Welcome back to our blog. Susan Boruff writes today’s reflection and Kathy Anderson follows with a meditation video. Susan and Kathy frequently present retreats at our Center. Let’s take a few moments to quietly reflect on their thoughts and to connect with God.
As It Is In Heaven
By: Susan Boruff
“There is a voice that doesn’t use words. Listen.” ~Rumi
Have you ever thought about the millions of people that gather every Sunday and pray together saying, “your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven?” Our words can be very powerful, but do we really believe the words we are praying? Or is it so mechanical and automatic we don’t really think about them?
How do we put into practice what we say? How are we bringing God’s will and God’s kingdom to earth?
Are we doing the work of aligning our bodies, minds and spirits with God, so that we can become the word?
Before Jesus gave us the words of “The Lord’s Prayer,” he instructed first to go into our inner room, close the door and pray to our Father who sees what is done in secret. He also advises us “not to babble on with many words” because our Father knows what we need before we ask him. (Matthew 6)
He invites us to sit in silence, listen and wait on God. He teaches us to pray contemplatively. He teaches us how to be mindful. When we sit in silence and listen, we learn to be mindful which is simply being conscious or aware of the present moment without judgment.
What we learn in this listening and silence we bring back out to the world.
Living contemplatively implies a slowing down, an acceptance of the moment, and developing a greater awareness of the world around us. The world around us is God’s temple and we are the temple of God.
The word “contemplation” literally means “with temple” or “to dwell in God’s temple.”
Jesus always practiced what he preached. He spent 40 days in silence, praying and fasting before he spoke the following: (Read these words slowly and out loud several times, you might want to emphasize the word “me.”)
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Luke 4:18-19)
The more time we intentionally spend dwelling in God’s temple, the more power God’s unlimited Spirit has over us. Then we can speak good news to the poor, proclaim freedom for prisoners, recovery of sight for the blind and release the oppressed. When this happens, it will indeed be the “year of the Lord’s favor.”
And we might just experience God’s kingdom and God’s will on earth.
Our words become more creative when they are spoken mindfully and come from a deep place in our hearts. And that is what happens the more time you spend in silence listening for God. In contemplation we sit with the intention to stay focused on God and to consent to God’s will and action in our lives. He will align our will with His will. And then we can bring His kingdom to earth.
For those that are now asking about the difference between meditation and contemplation, the simple answer is: meditation is what we do, contemplation is what God does through us.
There might be some of us that don’t really believe that God wants heaven to be on earth. We might wish to escape earth and go to heaven. If that is the case then why would Jesus say, “blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth”?
Rabbi Rami Shapiro says, “There is no escaping from what is; there is only working with it or working against it.” Would you want to inherit an earth full of violence, death and destruction?
The meek teach us how suffering and humility bring understanding and compassion to our world. And as Kathy mentioned in another blog about learning to live contemplatively after interacting with her mom who suffered from dementia, it also teaches us acceptance.
The invitation is to merge heaven and earth. Jesus says that the meek or the humble or those that don’t put themselves first will be put in possession of the earth. Those that are not self-willed and self-interested.
Well those are the hands that need to be in possession of our earth. And that is one way we can bring heaven to earth.
Deuteronomy 30:19-20 “Now choose life so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice and hold fast to him.”
Enjoy the time in contemplation with Kathy now. You are invited to find a quiet place to sit with your back straight, which opens up your chest and opens up your heart to receive. The meditation is 11 minutes.