Meditation and Mindfulness:  Embracing the heart and mind of Christ

 Do you use an app on your phone to relax? Perhaps you have a favorite CD or cassette tape (do they still make those?), radio station, or cable TV music channel that helps you unwind. There are a myriad of meditation/mindfulness phone apps to choose from, with evocative names like Mindspace, Calm, Smiling Mind, or Stop, Breath, and Think.

 I’ve met a few Christians who think meditation/mindfulness practices are un-Christian or anti-Christian. I strongly disagree. I believe times of silent prayer and stillness were modeled for us by Jesus Christ. He routinely went off by himself to talk to God one-on-one, especially as his journey was nearing the cross. And in this increasingly chaotic and what-do-I-need-to-buy-or-do world, I believe we’re dismissing the power of and need for prayer. We need to talk with God.

 Notice the last few words above, describing prayer as talking with God. We’re not just talking to God, giving him our laundry list of hopes and desires. What Christ did is what we are called to do, that is, converse with God. When we speak with God in prayer, we are in a two-way conversation. When Jesus prayed, I believe he expected an answer. When we pray, we are to expect one, too.

 For a while, while in junior high, I was intrigued by a phrase I heard in worship, spoken by the pastor: May the peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. (From Philippians 4:4-8)

I was thrown by the idea of keeping our hearts and minds in Jesus. How do we keep them in him? Odd wording. Confusing concepts. But I came to believe that we were being asked to stay mindful of Christ’s teaching and promises, to find peace of mind by focusing on those things. We could say that we are called to meditate on Jesus’ teachings and promises.

 I often explore The Message Bible, a modern interpretation of Scripture. Here’s how that version unravels Philippians 4:4-7:

 Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.

 Truth is, we all worry in one way or another. Here at Peace Lutheran, we are worried about our financial future, reaching families and young people, and staying attentive to our older and homebound members, to name a few things. Our Annual Meeting is on February 10 at 10:10, immediately after worship. I will not stand up that day and tell everyone to not worry. But here’s what I think we could all do: pray. Let’s make 2019 the year we become a praying congregation. Let us begin to pray intentionally, and often, asking God to shape our worries into prayers. Let us ask God for a sense of godly wholeness that will help us to settle down and believe that wonderful things will happen when Jesus displaces our worries, fear, and concerns. Such prayers can be done privately or with family and friends. Such prayers could be part of your committee’s next meeting or get-together. Such prayers could be meditations that allow us to embrace, and stay mindful of, the heart and mind of Christ.

 Ours is a busy church family that is chasing wholeness and hope in a tumultuous culture. We won’t find what we need or want if we choose to get busier. We may find what we need and what if we keep our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. How does this work? I’m unsure…Christ’s peace surpasses and transcends all human understanding. So again, I suggest we become a praying congregation, praying regularly and purposely for the centering peace of Jesus.

 I enjoy talking about prayer, and praying with and for others. Talk with me. Talk with others. Let’s keep this conversation going. Let’s explore and embrace and practice prayer. And in closing, Martin Luther said: To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.

 So breath. Pray. And expect the peace of Jesus to flow through your life, and the life of our congregation.

 In Hope and Gratitude,

Pastor Bob

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

 

 

           

 

 

 

I

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

  

                  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Join Us for Worship with Holy Communion

Wednesday Evenings at 6 p.m.       (Communion the 1st Wednesday of each month)

Thursday Morning at 11 a.m.

Sunday Morning at 9 a.m. 

Our 2018 Annual Report is located on a link with our Newsletter.