I don’t know about you but sometimes I say wise things to other people which I really need to listen to myself! I have been reflecting today on whether I still struggle with the notion that there is a hierarchy of spiritual activities.
Each year as part of a research methods module that I teach I get students to do a corporate mini-research project on a topic of their own choosing. A few years ago now they chose to do something around how they connected best with God. What emerged from the research was the way they best connected with God was through nature.
This afternoon I spent time with six other clergy, we were walking and talking along tree lined paths and I was admiring the changing colours of autumn, it felt like a spiritual time being outside in changing weather in a changing season and I have come home feeling refreshed and renewed. When I read that it sounds like a helpful supportive time and a good way to spend a Friday afternoon even if it means spending Friday evening catching up on my study.
However, when I add that we were playing golf there is a part of me that feels like that means we were on a jolly and it wasn’t a spiritual activity. I still carry a bit of baggage about what are “spiritual” activities and what are not and somehow sport is not as spiritual as art or journaling or poetry. However, I have been passionate about sport all my life and sometimes in playing sport I have this notion that Eric Liddle had “I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. [not this bit!] And when I run I feel His pleasure”. I feel God’s pleasure when I am out enjoying his creation even though I may also be hitting a little white ball along the way. This is one of those things where I need to listen to myself when I talk about spirituality and say how important it is to find ways where you genuinely connect with God. I connected with God this afternoon and that is a good thing, I believe that God is pleased when we connect and I should be too and not have a little bit of guilt diminishing the pleasure. Hopefully writing this may mean that this is another little bit of baggage I can dump!