Rev. Jill Cowie
Nurturing the Spirit
​A person will worship something – have no doubt about that.   That which dominates our imaginations and our thoughts will determine our lives, and character…what we are worshiping we are becoming.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
 Communal worship is the time and place  we discover, practice, and celebrate the holy breaking into our lives.  Sometimes it's the felt spark of agency in which we feel called to love, ease suffering and celebrate life.  Sometimes its a sense of connection to the person sitting next to us or to the ancient ones that give us a sense of belonging, of being home.  And sometimes we connect to a power greater than ourselves, something grander, deeper than we, that might be God, the planet or the grand sweep of history.   However we experience the holy, we gather to affirm a truth about ourselves, something we hear in a song, feel in ritual, or learn in a sermon that affirms the authenticity of our lived experience.  We nurture and renew our spirit and our lives in beloved community as we share wisdom, hold sorrow, lift joy that sustains and transforms our individual and community spirit with hope and power. 
Ritual
The  power of ritual within worship lifts up the blessings in our lived experience.   The water communion in the Fall connects us with the sustaining power of community and the flower communion in the Spring celebrates the beauty of our becoming.  Together we dedicate our children, honor our elders,  and bless our animals.  We honor our dead on All Souls day with memories and ritual of butterflies that symbolizes the transforming power of love.   Together in ritual we connect all that was, all that is, and all we hope will be with the power of faith and the collective agency of our living tradition.      
 
Nurturing the spirit needs weekly practice.  Creating a menu of faith formation practices such as small group ministries, mindfulness meditation, or exploring sacred text and literature, helps to cultivate meaning oriented, value driven, open hearted congregations.   Often the menu reflects the rich diversity present in each congregation to which I am happy to add my experience in Buddhist practice, poetry circles,  "This I Believe" workshops and theme-base small group ministry.   All to enhance our connection inward and outward to live into the interconnected web of which we are all a part.