Spiritual Practices Have No Age Limit

Walking a labyrinth. Taking deep breaths. Centering ourselves in the quiet. Communing with nature. Spiritual practices often invoke within us visions of serious adults, engaging in serious discernment for serious reasons. Because how else could God communicate with us unless God could see how seriously we’re taking this?

But in Community of Christ, we express that one of our Enduring Principles is “All Are Called.” As you can see the bullet point descriptors below, there is no mention of age, nor is there mention of a person’s level of seriousness. God gives gifts to people – presumably all of them. And Jesus invites people – again, with no conditions listed.

So what does that mean for our kids? I know my ten-year-old son isn’t going to take the spiritual practice seriously. But does he have to? Last weekend at Samish Island Campgrounds, we went for a walk that led us to the discovery of their labyrinth. I’d heard there was one, but had never gone down that path before. I heard a loud, “Ready, set, go!” and off he ran, starting at the beginning of the labyrinth and twisting and turning along the path, at a couple points attempting to run backwards.

Who’s to say that God wouldn’t run on a labyrinth with you? Maybe that’s what would work best for you, and God would meet you there. Maybe taking deep breaths actually fills you with anxiety, and so being told to do so causes you to check out of the church experience. But that doesn’t mean you’ve left God behind, because God is not magically held captive by the church experience. In the past, I’ve been pretty vocal about my inability to participate in centering prayer… not all spiritual practices work for everybody. We don’t have to do spiritual practices as seriously as the person leading them. The point is that we use the time or activity to reach out and hold God’s hand for a little while.

And so if we release our expectations of silent, serious reflection, spiritual practices can be practiced by everyone together. We can all go on a walk in nature and discuss how we are a part of the same ecosystem. We can walk or run or wheel or scoot through the labyrinth at our own paces. We can imagine what it feels like to breathe in God’s love no matter how deep or shallow, fast or slow our breaths are.

This Spring, we will have opportunities to experience spiritual practices with our kids. Three locations around the Mission Center are hosting “Where is God?” – an afternoon of learning spiritual practices that are accessible to everyone. We’ll use these spiritual practices to understand that God is in us, around us, in nature and more. And we’ll learn that we can include God in our activities, like asking God to play with us before a soccer game, or asking God to listen as we practice the piano.

All elementary-age kids are invited to attend, and we’re also open to parents, Sunday School teachers, and Pastors to come and do the spiritual practices with us. All of the events will be held from 1-4 pm.

  • May 4th at Southridge Community of Christ (Ridgefield, WA). Flyer.
  • May 18th at Eugene Community of Christ (Eugene, OR). Flyer.
  • June 1st at Bremerton Community of Christ (Bremerton, WA) Flyer.

Thank you to Fae Jackson’s Labyrinth Ministry for helping with this event! Contact Ashley Whitham (360-521-4562 awhitham@cofchrist-gpnw.org) with any questions.