Lenten Meditation FIVE

The power to Choose

In Meditation SIX we will look to the transformation of the PASSOVER into the Lord’s Supper.

The choice to take the road into the unknown out of slavery and to freedom, transformed into the choice to live for God’s purposes and to no longer be slaves to sin and fear but to be totally devoted to serving Christ. To be led into a life of worship and discipleship.

In this meditation we will look at being deliberate and disciplined and proactive in responding to God.

The only part about our lives that we are in any control of or have any authority over, is the ability to choose.

Once we have chosen, it is out of our hands. The Exodus shows us that God requires us to choose him, not the path, not the promised land as the outcome, not the how. God puts before us two choices – blessing or curse! The blessing is that God will be with us, the curse is that we will have to overcome our own pigheaded, arrogance!

The blessed way is the way of the meek, humble, obedient, teachable repentant. We don’t even have the ability to change our behavior – ( very cynical but hear me out) self-help books will tell you that the way to be who you are is to lie to yourself (Fake it till you make it) and adopt a different vice, one other that the one that you were formally addicted to. Addicts are shifted from one addiction to another, lonely people are given tips to not be lonely – not taught how to do lonely well. But ours is not the worlds way. Jesus takes us right into the belly of the whale – and spits us up with a new sense of purpose –

The worlds way of solving a problem is to try not have the problem – well that’s wonderful but not really possible is it?

Jesus goes right through the problem – dying to be raised to life. And although the journey is fearsome – even Jesus asked if this cup could pass from him,  and so he had to rely on obedience to see himself clear to make the right choice.

We have looked at different ways of meditating on Scripture and on our life and the way we see it, we have engaged with opening ourselves up the what God is doing in our lives. We have been on the river Bank we read scripture as St Francis De Sales taught and we spent time in prison with Onesimus and St Paul.

In this Meditation we are going to make sure that we take hold of the fact that this is a spiritual journey that does not seek mind over matter, self-effort, finding your inner strength; but that it involves finding CHRIST, being reconciled to God by His grace.

In the Lenten journey of our Spiritual walk – and it is not the only season of our walk, we have other seasons – you know that our year follows a cycle of Advent, Christmas Epiphany, Lent, Pentecost, Season of Creation, the Last Sunday is Christ the King, just as the last Sunday of Lent we celebrate the triumphal entrance , but our lives have seasons as depicted in scripture:

  • Exodus and
  • Exile and
  • Fighting giants and
  • building temples and
  • rebuilding temples and 
  • fishing and sowing seed and
  • feeding multitudes and
  • walking with Jesus to the cross and beyond.
  • Seasons of stones being rolled away
  • and breaking bread with a risen Christ (The Emmaus walk)
  • and being blinded on the road to be transformed (Damascus road).

The Christian life is about walking the walk and embracing the challenges and the lessons and the healing and the hope.

In his brilliant work on the Revelation, Eugene Peterson speaks about reading the Apocalyptic writing as one would take in the scenery on a walk in the woods.

We are going to do a meditation based on that principal.

Again you are going to need to draw on your own experiences.

Reading requires a skill that watching TV does not and so we need to ensure that we regain this skill when we read scripture.

When watching TV the picture is plain to see in front of us and we recognize that which is familiar and ignore that which is not. Generally, we see what we want to see.

When we read our minds have to formulate the picture, we have to draw on our experience of the things being described and give life to them.

As an example, when I say that you are walking in a garden and you see a tree – your mind  pictures your favorite tree or most memorable tree or most famous tree, any additional information will reshape that tree until you eventually depending, on how descriptive the author is, get a picture of something close to what the author had in mind?

This applies to all our lives and Repentance must be deeper than a simply “not” doing something, thinking something – otherwise your life will just look less like the original tree, of your sinful-self. Repentance must transform your life into the image of Christ.

