Part of my own spiritual journey has to enter into more contemplative forms of worship, to be still, to listen to God, and this has enriched my life immensely!
For some, this might seem foreign, or different that what we are used to, but I remember our dear professor, a gentle man of God, telling us to lift our hands to God and open our hands, asking God to show us truth, and trusting God to filter what wasn't of Him away...
As I entered my first silent retreat, I was quite nervous. I wasn't used to spending this much time alone, and in silence. But as I did, a profound sense of peace came, and I sensed the God I loved was there. "Be Still and Know that I am God" (Psalm 46:10) has become so vital to me... for it is when I am still, and inviting God's presence, there is a knowing... often confirmed by scripture.
I love to sit with scripture this way... asking God what I need to learn, and often the words come alive as they speak to different areas of my life, often the very thing I need for that moment. And I know I need to practice this more!
Part of the joy of my art doodles is playing with words, and often I feel led to different scriptures to understand a thought or theme.
As I have been walking through this season of lent, I asked God which words I should think about for each week. This week is the word Contemplation.
Now you might have noticed that in the art work, I use a word with the letter t - which becomes a cross. I believe the cross is central to my faith, to following Jesus. The cross is central to the Easter story, the gift of Jesus' life, his death and resurrection.
There is an interesting verse from 2 Corinthians 3:18 which talks about how we contemplate the Lord's glory, and part of following Jesus is being transformed into his image!
"And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit".
The practice of Lent comes from those early days when Jesus was preparing for ministry, where he spent 40 days in the desert. That is a long time. And as he sat in silence, I think he had much time to contemplate and meditate on what God was preparing him for. As we know, he was also tempted, and he overcame that temptation.
"My Soul finds rest in God.", the Psalmist says... and that involves time. Time away from the phone, the TV, the busyness of life... time to just ponder... this is part of the journey. And I'm trying to practice this through these days of preparation for Easter.
There is mystery to this. And wonder. That is part of faith. To think about - contemplate - that God, through Jesus came so that we could have life.