Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Team Jesus: My Kind of Sangha

The name of this blog, Meta Vie, means “a life in transformation.”  Used as a prefix, “meta” means change or transformation, hence the word, “metamorphosis.”  Vie is, of course, the French word for life.  When I originally named the blog I liked the more current definition of meta: self-referential.  By blogging, I am engaging in a writing process that is nothing more than the written reference of my own ongoing transformation. 

Writing is an amazing tool for growth; we can record and track our progress along life’s journey.  My grandparents kept written journals, some of which I have shared here.  This is my electronic journal.  As I look back at entries from 2009, I am entertained and inspired by the changes that have taken place within me since that time.  I am sometimes equally amused when I see entries from just a few months ago. 

I wrote a post last September about reconciling my Christianity with my other spiritual inclinations and practices.  It was called, “My Nebulous Spirituality.”  I was moved to write it after getting embroiled in an argument about Christians and the supposed bad rap they get—and about what it means to be a Christian.  I found myself disclaiming Christianity as a cultural label and at a real loss for what to call myself and my path.  I never disclaimed that Jesus Christ is my master.  I simply wanted some distance between myself and the common modern portrait of a Christian.  I am rethinking that now. 

Spiritual practice on one’s own is a good thing.  Spiritual practice within a community is even better.  After many years of going it alone, I have decided that I need the support of other believers… and I need it consistently.   

Since moving to a new town with my family, I have been regularly attending services at the Lutheran church down the street from us.  I have found great comfort in participating in the rituals I was raised with: praying as a congregation, taking communion, reciting the mass, singing hymns and scripture.  Regularly seeing and talking with other people of faith brings me contentment.  In yoga and in Buddhism, practitioners use the Sanskrit words, “Sukha” and “Santosha”, which roughly translate as comfort and contentment.  Consistent spiritual practice brings us sukha and santosha.  In Buddhism, the spiritual community is referenced as the “Sangha.” In Yoga, the community is called a “Kula.”  In the US of A, we like to call it “Church” or “Temple.”

Yoga practice will always be a part of my life.  Buddhist meditation is a refuge for me, always.  Jesus is still my favorite teacher and the divine incarnation that I choose to worship.  I needed a real Sangha and I found one, within a community of other Christian believers.  This is a huge step for me.  I plan to follow it through and have volunteered to act as the church Treasurer to affirm my commitment.  As my pastor wrote to me, “Lutherans have a tendency to enter into a new church slowly and build up to greater involvement; or not. This is in rather stark contrast to the urgency expressed by Jesus in the gospel of Mark, the call to discipleship throughout the gospels, and the cost of discipleship spelled out in Matthew's gospel.”  The time has come in my life to consider what it means to believe in Jesus; if I believe, then am I also a follower?  If I am a follower, does that make me a disciple?  Within my Sangha, it does.  My Pastor continued, “The Christian vocation leads us to new areas of commitment where called.”  The Sangha asked me to serve as Treasurer.  I think that means I am called.  So… yes, Lord, send me!

I am grateful to have found a Christian Sangha and the strength of conviction to actively participate in it.  

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