Sometimes we place this in the work of childhood. We give kids Sunday School. We teach kids morals and values. We pass on our stories of the faith. We have a new game plan for our young people to help them on their way – Children’s Chapel begins this Sunday. Godly Play moves to after church to create two classes and opportunities for age-appropriate formation. But is formation just for the kids? At 18 are we fully formed Christians? Are we ever fully-formed Christians?
The reality is that Christianity isn’t a one-time event, or even a sprint to a finish line. I doubt we could even call it a marathon. Where would we place the finish line? No, it is an on-going work of heart and soul. It is a conscious and consistent effort to cultivate the vision of us that God had in mind as God created us in God’s image in the womb.
We are going to focus this year on how we can continue to grow and become the person and the church that God is calling us to be. So watch this space as well as the “Gospel According to St. Nick’s” for opportunities to be stretched in community. You are warmly invited to look into our “Getting to know the Bible Course” after church for the next few weeks. Regardless of if you are total biblical novice or feel pretty acquainted with the text, there is always the chance to learn something new about our Holy Scriptures. (Bible courses are the first seminary courses you take, so you can imagine, people at all stages of faith development have a place to jump in, learn and discuss.)
In the meantime, on your own time, regardless of where you feel in your faith, I invite you to pray. Very few things in life are as transformative as opening up conversation with the Almighty. Looking for a reason to believe? Pray. Looking for some hope? Pray. Looking for a place to share your joy? Pray. Even if you can’t bring yourself to pray for your own needs today, pray for someone else’s. Image God looking down on us, hands crossed, hoping to be shown something. Instead what if we opened up our hands and our hearts into conversation. It can be as simple as “here I am” or as complicated as the long ramblings of your heart. It can be a prayer journal that you keep on your nightstand or meditative doodles and drawings. The Book of Common Prayer offers some excellent options for prayer in the “Daily Office” starting on page 37. Pray as a family. Pray alone. Just pray.
The first step to formation is being open to the process of being formed. I encourage you to invite the opportunity to be formed by God- through prayer, scripture, and church – into your life this coming season.
The Rev. Shivaun Wilkinson, Missioner