A Reflection on You Are Leaven

image by E. Rowe in Canva

From April 19-22, I, along with my fellow mission canons, attended You are Leaven: Fermenting Cultures of Spiritual Formation, a conference sponsored by the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada.

The weekend was filled with workshops meant to open our minds to the width and depth of what can be spiritually formative for our own lives and the lives of those in our faith communities.

As I reflected on the weekend, the prayer In Ephesians 3:14-19 kept coming to mind.

This prayer alludes to the breadth and length and height and depth of God. This passage opens our eyes to just how expansive God’s transformation of his world is. I feel like my experience at this conference was a lived example of this meditation on God in Ephesians. So many of the things we do can be spiritually formative: cooking and eating together, going for a walk, playing games, listening to music, writing, or fishing. To be a Christian is to be completely enveloped by the love of God, meaning everything we do is Spirit-breathed. The Spirit can use each instance in our lives to further reveal to us the fullness of God and the riches of his glory.

This experience reminded me that we can always go deeper as followers of Christ. God will always desire that we know him better. The good news is because God is always near, because God is in everything, there are so many ways to connect with him. There are so many entry points to the love of God. Our job as leaders is to first, find those connection points for ourselves and then, help our communities make those connections too. The crucial task for us is that we find the connections that root us and ground us in Christ’s love, as the author of Ephesians prays for us. These connections may be different for different people. There is no one secret formula. To proclaim that there is, is to try to control the work of God.

All our communities could do with a wider and deeper understanding of what is spiritually formative. All of us could do with putting fewer limits on the mystery that is the almighty God.

It was a blessing to gather, collaborate, and make connections with ministry leaders from across the country. It is so clear to me that we have so much to learn from each other. These leaders embodied the hope made possible in Christ, and I have never had a clearer sense of what it means to be part of the Body of Christ.

There was something particularly holy about even the simplest parts of our time together, in the eating and drinking, in the waiting and watching, in the carpooling and contact exchanging.

This gathering was proof that the fermentation of a culture of spiritual maturity happens most reliably when we love one another, when we are vulnerable with one another, when we share ourselves and our time with one another.

We spent the weekend learning about spiritual formation. For me, the conference itself was one of the most spiritually formative experiences I’ve had in a long time. I am grateful for the opportunity, and I pray God uses my experience for the good of his kingdom.

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