It was a treat to wake up this morning, aware that something was different. The treat?… namely a muffled silence caused by the snow that had fallen, as opposed to the usual hum of morning traffic and the building works that surround us. There was (with apologies to Paul Simon), an unmistakable sound of silence. It was a lovely chilled (in every sense of the word) start to the day,
And in a connected sort of way, in our service last Sunday, we focussed on on the 3rd part of our motto for the year, asking what it might mean by “Seeking [God] in His temple". Helen our preacher writes:
"We thought about what ‘seeking' God might look like - both ‘going out’ to find Him in the world in unexpected places; and ‘waiting’ patiently for Him in places where we trust He will reveal himself. The word ‘temple’ describes a place of royal or divine dwelling: the ‘palace’ where God lives. In the old testament, God’s ‘dwelling’ place was in the holy tent and then the temple, built by Solomon. However, in John 14, Jesus promises us: "All who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them and we will come and make our home with each of them.” And in Ephesians 3 Paul writes: "I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts.” We thought about this incredible truth - that by His Spirit, God lives within us!, which led us to consider how we seek God and 'commune with' (share our deepest and most intimate thoughts and feelings with) Him within ourselves.
Christian meditation is one way of doing this, sitting still in silence, giving our full attention to God and using a prayer word to quieten and focus the busy thoughts in our minds. If you would like to find out more about this way of praying, the World Community for Christian Meditation explains it simply and clearly; they also have a FREE phone app, with daily encouragements to read before meditation, and a timer (which you can set to varying time lengths) to signal the start and end of your period of meditation. (Type 'WCCM App 2' into the App store or Google Play on your phone.)
John Main, OSB, who developed this tradition of Christian meditation from John Cassian, one of the early Christian Desert Fathers, describes meditation thus:
"In meditation, we do not seek to think about God … we are trying to do something immeasurably greater. By turning aside from everything that is passing, everything that is contingent, we seek … to be with God, to experience Him as the ground of our being … to experience the presence of Jesus within us, to experience the real power of His Spirit within us and, in that experience, to be brought into the presence of His Father and our Father.” (Word into Silence, 1980) Amen. Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus.
So, may God bless us in our seeking this week.