Though tired, I am still savoring the sweet taste of our Challenges and Triumphs retreat. What a privilege to sit with you and walk with you (and climb with you, Margaret) sharing each other’s low point burdens. Cedar Springs is beautiful any time of year. Last weekend there was ice on the ponds but the promise of Spring was there in budding rhodies and greening willow whips.
Not wanting to lose the wonder of the weekend too fast, I took my journal and Foster’s Sanctuary of the Soul to Silver Cup Coffee. To my left, a young woman was reading a Bible and pausing from every now and then to write in a notebook. To my right a young man was describing to a friend his experience of a crucifixion painting that captured him for two and half hours in a London gallery. Across the room, Pastor Dean, from a nearby church, was deep in conversation with an older man. It felt like I was still on retreat, surrounded by people who loved the Lord, and took him with them to coffee.
I settled in to Sanctuary. Chapter 4 is titled, “Being Present Where We Are.” On page 60, Foster nails why what we do at Awakenings Prayer is so unique. He says, “The tradition of meditation is long and profound all through the life of the church. But today serious teaching and practice from a Christian perspective is minuscule, if present at all.” Quoting Evelyn Underwood, he describes succinctly what we do: “Christian contemplatives set before their minds one of the names or attributes of God, a fragment of Scripture, an incident in the life of Christ and allow – indeed encourage – this consideration and the ideas and feeling that flow from it to occupy the whole mental field.” He goes on to encourage us that we won’t be alone when we find this difficult. “Most of us live such fractured and fragmented lives that collectedness is a foreign world to us. The moment we genuinely try to be collected we become painfully aware of how distracted we really are” (pages 60-61).
My prayer for all of you this week is that you would let Christ occupy your whole mental field a little every day and that you always take Him with you to coffee (or tea J).