As the case counts of COVID-19 rise in our area, we may sigh, and wonder how long. We may even lift our concern for our current situation up to God.
I believe God knows our concerns and our sighs. God knows our grumbling and our
questions. God also offers us something. Have you received what God can offer us? You may be asking what can God offer us in this time? This time is stressful, anxious, worrisome.
As I mentioned in a recent sermon, this may be the time for many of us to take a deeper look at practicing a spiritual discipline or spiritual practice. I believe that when we connect with God through a spiritual practice, that God blesses us and offers us what we need to cope, especially in these turbulent times.
My favorite spiritual writer is the late Henri J.M. Nouwen. He wrote a small book called “Making All Things New: An Invitation to the Spiritual life.” In this book he suggests two spiritual disciplines in which we can set our hearts on God’s Kingdom. I want to share more about what Nouwen talks about in one spiritual discipline: the spiritual discipline of solitude. Nouwen writes:
“Without solitude it is virtually impossible to live a spiritual life. Solitude begins with a time and place for God,
and him alone. If we really believe not only that God exists but also that he is actively present in our lives –
healing, teaching, and guiding – we need to set aside a time and space to give him our undivided attention.”
Nouwen continues to write that this is not easy to come and we can get distracted by things and we can’t wait to get busy. Nouwen writes:
“Entering a private room and shutting the door, therefore does not mean that we immediately shut out all our
inner doubts, anxieties, fears, bad memories, unresolved conflicts, angry feelings and impulsive desires. On
the contrary, when we have removed our outer distractions, we often find that our inner distractions manifest themselves to us in full force.”
Nouwen says to start the discipline of solitude with five or ten minutes a day, but schedule it, just as if we had an
appointment with someone. He continues to say that this discipline may take a while to really feel that it is worth it. He says, that “In the beginning, solitude seems so contrary to our desires that we are constantly tempted to run away from it. One way of running away is daydreaming or simply falling asleep.”
He continues to write:
“In solitude, we come to know the Spirit who has already been given to us. The pains and struggles we
encounter in our solitude thus become the way to hope, because our hope is not based on something that
will happen after our sufferings are over, but on the real presence of God’s healing Spirit in the midst of these sufferings. The discipline of solitude allows us gradually to come in touch with this hopeful presence of God
in our lives and allow us also to taste even now the beginnings of the joy and peace which belong to the new heaven and new earth.”
I believe that Nouwen tells us a tremendous promise of God and maybe you will want to begin thinking about practicing the discipline of solitude. If you want to talk more about this practice, please don’t hesitate to email me or call me at the church.
May you sense how God is present to you even now in these difficult days and be guided to connect with God more deeply.
Blessings and Peace,
Quotations taken from Making All Things New: An Invitation to the Spiritual Life by Henri, J. M. Nouwen; HarperSanFrancisco; 1981; pp. 68-75.
Looking for a way to connect?
As we finish up the unraveled
sermon series we continue to
recognize all the things that have
unraveled in our lives. Let’s weave
in some blessings!
Want to pick up a blessing to take home?
Stop by the church
Untie a blessing ribbon from the brick wall
Take it home
May God Bless you and keep you!
Want to leave a blessing?
Get some ribbon or a strip of fabric approximately 51 inches long.
Write a blessing on it
May God Bless you and keep you
May God’s face shine upon you
May God’s peace be with you
Or one of your choosing!
Stop by the church and tie it on a bow on the brick wall outside of the church.
Let us remember we are connected and God’s blessings are woven in our lives. May God bless you and keep you!
Safety Team Established at St. Philip
The world around us and St Philip is changing, for the better in some cases and some, maybe not to our liking.
With the changes and uncertainty, the Session at St. Philip wants to make sure that the church building and grounds continue to be a safe place for members and guests. With that in mind, a Safety Team was created to establish practices, recommend policies and educate clergy, staff and church members on how to maintain a safe environment. The members of the committee are Greg Garis, Alissa Conner, Jake Skodak, Bonnie Skodak, John Edwards, Rick Patterson, Christian Senagbe, and Will Whitehead.
Covid-19 has certainly changed the normal medical landscape and how and when we reopen the church safely is one of the committee’s major undertakings over the past couple of months. In addition to how we create a healthy place for us to worship, the team has also been reviewing and updating practices and policies on emergency plans for Fire, Severe Weather, Medical Emergencies, an Active Shooter scenario and more.
The committee welcomes feedback and ideas from all on how we can continue to create a growing church where all are welcome and feel safe to worship and gather.
Members and friends of St. Philip contribute to the mission of God because giving is at the core of our theological identity. God has given us gifts of faith, mutuality, generosity, and hospitality. Giving simply grows out of the life of faith.