Posts Tagged ‘meditation’

We are approaching a strange and hard Easter. A strange and hard Holy Week. This collect from the Book of Common Prayer is preparing me for that – reminding me of the Father’s tender love, helping me to recall the great humility of the Lord Jesus and challenging me to be patient. These are what I need to meditate on this week. I need to meditate with gratitude on love, humility and patience.

[Black text on yellow starburst, photo of blackthorn blossom behind] ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who, of thy tender love towards mankind, hast sent thy Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ, to take upon him our flesh, and to suffer death upon the cross, that all mankind should follow the example of his great humility: Mercifully grant, that we may both follow the example of his patience, and also be made partakers of his resurrection; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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Spotted this excellent Easter meditation yesterday, with the starting point of considering a Creme Egg (which I know that a good number of people will be doing over the next few weeks). Delivered by Dave Crofts of Christ Church Central in Sheffield. Think this might get a showing in one of our services before Easter.

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It’s Epiphany today, when Christians remember the Magi who visited the infant Jesus and his parents, bringing gifts. But we’re still officially (I think) in the church’s Christmas season. I’m rather a hapless Anglican when it comes to the liturgical calendar. But I think it’s still legitimate to share a song that has delighted me in my meditation on the incarnation this year, prompted by an conversation which included the Engineer’s godmother, Song. She has just completed her Old Testament PhD on the Song of Songs, so we now have to call her Dr Song. And she pointed out to me that the carol Jesus Christ the Apple Tree, that I’d loved for a while whilst being puzzled as to its origins, has its roots (badoom-tish) in the Song:

Like an apple tree among the trees of the forest
is my beloved among the young men.

Song of Solomon 2:3

The song has also been on my mind as I’ve been reading my bible this season. There are a lot of trees in the bible aren’t there?

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For my devotions recently I’ve been reading the bible on my tablet, using the YouBible app and the Book of Common Prayer reading plan. The reading plan often includes 4 or 5 psalms, which I have been finding very helpful. Yesterday the set readings included Psalm 94, which spoke right into a busy week filled with sadnesses for people I love:

When the cares of my heart are many,
your consolations cheer my soul.

Psalm 94:19

Reading the Bible and meditating on it are one of the consolations that God provides. And since Advent is coming I’ve been thinking of finding a devotional to take me towards Christmas. We’ll have our family Jesse Tree of course. But I see that the e-book Good News of Great Joy is available again this year. I very much enjoyed following John Piper’s rather eclectic thoughts which often take you in unexpected and stimulating directions, so I think I’ll be returning to that again. I’ve also just been reminded of David Murray’s Children’s Bible Reading Plan which looks very easy to use and has been designed for his 8 and 7 year old children. I might wave it at the Vicarage kids and see if any of them are up for giving it a go over Advent. Or even starting this week.

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Just in case you thought I’d given up the ghost (check the spooky Halloween reference), I am actually here. We’re back from a few half term days away in London. We were mighty pleased to return to an unburgled Vicarage, I can tell you. And the cat and fish were still alive, thanks to Beauty, who negotiated our alarm to come in and feed the animals. Phew.

Our trip began at the weekend away of St James New Barnet, where old college friend the Baker is vicar. He and his wife Girlpreacha (and their five kids) are at a similar stage to us – in their second year of incumbancy. Their church is also quite similar to ours, so it was great when the Baker asked my Vicar to be the speaker. It was wonderful to be listening to talks by my husband and not worrying about the organisation! The kids had a brilliant time with two Oak Hill Youth and Children’s Ministry students, learning  about the lost son and his older brother from Luke 15, just like the adults.

I came away particularly challenged by God to spend more time in biblical meditation. The Vicar has been bending my ear about this for months, if not years. But you know how it is. He’s my husband, so when he gets all excited about  something I confess that it does occasionally wash over me, cos he’s talking about it whilst I’m worrying about taking the kids to swimming, or getting the washing done, or wondering when we’re going to get round to painting over those patches on the kitchen ceiling where the strip lights were taken down when we moved in.

So even though I’d heard about meditation, and even read a few of the Vicar’s excellent blog posts on the subject, it took a weekend away for his wisdom to sink in properly. He called meditation ‘the middle spiritual discipline, between bible reading and prayer’, where we let God’s word sink deeply into our hearts. As a natural activist, this is a discipline which does not come easily to me. I like to read the bible and I like to pray through the issues I see around us. But I’ve seen how the ‘hard work’ (as he described it) of meditation has borne fruit in my husband’s life.  For a while I’ve envied the Vicar’s love for God and the delight he finds in the Lord, which I can see are chiefly the result of his times of meditation. So now I am resolved to incorporate this discipline into my rather haphazard devotional life. He recommended just a short time each day (he mentioned six minutes!) meditating on the benefits that we have because of Jesus (listed in his blog post). This morning I meditated on Psalm 119v33-36, which was recommended in a book I am currently reading.

The thing is, it’s the long term benefit of biblical meditation that I need and that I want. So I’m also praying for pereverence perseverance…

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