If the world is, as the poet said, a ‘vale of soul-making,’ then perhaps the soul is a vale of world-making. Soul: the blue fire: the fire-roots: the roots of the gods: the gods of the hidden forces: the forces behind the world: the world of soul. –writer Phil Cousineau
I have a wise colleague who nonetheless wondered aloud on his facebook page (the purpose of facebook as I see it is existential angst-ing) why he decided to preach on souls when he didn’t believe in them as things that live in bodies like some sort of parasites. He had resolved not to annoy people—at least while the church was doing its congregational survey.
But I’m not going to worry about literal or religious definitions, and instead consider religious language in more poetic terms, or in any other ways it may be helpful for us. A. Powell Davies, who ministered in the first half of the 20th century, believed that “life is just a chance to grow a soul,” that the most important human calling was the cultivation and development of character and action. “There is no greater mystery than our own mystery.” I believe that we do this best by sharing it in religious community.
And so we come together again, even if our September return is only symbolic in our now year-round church, we come again to grow a soul. For our worship themes, we’ll have a different “soul song” every month, offering a diversity of voices, healing the soul with music, and connecting the arts and worship.
If you’re anything like me, you might have been fortunate to have had some time off, but this has not been an easy, breezy summer. We face difficult world problems, real political battles with an upcoming election, way too much deadly gun violence, and struggling health or loss of loved ones dear to us. I continue to find strength in growing my spiritual life, in growing my soul. I find that choosing to continue to face the world and to stay engaged makes the most sense. It keeps me loving and soul-filled.
So how fortunate are we to have this spiritual community that nudges us into this growth. We are becoming. We are becoming more. More intergenerational, more diverse, more willing to transform ourselves and give to the world.
So we may be living ordinary lives, but we are growing them. And, hey, you know, we’ve got soul!
Grateful to be doing it with you,