It seems some people get confused by, and sometimes uncomfortable with, the word “spirituality;” and the word is indeed hard to define. The Spiritual Life Team at Easter Lutheran Church spent some time attempting to create a definition on which we could all agree, and in the end decided it is “deepening our relationship with God.” “Relationship” is the key word in the phrase. How do YOU seek to deepen your relationship with God?
Additionally, I’ve come to believe that spirituality is about opening up my heart to the presence of the Triune God in my life. “Heart” is the key word there. It’s about paying attention to what moves me emotionally (positively AND negatively), and reflecting on that from a God perspective, and with God in prayer. Where is God in that movement? What is the emotional reaction telling me? What is God telling me about that lived experience? That requires that I slow down, pay attention, and reflect on what might otherwise feel like ordinary life experiences.
There’s a difference for me between the head and the heart. When I dig into Bible study (which is IMPORTANT to do!), I’m in my head. I’m trying to learn more about God by reading, studying, conversing with others. I try to figure out intellectually what God is saying through the narrative. It’s an intellectual exercise. It’s important, but I don’t find it to be an emotional experience (most of the time). I don’t find it to be a spiritual experience.
This past Sunday, Pastor Paul preached (at Easter by the Lake) about blessing. He told stories of how he’s experienced blessing in Tanzania, and he told stories of other people’s stories of blessing told to him! Some of those stories were the kind that make you shiver all over! It occurs to me that experiencing blessing (whether giving or receiving) is part of deepening one’s relationship with God. Experiencing blessing, and paying attention to how it moves me, deepens my relationship with God.
So spirituality isn’t some new and mystical new age thing. Martin Luther talked a lot about spirituality, and he said it was the way of normal Christian life. He called it the “experience of God.” And isn’t that what we’re all here for: to experience God in our ordinary Christian lives?
God of Love, Help us to deepen our relationship with you through opening ourselves up to experiencing you daily, in the normal, ordinary lives we live. Amen.