Honoring the Spirit within and around us can be either the easiest or the most difficult concept to embrace depending on how we perceive and receive the very idea and existence of a spiritual realm. So welcome to the weeds of spirituality! To be sure, it’s here where the theological, religious and denominational roots begin and where, sometimes sadly, eventual divides take hold as well that over time shape and define countries and cultures the world over. But if we’re going to be clear about the aspect of what is spiritual and what is at work in our lives we at least need to do our own inner work on what this all means…for ourselves, first.
As much as I treasure the years that I spent in seminary and enjoyed the rich perspectives of individuals speaking and reflecting on their own spiritual journeys and from within their religious traditions, I’m not suggesting that we move from the “spiritual weeds” into what I call the virtual quicksand of religious dogma! If you’re packing dogma (and if so, I respect that completely) that’s your work and process to factor in and make sense of within your tradition. In this section called Honoring the Spirit and throughout all of Rise This Day actually, I’m focusing on the Spirit, (note the higher case vs. the lower case) because Spirit is non-denominational and at the same time, interdenominational as well. In my view at least it just doesn’t get any better than that!
Why Honoring the Spirit Important
Some might ask, “just why is honoring the Spirit all that important?” It’s important because we toss spirit this and Spirit that about in casual discussion and within our everyday vocabulary as if it doesn’t matter, and I suggest that it does matter, and it matters a lot. Why? Because team spirit is not the same as having a spiritual concern, and understanding the spirit of say, the law, or the spirit of which something was intended, is not the same as holding, having and responding to a call of the Spirit to undertake an action, regardless of the consequences or cost, etc. Those differences are huge and far-reaching. But I’ll submit here that many people jumble and use spirit within their vocabulary with little thought to the deeper meaning of the word, spirit/Spirit.
As a Quaker, whenever I (as do most Quakers) use the term “Honoring the Spirit,” I am referring to that of the Spirit that resides within you, or within me, and how the Spirit may be present and at work in ways that we don’t readily recognize. Your own sense and experience of how the Spirit is present in your life may be similar, or, far from my interpretation. And if so, wonderful! But for the sake of clarity I think that it’s good just to state where I’m coming from in these pages. For many people the Holy Spirit signifies the third person of the Trinity and as such it, (or he) possesses all of the characteristics of a deity, which many if not most Christians believe. I, however, as a Quaker and individual, hold a much simpler and more universalist experience of the Holy Spirit which no doubt unfolds throughout every part of Rise This Day.
Honoring the Spirit also includes awareness, and room or space for that of which we do not know and cannot see. That, perhaps above all else, is the real wonder, the mystery and power of how Spirit, the Holy Spirit, manifests itself in unseen ways all around us. And that in a nutshell is what I especially hope to highlight and name and appreciate in Rise This Day.
Sources for Honoring the Spirit
Sources in the category of Honoring the Spirit come from all over. Over time, you’ll find inspirational pieces, poetry, (some) Scripture representing many traditions, quotes, nuggets found on the Internet, art (especially children’s) that comes my way, guest pieces and my own photography. The main goal is to shed light onto the everydayness of things, into those little places where the Grace and place of the Spirit has settled in and is quietly at work.
Perhaps most people are accustomed to feeling the presence of the Holy Spirit in places of worship through sermons, music, religious symbols and rituals. And these are indeed wonderful sources. But the Spirit, the Holy Spirit, also flows beyond the walls we build to practice our respective beliefs within, and that’s what I hope to celebrate also and share with you along the way.
Honoring the Spirit and You
If you’ve read this far, I’m guessing you also hold an awareness of how that of the Spirit works in and among our daily lives. And if so, I’d love to hear from you! Please consider joining my mailing list. I also welcome your comments, too.
Images and text by K. Lee