Last week we listened to John Muir tell us to go to the mountains, and thereby to go home, to the “fountain of life” for the healing and renewal it can bring to us. I asked you to think about when you have experienced the kind of connection Muir speaks of.
That has lead me to think this week about how I connect with church and what I find there. We often speak of our “church family.” That seems to me to be a natural connection to Muir’s speaking of “home.”
So I began to wonder, when have I been to church and found myself connected to this same source of energy, renewal and healing Muir could find as he returned to the mountains, to nature, to “wildness.”
I invite you to ask the same question.
As I considered the question for myself, I began to remember the times when a small group at church (and sometimes not at church) has been this conduit of energy, renewal and healing for me. But, of course, there are times when small groups and classes at church do not do this for me. As I was thinking about this, I came across these remarks John Castell penned many years ago,
“Above all, the group must keep remembering that true growth in grace is not to be achieved by our own efforts or contriving, but must be received as the gift of God’s Spirit, working in, and among, us. The work of the group is to keep open the channels of receptiveness through study, discipline, prayer, and self-offering… When a group learns to live in this faith, it can keep the lines of endeavor tentative and sensitive to new headings and possibilities, on the one hand; and on the other, move forward resolutely under such light as is now given. “ ( from “Spiritual Renewal through Personal Groups”, 1957, by John L. Casteel, p. 195)
Can you recall the occasions when you have been in this place of “receptiveness” and found God’s Spirit there waiting for you?
Do Casteel’s remarks offer you any pointers on how you can be open and/or ready for this encounter?