By Debra Weir, Associate Director, Spirituality and Lifelong Learning at Columbia Theological Seminary.
February 23, 2017—Greetings from Montreat Conference Center! This week I’m with the Certificate in Spiritual Formation class, Illuminating the Text, led by Ann Laird Jones. It is a wondrous time to be here. We are the only group at the conference center this week, so it provides the landscape and restful quiet that is so needed when lives are fast-paced and full of distraction.
This week we are enjoying reading scripture from the Luke-Acts Heritage Edition of the St. John’s Bible, the first illuminated bible created in 500 years. What a wonderful way to begin 2017 in celebration of the Reformation Anniversaries! We have also been practicing Lectio Divina, the Benedictine practice of listening deeply to scripture and listening for the meaning it may hold for our own lives. At times this is in the silence of morning and evening prayers, and at times we listen while creating visual images in clay, silk painting and in calligraphy with ink and gold leaf. These processes open our eyes, minds and hearts to the scriptures in new ways. It is exhilarating and inspiring to contemplate scripture in this manner, amid companions who are seeking a word from the Holy One, a Word to illumine the way before us!
You may have missed this class, but there are other opportunities to nourish your spiritual life:
March 4: The Enduring Spirituality of Howard Thurman, a half-day contemplative retreat led by Lerita Coleman Brown. Howard Thurman’s wisdom withstands the test of time. We will gather in Decatur, GA on the Columbia Theological Seminary campus to reflect on Thurman’s wise and challenging words, pray together and listen for wisdom to inspire our lives. Registration includes lunch.
April 2-5: Immersion Experience: An Invitation to a Deeper Spiritual Life at Montreat Conference Center. This introduction to Christian Spirituality is open to anyone who is seeking a deeper connection to themselves, others and the Mystery we call God. It is also the foundational class for the Certificate in Spiritual Formation.
April 20-23: Explore the rhythm and timbre of the monastic Liturgy of the Hours. Discover how this ancient practice can inform your own personal prayer life. Paul Lang, pastor and musician will share his musical interpretations of the hours. This promises to be a rich experience! The course will be held at Montreat Conference Center.
New classes will be opening for registration through the spring, so check the Spirituality Program website for the latest information. I look forward to meeting you in one of our classes and welcoming you to this community of spiritual seekers!