I, (Peter), am working on preparing to teach the Spiritual Formation 2 course again for Palmer Seminary and International Ministries. As I am preparing for the week intensive and then the course, I am once again planning out the syllabus, looking at changes and wrestling with what sources and lectures to give. Of course, it is all in Spanish which means added levels of complications as I try to think and write in a second language.
The first time teaching last fall, was a whirlwind of preparation and last-minute surprises. First, I only had about a month and a half to prepare my first course in Spanish. Then, the week of the intensive, the main person who was to lead could not come due to issues beyond his control, therefore leaving me and another friend to lead something we did not plan nor have any time to prepare. Then, throughout the course there were natural disasters from earthquakes to hurricanes that affected the students enrolled in the course. Finally, as the course was wrapping up, we (The McCurdy family) moved to a more comfortable house that is within walking distance on the kids’ school. With the move came the dreaded Internet provider change and an unfortunate loss of internet for three weeks. It felt as if anything that could go wrong did go wrong.
However, as I am looking back on those experiences and visioning for this upcoming time of learning together, I am struck by the thought of how the course provided a structure to give a lifeline to hold onto in those chaotic moments. My students used me and my connection to give them stability and flexibility during those times. It was amazing how the Holy Spirit used the readings, lectures, and discussion again and again to meet us where we were at in the mist of chaos and remind us that God is with us. I am certain it was not by accident.
This reflection brings me back to today, I am working out an idea on each student writing a journal during the week intensive course with the purpose of reflecting on the first year of seminary and setting short-term and long-term goals for growing in their spiritual life. A plant doesn’t grow without water, sunlight, nutrients, and care but too often we seem to think our spiritual life will get better or grow without the same effort.
In closing, what things are you going to do to participate in the transformative work God wants to do in your life? Will you spend time pondering a short passage of scripture for the sole purpose of letting the Holy Spirit speak into your life from it? Will you spend focused time listening to God and not just petitioning God? Is it time for you to spend time in confession before God seeking forgiveness and receiving that forgiveness? It is time to start forgiving those that hurt you? What goals do you want to place in your life to facilitate growth in your relationship with God?
A big thing I am doing is taking the texts I use in teaching at the Master’s level and I am spending time sharing them with my wife and children. However, in doing this I am spending a lot of time translating it to language that they can relate to and understand. We have treasures in our relationship with God but if we do not share it we become unhealthy because we are not reproducing what God has planted in our souls.
In December, we reached our monthly support goal for the first time this past year! Thank you all so much for making it happen and supporting us. We do need your help. We need continued support. Also, the students in the master’s program need scholarship funds. Maybe you could look at starting an ongoing support for us and give a gift to help these students fund their education. Will you be part of fulfilling the Lord’s will “on earth as it is in heaven”?