Discovering God in the New Year
Some of us seek reality, some of us like to keep it at bay. Some of us search for truth, and its discovery independent of teaching by others, is so liberating. Others settle for what we have been told. About anything. In many areas of life this doesn’t matter very much. It doesn’t matter if we don’t discover our inner gourmet chef as long as we can cook plain, nutritious meals. It doesn’t even matter if the light bulb doesn’t go off in our head about the nutrition of food, as long as we are willing to take the advice of experts. Ditto for many areas of life.
I think understanding our relationship with God is another matter. It may be suggested that we can be just as loving with a childlike concept of that relationship but I would question how that would work out. The more we seek, by whatever means, the more we shall find. A spiritual life which is grounded in what we have been taught can become more alive and exciting when we discover, for ourselves, the extent of possibilities and new dimensions in our own understanding and experience. When we discover new elements of our relationship with God, we will know a sureness of spirit we didn’t realize could be.
These discoveries can come upon us as the Spirit guides our seeking. But my observation is that the discoveries we can make come slowly if we do not seek help in our seeking. Some people choose a book or devotional series as a stimulus to bring alive new understanding but carefully constructed courses can accelerate the rate at which we can discover and as a result, grow in our faith.
The Uniting Church offers adult education through its Living our Faith series and the Living our Values weekend. Added to this is The Healthy Churches Expo day. Through all of these we can extend our understanding of our faith, with which can come a growth in our spiritual experience as we use the resources on offer to stretch our spiritual muscles. Listening to the speakers and each other can open windows and doors we didn’t know existed. Being exposed to different styles of worship and being given opportunities to discover and hone skills builds confidence and often affirms a soul who is different from their own congregation. Whether it’s Liturgy, Bible history, Theology, Children’s worship, Devotions, study of the OT or NT and more, it’s there.
At our home congregation, bible studies give an opportunity to ask questions and to air ideas and the Camden Library at the Centre for Ministry at North Parramatta has books of all types catering for a huge range of interests and abilities. (The staff of the library must be the most helpful anywhere). And for those with an academic bent, Charles Stuart University offers courses through The United Theological College which can be studied to gain a qualification or just audited to delve into topics more deeply than we would normally do in private reading. Of course, there is more on offer from time to time and information can be found on the website at ume.nswact.uca.org.au.
Go for it! Grow! Stretch! Get excited! Seek and Find! Discover!
2018 is just around the corner.
This is an excerpt of the article that was first printed in Contact which is published jointly by Eastwood UC and Marsden Road UC.