“I feel kind of… disconnected from God.” “I want to be more intentional about my spiritual life.” “My faith seems too compartmentalized from the rest of my life, and I don’t like it.” “I want to learn more about how to pray. I feel like the only time I really pray is when I need something and have exhausted all the other options.” 

These questions and so many others like them are ones that I hear regularly in my pastoral conversations with people. What they all have in common is a desire to move further or deeper in their journey of faith, and an uncertainty about how to do that.

If at least one of those sounds like something you might say, then I have some good news for you. First, you’re not alone. Most people I know who take their faith seriously are interested in how to deepen and strengthen their faith, how to better connect their faith with everyday life, how to better sense God’s presence and purpose in their lives and the world around them. Not only do those feelings not indicate a lack of faith, they actually indicate a vibrant faith that is seeking to live more fully and clearly, sometimes especially in times of disconnection or confusion.

Second, the Christian Church has long and rich traditions of helping people be more intentional about seeking God in their lives and becoming more aware of what God is already up to in them. One of the best of these traditions is called spiritual direction, in which a spiritual director works with you over time to help you grow in your faith by becoming more aware of God, becoming more responsive to God as your awareness grows, and to use that awareness and responsiveness to address decisions or challenges in your life.

Here at First Pres, we have begun to offer spiritual direction through the guidance of two of our Parish Associates, the Rev. Dr. Ginny Smith and the Rev. Dr. Richard Smith, as well as Elder Jan Bickford. Ginny and Richard will be in both worship services this Sunday to talk more about what spiritual direction is and how you can try it out for yourself.

I encourage you to listen to what they have to say with curiosity, and consider whether spiritual direction might be a good Lenten discipline for you to pick up and follow for a season. This ministry is being offered as part of the mission of First Pres, so there is no charge for spiritual direction sessions, though a gratitude offering to support this work would be welcome if you are able. If you have questions about spiritual direction, you can reach out to them directly or simply send a question or a request to connect with them to SpiritualDirection@fpc-bethlehem.org.

I want to express my thanks to Ginny, Richard, and Jan for imagining and organizing this ministry of spiritual direction in the life of our church; their generosity of time and spirit is a wonderful addition to our work as a congregation. And I hope you will consider participating as part of your Lenten discipline or simply part of your faith journey!

Grace and Peace,