Years ago my parents went on a bus tour of parts of Eastern Europe and included in the cost was breakfast in the hotel each morning and, I think, some dinners, but they had to fend for themselves for lunch (though the tour operators always deposited them in the vicinity of a number of lovely – and pricey – lunch establishments.) So, being on a bit of a budget, they worked out that, as there were cold meats and cheeses on the table each morning, all they had to do was make up a roll, wrap it in a paper serviette and pop it mum’s handbag and lunch was taken care of. (As I have been watching the AUD to GBP exchange rate over the last few months in preparation for our trip, hoping that some miracle – barring widespread financial upset for any nation or industry in particular – would occur and it hasn’t, I imagine Aron and I will be doing much the same!)
But as our series based on Marjorie Thompson’s Soul Feast comes to an end, I am hoping we have all picked up something from the table that will sustain us on our ongoing journey; that we all have a new or a re-discovered way of engaging with a spiritual practice tucked away – like a bread roll with ham and cheese – for the road ahead.
Those of you who haven’t been able to reflect on the material in more depth have missed the (excellent) group study guide. Here’s a few questions to ponder – please, take your time – that may make it clearer what you should slip into your handbag!
- Take time to identity and reflect on reservations or anxieties you may feel about exploring the spiritual life more deeply…They do not need to be resolved, only noted and appreciated.
- What seem to you the most essential ingredients of hospitality….How do you offer hospitality to God?
- In what ways does corporate worship feed you? What do you yearn for that you do not experience?
- How can fasting – or setting limits – be life-giving?
- Why has serious and specific confession fallen into such disuse? What have we lost that we could regain?
- How could you find time to meet God and listen to God in God’s Word?
- Can you trust that God enjoys your company when you pray?
- Who has been a companion in your faith journey in the past? Is there someone who serves this role now, formally or informally?
- Take a few minutes to fill in these open-ended sentences: I enjoy life most when…. I am most at peace… I am aware of God’s presence…
In his foreword, Henri Nouwen writes that he is convinced that for those who take this book seriously and apply it to their individual and communal lives a transformation will take place – affecting not only their lives, but also the life of the Body, the Church… May this be our experience! May we be fed and find delight in the practices of our faith, so we bring that life and joy to others. Amen