Congratulations Sacred Journeys on five years of sharing, caring, drawing in and reaching out. You are an amazing, intelligent, eclectic, fun group of people who have made five years of ministry a joy for me. And I wasn’t sure I’d be able to say that again.
(For the full audio version, click here.)
We began as a rag-tag group of folks who believed that “church” could be something more than it was. We knew it wouldn’t always be easy, or comfortable, but we were determined. The goal was not to form another institution that then had to be preserved. The goal was to create a Christian spiritual community unlike any we could find in this area. A community based on inclusiveness, openness, questioning, social justice, learning and growing in our unique sacred journeys.
In my somewhat warped mind Star Trek music begins playing and I hear: “Spirituality: the final frontier… these have been the voyages of Sacred Journeys Spiritual Community. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no one has gone before.”
We didn’t know if we’d last one week, one month, or one year… we hardly dared to dream 5 years down the road. And yet here we are… from 7 people around a dining room table to a community of over 120 who consider SJSC to be their home.
These five years have been a time of healing, of exploring, of building our identity, of wandering some in the wilderness trying to find our way. And, as we look back, it has been a great 5 years. We have worshiped, studied, learned, danced, prayed, sung, had fun, done tons of outreach and donated over $45,000 back to the community. But that doesn’t begin to speak to the relationships that have formed, the support and love that has been offered, the personal and spiritual growth that so many of us (myself included) have experienced.
We have entered the counter-culture these last 5 years. It doesn’t always seem like it because we have become comfortable in our community doing things our way. But when I step out of our community, I see how far we’ve come. The conference on progressive Christianity that I attended in May helped me to see that we are at the forefront of this movement, we are the newness in the dry desert of a Christianity that is no longer relevant, but refuses to die.
But we haven’t (in my humble opinion) gone nearly as far as we could have in our movement. We’ve mostly tried to ease ourselves into newness by having one foot in a more traditional model of religion (worship structure, Sunday School) and one foot clawing its way forward with a lack of doctrine and dogma to adhere to, a broader range of music that we consider sacred, using non-biblical readings and alternative Lord’s prayers, and not being tied to a building.
We’ve expanded the Christian box, but I want to keep pushing the walls out. In the coming year I want to take a few more steps forward, I want to look out new windows and see what we can see. I want to explore spiritual topics that we don’t generally hear about in a Christian context. Things like creativity, beauty, art, the four elements, modern-day mystics, and things I’d love to add to Christianity from other religions (if I could).
Personally, I see us as an evolving community that continues to seek, question and keep redefining a spiritual space for ourselves. This is an explorative space. A spiritual lab. So, let’s step forward boldly, expanding our horizons, our understanding of ourselves and the Divine. Let’s release our fears and, with excitement, push the walls of our spiritual boxes farther than we ever thought possible.
Love & Light!