The Discipline of Meditation

Ah, it’s Saturday morning. June 15, 2013. Five more work days on this account, and I get a week off. We’re thinking about going to Galveston. Haven’t found a place to stay yet, though. We can’t afford to go back to Cancun, just yet, so Galveston is the closest thing we have. We might even consider South Padre. Christi’s looking into that right now.

Today, we are traveling to a much closer place, Mineral Wells, where we will celebrate Father’s Day with my Dad. We’re going today, because we have a lot going on tomorrow. We’re saying “Farewell” to two of our pastors tomorrow at church, and that’s going to eat into the afternoon time. Rachel and Justin will be coming over, I think, so our family will be together for the afternoon.

Amber the Cat ate a little bit of food on her own, both last night and this morning! We are so happy. There were a few tears of joy last night, when she followed me into the kitchen/breakfast nook and managed to get up on the breakfast table, her usual place to eat. I sprinkled some of her usual treats on the table. She nuzzled them around a bit, but never picked one up. So I put some of the kitten food that we got with Trixie on the table, and Amber started eating it! A wonderful development!

Today is “Smile Power Day.” It’s true; there’s a lot of power in a smile. Smile at someone today.

(From Great Stories from History for Every Day)
On this date in 1381, at the height of the “Peasants’ Revolt,” one of the leaders of said revolt, Wat Tyler, was killed after drawing a knife during parley with King Richard II, after the peasants occupied London. Tyler drew a knife during a scuffle, but was killed by the sword of William Walworth, the Mayor of London, who had accompanied King Richard to the parley. As the peasant army reached for their weapons, “Richard rode out to them alone, ordering them to obey him, their true King. Miraculously, the mob obeyed, and the crowd dispersed. The Peasants’ Revolt was over.” Soon afterward, the other leader of the revolt, John Ball, was caught and hanged.

Today’s birthday is Waylon Jennings, born on this date in 1937. I picked Waylon, well, because he was a legend. I’m not the biggest fan of country music, but I do appreciate the pure country of Waylon and have always enjoyed the work he did with Willie. I have, in fact, been to Luckenbach, Texas. We lost Waylon in 2002. Here is a video clip of Waylon doing “Good Hearted Woman.” He is joined by Willie, and, apparently, a host of other stars. He’s being introduced by Chet Atkins, and I swear that’s Michael McDonald playing piano behind him.

Honorable mentions go to Edvard Grieg, 1843, Harry Nilsson, 1941, Julie Hagerty, 1955, Wade Boggs, 1958, Helen Hunt, 1963, Bif Naked, 1971, Neil Patrick Harris, 1973, and Tim Lincecum, 1984.


In case anyone is curious (if anyone has happened to notice the tag, The Divine Hours on all of these posts), I begin each day’s devotional by praying through the “Morning Office” in The Divine Hours, by Phyllis Tickle. The scripture references that follow are taken from that book, and occasionally one of the prayers in the book. However, I always quote the ESV, where she uses The Jerusalem Bible in the book.

Show us your steadfast love, O LORD, and grant us your salvation. Psalm 85:7
Blessed is the one you choose and bring near, to dwell in your courts! We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house, the holiness of your temple! Psalm 65:4
How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD of hosts! Psalm 84:1
My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the LORD; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God. Psalm 84:2

Father, I pray for a vision of your steadfast love this morning. You have brought me near, to dwell in your courts. May I truly be satisfied with this goodness that you have shown me. My heart and flesh sing songs of praise to you, my God!

Today, in A Year With God, I begin a section on the discipline of Meditation. Meditation is defined as, “Prayerful rumination upon God, his Word, and his world.” Right off the bat, the book acknowledges what I already know. “Many of us worry that ‘meditation’ has a ring of the occult or of Eastern religion.” I would add “New Age” to that, although the term “New Age” has been around for so long that it could hardly be called “New” any more. But scripture is replete with “references to God’s people meditating on his word, pondering Jesus or ‘higher things,’ reflecting on the beauty of creation.” Eastern meditation seeks to empty the mind, while, in Christian meditation, we seek “to fill ourselves with God, to form a more complete attachment to Christ.” We attempt to be more attentive to God in meditation. We desire to allow God to direct our thoughts. While it is true that meditation is closely linked with prayer, the focus is more on listening than talking. It is “more devotional than analytical.”

Our society is losing touch with the art of this discipline, as we seek to do everything faster and easier. We “want to learn and pray and read as quickly as we can, so we can get to the next item on our to-do list.” The act of meditation, “thinking about God with no set agenda,” is a difficult task for us. This makes it all the more essential in our spiritual formation. In Psalm 145:5, David says, On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.

The first reading begins the first ten day segment and is called “Meditating on Scripture.” The scripture reading is 2 Timothy 2:7.

Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.

The task, right off, is to spend the next ten days meditating over a specific passage. ” . . . ponder it, think it over, and muse on it until it becomes part of us.” A very short passage is recommended, perhaps just one sentence. Suggestions range from the “I am” statements of Jesus, a proverb, a line or stanza from one of the Psalms, or a teaching from an epistle.

“Aim to enter the passage as an active participant, imagining yourself hearing Jesus say the words, experiencing the sights, sounds, and smells of that day.” (Not so sure I want to experience the smells, thank you very much.) The task is not to study the passage, but, rather “to be initiated into the reality of which the passage speaks.” (Richard Foster) Jesus taught us that he is still with us, to teach us and to instruct us. We want to allow him to do just that in this process.

I will begin this task by meditating on my “life verse,” which is Psalm 86:11. Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name.

Father, as I begin this next task, learning more on the discipline of meditation, teach me something new. Show me something new about yourself as I meditate on different brief passages of scripture. Draw me deeply in that reality that is expressed. Teach me to walk in your truths, to abide in your word. Teach me your way, that I may walk in your truth. May my thinking on your word become as natural as breathing. May your word fill me like the air that surrounds me.

I pray for this day and this weekend. Give us safe travel to Mineral Wells, later, as well as safe travel for Rachel and Justin as the come down from Denton. May our time with my parents be blessed and relaxing. I also pray for tomorrow’s time at church. I know it will be emotionally charged, but I pray, too, that worship will happen, and that we will not focus too much on what we are losing, but on what you have planned for us. It’s all about you, Lord, it’s not about Joel and Ben. May you fill the worship band with your Spirit as we worship you with our instruments and our voices. May you fill Jacob with your Spirit as he preaches to us, and takes over the leadership of our church.

Your grace is sufficient.

I’m excited about re-learning and advancing in this discipline. I’ve kind of lost touch with it. I pray that others might join me in meditating on God’s Word.

Grace and peace, friends.