Have a connection with God in your own, unique way | Worship

By The Rev. Eileen Hanson, Pointe of Grace | Jun 04, 2014

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken” is a quote from writer Oscar Wilde that has defined our culture.

In commencement speeches this season, graduates will be inspired to celebrate their authenticity and uniqueness as they venture along their diverse paths in life: a generation raised on Macklemore and X-Men as cultural heroes of individuality.

Yet when it comes to our spiritual lives, we often default to the assumption that we must conform in order to relate to God. This assumption simply is not true.

There are not only diverse spiritual traditions, but also diverse ways to experience God.

#tradition

Some of us experience God through the traditions of organized worship inspired by story, music, rituals and gathering. The past comes alive as we commemorate and celebrate the revelation of God throughout human history.

Religious holidays as well as centuries-old prayers, images and texts draw us closer to the divine offering comfort, forgiveness and hope to our lives.

#study

Some of us, however, better connect with God through study and the pursuit of truth to ground and shape our daily lives. The knowledge of God becomes a relationship with God as inspirational texts are studied, shared and lived.

Scholarship comes in various forms, whether it is the study of ancient books and theological commentaries, or the science of the Shroud of Turin or Reiki.

#journey

Another approach to God is through the image of life being a journey like footsteps in the sand. Our relationship with the divine is not defined by a destination, but rather revealed through incremental moments of our life with the assurance that we walk with a God with us and for us.

Oftentimes, we experience situations and people we encounter in crisis or in the mundane of our lives as expressions of God’s presence, compassion and wisdom. Our life thus is a travelogue of words, images and relationships revealing the divine.

#nature

And yet another way to relate to God is through the grandeur of nature. Rather than worshipping in a building, many experience communion with our awe-inspiring yet intimate God while hiking in remote forests, gathering with friends around a campfire, sailing across the water, or looking up at the night sky: God’s presence and invitation is noticed in the details and the vastness of our Earth and its creatures.

#service

Finally, many of us also nurture a relationship with God through service to others, whether it is donating at a clothing bank, tending a community garden, driving an elderly neighbor to an appointment or a paying for another customer’s order at Starbucks.

Whether we see God in the face of the other or we serve God through serving others, we experience the inclusiveness and abundance of God in our midst by assisting both friends and strangers, locally and globally.

These are just a few ways in which we can cultivate a conversation with the divine through prayer and worship. Your way may not be my way, but we share a common intention of discovering and cherishing a relationship with God worthy of mutual respect.

In the Christian church, we are celebrating Pentecost, which is a festival day commemorating the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the followers of Jesus who were all miraculously equipped to speak in different languages.

Diversity is the character of the Holy Spirit influencing each life and reassuring each soul in a distinctive way that we belong to something greater than our egos and fears.

So, step out of the box of assumed conformity and venture into your unique conversation with God.

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