I’ve been doing more soul searching lately, and I don’t think I’m alone. Experiencing a complete disruption to life and a dependable routine has led me to evaluate life in general, my own purpose, and God’s presence in my life. There has been a cosmic shift in this pandemic reality, and I’m continuing to lean on the Holy Spirit for guidance, sustenance, and peace. This often happens when we experience a profound loss. We all have a shared experience in grief and loss while we encounter uncertainty and scurry to steady our foundations. It is important for us to consider and evaluate our spiritual lives, especially because many of us seem to find ourselves having more time for solitude, contemplation, and other meaningful spiritual practices. Others of us are so overwhelmed that each passing day moves at a snail and cheetah pace simultaneously.
How is it with your soul? This is an age-old question that faithful people have been asking themselves for hundreds of years. The first Methodists, led by the Wesleys, formed small groups to discuss this very question. They were the life-blood of the Methodist movement, first in England, and then in America. While worship was a deeply powerful and engaging regular spiritual practice, these small groups and their strength were what really propelled the church. The small group’s purpose was to share in the spiritual life together, to support one another, to provide a safe space for people to ask questions and share their deepest concerns confidentially. They gathered weekly to share how they felt and saw God at work in their lives, and where they felt God’s absence and their own distance from faith. These raw and deeply supportive conversations were bathed in prayer, and the time spent in the groups helped Christians dig deeper and mature in their faith.
In this wild time of physical distancing, it is easier than ever to become isolated and turn inward. We are all grieving the loss of our physical community and gathering together as the Living Body of Christ. While gathering in person isn’t a possibility, we would like to initiate small groups that model after the early small groups. We can meet virtually through video calling, and even though we have the unfortunate barriers of technology, it is deeply important that we continue to nourish our souls. You’ve probably heard Keith talk about journey groups – that’s our name for these small groups. We’d like to train new leaders and establish additional groups in the coming weeks. Please contact me or Keith if you’d like to join our group training. (firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com) Please contact me if you’d like to be a member of one of these groups. Since they’re virtual, you don’t have to be a Waynesville resident to participate. Let’s support one another as we ask the question, “How is your spiritual life? How is your walk with God?”