SCRIPTURE: 2 Corinthians 3:18 (TM) – larger reading 2 Corinthians 3:4-18
All of us! Nothing between us and God, our faces shining with the brightness of his face. And so we are transfigured much like the Messiah, our lives gradually becoming brighter and more beautiful as God enters our lives and we become like him.
David Roher’s story: The motor home has allowed us to put all the conveniences of home on wheels. A camper no longer needs to contend with sleeping in a sleeping bag, cooking over a fire, or hauling water from a stream. Now he can park a fully equipped home on a cement slab in the midst of a few pine trees and hook up to a water line, a sewer line and electricity. One motor home I saw recently had a satellite dish attached on top. No more bother with dirt, no more smoke from the fire, no more drudgery of walking to the stream. Now it is possible to go camping and never have to go outside. We buy a motor home with the hope of seeing new places, of getting out into the world. Yet we deck it out with the same furnishings as in our living room. Thus nothing really changes. We may drive to a new place, set ourselves in new surrounding, but the newness goes unnoticed, for we've only carried along our old setting… The adventure of new life in Christ begins when the comfortable patterns of the old life are left behind.
We want change while keeping everything the same. We study the Bible to gain information not transformation. We really want our life to be God centered while keeping everything exactly as it is. We say one thing, but act totally different. As one person said recently concerning counseling: “I don’t need counseling there is nothing wrong with me!” while the person’s life is coming apart… it is somebodies else’s fault, problem, etc.
This prompted a thought: When we pray who does all the talking? St. John of the Cross, a sixteenth century mystic, shared that God’s first language is silence. Most of our prayer time is too noisy. It is filled with layers upon layers upon layers of words as in us telling God what we want him to hear or do or… Do we ever simply get quiet and wait, in silence, for God to speak? Probably not. We are too busy and our “God agenda” is too full.
Real transformation happens, in my opinion, when we the “clay” allow the potter to shape us. The clay doesn’t dictate to the potter how it should be shaped. It is simply silent as the potter’s hands go to work. Transformation takes place when we are silent enough to hear the silence of God speaking to our hearts.
Centering Prayer is such a discipline. Getting quite. Moving out of our minds all concerns. Being in God’s presence and allowing him to touch our spirit. Then the shaping (transformation) begins to take place… not until. Centering Prayer is the embracing of a spiritual reality that nothing stands between God and us. No agendas. No wish lists. No desires. No longings. No words. Just the presence of God’s reality.
I think that if we could have walked with Jesus up into the mountains we would have been surprised by the peaceful silence of the relationship Jesus had with the Heavenly Father. Oh, there are times when words should and need to be used, like Jesus’ time in the Garden, but most of the time silence is the wiser choice.
When God has to fight through the barrier of words, which can act as a filter straining out God’s purpose and intentions for us, we can become spiritually confused. The end result is that we say, “I’ve prayed about this” and end up doing what we want to do all along. Transformational Centering Prayer, when practiced regularly, clears the air of the layers of words so that the silence of God is heard clearly and we are wonderfully transformed into his person.
May your silence oh God be so deafening that we hear nothing other than your desires.