Spiritual Practice at First Congregational Church of Kittery
We have spent the month of September exploring the power and impact of 5 particular spiritual practices in our lives and relationships. Our church is built on Covenant Relationships, the kind of relationship we discover first with God, which we then share with one another, our neighbors and our world; we believe these relationships can be strengthened and deepened when we begin “growing in faith,” focusing on 5 central areas of our humanity. Yesterday in worship, we invited everyone in our congregation to claim one of these spiritual practices as something they will begin nurturing and enhancing in their own lives. Each of our choices are represented by wearing a particular color lanyard with our church name tags. Here’s what each color lanyard means:
Spiritual Practice: HUMILITY
Do you know that you are not the center of the Universe? Do you know you are a beloved, essential part of the Universe?
How to Practice: The focus of this practice is Perspective. When we lack humility, we lack proper Perspective of ourselves and the world. Begin learning the stories of people other than yourself. Begin learning the history of Your People. Begin to notice what you learn about God who is with you, with those not like you, and everywhere in between.
Spiritual Practice: TRUST
Do you feel comfortable with mystery and uncertainty? Do you find the world to be an inherently scary place?
How to Practice: The focus of this practice is Faith. Faith is the act of stepping out on “nothing” and discovering “something” under your feet. Most of us struggle to build up faith in God and human beings, either because of bad teaching or bad experiences. Name and Lament the ways you have been untrustworthy to others. Name and Forgive the ways others have been untrustworthy toward you.
Spiritual Practice: COMMITMENT
How are you known in the world? Have you discovered a meaning or purpose for your life?
How to Practice: The focus of this practice is Growth. Every living thing must grow…at least a little. It is through our Commitments that we grow and transform from one chapter of life into another. Find something—a Committee, a Group, a Person, a Project, a Cause—and plan your weekly schedule around whoever/whatever you have chosen to dedicate yourself to. Do that for a season (good length of time), until your life looks different or you find something else that is worthy of your time.
Spiritual Practice: BOUNDARY WORK
Do you know the difference between yourself and other selves? Are you taking ownership of your own life?
How to Practice: The focus of this practice is Responsibility. As challenges and struggles emerge in your life, begin asking a simple question, “Is this my responsibility? If so, how? If not…who does this belong to?” Practice taking responsibility for what is yours and giving back what is not yours.
Spiritual Practice: SERVICE
Do you know how to love your neighbor as yourself? How can the Divine in You meet the Divine in Others?
How to Practice: The focus of this practice is Transformation. Be gentle. Be careful.
Begin by naming how the love and life you have experienced could be transformational for others. Name the changes that would need to occur—changes in your own life, your neighborhood, your community, the world, etc.—in order for that love and life to flow freely for others as it flows for you. Start small and get specific.
We have already heard from some folks who are talking to other people who have taken on the same Spiritual Practice about how they might team up and help one another in their growth and learning. All are invited to participate every time you visit our church! If you don’t have a name tag already, we will make one for you and you can claim whichever practice you need most in your life right now. We thank God for giving us the gift of community in which we can learn and grow stronger, deeper, together. We’re excited to be with all of you on the journey.