Bishop John Shelby Spong ~ June 16, 1931 – September 12, 2021
Bishop Spong provided a much needed place for those of us who did not connect with traditional theology. We love you Bishop Spong. You will be missed! Funeral services will be held at St. Peter’s, Morristown, NJ and at St. Paul’s, Richmond, VA. Dates and times will be announced as soon as they are available

A Word to the Spiritual Seekers

The gleaming expanse of the snow-covered lake greets my morning reverie. The shadows of the rising sun recede with the passing moments leaving a blanket of sparkling whiteness. The branches of the trees hang with the weight of their winter burden, presenting a picture of purity and loveliness. Add houses and churches and you have the ideal Christmas scene – until the rain fell and the wind blew and it all disappeared!

But this is still mid-winter and Lent is upon us, that period set aside for reflection and meditation as we contemplate our lives and all that goes on around this globe that is our home. In the seasons of the northern hemisphere the earth is resting, gathering the energy that will burst forth with the coming of spring. In the natural rhythms of life we follow the earth. Our inner energies are likely to be at a low ebb during this time. We are more vulnerable to dark thoughts and physical illness as the winter wears on.

Our society is not much interested in Lent. We think of it as a time when we are to give up something. A few take it seriously as a time for personal reflection. Mostly we ignore it.

Apart from any specifically religious connotations, it is a good idea to take some time to ponder upon your life and what it is about. We are given a few years on this mortal coil, what do we want to do with them? Life is rarely ideal so the question is often, What can we do now in our particular situation? Sometimes it is like this quote I received recently from a friend who is suddenly facing illness, “We must be willing to let go of the life we had planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” What is waiting for us may be a grand opportunity. Witness our collective response to the refugee crisis. Perhaps we have to confront major life problems with work, marriage or what we are “called” to do in the world. Perhaps we must face our mortality and the approaching end of our days.

In the larger scheme of life, I believe that the great challenge of western culture is to connect with our souls, our inner being, the “still small voice” that urges us to be this or do that. In the busyness and challenges of life it is easy to push aside that inner light and get on with the demands of work, family, and all the responsibilities life brings. The temptation is to live on the surface of life and neglect its depths.

It’s really not our fault. Our whole culture is built around the material side of life. And we are all part of it. Not that we should deny its importance. It has brought a high level of comfort and well being to those of us who have sufficient money.

Two major problems confront us. The first is, how do we fairly distribute what the earth and our technology can provide? The cold of winter reminds us of the more than three million people in Canada without adequate housing. Add the rest of the world and the lack of food, shelter, clothing, health care and all the needs of life is alarming. The horsemen of the apocalypse; war, famine, disease and death, continue wrecking their havoc.

The second problem is our economic system which is built on more, more, more. Businesses must expand. Companies must grow. More and more goods must be produced. And we fall into the trap of consumerism. Many things do make life better. But the question remains. How much can our earth provide? Expanding production must meet the limits of our earth.

I thought I was off on a side issue, but not so. Materialism is the issue. As long as our main focus is on money, possessions and material wealth, we have a limited future. Science is great but it is the arts that give us breadth and depth. Music is everywhere. Art galleries are alive and well. New and multi-use libraries are appearing. Interest in spirituality is bursting out all over. There is hope. I like to think we are near that point where our collective consciousness sees life in its wholeness and depth. Then our personal lives will be enriched and we will meet the challenges of a just and sustainable world.

Spring is just around the corner.

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