lenten book study
During Lent 2022, some of the parish has met together to discuss the book titled “Looking for God in Messy Places.” It was written by Jake Owesnby, who is a Doctor of Philosophy and Divinity and the Episcopalian Bishop of Western Louisiana, USA.
The group read a couple of chapters each week and then met to discuss them on Thursday afternoons. For those who could not meet in person, there were published follow-up summaries.
The Right Reverend Owensby’s premise is that ‘hope comes from our awareness of God’s love, as we extend [that love] to each other’ in the present and messy places of our human lives. This concept was appreciated by the group as a whole. As we met, conversations would spiral out and into our experiences of being aware of God’s love in our lives and the hopefulness we have felt as a result.
Since each of us is an individual and comes from diverse experiences, stories shared together were many and varied. Some were humorous, some were sad and some were reassuring.
As our time together came to an end, some reflected that at the outset they hadn’t been very keen to read this book but that by the conclusion, “it all came together.” We all also agreed that reading and talking in community is very meaningful, and that perhaps we glean more than we could have on our own.
For a number of us, the final paragraph in the book summed up everything.
“Our hope grows as we experience ourselves as belonging to something greater than ourselves: to the God who loves us and, as a result, to the community of God’s beloved children. We find hope in our awareness of and reliance upon God’s love for us in the messy places of the life we actually live. You are God’s beloved. Your life is worth living. God brought you into existence because the creation—because all the rest of us—would be incomplete without you.”
Many thanks to Rev. Nicole Uzans for initiating this book study, and so ably facilitating our discussions.
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