Recently, I visited a Search For God, or SFG, group in Virginia Beach and was excited to find I could start one here in Carroll County.

The first SFG program formed in 1931 to deepen a small group of seekers' understanding and application of a series of Edgar Cayce readings on spiritual growth. Cayce, a Christian healer, vowed in his youth to read the Bible in its entirety every year of his life. Hundreds of SFG groups meet weekly throughout the world to study and test concepts, such as that of loving others the way Jesus did. Members ask themselves, "Is what I'm doing stimulating within me a greater desire to know and serve God?" To that end, members keep a personal record of their applications and experiences so their growth does not go unnoticed.

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Groups typically meet for about two hours and, in addition to the discussions, they meditate and pray together. Although two books constitute the Search For God foundation, complementary material is often included for study and application. Many groups meet in private homes and generally consist of six to 10 members.

A Westminster group is beginning on Feb. 3 at Denny's Restaurant, at 400 Englar Road in Westminster, from 3 to 4:45 p.m. There is no fee for participating.

The title, Search For God, has confused some seekers. They comment, "I know where God is — he's up there," pointing to the sky. However, we all search for a source of meaning in our lives, and with meditation we find the Devine within. The Bible tells us to "seek and you shall find," but because many Christians are puzzled about meditation, they have avoided it.

Some scholars believe that Jesus, during his silent years from ages 12 to 30, resided in India, where he learned to meditate. Meditation is not daydreaming, but rather attuning our mental and physical bodies to their spiritual source. During meditation, the soul is aroused by the spirit. In prayer we speak to God — in meditation God speaks to us.

You can spot references to meditation throughout the Bible: "Meditate upon these things…" (Tim. 4:15, KJV); "The kingdom of God is within you" (Luke 17:21, KJV); "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?" (Cor. 3:16, KJV). The Apostle Paul reminds us that meditating on the Word of God leads to a renewed mind (Romans 12:2, Ephesians 4:23, Colossians 3:10).

Meditation began thousands of years ago and is now a structured endeavor that people see as beneficial and use daily. Search For God groups have been around for 85 years — what a durable study group! It is rare when a community of seekers combine both a study group and mediation. I believe it will produce miracles.

Editor's note: The writer is the facilitator of the SFG group starting in Westminster.

The Rev. Ellin M. Dize is executive director of nonprofit NRS Inc. and facilitates A Course in Miracles spiritual discussion group at St. Paul's UCC. She can be contacted at NRSsolutions@yahoo.com.

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