Umm, I didn’t ask you to give up coffee. I asked you to surrender your life.” ~ Eugene Cho
“Pay Attention,” the first element of the Trinity Way of Life, is about prayer. Especially prayer to listen for the voice of God. As a corporate Lenten discipline, we, if we choose to accept it, are to focus on listening to God through all of the eight elements of the Trinity Way. We are listening specifically for God’s vision for us — His desires for us as a community.
Listening to God can be difficult because we have so many distractions, but it gets somewhat easier the more we practice. I say somewhat, because there are days, or periods of days, when the distractions take over. Yet I try. I will most likely say more about this later, but for today, I ran across a meditation that I wrote four years ago during one of these periods. I decided to send it again today. Also, I was talking with a couple of friends about being still and quiet this week so it seems appropriate.
By the way, wasn’t the rain last night wonderful? We really needed it. We are grateful.
“Listen to this song: Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus.
“I wish you could hear this simple meditative song because I think it is beautiful, but sometimes we can hear with our hearts what we cannot hear with our ears. There are other verses, I think, “He died….” “He rose….” “He lives….” Maybe that is one of them. I can’t exactly recall nor do I remember who wrote this. Maybe you have heard it, too. And maybe you remember.
“This song came to me, yesterday, [and today] when I couldn’t still my mind for even ten seconds in my prayer chair. There are times when there is too much stuff on my mind and it darts back and forth between things. Prayer/work/emotions/physical pain/what’s for dinner. Prayer/work. We struggle with the story of Mary and Martha – between prayer and work. When Martha complains that Mary isn’t doing her part, Jesus said, ‘…there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.’ We have tried to make sense of this. What does this mean? How would we do this? Why?
“It is all about Jesus. Isn’t it? We who are apprentices of Jesus know this and yet we also know that we are Jesus’ hands and feet in the world. It’s Prayer and Service. And, without “at least” ten seconds of listening prayer, without this conscious connection with Jesus, we might miss what work it is he has for us to do. We might spin our wheels doing our own thing or what we think Jesus wants us to be doing. When we listen, when we hear, when we follow, the work that we then do becomes prayer.
“Some days your mind is probably like mine and it won’t be shut up. Then, how can we be still and listen? There are ways that may help. This song came to me. Some focus on their breathing to quiet their minds. Some use prayer beads—rosary or other. Some use a single word to quiet their minds such as ‘Jesus, Peace, or Love or, …etc. Others use the Jesus Prayer; ‘Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ Or perhaps the Kyrie ‘Lord, have mercy, Christ, have mercy, Lord have mercy.’ What we choose is repeated until we are still. [I repeat this word in my mind rather than saying it aloud. Aloud for me is a distraction.]
“The words and melody, ‘Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus’, started to float in between and around the many thoughts, concerns and feelings darting around in my head. Soon there was only, ‘Jesus.’ Finally,… Still.
“’Be still and know that I am God.’—Psalm 46:10
“’Be still and know.’ ‘Be still.’” – (dlw 12 April 2013)
Listen. I hear His voice in the sounds of silence.