Reflections on spiritual maturity

Reflections on spiritual maturity


Reflections on spiritual maturity

This August, Rev. Candy Whitman offered a virtual workshop on “Spiritual Maturity – A Subversive Presence in the World.” This was a series of seven short reflections based in the scriptures, followed with thought-provoking questions. In her introduction she stated, “Spiritual maturity: we don’t hear that term very often – but it is a goal of the Christian life….Becoming spiritually mature takes time and effort, and is pursued by those who know there is no public recognition or remuneration to be gained, simply the privilege of at last dwelling in the security of God’s love, and the joy of inviting others to do the same.”

The first reflection was “To such as these…” followed by questions such as: What child-like qualities have you been able to retain in your adult faith and what qualities would you like to recapture?

The second reflection was “Bearing Fruit” discussing the fruitfulness of our lives. Questions included: Have you ever been the recipient of another’s fruit-bearing and what quality do you work hard to display?

The third lesson was entitled “Morality and the Spiritually Mature”. It was based on Psalm I describing “the righteous person, the moral person, the one who walks closely with God.” Followed by questions and statements on which to reflect: Think about your choices lately, and how these have affected your spiritual life. Also has forgiveness been important lately and have you ever talked about this with others?

The fourth study was entitled “Generativity” – the concern for establishing and guiding the next generation, a key task of adults. Questions for thought included: Were there any spiritual mature people who were generative influences early in your Life? In what ways do you know work toward the betterment and faith of future generations?

The fifth presentation was “Putting Away Childish Things” based on I Corinthians 13:11-13. Today, wholeness and serenity is sought after through mediation and mindfulness in Christian life. Questions to ponder included: What “childish’ things have you had to put away? What things might you still need to put away on the road to wholeness and what keeps you from feeling fully loved?

The sixth topic to ponder was entitled “Power”. It starts, “The desire to relinquish power and prestige in exchange for a life of humility and service is a desire the world does not understand.” The thought-provoking statements included: Consider what kind of power you hold now, and how it may be a blessing to God. Form a goal for the future.

The seventh topic was a movie night, where we were assigned the film “Babette’s Feast”. The movie is about a French cook who in desperate times goes to work for two sisters in a strict religious sect on the Danish coastline sometime in the 1800s. The movie showed examples of great spiritual maturity: the devotion of the sisters to their community, a soldier’s ability to heal old wounds, Babette’s love for her new family, and the culminating act of grace – and sacrifice – in preparing a spectacular meal for this ascetic community. Our discussion centered on what the movie says about grace, reconciliation, food, and Christ, and closed with the role of spiritual maturity in the movie.

I found, as a participant in these studies and Zoom discussions, wonderful topics to consider in these trying times for helping to develop spiritual growth and maturity. Thank you, Candy, for this gift.

– Diane D. Dexter