The contemplative life of the Christian has nearly vanished within the Church. In many circles, the contemplative has become a person of church history or more dauntingly, has taken on mythical status. The Christian of 2009 involved in Sunday school, small groups, missions, VBS, midweek service and classes can scarcely imagine finding the unscheduled time for quiet meditation. We who shepherd the Church do little to remedy this situation because we have allowed her to become judged by the values of the world. In doing so, the Christian suffers, the Church grows weaker, and the kingdom mission goes unfulfilled.
Soul work starts quietly, learning to hear the voice of God. Meditation moves us from the superficialities of the world and the shallow Christian life into the deep waters of full communion with God. Meditation is the first discipline of change.
The purpose of meditation in the Christian life is to seek out a transformative encounter with the Living God. We meditate in order to hear His voice and, in reflecting on what we hear, to obey Him and His calling on our lives. The Bible clearly portrays God as desirous of our fellowship and the contemplative practices bring us into His loving embrace. As Thomas a Kempis describes it, we are growing into a “familiar friendship with Jesus.” Activity and busyness may make us feel as though we are participating in the Christian life but we are fooling ourselves. We are living our faith like a stone skipping across a lake; tap…tap…tap…splash! We dip our toes here and there and when challenged we have no internal strength to keep ourselves from sinking. Transformed souls come only from those willing to swim far, far out from shore.
Get ready to swim.
Image by Prahkar