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June 17, 2003

Holistic Spirituality - WONDER

In the WONDER quadrant of the Holistic Spirituality model the experiential is important. This way of connecting with God focuses on engaging our hearts, senses and emotions. Prayer is a dominant idea, as is Worship. Interaction and engagement with the Holy Spirit is often a focus for people who connect well in this area. Experiencing God through creation and the mystical methods of reflection and prayer are ways to engage this area of spirituality. Contemplation and meditation are also important. The focus is largely about developing intimacy with God.

While some people will connect with more naturally connect with God through their minds others will be much more comfortable connecting with their hearts. Church comes alive for these people during times of worship and prayer, through story telling, use of image and creative/alternative/ancient forms of worship. They might also be energised by their own personal times with God in prayer and meditation.

Jesus operated out of this quadrant in his life. We often see him in lonely places praying and fasting (Mark 3:13). These times seem to energise and empower him. We also see him interacting with and led by the Holy Spirit. (Matthew 4:1) It is evident that his relationship with the father is one of real intimacy. He not only has knowledge about his 'Abba' (Daddy) but he has oneness with him. We find Jesus not only prays in private but also in public (John 17) and that teaches his disciples to engage in prayer also. (Luke 11:1-13) Jesus style of teaching through parables and storytelling is also a way of helping his followers to engage the wondrous side of their spirituality. His preaching is also filled with challenges to be intimate with God - John 15 (the vine and the branches) is a wonderful picture of this intimacy. 'Remain in me and I will remain in you. This is wondrous language!

The early church also engaged in this sphere of their faith. We find in them constantly meeting for prayer (Acts 4:24) and worship (Acts 2:46) and there is no doubt that the Holy Spirit is an important and empowering focus for them. (Acts 21-13) Paul constantly models prayer for the communities he writes to (Ephesians 1:16-23) and encourages them to do likewise. (Colossians 4:2-4)

The Old Testament is full of wonder - Psalms and Song of Songs have a life time of material for engaging the heart and describing an intimate relationship with God.

I personally have grown a lot in this area over the past ten years. Its been refreshing to discover God in new and refreshing ways through prayer, worship, creation and story telling. In the 90's I began to explore some of this through 'contemporary worship'. My church also gradually began to be more open about the Holy Spirit (and eventually even described themselves as 'mildly Charismatic'!) I found the journey to be wonderfully refreshing although at times wondered if the heavy focus upon 'singing' was perhaps too narrow! I made a concerted effort to expand my wondrous horizons and soon discovered that I could connect with God through creation (bushwalking/camping), through my own creativity (photography) and in more recent years in some more alternative and ancient forms of worship. By no means have I arrived in this area, but I'm loving the journey.

How do you find this aspect of faith? Is it an area you feel you are growing or stagnant in? Does it energise you or frustrate you? What have you discovered on the journey that might inspire, encourage or resource the rest of us in this area?

UPDATE: Here are the complete set of links to this series. 1. INTRO - 2. TRUTH - 3. WONDER - 4. ACTION - 5. LOVE - 6. Wrapping it all up.

Posted by Darren at June 17, 2003 11:59 PM | TrackBack

This has been a growth area for me - some of it I connect with easily - nature - but as an activist by nature contemplation etc is still a discipline. However I enjoy it heaps when I am doing it properly. Just need to create space for it in my 'active' life and remember its importance. Anyway - that's me...

Posted by: hamo at June 18, 2003 06:21 PM

I wrote earlier that I feel most comfortable in "truth." However what you write about today is something which I have been exporing more and more. Ancient ways and prayers, Sacred Space by the Irish Jesuits, Praying the Hours at universalis.com and more are all different things I have enjoyed and I have been enriched by them.

I actually feel that "Truth" is a good basis to start such an exporation. A firm grounding is good bedrock for some more experimental ways.

Posted by: Jan at June 18, 2003 08:37 PM

The Wonder quadrant of holistic spirituality is definitely a challenging area in my life, but one in which I desperately want to grow. I know the importance of prayer and meditation, and I desire and need the intimacy with God that these disciplines offer, yet I struggle to put them into practice. I guess that's why they're called "disciplines".

I find that location often has a lot to do with how easy it is for me to pray or meditate. Whereas it is very difficult for me to quiet down and pray/meditate in say, my university dormatory, it comes easily to me when I'm sitting on a rock facing the ocean. Maybe the key is to remove yourself from the everydayness of everyday and to create a time and space within your life that's reserved for contemplation and prayer.

Posted by: nakedwayne at June 19, 2003 04:51 AM

Wonder has been a growth area for me in the last few years. it is in these past few years that I have come to know how it feels to truely worship. prayer is an area in which I still have a long way to go. I agree with the comment about location being important. also, however, I feel it is an amazing thing to be able to have the same closeness with God in any place, but that's something that we learn as we go along (I still have quite far to go in that area, too).

Posted by: meg at June 21, 2003 12:35 PM
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