I missed blogging on meditation last tuesday as part of “Blogging the Spiritual Disciplines”. I had some good things going. But here are a few quotes I wanted to pass on to you about meditation:
Meditation, according to Whitney involves, “filling your mind with God and truth. For some, meditation is an attempt to achieve complete mental passivity, but biblical mediation requires constructive mental activity.” 1 He goes on to define mediation as “deep thinking on the truths and spiritual realities revealed in Scripture for the purposes of understanding, application, and prayer. Meditation goes beyond hearing, reading, studying, and even memorizing as a means of taking in God’s word.”2 One of the images that may best describe meditation is the steeping of tea.
Eugene Peterson, in his book “Eat this Book” speaks of meditation as part of the act of reading scripture. He says that it is the “discipline we give to keeping the memory active in the act of reading. Meditation moves from looking at the words of the text to entering the world of the text. As we take this text into ourselves, we find that the text is taking us into itself…Meditation is the aspect of spiritual reading that trains us to read Scripture as a connected, coherent whole, not a collection of inspired bits and pieces…Mediation is the primary way in which we guard against the fragmentation of our Scripture reading into isolated oracles…Meditation is the prayerful employ of imagination in order to become friends with the text. It must not be confused with fancy or fantasy”.3
Peterson goes on to say that “meditation is not intrusion, it is rumination – letting the images and stories of the entire revelation penetrate our understanding. By meditation we make ourselves at home and conversant with everyone in the story, entering the place where Moses and Elijah and Jesus come together. Participation is necessary. Meditation is participation.”4
“No text can be understood out of its entire context. The most “entire” context is Jesus. Every biblical text must be read in the living presence of Jesus. Every word of the scriptural text is a window or door leading us out of the tarpaper shacks of self into this great outdoors of God’s revelation in sky and ocean, tree and flower, Isaiah and Mary, and, finally and completely, Jesus. Meditation discerns the connections and listens for the harmonies that come together in Jesus.” 5
1 Whitney, 43.
2 Ibid, 44.
3Eugene Peterson, Eat This Book, Eerdmans, 2007, pg 99-101.