So, this is my first blogpost since I attended the first session of the Academy for Spiritual Formation, which is a ministry that operates through Upper Room Ministries. I returned home late on Friday night and spent most of Saturday recovering from the joy that is driving through Pennsylvania and New York during construction season.
Sunday morning we prepared for worship and I was asked repeatedly about my experience. I told the truth. I was tired, emotionally exhausted, spiritually exhausted, but thoroughly aware that I had found a place where I could find depth, blessing, and community. I reflected with people about the powerful music and my unexplained need to sing the bass part in the four part harmony that emerged naturally from the voices around the table until I experienced vocal-fry. I reflected with people about the challenges of silence and about how I looked really peaceful as I sat silently up front while waiting for the service. I reflected with folks about walking into a situation with a lot of strangers and finding community.
As I reflected, I pondered what I would say for my first blogpost after the session. What I want to say is that I do not believe the Academy for Spiritual Formation is for everyone, but that I found it to be an incredibly moving and powerful experience. If entering into a community where you will learn new things, experience life together with communal silence and song, and explore the depths of spiritual formation seems exciting for you, then I might recommend you look into the Academy. If you want to spend time praying with other people as you explore your faith, share the Eucharist day after day in a refreshing experience that recalls our call to “constant communion,” and spend more time with the Psalms that most of us do in a year, then I invite you to explore the possibility.
In three months I will experience the joy of returning to Malvern where I will share communion with new friends, go deeper into the history of spirituality and spiritual formation, and probably find new areas of growth which I did not know needed to be explored. I imagine God will show up again in a powerful way. I am looking forward to heading back and invite you all to go along with me on the journey as I study, ponder, and reflect both on what has just happened and what will come in the months ahead. Blessings!