Adult Christian Formation
By Father Chris Hardman
At forum hour this winter, we continue the theme "The Times They Are a Changin'." The recovery of Trinitarian theology is one of the keys to understanding the many changes that are taking place in the church and in our world today. This theology tells us that God in God's self is a relationship. Since we are made in God's image we are made for relationships as well. The problem is, of course, that we try to objectify the world around us so that we can control it, thus keeping ourselves separated. But the Holy Spirit continually calls us to become aware of the world as subject rather than object. In fact, it is the Holy Spirit that goes between you and me that makes us both aware of our connection to God and each other.
The Book of Common Prayer on page 855 says "the mission of the church is to restore all people to unity with God and each other in Christ." In one sense you could say the mission of the church is to allow the Holy Spirit to move in us and to bring us to an awareness of each other as beloved children of God. You can't make this happen. But, when you reach out to others, you can put yourself into a position to allow it to happen.
In February at our forum hour we will hear experiences of the Spirit's movement from two different groups. On February 5th our young people will share their experiences of the Spirit on the mission trips they took this past year. And then, on the 12th, the leaders of various ministries in our parish will share their experiences of the Holy Spirit in the work they have been called to do.
Then, during Lent we will look at another aspect of the Spirit's work: bringing us closer to God through prayer. Often we think of prayer as trying to get God to give us what we want. Rather, prayer is an opportunity for God to help us to become what God wants. Mark McIntosh, in his book The Mysteries of Faith, puts it this way:
"The work of prayer is the activity of God the Holy Spirit freeing us from the grasping, frightened, self-important bundles of instincts we have been taught to think of as our true selves, in order to discover the deep, strong, and passionate person we are created to become in Christ."
Each Sunday in Lent we will look at a different way of praying that will allow the Spirit to make us what God created us to be: more compassionate people.
On Tuesday nights in Lent, I will be leading a new series entitled Reel Spirituality III: Seeing the Bible with New Eyes. Since the "Introduction to the Bible" class, held on Saturday morning, January 21, was so well received and so many people who wanted to come could not, I would like to offer that course again-only deeper. In our first session we will tell the overall story much like we did in our Saturday class. But in subsequent classes we will look at some of the key themes of the Bible in new and challenging ways using popular movies. This program is based on Richard Rohr's book entitled Things Hidden where Fr. Rohr says this:
"The trouble is that we have made the Bible into a bunch of ideas-about which we can be right or wrong-rather than an invitation to a new set of eyes."
The Bible is about seeing our world differently. The Bible is not just about what God did way back then; it is about what God always does even now in our own time, even now in our own lives.
On Wednesday mornings we will continue our study of Benedictine Spirituality centered on Joan Chittister's book Wisdom Distilled from the Daily. After finishing her book we will segue into a series on Celtic Spirituality.
This winter offers many opportunities for Spiritual Growth. We hope you will join us.