I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people. Ephesians1:18 (NIV)

I wonder why many people are not returning to in-person church gatherings now that the pandemic has been brought to a manageable level. Is staying home more comfortable? There are the pajamas and fuzzy slippers. Or maybe “comfortable” means something different. For example, maybe it’s more comfortable because I don’t have the stress of putting on appearances to mask how I’m really feeling on Sunday morning. Maybe I’m not feeling joyful and am too weary to pretend anymore.

I’ve been reading about “spiritual refugees” – people who experience doubts about God and question their faith. By staying in church, they feel they are betraying the faith community and feel they may be dangerous to the faith of others. In other words, they can no longer be authentic. They would be more comfortable experiencing their crisis of faith alone.

This beautiful Ephesians prayer is one way to bring hope to spiritual refugees, appealing to God for their enlightenment. However, spiritual refugees may also need to see something more tangible.

Recently I heard a 20-something person tell a group of us that the result of her spiritual transformation has allowed her to focus on what other people need from church rather than her own needs. How hopeful! Maybe what spiritual refugees need is a safe harbor where doubts and questions can find full expression without judgment, without condemnation, and without a defensive counterargument. Maybe my congregation could become such a safe harbor for spiritual refugees. Maybe my faith community could become more comfortable.

Prayer: God of grace and hope, transform our communities of faith to become safe harbors for spiritual refugees to explore what faith in you can be. Enlighten all of us to your calling.

Jon – Inspire. Ignite. Invite.
Leadership Team, Indianapolis, IN