When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways.
For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face.”
(1 Corinthians 13:11,12)
By Rev. Canon Val Kenyon
What do you want to be when you grow up? Were you ever asked this question when you were a child? Perhaps you have asked it of young ones in your life?
I suppose it’s a fair question, really asking, what are the interests, the hopes, the dreams of a young person. What has caught and held their attention, at least for the moment? Personally, I don’t remember having a very complete answer when I was asked this question. And while all of this would become clearer as I grew and experienced life, I am not sure I have ever stopped asking myself this question, for surely maturity, like a journey, is less of a destination and more of a process, a process that, if we are open to it, is ever unfolding.
Of course, there are many dimensions to maturity in a person’s life: physical maturity, emotional maturity, intellectual maturity, social maturity, each with its own phases, and stages, each in some ways a whole world unto itself. Then, there is spiritual maturity. Neil A. Parent, in Educating for Christian Maturity, will tell us that “Every age and culture must apply the model of Jesus to its own times and circumstances. The question of what constitutes Christian maturity must be answered afresh by each generation.” (Educating for Christian Maturity, Washington, D.C., 1990, 1-3.)
How does EfM approach this idea of applying the model of Jesus to our time and to the realities with which we are confronted each day through the many different circumstances and news feeds that surround us?
Questions lie at the heart of how EfM leans into this process, exploring “the wonder of God”, and the model of Jesus. As EfM groups gather each week they will be making space to ask questions and to actively listen to one another’s answers. What do you long or yearn for? What do you wonder about or doubt? What possibilities do you want to explore or test? What are you coming to believe or affirm? Is there anything you believe you should, ought, must do (shouldn’t, oughtn’t must not do)? (See David F. For, The Future of Christian Theology, Oxford:Wiley, 2011, 68.)
We understand about asking questions. Life is full of them. As we open ourselves to spiritual maturity, for a deepening of our understanding of our faith and the nature of God, eyes firmly fixed on Jesus’ model for us, we continue to bump up against our “wonderings”. Ironically, as our search for answers to our questions continues, we may find instead the next question, asking us to nourish and cherish curiosity along the way, grateful to be supported by others sharing our journey. As we continue, we come to see that spiritual maturity while not usually a tidy process, is more than just an important one, it is that to which each and every one of us as a child of God and a follower of Jesus, is called, until as we read in 1 Corinthians, the mist in the mirror is lifted, and we see face to face.
Interested in learning more about Education for Ministry or in arranging an information session that works for you or your group? We are just a phone call or an email away. Please contact Libi Clifford, the Diocese of Huron EfM Coordinator or myself Val Kenyon at EFM@huron.anglican.ca.
Rev. Canon Dr. Val Kenyon is EFM Animator in Huron.