Monday, March 3, 2014

Lent: Dealing with the clutter of our soul. (Psalm 19)

SCRIPTURE: Psalm 19: 14 (CEB) – larger reading: Psalm 19
Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing to you, LORD, my rock and my redeemer.

From the little devotional material, Daily Bread, comes the insight: The following illustration from A Primer on Meditation points out what happens when the mind is directed and focused on one thing: "M.A. Rosanoff, long associated with Thomas Edison, had worked futilely for over a year to soften the wax of phonograph cylinders by altering their chemical constitution. The results were negative. Rosanoff relates how he mused night after night trying to 'mentally cough up' every theoretical and practical solution. 'Then it came like a flash of lightning. I could not shut waxes out of my mind, even in my sleep. Suddenly, through headache and daze, I saw the solution. The first thing the next morning, I was at my desk; and half an hour later I had a record in the softened wax cylinder...This was the solution! I learned to think waxes...waxes...waxes, and the answer came without effort, although months of thought had gone into the mental mill.'" 
Our minds, like our lives, are cluttered with “stuff”… tons of stuff… layers of stuff… “collectibles” of sorts… relics from the past… just plan ordinary stuff… stuff that demands attention… requires a dusting off… just plain unadulterated stuff. And oh my, how this “stuff” weighs us down.

Such is the case with some of our faith “stuff”. It is ideas that we have carried since our earliest days of elementary thinking. It made sense once, but does little to assist us along on our spiritual journey. It is about as important to our faith development as flannel graphs are to the teaching children today. And yet, we hold on to them.

Lent is an important time in our spiritual journey. It has been a historical time of sorting out ones faith... to bring out all the “stuff” from our closets and down from the shelves… to lay it side-by-side out on the table for a long contemplative look.

May I suggest that as all this “old” thinking lays before us we allow it to become the focus for our meditation during these 40-days. Choose just one idea and zero in on it. Meditate. Contemplate. Turn it over. Look at from various positions. And try to hear what God is really saying to you. Does this idea help or hinder? Put it through the wringer or the “mental mill” of our spiritual being. Move on to the next idea when we really feel that God is through with us on this particular issue.

Some of us will only get to one or two ideas, while others will fully address most of the “stuff” on the spiritual table. It really depends on how good we are at listening to God speak in the silence.

And so our spiritual journey begins. Easter will be here before we know it. May we not waste these days with business as usual. Help us to center in on you.

HINT: Suggested reading during Lent: “Voices of Silence: The Lives of the Trappists Today” by Frank Bianco

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