A couple of weeks ago I collected some rocks from the French drain in front of our property. I intentionally placed my stones where I would notice them throughout the day and week, recognizing that they provide a focus for my prayers and signify my receptivity to the voice of God. In gathering these stones, I invited God to speak to me in a fresh way. It has been an exciting, inspirational experience and a mindful, meditative practice that has been transformational.
From Noticing Something To Forgetting Ourselves
When we notice something that becomes a focus for our meditation, it always heightens our noticing and sharpens our minds. Intentional noticing gives us x-ray eyes not only into the objects we notice but also into our own lives and faith.
Meditation (mindfulness, as the secular world loves to call it) has become very popular amongst the religious and nonreligious alike over the last few years. It is a practice that I think has much to offer us as we disciple our congregations.
In August Turak’s book Business Secrets of the Trappist Monks, one of the monks comments that there is something terribly wrong with spirituality today:
It is as though the materialism that has a death grip on this culture has taken our spirituality as well. Most of what’s called spiritual is actually humanistic if you think about it. People don’t want the adventure of God on his own terms or for his own sake. They want a better world, a happier life, better relationships and all the trimmings that go along with it….. We’re urged to seek God because this human good will come of it. People don’t realize “because” implies that the end is the human good and Truth (God) merely the means.”
What would it look like to seek God only for Godself, to shape our lives around our craving for intimacy with God? And how willing are we to embark on that quest?
Most of us spend our lives striving for success rather than striving for God. Our passion for significance in the eyes of the world often far outstrips our passion for closeness with God. We consume spiritual tools in the same way we consume food, clothes, or electronic gadgets and judge our success on growth and prosperity in the same way that the secular culture does.
Three Simple Rules for Meditation
There are three simple rules for creating a meditation ritual that can enhance our spiritual life and enable us to change our priorities:
1. Keep it simple.
2. Make it meaningful.
3. Stick to it.
What have you noticed this week that could become a focus for meditation?
Walk around your house, garden, and neighbourhood. Gather items that catch your attention as my rock collection has mine. Place them on your desk, in your prayer space, or in your work space in a way that encourages you to notice them throughout the week. Arrange them so that they will catch your attention throughout the day.
Prayerfully invite God into your process of reflection. There may be a specific question your are grappling with on which you wish to focus. Keep a journal near your objects and write this question at the top of the page. Return to it several times during the day. Allow God to speak to you through this.
And remember: Keep it simple, make it meaningful, and stick to it.
So what would it look like for you to give yourself totally to God? I challenge you to take time this week to reflect on this question and ask your congregation to do the same. Let me know how God prompts you to change the rhythm of your life and the use of your resources.
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