I taught students in both secondary school and college for many years. Most students would tell me that they were “spiritual” but not “religious”. I assume the difference was that they believe in a higher power (God) but do not want to do it in an institution like church. The spiritual life, like education, is a process of growing into maturity of thinking and knowing. In this process we make mistakes and we often forget that even within our mistakes we grow.

In our spiritual growth we come to understand the quality of life among us and others. The Spirit is life within us and we flow with it over time. We know we cannot force many things to happen and we soon become aware that there is a difference in our time and in God’s time. We know we cannot control how tall we are, we cannot even control the force of love or even how we come to understanding. We cannot control the length of our life. But God’s time comes to us as we wait in patience and as we begin to go through life with its many issues. As life tests us so our spirit is waiting for growth and understanding.

We cannot do this growth and understanding alone. Just as a classroom is filled with many levels of intelligence, experiences, and understanding; so it is in the religious community we may select to be with. As we feel the breath of our soul, so we see others among us traveling a similar path of growth and understanding. To be spiritual requires us to gather with others and share in the journey of life. In our time and in God’s time we grow in Spirit.

We often say it takes a community to raise our children. It takes a congregation to raise our spiritual awareness. So I say to my students – don’t give up on religion but become a part of the gathering with others and with God to become and grow more spiritual!