I wonder what comes into your mind when you hear the word "spirituality."
For some people it's got to be exotic, like Native American rituals or the Maharishi. Others turn to New Age mysticism - ley lines, crystals and all that. Still others find spirituality in communing with nature. And a great number experience it through the arts – beautiful images, ancient architecture, powerful music… What is this longing that seems to call out to us with so many varied voices, this beauty that flashes unexpectedly across our lives, this hunger that cannot be sated with food and shelter and material comforts?
In Christian thought it arises from our relationship with God. A very wise Christian sage said, "Thou hast created us for Thyself, and our hearts are restless until they find rest in Thee." Although our relationship with God has become marred, He still speaks to us in the beauty of His world and in the restless longings of our hearts.
It's odd then that many people don't really associate spirituality with Christianity. Before I became a Christian, church was the last place I expected to meet with God. I assumed it was all about sad people doing boring, wordy rituals. How amazed I was to discover the things the Bible actually teaches about spirituality. The Holy Spirit is portrayed in a multiplicity of ways: a river of living water, a rushing wind, a raging fire, an outpouring of love, the quiet breathing of God Himself… All we have to do to be refreshed by that river, to sail on that wind, to be warmed by that fire, is to make a connection with God in the way He has provided, through Jesus His Son.
Anyway, St Matthew's is privileged this year to be hosting Radiance, a festival of Christian spirituality. There's time to explore the extraordinary depth of Christian spiritual experience, workshops looking at a wide range of spiritual disciplines, and contemporary encounters with the living God through art, music, prayer soaking and poetry. It's all happening on Saturday 26 May 10am-4pm at St Matthew's Church, in St Matthew's Centre and all over Church Hill.
So you don't have to go to Katmandu or Uluru! You can discover the spiritual treasures of our shared Christian heritage right here in Walsall!