Drawing closer to God

Dear friends, 

On sabbatical in Bordeaux three years ago, our daily commute took us about a kilometre along the Via Turonensis of the Camino de Santiago. I travelled that single kilometre two, four, six or even eight times a day sometimes, to and from school, the grocery story, the post office, or the park, always ending up the same 1100 kilometres (give or take one!) from Santiago de Compostela. Walking and re-walking the same route is certainly not the traditional way of pilgrimage—I’ve been told that medieval pilgrims were careful not to retrace their steps! However, finding this route under my feet became a happy gift, a daily spiritual practice, linking a portion of my commute to the company of saints and scoundrels who have walked that same way before me. 

As we approach another pandemic Lent, with the invitation to draw closer to God by “self-examination, penitence, prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, and by reading and meditating on the Word of God” (BAS p. 282), I’m conscious of the ways in which we are yet again adapting to new ways of being in the world, and the ways that might offer new, or renewed places for regular spiritual practice. Some of us may have gone through the last few years with our practices of worship and prayer relatively unchanged; in other cases, our practices of communal or shared worship have taken new forms, or been replaced, at least temporarily, with more individual practices. Some of us have found ways to mark the festivals and celebrations in new ways. Some have found that new (to them!) spiritual practices have become life-giving in unexpected ways. Some are eager to return to gathered worship or communal prayer. Sometimes, maybe we just aren’t sure where God is calling us! 

Perhaps the upcoming start of Lent is a time to check in with the ways in which you spend time with God, and the spiritual practices that nurture your faith as you also work, study and play. Maybe this will be a something you take on this Lent, or maybe it is simply a time to reflect on what spiritual practices are life-giving in this season of your life.  A friend, pastor or spiritual director could be a good conversation partner if you’d like to explore this out loud.   

In Christ, 


This message was written by Jen Bourque for this week’s Wingèd Ox, a weekly news digest distributed to the college community.