Tulley Beard is my delightful assistant and our very talented Director of Administration. Monday she brought a pair of “eclipse” glasses and suggested that during our Monday business meeting, we step outside to watch the moon pass in front of the sun. Tulley even brought a metal colander so we could see the image of the crescent forming shadows as the eclipse unfolded. As the minutes ticked down we were joined by two of the church preschool classes wearing protective eye gear made from paper plates and protective lenses. And then came Stuart, our beloved construction Superintendent from AL Huber. And a few neighbors and staff. Suddenly we were a community, sharing this unique cosmic experience, all with awe and wonder. For a moment the day’s demands ceased, and we were transfixed. Bathed in holy light.

The moment has lingered with me all week. It reminded me that sometimes spirituality is not what we plan but what happens anyway. Sometimes spiritual union with the divine presence of God is less an interior/private/personal/soulful me moment, but rather a communal/shared/exterior/natural phenomenon that comes to us unbidden. One popular notion of spirituality is to seek connection to one’s own soul through yoga or meditation or sacred reflection. And those moments are empowering in their own way. Beautiful even. But another often overlooked way to practice our spirituality is to connect to the outside world – toddlers and co-workers, neighbors and strangers, stars and moon.

I love what the 20th-century theologian Jurgen Moltman writes about the source of all life, the Holy Spirit:

“For a long time I looked for you (God) within myself and crept into the shell of my soul, shielding myself within an armor of inapproachability. But you (God) were outside – outside myself – and enticed me out of the narrowness of my heart into the broad place of love for life.”