What I am saying is that the Characteristics of Christ must be known to us, so that repentance turns us away from the wrong character traits towards the right! Its is a process of taking in what God is saying to us doing for us, in scripture and in our life circumstances. Every time we worship the picture of what God wants for us must be less like what we first saw it to be and more like what the Author and perfector (Heb 12:2) of our faith wants it to be.

Now you can imagine what a process this is, going on in your minds. Your mind is not just seeing a tree, it is seeing a forest a woodland with all sorts of different plants and trees and tall and short and pretty and ugly and the Scripture is helping you name the plants recognise the birdsongs, see the value of the grass and the leaves and the flowers, the insects and bees, and the buck. (how many of you thought about the Duiker eating your roses when I said buck)…

Did your mind scurry to find scenes from your life to help populate the woodland that I described. Did you picture it?

We need to learn to do that as we read scripture. Recognize the character traits being highlighted in the lives of the biblical characters – we call them characters for that reason -they personify characteristics that God wants to highlight to us, through their lives.

Jospeh represents somethings, Simon Peter represents something, Jonah, Jude, Timothy, Onesimus, Moses and Arron and Ahaziah they all represent characteristics that God wants to deal with in our lives…

Even the uninformed can see the beauty in a garden. Even if you don’t know the names of the birds and the flowers and the insects, you can understand things if you stop and wonder – you learn things when you walk in the garden and observe, how much more so when you understand some of the biology, when you know the names of the creatures and flora, when you know how the animals and plants work together  – it enriches the experience. And we must be able to simply read scripture and marvel at the story, marvel at the God who reveals himself in the story, and we must study to deepen our understanding of the things that God is revealing to us.

This meditation aims to do that:

Maybe you’ve been to the Bible LAND  -maybe read books on the subject, how fortunate for you and how enriching…

But you are all able to visualise something – a place that reminded you of The Bible land

  • Maybe you have been on a small fishing boat,
  • Or planted a field or ridden a donkey,
  • Or needed healing,
  • Or been thirsty,
  • Or felt judged or,
  • Had to walk a long way,
  • or felt downhearted….

The point is interact with your experiences when you read the scripture – engage!

So much of our lives is spent “NOT FEELING” dulling the pain, just living in the moment and taking life at face value..

This meditation is meant to help you to dig deep.

I have chosen a very short text – but let’s see how it goes. Mark Chapter 8:22-26a.

Jesus is with his Disciples –

Imagine what they look like what they are wearing, think about what you really think about the disciples – how you define them -as a group.

As individuals, what does Peter or John look like -if you’ve watched the Chosen or the Passion play or any of those it will have given you someone else’s ideas – but  –  allow the picture to grow in your mind – create your own picture….

Now focus on Jesus  –

When they arrived at Bethsaida,

The place where the 5000 were fed,

Straddling the Jordon River where it enters into the Sea of Galilee on the north shore

Home of Andrew, Peter and Philip –

(picture the scene)

“some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him.

Watch and observe – what emotions well up in you…

“So He took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village.”

What do you think about as they walk away?

Do you follow?

Now you do and you are watching them –

Then He spit on the man’s eyes

You didn’t expect that

Feel the shock –

and placed His hands on him. 

Can you feel Jesus hands on your shoulders – as you see them on his

What else do you feel….

Then Jesus speaks  – feel the silence break

“Can you see anything?” He asked.

Imagine you are him – what do you see……

 24The man looked up and said, “I can see the people, but they look like trees walking around.”

Picture this – literally and now symbolically…..

What things are you not seeing clearly in your life even though you acknowledge that God is at work healing you – (Spend some time here)

What’s going on?

How do you feel, what thoughts are racing through your mind ?

Go back to thinking about the man in scripture focus on him, his feelings, his emotions, His story……

Now put yourself in his shoes –

What if it is you being healed – what’s happening in your picture?

25 Once again Jesus placed His hands on the man’s eyes, “

Feel them again –  

 “and when he opened them his sight was restored, and he could see everything clearly.”

What became clear to you as you read this scripture in this very strange way?

 Spend some time in prayer reflecting on this exercise.

Author: admin

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