|Friends in Christ
Living Through the Spirit
A Course Using Life Experiences, Spiritual Practice and the New Testament
Offered by Friends in Christ
Greenbelt Middle School, Room 108
|Go directly to lessons|
1 - 5/19/99
2 - 5/26/99
3 - 6/2/99
4 - 6/9/99
5 - 6/16/99
Welcome! In the five sessions of this course, we will explore some of the challenges of the human condition, which confront us all. We will also become acquainted with the wonderful gift of God's love, which transforms these challenges into new living.
Each session will address a particular need or challenge to living a fulfilled life. We will use parables (stories illustrating a spiritual truth) told by Jesus of Nazareth. Through these readings, we will become familiar with Jesus and God's revelation through him. We will also look deeply into our own life experiences. With the aid of the Holy Spirit, we will discern God's leading in our lives and in those around us. Finally, we will explore methods of meditation and prayer to aid in our awareness of our relationship with God. We will experiment with the use of silence (silent worship or contemplative prayer) as a means to God.
|The principal thing is to stand with the mind in the heart before God.
-Theophan the Recluse
There are dangers along the path of seeking spiritual insight. The first danger is to see the path as an intellectual effort at knowledge. We like to use our minds. By analyzing, comparing and contrasting, we control ideas. We like to keep the spiritual journey in our mind so we can control it. Unfortunately, as long as we keep the search solely intellectual, we will fail. The essence of the journey is to let go and receive the Divine Other.
The second danger is to see the path as only one of the heart and emotions. Ecstatic revelry, not grounded in revealed wisdom and tempered with good judgment, is shallow and dangerous. Our emotions alone are an unreliable guide.
The goal of our inquiry here is to stand with the mind in the heart before God. We will not abandon our minds, but we will not be ruled by our minds. We must put our minds in our hearts, the core of our whole being; the center of our emotions and physicality. So, beware of overemphasis on thinking or overemphasis on emotion. We need to allow God to direct both our minds and our hearts.
One way to see the parable of the sower is as a story about spiritual growth. At different times in our lives, we react differently to God's plantings.
Read Matthew 13:3-8 (parable of the sower)
The parable of the prodigal son is really a tale of two sons. Each, at different times, refused to be in his father's house. Each had different reasons for his refusal, but both reasons flowed from the same essential feeling. Both, in a sense, wanted to control or earn their way. The father always joyfully invites his sons home.
Read Luke 15:11-32 (parable of the prodigal son)
Although Jesus may have been talking about God's actions, the parable of the lost coin also raises issues about the sense of something missing, searching and the joy of finding.
Read Luke 15:8-10 (parable of the lost coin)
Anyone who has ever lived with children knows that fairness is a major concern of theirs. We continue this concern as adults in our desire for justice - people should be treated fairly. This concern is important to a just civilization. On the other hand, an overemphasis on fairness can squeeze out generosity and forgiveness, leading to a spiritual hardening.
Read Matthew 20:1-15 (parable of workers in the vineyard)Sharing ideas:
All of us are a bit afraid of life's uncertainties and unexpected problems. We try to protect ourselves; we hoard money, love, friendship, and our own talent. While being logical, this process can also wither us spiritually.
Read Luke 12:13-21 (parable of the rich fool)