity
Many people listed their favorite hymn. Hymns can inspire us, comfort us, and connect us to the divine. Others shared favorite Psalms. Still, others talked about difficult life experiences that often give us a deeper understanding of ourselves and of life. Some shared that helping others is a way that they are fed spiritually and others spoke about how reading books on spirituality or poetry fed them. One person named a particular piece of art that fed them.
This list is only a sampling of what people posted. Over eighty responses came from fifty people in attendance. One person shared that she often begins her day with this short piece of scripture, “This is the day that the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.” What a wonderful way to start the day! It takes about three seconds to say and yet it can set our minds and hearts to acknowledge our Creator and to be grateful for another day of life and for whatever comes our way.
This simple exercise of sharing some of the things that feed us spiritually brought us closer together. It showed me that there is no one way to feed our souls. Playing with children, holding a newborn baby, or simply sharing a good laugh with friends can feed our souls in a way that nothing else can.
As we continue our journey together this year, I hope that you will nurture those spiritual practices that feed you. And if you find something in particular that you think someone else may find helpful in their journey, please share it!
Faithfully yours in Christ,