If you were at Plymouth last weekend, you saw some different-looking things in our sanctuary: a root-structure art installation along the rear wall and tree roots emerging from the base of the cross above the chancel. These and other pieces were produced by your fellow Plymouth members (even me!) during the Lenten arts retreat led by our visiting theologian/artist, the Rev. Linda Privatera. (Kudos to my colleague, Jane Anne, for orchestrating the whole weekend!)
All of this art was a theological reflection on our 2019 congregational theme: Go Deeper. All of us are rooted in the soil of Christian spirituality, but to get down into the richest nutrients and the aquifers of the Spirit, we need to go deeper in our faith. And Lent is a great time to do that!
Many of us in the Protestant traditions of the Christian household are less familiar with spiritual practices beyond daily Bible reading that will help us to go deeper in our sense of God’s presence in our lives. What’s more, we often don’t know where to turn. And even though I often hear from our members that they want deeper spiritual lives, we are seldom overrun by crowds when we offer spirituality workshops and retreats.
Want to try it out on your own? That’s certainly a place to start during Lent. One entry point is the UCC Lenten Devotional that our deacons are offering to you each Sunday…it’s available between services with a suggested donation of $5…but if you don’t have the five bucks, don’t sweat it!
Sometimes, I wonder if, as Anthony de Mello suggests, “People would rather have a definition than an experience.” However, definitions won’t help us go deeper in our faith. Another resource for you to read (and most people at Plymouth love to read!) is from UCC author and clergywoman Jane Vennard, who formerly taught at the Iliff School of Theology (and she was my spiritual director, too!). Fully Awake and Truly Alive: Spiritual Practices to Nurture Your Soul is a fantastic volume that will help you explore spiritual practices that will allow you to go deeper. Maybe you want to dip your toe into Centering Prayer at Plymouth (Mondays, noon – 1:30 or Tuesdays, 5:30 – 6:30)…it’s a great way to enter the quiet center! Or drop by our outdoor Labyrinth and walk anytime it’s not covered with snow!
Whatever your spiritual practice this Lent, I hope that it deepens your relationship with the Holy One, who is there to meet you, befriend you, and guide you.
P.S. Dinner Church was a great success! Join us for our next Dinner Church at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, April 7 (for ham, scalloped potatoes, veggie shepherd’s pie, and great discussion and worship).