The parish church’s primary task is the spiritual formation of its people. Spiritual formation is much more than merely attending church services once a week. Mature faith and spiritual formation evolves over our lifetimes. What served us as religious knowledge in our youth, is likely to be insufficient or downright confusing as we grow up. Continuing opportunities to engage in retreats, spiritual practices and open-hearted discussion are priorities in our parish life at St. Peter’s.
We at St. Peter’s believe that Christianity is no longer a spectator sport. The days when people delegated their spiritual lives to the parish priest are long gone. Accepting personal responsibility for our spiritual lives is a significant act of spiritual growth. And yet, many folks remain passive spectators. That’s what they were taught. They began as onlookers, as consumers, as spectators; and haven’t encountered the catalyst that will help them shift their paradigm of what their spiritual role really is. They haven’t yet integrated the fact that church teachings have changed. They haven’t realized how vital their personal efforts in developing their own spiritual life are. We support spiritual formation because it provides a foundation for us as we walk out into our daily lives.
The Kingdom of God can’t come into its fullness here on Earth unless we get out of our easy chairs; get out of our self-centeredness, get out of our routines and our comfort zones. Together we need to engage with a world that can be lost, that may be hurting, or that may be in despair. This kind of active participation will make us vital, it will teach us, it will give deeper meaning to our lives, and it will help us grow as spiritual beings.
We are long past the time when spirituality and ministry were the sole province of clergy. Through our baptisms, we’ve each been called to be channels of God’s Grace to this world. The gifts God gives us are God’s way of responding to a world in need. True Christianity was never a spectator sport. It’s time to get in the Game. Jesus continually invites us to fulfill our destiny by participating in building the Kingdom of God here on Earth. We take this seriously at St. Peter’s and we support each other in sacred activism and in the personal spiritual formation that unfolds as a result of it.