Home Forums Noticings… 200916 – Spiritual Duty

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    September 16, 2020

    What are you doing for your spirit? That was the question that came to me in a prayer time about a month ago. I was feeling pretty dry and felt like I needed something, but I didn’t know what. You’d think spending all my time writing sermons, and leading bible studies, and doing churchy things would mean that I’m constantly immersed in spiritual things. In a way that’s true, and I treasure that aspect of my work. But it is still work. I do those things for a purpose, and that purpose is to lead others into greater spiritual depth and understanding. Sure, I’m fed as I do these things, but it’s just not the same as focusing on what I personally need at a given time, in a given season. So, beyond work, what was I doing for my spirit? Not much. Well, not much that was working, let’s say that.

    I receive three different daily devotional emails, and one weekly one. I know I’m having some challenges in my spiritual walk when those daily devotionals start to pile up in my inbox. Then I feel guilty for not engaging with them so I read a whole bunch of them in a row – which, of course, does precious little for my spirit, but satisfies my box-checking desires. But then I’m just doing my ‘spiritual duty’ – I’m not really nurturing my spirit.

    Happily, one of those daily devotional places also sends out nudges and advertisements for online courses that they offer. One of those caught my eye, and as I looked at it my heart knew that it was just what I needed. It’s an online exploration of Teresa of Avila’s seminal book The Interior Castle. It’s not a credit course, it’s not counting toward any big project, it’s purely for my own spiritual growth. It started last week. And instantly, I was behind after not being able to get to the material – which instantly made it feel like a chore. Yikes!

    When I finally caught up with the course the first ‘assignment’ was to post in a discussion group why you signed up. As I typed my answer I remembered something really deep and really important. Teresa of Avila was the creator of the religious order to which my hero Brother Lawrence belonged. Lawrence was formed and inspired by Teresa’s writing. I was formed and inspired by Lawrence’s concept of noticing God everywhere and always. That felt like an important connection to make. So now I will be learning from the same source that Lawrence did, and hopefully it will nourish me and inspire me like it did him. That is my prayer. This isn’t my spiritual duty – it’s my spiritual need.
    So, beyond Sunday worship (which is key and core), what are you doing for your spirit?

    Rev. Larry
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