It’s Never Too Late to Learn
Over recent weeks I have had the opportunity to sit at the feet of some excellent teachers and beside some inquisitive co-learners. Each year the 5-Day Academy for Spiritual Formation draws a varied group and it always includes a few older folks. I am inspired by the attentiveness, the questions asked and the reflections shared by those who come hungry to learn and craving time with God. One example is Sybil Skakle who will turn 90 in January. In the 9 years that I have attended the Academy, I’m pretty sure that Sybil has attended all but one year. Sybil sits near the front of the room, listens intently and often comes back after a time of silence with a question for the presenter or a poem or other reflection to share. This past Saturday I attended a Lay Servant Ministry class on Living our United Methodist Beliefs and the age of the participants varied greatly. Again I was impressed with the thoughtfulness of the questions raised and the eagerness to learn something new or to consider a new perspective. A couple of the older folks in our class asked some of the most challenging questions and seemed eager to learn rather than to have their preconceived notions confirmed.
As I reflect on my spiritual journey a number of teachers, preachers, writers and experiences have made a significant impact on what I believe, how to approach scripture and how to find a level of comfort in the Holy Mystery that we are not ever going to completely figure out.
Do you have a neat and tidy God that you can put in a box? Does your belief system include a list of who’s out and who’s in? Are you cautious not to read from certain authors or explore spiritual disciplines? Are you focused more on a specific set of things you are to believe than about how to live as Jesus demonstrated? If you answered yes to any of these questions I encourage you to take God out of the neat and tidy box you’ve put God in.
I am thankful that God continues to be revealed and that I have a list of spiritual mentors, teachers and friends who have helped me to realize the value in being open to God’s continual shaping and molding. I am grateful to have been exposed to Spiritual Practices such as walking a Labyrinth, Lectio Divina, Centering Prayer, praying the Hours, Silence, Sabbath and more.
I am grateful that the United Methodist Church is committed to Open Hearts, Open Minds and Open Doors and that the Lord’s Table is open to ALL people who come. The more I learn about our Wesleyan heritage, the more committed I am to reclaiming it. Let us all continue to learn and broaden our experiences so that we will be better equipped to put our beliefs into action.
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