Here we are heading into the end of March. This brief look into the first discipline I hope has challenged you as it has me. I must admit, this discipline is not an easy one for me in the pace in which daily life comes and goes. I continue to struggle to make time to sit and be silent, but I reflect on those words of my dad, “Practice makes perfect”, so I will continue to grow this discipline one day at a time.
This week I want to share a few quotes from Foster’s book Celebration of Discipline and then my thoughts I had as I read them. My hope in sharing is that it will cause you to think also, deeper about the discipline of meditation. Here we go….
“In meditation we are growing into what Thomas à Kempis calls “a familiar friendship with Jesus.” We are sinking down into the light and life of Christ and becoming comfortable in that posture. The perpetual presence of the Lord (omnipresence, as we say) moves from a theological dogma into a radiant reality. “He walks with me and he talks with me” ceases to be pious jargon and instead becomes a straightforward description of daily life.”
A friendship with Jesus…. What do you do to build a friendship with someone? Spending time ……. listening …. trusting …… sharing …. just spending time? I’m reminded of a quote I heard from a guest speaker at our church a few weeks ago, “got to versus get to” I don’t have to do this, I get to do it. Foster says ” No, not “have to” but “want to,” for our desires and aspirations will be more and more conformed to his way. Increasingly, everything within us will swing like a needle to the polestar of the Spirit.” WOW!!!
“What happens in meditation is that we create the emotional and spiritual space which allows Christ to construct an inner sanctuary in the heart.”
In my relationship with Christ, I must create the space for him to work. Drop my guard, put my feelings aside and give Christ the opportunity to build my inner sanctuary. From the inside out I will see Christ work as I take the time to STOP!
“Inward fellowship of this kind transforms the inner personality. We cannot burn the eternal flame of the inner sanctuary and remain the same, for the Divine Fire will consume everything that is impure. Our ever-present Teacher will always be leading us into “righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 14:17). Everything that is foreign to his way we will have to let go. “
Transformation! We can’t remain the same. As we spend time to stop and listen like those giants we wrote about in the last post, the Devine Fire will change us! If this doesn’t create an excitement to move into the quiet, well I don’t know what to say.
Finally for this week……….Our day to day will also be impacted!
“Often meditation will yield insights that are deeply practical, almost mundane. Instruction will come on how to relate to your wife or husband, or how to deal with this sensitive problem or that business situation. It is wonderful when a particular meditation leads to ecstasy, but it is far more common to be given guidance in dealing with ordinary human problems. Meditation sends us into our ordinary world with greater perspective and balance. ”
Here’s to a great week of listening!
We enjoyed a good time of worship this past Sunday morning (March 13). The words I have been reflecting on the most were shared in Open Worship, and I titled this post with them. “Christianity is a verb” was shared out of the quiet, and these four words were very fitting to our time together.
In addition to the podcast, I hope you will enjoy the video of Keith Green we watched as part of our time together on Sunday.
Our adventure in learning more about meditation last week challenged us to stop! To practice the ability to put things down, slow down (even for just a few min) and just become still. The first act of experiencing the discipline of meditation. So, how did it go? Did you try and stop and be still? I hope so! I’m finding that this journey into the disciplines is bringing Luke’s topic of attaching to the vine, from John 15 real for me day to day.
One thing from last week that I learned is the element of time and schedule. I learned that this time to stop has to be scheduled. I was able to quiet not only my heart, but my head. If things came, I let them go for the time and just refocused. No expectations, but to allow my heart and head to slow things down to encounter the creator. It allowed me to take John 15:4 and experience “remain in me as I also remain in you”. It was a rich daily experience that I would love to share if you want to ask. Don’t give up! Dad said it best, “practice will make perfect” or in this case build me up to see victory each day!
I left my times last week ready to look at our next topic for mediation. The ability to listen.
Richard Foster in his book Celebration of Discipline lays out these scriptures as some great biblical giants as listeners. David Ps 119:97, 101,102 “Oh how I love they law! It is my meditation all the day….I hold my feet from every evil way, in order to keep thy word. I do not turn aside from thy ordinances, for though has taught me” Gen 24:63 “And Isaac went out to mediate in the field in the evening”, Ps 63:6 “I think of thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the watches of the night” Ps 119:148 “My eyes are awake before the watches of the night, that I may meditate upon thy promises.” Ps 1:2 “delight is in the law of the Lord and on his law he meditates day and night.
Take a min to get your bible out and read 1 Sam. 3:1-18 and see how Elli helped a young Samuel know the word of the Lord. Also read 1 Kings 19:9-18 for Elijah and discerning the still small voice.
Now Foster shares this….”These were people who were close to the heart of God. God spoke to them not because they had special abilities, but because they were willing to listen.”
Oh no! Willing to listen….I’m nervous to share this, but if you were to ask anyone close to me they might let on it is not one of my strengths. I might have to agree. Seems like I’m always formulating an answer, thinking of a defense, trying to get ahead in a conversation…..It’s me and it’s something I’m working on daily in my life at home, at work, while fishing, or just sitting around shooting the breeze. And now Foster shares what I know to be true. STOP and LISTEN. That’s all God wants from me. Really , I think this is one thing that so many struggle with and it ties right back to the idea of stopping the crazy, noisy world we live in and just listen.
Foster goes on to say, “Christian meditation , very simply, is the ability to hear God’s voice and obey his word. It is that simple.”
The bible examples are just a few that Foster shares in his book. He closes this portion of the mediation discussion with this, “This, in brief, forms the biblical foundation for mediation, and the wonderful news is that Jesus has not stopped acting and speaking. He is resurrected and at work in our world. He is not idle, nor has he developed laryngitis. He is alive and among us as our Priest to forgive us, our Prophet to teach us, our King to rule us, our Shepherd to guide us.”
As my dad said, “Practice, Practice, Practice”
I know that Jesus is alive and I can’t wait to settle and now really begin to listen as I cultivate this discipline of meditation!!!! Lord, Here I am, speak to me, my head, my heart. Speak loudly, speak softly, I can’t wait to hear!
On my run this past Sunday afternoon I was ministered to by my Rend Collective playlist. In particular this song spoke to me as I plodded along on Allendale road watching the sunset behind the Owyhee Mountains. I said thank you God, for the moment, several times. Hope you enjoy the song!
I apologize to those of you who are unable to view the posts on our group facebook page (HFCC). I am checking to see if there is anything I can do from my end, and if you could do the same from yours that would be great.
The inter-webs, and social media outlets offer us an opportunity to use technology to advance the Gospel Message, and the Kingdom of God. If used properly, these things can be useful tools for us to use. This is my intent. We also can’t let these forms of communication take away from our meeting together face to face and spending real time with one another.
As a community of Christ followers it is especially important that we “don’t give up meeting together as some are in the habit of doing.” I’m going to make a plug for worship on Sunday mornings, but we can also be encouraged to touch base with one another during the week as well. Coffee shop conversations, small groups, visiting at sporting events, volunteering together at an event, or simply talking to each other on the phone.
Worship on Sunday mornings has been really good lately, and I want to encourage all of you who happen to be reading this to come and participate in worship with us on Sunday mornings. Come and be a part, and experience what God is doing among us.
Have a great Wednesday!