Because you have at some point been on an email list to receive meditations or have participated in From Called to Sent, you are receiving something of a test meditation as we prepare to start weekly meditations again after a lapse of several years. Email addresses change, interests change, daily devotionals are part of your routine already, and so perhaps, you have no idea if you want to be on such an email list and receive weekly meditations from me. I can understand that. In thinking and praying about the startup of weekly meditations, the above verse from Paul’s letter to the Philippians came to mind. The fruit of those prayers and thoughts are what I wish to share with you today.
To meditate is something different, something more, than simply reading and accepting. Meditation implies contemplation, pondering, reflecting, and deliberating, if you will. The Bible refers to meditating in several places, but most often, the Psalms advise us to meditate – to meditate on God’s words and God’s works, to meditate on His splendor, to meditate when we lie down at night. Being a bit of a country girl myself, when I think of ruminating on something, the image of a cow chewing cud comes to mind, chewing and chewing, rolling it around, swallowing it, then bringing it back up to chew on some more. Not exactly pleasant imagery, but in reality the process makes possible the full digestion of nutrients from what the cow is eating. Such is what God commands of us and Paul reminds us. We are to meditate on God’s works and words, His splendor, majesty, and glory, and all that is wondrous and noble in His creation. The purpose of such meditation is to ponder on something until the idea, the meaning, is settled in your thoughts and beliefs and absorbed in your heart until it becomes a part of your being, of whom you are. For example, meditating on God’s works evokes deep trust, hope, and peace, regardless of our circumstances. God’s works provoke a deep humility in us when we meditate on the height, depth, and breadth of all He has done, is doing, and has promised to do in the future.
So much in our culture today is loud, crass, and just plain vulgar. Sometimes, it seems as if our society has decided collectively to debase ourselves, and we race toward the lowliest definitions of living and communication. This is the background of daily life, and we do not have to meditate on it to absorb it into our being. The constant barrage of ideas and images settles in our hearts and minds no matter our intentions, until one day we no longer remember that we were not created to be boorish, nor do baseness and antagonism provide fertile ground for thriving. Of all these things, I also am guilty. This is the world in which we live, and the cacophony of tactless and inane confusion surrounds me, too, embedding itself in my soul, weakening the wonder of life and the gratitude for God’s generosity in giving it. To be sure, we encounter great nobility, kindness, and grace from time to time – even occasionally exhibiting such ourselves – but holding on to these things is hard to do under the constant bombardment of the opposite.
Paul writes that we are to meditate on – to reflect upon, focus one’s mind upon, to absorb – that which is true, noble, just, and pure, things that are of good report, virtuous, and praiseworthy. For this I am striving – although I cannot help but fall short of such a lofty goal – in weekly meditations. My prayer is to offer that which, once reflected and deliberated upon, we can welcome into our souls as true and good, as that which edifies and strengthens rather than discourages or offends.
Jesus Christ is the Truth (John 14:6), and the sum of all justice, purity, loveliness, and virtue are found in Him alone. Thus, Jesus will be the focus of these meditations, for I have nothing to add to what He has given and continues to give, but I can share with you what I discern in prayer with the hope that you will find food that nourishes your soul.
This is the beginning, the first meditation, not unlike others I wrote some years ago. Our hope is that this first meditation will serve as a test and a testing – a test of email addresses and interests, a testing of the desirability of meditations such as these. If you wish to have your name removed from the list, simply send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org and type “remove from meditations” in the subject line. If you want to receive the meditations, do nothing at all. They will continue. Finally, if you know someone who would like to receive meditations, the link to join the mailing list is: http://www.servantsfeast.org/meditations/.
In the days ahead, I encourage you to take note of the impressions implanted in your heart and mind. Do they build you up, nurture you in faith and life, or do they tear you down and lessen your fellowship with Christ? We are commanded to “meditate on these things” because the world always has offered crude facsimiles of the riches of God’s unfathomable love and life. In short, the world would break us down and make us less, but in Jesus Christ, we are increased in every blessing and goodness. Pay attention to the voices that influence you, and choose the latter, choose all the beauty, wonder, and majesty God gives with unlimited generosity, if not in a meditation I write (which may or may not achieve such a high purpose), then in other ways available to you. Choose nourishment for your soul that is fitting for a child of the Most High God.
In Christ –
Rev. Elizabeth Moreau
Servants’ Feast Christian Ministry
© SFCM, May, 2017