Tending the Soul: On the Move


On an unprecedented scale, humanity is on the move. 

In recent years, 160 million people have relocated within China – that’s 12 percent of us humans. The percentage soars worldwide with many more millions of us crossing borders as political, religious, and economic refugees on nearly every continent. Still more are trafficked as slaves.

My son Crăciun, a 21-year-old Romanian citizen in search of whatever job he can find, took a bus this fall from Eastern Europe to an Amazon distribution warehouse outside of London. Earlier in the year, due to a border patrol officer’s misunderstanding of his travel documents, he was ordered permanently out of the USA - where he had hoped to go to college. Trying his best to navigate life amid geopolitical realities, Crăciun is a young man on the move. He’s hardly alone.

This holiday season I’ve been taking family members to and from Denver International Airport, which set new passenger records every month this year. More people move through DIA each month than Colorado’s entire population of 5.4 million, which itself is booming due to migration.

The Advent season gives
followers of Jesus
ample reminders and images
of the movement and migration of God.

Migration isn’t new of course. I have relatives on my dad’s side who came to North America around 1633 A.D., and others on my mom’s side around 11,000 B.C. Creatures and continents were migrating long before that. Whatever the reasons, we’ve been on the move for awhile. Maybe the scope and scale of modern global movement, and our modern ability to observe it, simply awakens us to what’s always been afoot?

We are settlers, and unsettled. You’d think we’d be used to it by now, being on the move, but there’s a palpable local and global un-ease. I hardly need to mention our mood as voters in the UK, USA, and elsewhere.

Does this matter for the soul? Is movement merely incidental, or might it be integral, to our spiritual lives – which is another way of saying our whole lives? What does it mean to tend to our souls on the move? How might we become deeply grounded and centered on the way?

The Advent season gives followers of Jesus ample reminders and images of the movement and migration of God. If that sounds anthropomorphic, it quite pointedly is. God “became flesh and pitched his tent among us,” to use the gospel writer’s earthy, nomadic language for the incarnation (John 1:14). The meeting place of human and divine is not a tower but rather a tarp. Unfolding, rustling, anchoring, spreading, sheltering, welcoming, protecting, portable. Putting down stakes, pulling them up. Pausing, resting, renewing, moving on. An ancient reference to life with God, as revealed in Jesus, was simply “The Way” (Acts 9:2; 11:26). A verb often on the lips of Jesus was “follow.”

Together with others, we at Centering Way are paying attention. Macro and micro movements of the world, and our personal lives, matters for the soul. Just as importantly, how we tend to the soul matters immensely – immensely! - for the world. We’ve started Centering Way this year out of love and care, helping people from all walks of life access practical help for tending the soul. We hope we can be a resource as you seek to be awake and aware in the world – on the move - and grow in your belovedness in God.