The antidote is grace; the action is prayer; the solution is community
Do you crave an experience of the sacred? Are you aware of a God-shaped hole that you spend your life trying to fill? There’s much that we don’t understand, which draws us to people or organizations that can guide us. Religions are institutions that were formed to help people find God and deal with questions about life. People belong to certain denominations and go to churches in search of answers and to gather with like-minded seekers, though sometimes it seems like church leaders have forgotten that their point of existence is more than dogma, donations, and rules.
Everyone is at a different place on the journey, however “If the you of five years ago doesn’t consider the you of today a heretic, you are not growing spiritually.” I’ve been a member of a small covenant group for almost ten years. The group provides support, encouragement, and accountability in my growth towards fullness of life in the Spirit. It takes an environment of acceptance and trust to raise questions, express doubts, and share experiences and insights. Author Parker Palmer claims that “A circle of trust has no agenda except to help people listen to their own souls and discern their own truths… Its singular purpose is to support the inner journey of each person in the group, to make each soul feel safe enough to show up and speak its truth, to help each person listen to her own Inner Teacher.”
Our group has several goals. We gather to strengthen bonds and get fortified to serve others through various ministries as instruments of God’s hands and feet in the world. Another goal is growth. We inspire and challenge each other to grow intentionally in a trusted community, to practice radical honesty, and deepen self- and other- awareness – all components of spirituality. We ask members to commit and contribute wholeheartedly, with the understanding that we are pilgrims journeying together.
We’re all going to the same place, and we’re all on a path. Sometimes our paths converge. Sometimes they separate, and we can hardly see each other, much less hear each other. But on the good days, we’re walking on the same path, close together, and we’re walking each other home. Ram Dass
Humans seem instinctively drawn to seeking meaning and asking big questions with the sense that we are part of something greater. If you hunger for spiritual and social connections, you may want to consider these steps:
- PATH: Choose a spiritual path. Be intentional about what you are looking for. Are you seeking growth, enlightenment, community or some combination?
- PLACE: Create sacred space. Where you are God is. It doesn’t require a separate building to commune with God. You can designate a chair in the living room as your space for reading or meditation.
- PRACTICE: Commit to practice. Get in touch with your essence through practices such as reading, prayer, meditation, writing, or reflection. Befriend nature and commit to creation care for the personal and social benefits. Use art for discernment and expression. Exercise can have a contemplative component, especially ones that don’t require much concentration, such as running, walking, or swimming.
Our bottom line for gathering is to help each other evolve, so we use our gifts to make the world a better place. Show up and give it your best.
© Joan S Grey, 20 SEP 19
IndexCardCure™: musings about an intentional life
 Author unknown
 Parker Palmer in A Hidden Wholeness (2004)