Faith Story: Spiritual Growth

Council priority shared by council member Bruce Purdy

Our Council this year has identified Spiritual Growth as one of this year’s priorities.  As I volunteered to speak about spiritual growth, I have realized that it might be one of the most challenging topics to discuss.  There is not a committee I can tell you to join, there is not a specific thing that I can tell you that will allow you to create the spiritual growth.  But what I can tell you are a few times when I felt that I took a few big steps on my journey of faith.

Growing up, we went to church regularly, but I really did not feel a connection.  I won’t go into all of the details, but to say that my family life was strained, would be an understatement.  My father and I never really saw eye to eye and there always distance between us.  There were a number of things that were tearing our family apart and my parents were divorced before my senior year.  I only saw my father a few times after high school before he died in 1994.  In 1997, I moved out to the DC area, and was living in Maryland.  I really did not know many people and felt quiet lonely.  One night in a dream, I saw my father bound in chains. He said he was sorry. I heard a voice saying that I was the only one that could release him. Then my father asked for forgiveness.  I told him that I too was sorry and asked for his forgiveness.  As I told him that I forgive him, I saw the chains fall away and I felt the loneliness leave me.  That night, I realized the power of forgiveness.

When a group of us went to Biloxi, Mississippi, we went with the love and support of this congregation.  The work was tiring but at the same time rewarding.  We met a man there from New Orleans.  He lost everything, his home and his family.  And yet, he was not in Biloxi seeking help.  He was there helping us help others.  He said that he could not just stay in New Orleans and do nothing.   He taught all of us that regardless of our circumstances, we always have the opportunity to give.

Not all of my spiritual growth has been that dramatic.  In fact, most of it is subtle.  It comes in the warmth of sharing the peace. It comes in the moment when the sermon, lesson, Bible study, or song feels like it was meant for me.  It comes when one of the ladies at Guest House smiles and says thank you. It comes in sharing fellowship and communion with everyone here.

What I can tell you is that my spiritual growth often comes when I least expect it.  It comes when each of us are living our lives in Christ and sharing our lives with others.  So as we celebrate Pentecost today, may we each take steps on our spiritual growth journey.

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