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By Rev. Nancy Bacon
Tehachapi Community Congregational Church 

Seeking the Spirit and Growing Your Heart

From the Pastor’s Desk

 


I am one lucky lady. I pastor the nicest group of people, and they allow me to travel to the ends of the earth in response to where the Spirit leads me. The crazy thing is, sometimes they even follow me! It was amazing going to Uganda a couple of months ago, with one courageous church member joining me.

Recently, I had the pleasure of attending a couple of spiritual retreats and those who have gone with me have been mightily moved. If you haven’t wandered up the hill to meet the canonesses of the Norbertine Monastery and their Mother Superior Mary Augustine, you are missing out.

Imagine listening to beautiful voices chant prayers in Latin throughout the day and even at midnight. My teenage daughter and a group from our church was game to attend their service, called Vespers, one special Saturday evening. The nuns were exceptional in their care and hospitality. They generously gave of their time answering our many questions. My daughter and I stayed on the mountain overnight, whispering when we spoke, and attending multiple services – each a gloriously meditative unforgettable experience.

My daughter and I loved the time together and she asked me if every religion has the equivalent of monasteries. She meant places where people could go and feel divine presence working with us.

I thought about her question, remembering Buddhist monasteries I have visited. I don’t know if every religion has such a thing. I am Christian, so more familiar with my own religion’s monastic response to secular powers reaching into religious matters.

Monastic devotion is something difficult to comprehend. It’s hard to fathom the canonesses praying and worshiping seven times a day, every day. There is never a day off. They pray for the world, for the church, and for a host of other things. I wish I had a portion of their discipline, which seems to expand their joy and love for others.

I tend to believe that we generally like things we understand and dislike things that we don’t. I love to learn. In that process I hope the divine stretches me, so that my heart and mind grow with love and understanding.

My church will be starting an adult education series by Eboo Patel, a Muslim-American of Indian heritage, entitled, “Embracing Interfaith Cooperation: Coming Together to Change the World” on July 13 at 9:15 a.m. Too often we hear the negative side of how religions divide people and inspire violence against one another. We reject religion, throwing the baby out with the bath water. Working with people from various faiths, Patel wants to tell stories we don’t hear about faithful people meeting each other on bridges built by religious cooperation. I’d be honored if you’d like to meet me on such a bridge - learning, holding and swooning over religious babies together. We needn’t know everything. A novice understanding and a generous heart can go a long way toward changing our world.

Blessings, Pastor Nancy

 
 

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