Spiritual Accompaniment

When Jesus calls us to follow him, he calls us to journey with others. Christian spirituality is not a solitary matter. To journey alone is folly. To journey with others is the joy of spiritual friendship and fellowship. Conversations Journal

The fellowship of the saints should be much more than a ­theological construct or sentimental concept. It should be a vital companionship.

There are many ways of accompanying one another on the journey. Some forms of accompaniment involve more formalized relationships (spiritual direction being one example), and some less (for example, friendship). Some are focused more on soul care (the nurture and support of well being) while others are focused more on soul cure (the repair or restoration of wholeness that has been lost). Bible study or faith sharing groups are examples of a soul care emphasis while counseling and psychotherapy are examples of soul cure.

Ideally we should all be in a network of relationships of accompaniment. And the ideal church would be a place that would offer, support, or be able to point people toward this whole spectrum of possibilities. The foundational relationship is obviously our own personal relationship with God. Next beyond this might come the mutual forms of soul care and support that can be offered by friends and family. Building on this are relationships of pastoral care, counseling and psychotherapy, and spiritual direction. And of course there

are both combinations of these forms of care and others that are possible.

This section will explore some of these possibilities. Ranging from the church as community to individual relationships of soul care and cure, articles will explore what it means to experience fellowship that genuinely supports spiritual transformation.

While we will not deal with each of the following categories in every issue of the journal, they do reflect the scope of what will be covered in this section:

 

  1. Stories of Christian community;
  2. Formation at home: Reclaiming the home as a place for transformation;
  3. Input from the arts: Creative ways of using the arts in facilitating the process of authentic transformation; and
  4. Transcripts from spiritual ­direction sessions.

 

In the present issue, James M. Houston discusses becoming a theological person in a postmodern world, and Juliet Benner presents a meditation on Rublev’s Icon of the Holy Trinity. Together they represent a head and heart focus on the community of love that is the Holy Trinity.

May the fellowship of the saints be more than a phrase in a prayer. May it become the dynamic of our life together.