There isn’t anything better than to hear how great the service was when, as the minister you are not there. That is what I experienced this week. I heard from Jacob, who was the guest speaker, thanking me for the opportunity to speak and to say how warmly he was welcomed. He said it was a kind of sweet reunion. That is music to my ears.
Kim Cowperthwaite did an outstanding job platforming as she always does. I asked her to pen the overview of Jacob’s message, and here it is:
When Rev. Jacob Watson entered our building on Sunday morning, even if you had never met him, you could see how beloved he was by those who knew him. Smiles, hugs, reconnections, laughter. The friendships and spiritual bonds he had with others were palpable. What you didn’t know yet was that by the end of his talk, which was titled “Spiritual Companionship for Yourself and Your Communities,” you would be invited into that inner circle, that same friendship that begins, as all things must, with yourself.
Jacob based his talk on the two parts of our being on this planet, that see-saw we ride of spiritual self and human self. Spiritual Companionship, he explained, is uniting that which is timeless and always present (spiritual) with our human-ness (companionship with ourselves and others). Understanding and reaching our spiritual self is essential. Our work is to open a pathway from our human self to the spiritual. And isn’t that a big thought to tackle in a lifetime? Big and nebulous indeed until Jacob demonstrated this work in a very basic and gut-level form: a loud and prolonged groan into the microphone! (Everyone awake now?)
He was teaching us how to open up by giving sound to our emotions. Raw, unedited and unjudged sound. “The territory,” he called it, “where words don’t count.”
The skilled teacher always engages the student, demonstrates, and then gives guided practice. And so Jacob demonstrated and then had us all expressing our grief sounds, our fear sounds, our anger sounds, and our love sounds. The sanctuary was alive with the sounds of being human while Jacob coached us to acknowledge the split second expression of the feeling, through raw sound, before the intellect kicks in.
Jacob taught us that the two parts of ourselves – spiritual and human – unite in companionship through the process of becoming aware of our emotions, safely expressing them without hurting ourselves and others, which then opens our pathway to the spiritual. Once we open this path, we are never alone.
By teaching us how to acknowledge and express our emotions, by sharing his current grief from the sudden loss of his wife, and describing the natural flow of emotion expression, Jacob was a spiritual companion to us all.
If you missed the service, you can watch it here.
Join me this Sunday as I welcome a colleague, Rev Bronte Colbert, whom I have yet to meet; however, her email asking to speak was so compelling I immediately said yes. I have since heard she is wonderful, and we will not be disappointed.
You are a blessing in my life,
Rev. Patricia Bessey