Joab Cano stands in front of The Light of the World church in Juneau. (Courtesy of Joab Cano)

Joab Cano stands in front of The Light of the World church in Juneau. (Courtesy of Joab Cano)

Living and Growing: Alaska’s renewed spiritual journey — from the northern lights to Guadalajara

Under the mesmerizing dance of the northern lights, Alaskans have always forged profound connections — with nature, with each other and with the divine. This month that bond takes an emotional and significant leap as they witness the rebirth of a cherished tradition, one paused by the unparalleled challenges of recent times.

For the first time since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Alaska sent representatives to participate in the Holy Convocation in Guadalajara, Mexico — the main religious event of The Light of the World church. This isn’t merely a journey; it’s a declaration of resilience, faith and a revival of community spirit after a global hiatus.

Central to the Holy Convocation is the Holy Supper, a deeply symbolic and revered ceremony. Rooted in Christian teachings, it commemorates the Last Supper shared by Jesus Christ with his disciples. More than a ritual, it is a profound act of faith where believers renew their spiritual commitment, recall Christ’s sacrifices for humanity and pledge to continue their righteous path.

As these representatives traveled thousands of miles they carried with them more than just our state’s culture and faith. They carried our collective hopes, prayers and the unity of our state’s congregations. While not all believers were able to make the pilgrimage to Mexico, the vigor of our faith remains unyielding. From Anchorage to Juneau, congregations actively participated in their local temples, ensuring the spiritual resonance of the Convocation was felt.

This rekindled participation signified more than religious observance. It attests to Alaskans’ indomitable spirit and our ability to find hope and renewal even amidst profound global challenges. As Alaskans, we understand that true connections, especially those of faith, withstand trials and transcend barriers, be it miles, landscapes, or even pandemics.

Furthermore, our delegation’s involvement in Guadalajara placed Alaska firmly on the global religious map. Joining hands with representatives from over 60 nations, our delegates exemplified how faith, in its purest form, bridges geographical and cultural divides, offering unity in uncertain global times.

For those unable to attend in person, the spirit of the Holy Convocation remained inclusive and communal. Through digital platforms and local ceremonies, cities like Anchorage, Kenai, Fairbank, Juneau and Wasilla, did not merely observe, but were deeply immersed in this shared spiritual experience. They unified their prayers and aspirations with fellow believers from all continents, making the Convocation a globally lived experience.

In a world where differences often take center stage, this shared pilgrimage stands as a beacon of unity and hope. Whether under the canopy of the Guadalajara temple or within the serene ambiance of an Alaskan congregation, one message stands resolute: faith, even in the face of global adversity, knows no boundaries.

To end, I would like to extend an invitation to visit a congregation of The Light of the World. There you will learn what God desires for your life and find the peace that you seek. More information can be found at the official website TLOTW.org or The Light of the World social media pages. If you live in Juneau, we invite you to join us at: 5750 Glacier Hwy., D1. We are open Monday-Saturday at 6:30 p.m., and Sunday at 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. May the peace of God dwell in your hearts and God bless you all.

• Joab Cano is a missionary at The Light of the World church. “Living & Growing” is a weekly column written by different authors and submitted by local clergy and spiritual leaders. It appears every Saturday on the Juneau Empire’s Faith page.

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