As a former Waldorf teacher I remember the first time that I was in the Sunday Service for the Children. The rightness and appropriateness for the children as well as the beauty and simplicity of the service for the school age children deeply impressed me. The essence of a religious life is brought to the children as they stand before the altar. They hear and then respond to the statement that, “The Spirit of God will be with you when you seek Him.” The priest shakes the child’s hand, stands before and speaks to each child individually and each child responds individually, “I will seek Him.”
As the children grow into themselves and into the world the deep simplicity of this statement can become more difficult to feel. Our seeking is easier when we are not so far away from the spirit. The adolescent and certainly the adult feels the weight of the separation to a greater degree. My Colleague, Rev Liza Marcato, spoke to the youth at the MLK Service Conference this past January about the word, sin. We can hear this word as a moral judgment. In the sense that we have done wrong and have therefore “sinned”. The outcome of this will be punishment. We can also look to the root of this word and understand to hear the word, “sin” as “separation”.
We are all separate from one another. This is the condition of having a body and being on the earth. We lead a religious life as we strive to overcome this separation through the thoughts we have and the way we work in the world. Love is the uniting force that overcomes the separation of our physical form. The wider we make our world, the more interest we have in others, the more we heal this divide. This capacity that we have to be selfless and caring for the world around us is the call of our times. This is the Movement for Religious Renewal.
The incredible assurance that the children hear each week in the Sunday Service is that the Spirit of God is with us when we seek for the Spirit. We need only to seek. We need only to turn to the spirit and we are then not alone in healing the divide.
Rev. Ann Burfeind