I have long been fascinated with the writings of the first century Middle Eastern tent maker, Paul of Tarsus. I find much of his writing thought provoking, regardless of how often I have pondered it. It contains sage advice and gives me inspiration when working with others. One passage I have been pondering recently keeps me thinking,
“… whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8)
Formation is the ongoing process of reflecting on our life, our work and the context in which we find ourselves. This is necessary in order to appreciate the dignity of our work, and to encourage us to appreciate the gift and value of that which is ours to do. In the process, we are nourished and sustained.
When engaging in formation with others, leading them to reflect on their work in the world, I always finish by reminding them that using their gifts and talents faithfully, is noble and honourable.
It’s easy to be cynical, and negativity is insidiously seductive in uncertain and ambiguous times. Intentionally focusing on what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely and admirable is a healthier alternative. Paul was on to something.