During the forty days of Lent, I spend my soul searching time in prayer, reading and practicing different spiritual practices. This year, I have been studying the spiritual practices of the Celts. Each week I have been investigating what it means to truly be aware of God in the mundane and in the ‘thin spaces.” Christine Valters Painter is an abbess in the Iona Community in Ireland. She is a spiritual director and author of several distinguished books on Celtic Spirituality. “The Souls Slow Ripening,” is a workbook of sorts filled with scripture, poetry, with stories of saints and teachings of twelve spiritual practices. 

“Celtic Christianity grows from a culture and tradition of Irish monks who practiced their faith outside of the Roman Empire for generations and aligned its practices with those of surrounding pagan and Druid traditions. From about the 5th to the 11th centuries, this Celtic Christianity flourished in ways that honored the earth and were tangibly connected to landscape. [Celtic Christian] practices are a way of embodying the spiritual journey rather than merely thinking about it. Practices help us to bring the reality of what we seek into the physicality and earthiness of our lives.”  -Christine Valters Painter, ‘The Souls Slow Ripening’

Every educator knows that to truly learn something we must practice, use different techniques and to teach the subject. Reading is not the same as experiencing. This is the thought behind practicing our spirituality on a daily basis. We practice getting to know God. We practice and use movement to understand who Jesus is. We sit in silence to hear the Holy Spirit. God for me is revealed in all the senses. God in the scent of freshly baked bread; God in the sound of waves on the surf; God in the face of a child: God in the warmth of a tear streaming down the face.

My hope is that you can find new ways to connect with God during this season of Lent. A couple of my favorite new ways to connect with God is to ‘bless everything’, and to sit in silence. The weather is getting nice outside; spring is in the air. Maybe today, take a walk, feel the spirit of God around you, and take a few minutes to bless the things you see. It sounds weird, I know. But maybe, just maybe you will sense the presence of our creator, who made heaven and earth and all that is good. Go ahead, bless it!

- Noblesville’s Teri Ditslear is a pastor whose column appears Saturdays in The Times. Contact her at pastor@rolcommunity.com, on Facebook or at www.rolcommunity.com