We often hear people say I am a very spiritual person but not religious, or I am a very spiritual person but not a Chrisitian.
I am unsure what they mean and sometimes feel it means they believe in something, but it is definitely not Christianity.
But I do believe that we all have an undercurrent of longing deep within our souls for something more than the humdrum of day-to-day existence. An unspoken knowing that there could be so much more to life if only we could understand the unfathomable.
My belief is that the answers to this longing are in the Bible.
What is Cultural Spirituality?
People search for purpose in many areas of life because we all have a deep desire to be loved and accepted and to have a purpose in our lives.
Practises that might be considered Spiritual (without the Jesus connection) include Astrology, Ouija boards, Tarot cards, and the I Ching. Some receive comfort and guidance from these methods, but they are all inward-looking ways of living.
Likewise, many seek to escape through drugs, alcohol, sex, gambling, overeating and shopping to feed the longing within them. These, too, are all inwards ways of managing our yearnings.
What is Chrisitan Spirituality?
Jesus taught a different, outward-looking way because a Christian’s vocation is to shine God’s light into the world for all to experience.
The calling of a Christian is to love and honour God and to practise stewardship of all that we have been given by Him in life. That means to look after our health, finances, spiritual and intellectual gifts and use all these things to make the most of our lives and help those who we come into contact with day to day.
Christian faith contains layers of beautiful mystery that can be unwrapped over time, but many can not comprehend this possibility. People do not expect to find their hopes and longing fulfilled in the Bible. Possibly they have a vision of stuffy teachings and strict rules and regulations, but nothing could be further from the truth.
Heaven is Closer than most People Realise
Because heaven is much closer than most realise, and the Bible teaches how to live at the intersection of heaven and earth. This is not wishful thinking. This is the real thing.
We have a vague understanding of heaven and earth and where we might go when we die. But God’s sacred space is in the cosmos (heaven), and mankind’s material space is on earth with two feet firmly on the ground.
However, it is through Jesus that we can draw closer to heaven, and God, in this life. Because of His sacrifice, he is now like a ladder set in the world, acting as a bridge between heaven and earth; John 1:47-51.
We can draw heaven closer into the world today through worship and Holy Communion, and then by reflecting the light of Christ out into our communities.
And as we do these things day in and day out, as we stay with Jesus in our hearts and actions, it is then that the longing and wistful yearning that we all experience is fulfilled. As we fulfil our needs through Christian Spirituality, so too do we feed the needs of others and the seeds spread around the world.
St. Augustine summed it up perfectly when he wrote, “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.”