Outlook Issue 26 Winter 2018
News and Views from St. Mary's Woodbridge
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Searching for the spiritual
The word ‘spirit’ almost defies analysis. When we say someone is a spiritual person, what do we mean exactly? How do we know? In the Bible, ‘Spirit’ carries with it the overtone of God’s dynamic, creative activity. In the Post- Exilic period of the Old Testament, ‘spirit’ became a virtual synonym for ‘soul’ and ‘heart’, the seat of intelligence and emotion in mankind. Human characteristics are described in spiritual terms, inner life and personality. The Bible speaks of extraordinary qualities such as leadership or goodness, resulting from the invasion of ‘the Spirit of the Lord’. Qualities of wisdom and discernment are gifts of the Spirit; prophecy is another characteristic of the Spirit’s presence among in the world. Christians believe that the Spirit of God is working inside them, producing qualities and deeds of a spiritual nature. Such qualities we see in fellow men and women around us today of whatever creed. There is also a supernatural element, particularly evident in the Old Testament, where God’s presence is active, producing awe-inspiring situations. The character of the Spirit is the character of Christ. St Paul comments that the Spirit reveals, indwells, helps, witnesses, works. It is all or some of the elements of the above, enhancing a person’s spirituality. It is perhaps the presence of the Spirit which also enhances a view, a piece of music, art or sculpture, or even a moment of peace. A time when the influence of a presence causes us to be aware of something or a being greater than ourselves. The need for quiet times Spiritual qualities could be seen in seen in the lives of Mother Theresa, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela (pictured), to name but three. I also believe they can be seen in a view, heard in a sound, be it birdsong or a CD. This summer I enjoyed many glorious views in Guernsey and Scotland, including the chapel of the University of St Andrews. Across a rocky channel, from Guernsey to Herm, an amazing early evening sky over a glistening sea: all evoked spiritual feelings and emotions. It occurred to me that in our daily lives we all need quiet times, spiritual times, time just to be, views to enjoy. Times when the mind wanders, the spirit soars, and peace of mind is manifest. Take time out each day, as a therapy. Simply sit, think and contemplate life. Let troubles range for a while. Perhaps in those ramblings solutions might become evident! From the hilltop we see more. We see beyond the monotony of ground level. We see a far horizon with unknown possibilities – and yes, we see the clouds break and the sun appear from behind a grey cloud. We may then experience something of our own spiritual nature, or be inspired to enjoy someone else’s! Some deity perhaps? Someone to date that we have ignored? Michael Booth