Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Study Groups are Holy Ground


I've returned home from Trenton United where I conducted the second of two study sessions on the relationship between Christians and Muslims using the excellent United Church resource called That We May Know Each Other as our foundation, with plenty of additional and topical material. During the pandemic I've offered study groups of varying lengths and on a number of subjects including one on Jewish roots of the Sermon on the Mount and another on prayer. 

I'm always impressed by the willingness of people to participate and their excellent insights into our subjects. I may be the teacher but I'm also a learner, both in my preparation and as I listen to perspectives which often haven't occurred to me. There is so much wisdom and spiritual depth amongst United Church folk! There are newcomers to these groups most times but a fair number of "usual suspects" as well. I've enjoyed getting to know people at Trenton UC in this way.

As with most things churchy the pandemic has presented challenges for study participation and discussion. One study group was entirely online during deepest, darkest lockdown, but the others have been an in-person/online hybrid. It's odd to have several members of the group on a screen while others are in the room. And those who are physically present are physically distanced and wearing masks.Often I'm repeating what someone has offered so that others can hear, always hoping I got it right. What we once took for granted in terms of sitting around a table or in a comfortable circle went out the COVID window.

We think of joining together for worship as holy, but study groups and discussions are holy ground as well. My spirit is uplfited in the presence of others seeking understanding and growth in the Christian life. Now, what next?...

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