The national crossroads of the miss pop of November 11 and 12 had as its theme Living and manifesting the Gospel today in the working class! What spiritual animations for all? A look back at a much-discussed notion during these two days: spirituality.
In France, a country strongly influenced by the notion of secularism, it is always delicate to approach spiritualityparticularly in the 1901 law associations, as are all the fraternities of the Evangelical Popular Mission of France, even if our roots are clearly anchored in the soil of the Christian faith of Protestantism.
The crossroads of the Miss Pop which took place on Friday November 11 and Saturday November 12, 2022 in Paris, brought together volunteers, employees, leaders and other people close to our fraternities, around the theme of spirituality. A rich menu for two beautiful days of exchange, testimonies, spiritual animations to allow the expression of spiritualities, in the respect of the convictions of each of the participants of our fraternities.
I will retain from this crossroads that spirituality is not religion, but that it is the meaning that everyone gives to their life, a transcendence that colors our commitments to live a fraternal relationship with others.
The journalist, sociologist, religiologist Eric Vinson, invited to this crossroads, opened up to all of us a very rejuvenating field of possibilities, reminding us that among the great men who marked history through their struggles for equality, recognition of the rights of minorities, most were not warlords, powerful or kings, but just humble, non-violent men, committed as close as possible to the excluded, living in simplicity.
But make no mistake about it, if they became guides, it is also because they emanated this spirituality which guided them themselves.
Among the great people who marked history by their struggles for equality, the recognition of minority rights, most were not warlords, powerful or kings or queens, but just humble, non-violent, committed as close as possible to the excluded, living in simplicity…. those whose names are everywhere in our cities in very secular countries, both in social and cultural centers and in schools or even public places brandishing their names, when they were unquestionably all very charismatic leaders. Their names are Gandhi, Martin Lutter King, the Dalai Lama, Nelson Mandela or even Vaclav Havel, Ibbrahim Rugova.
Personally, I would add to this list Sister Emmanuelle, Raoni, Mother Teresa, Rosa Parks, but also Fatima Mernissi, a Moroccan feminist sociologist whom I had the pleasure of meeting, without forgetting a certain Jesus.
So, for each of us, in our fraternities, it becomes possible to say to ourselves that these characters, who have made the great history of the world, continue to illuminate our paths to make us commit ourselves to defending the values of the Mission. People included in our charter: justice replaces oppression, fairness replaces exploitation, sharing replaces plunder, dignity replaces contempt.
This is indeed the mission of our associations, to be specific places of welcome capable of linking social, political and spiritual in a balance that restores standing.
It is because we are neither givers of advice, nor lessons, not scholars who display their science, nor decision-makers who grant or not a right, that the one we welcome recognizes us as a brother.
Being small and weak to enter into a sibling relationship: Yes! It’s when we’re little, with
all our human weaknesses that we have the ability to be closer to those who ask us for help. It is there that they see in us this brother, this sister, this cousin, sometimes the lost sheep like them and not just a social worker, a trainer or a counsellor, even if he is empathetic. This is where mutual trust can be established and where real sharing begins, because we are with them and like them.
This is spirituality.
Solidarity is like this story of a jar that you first fill with large stones and believe to be full, then you add gravel that slips into the holes. We believe it is full again, but if we add sand, it slips into the interstices and there is no more room… and yet, if we pour water into it, it s infiltrates everywhere. Spirituality is this water, it is there between our actions, our lessons, our help, our pleas, our parties, our meals.
It is everywhere we put meaning, humanity, fraternity.
It is in these parentheses, in these spaces between established things, it slips into the interstices to fill us, to nourish the fraternal encounter, implicitly by our attitude and our actions and also because we know how to talk about our beliefs, of our values, of the sense of the divine and of the love of the human which makes us act above all with our hearts.
Véronique Megnin volunteer at the Frat’Aire, Fraternity Popular Mission of the Urban Area (Pays de Montbéliard)