I find that hearing personal stories of faith are uplifting and enlightening, while also providing a reference to guide understanding. Sometimes hearing of a personal experience brings clarity in a way that objective consideration and study finds it difficult to reach. Riding a bicycle is very different from studying and talking about bicycles, for instance. I’m reminded of the story of Saint Thomas Aquinas, who in the 13th century wrote 3,500 pages of theology, including his five proofs of God. While traveling one day, Aquinas had a spiritual/mystical experience of God that so impacted him that he stopped writing, altogether. When he was prompted to finish his book, he said, “I can write no more. I have seen things that make my writings like straw.”
Don’t get me wrong, his writing, as well as all of our thoughtful, intellectual pursuits to understand and communicate about God, faith, and so on are of the utmost importance. As a people of faith, we don’t check our brain at the door of the church. There is something, though, that may occur in the personal and relational interaction with the Divine that takes our breath away and stands on its own.
This October and November our journeying will have us on the Way with one another at All Pilgrims. For the eight Sundays before Advent, we will gather around faith sharing themes. During worship for those weeks, different people of our congregation will share from their faith experience, and, together, we will have opportunity to share and hear of other experiences during the fellowship time after worship.
Hearing from one another about their experiences of faith and God will move us onward! I encourage you to join in this wonderful time of strengthening and sharing. We need one another in such faith sharing.