Our pastor’s message at the contemplative Ash Wednesday service last night was simple, yet profound: what might we do during this season of Lent to follow God wholeheartedly in the everyday of our life? Instead of giving up one sinful practice, one favorite food, or even adding one daily activity, she challenged us to let Jesus dwell in our every step, our every breath, our every word.
In Foster’s Celebration of Discipline, he describes meditation much the same way. Meditation is not a specific time set apart from our daily lives, but a way of life, a way of praying without ceasing, a way of bringing the spiritual into communion with the profane, so that the two intermix powerfully and prayerfully. Additionally, Foster points out that the difference between Eastern and Western meditation is that while Eastern meditation seeks removal from the world and emptiness, Western meditation seeks communion with God that ultimately leads into service to others (this is not to say, of course, that Eastern meditation can’t lead to service as well!).
I’ve talked incessantly on this blog about my love affair with centering prayer, but these are the tenants that so challenge and convict me about the practice. We may just be beginning this journey of Lent, but I am reminded this morning that we are headed not to a holy place but to a holy transformation. We are becoming Easter people, through this process of reflection and action, and while God effects those changes in our lives and our hearts, we do the walking.
We put one foot in front of another. We follow. We accept our sins and repent. We resolve to let God into the everyday, and it is in the everyday that we truly encounter our deep depravity and God’s transformative love for us.
May we seek God everyday in this journey of Lent, leaning on one another for encouragement, and trusting God’s transformative love. Amen.