Hello Hello! I hope you had an excellent Easter Weekend.
Lots of good food and zoom calls with family and friends!
I know that right now things continue to be in a bit of an upsidedown state.
“Upsidedown” feels like the right word for it because for many of us life is fine. We are enjoying the comfort of our homes and, though we don’t get to see as many people as we once did, we are free from the direct consequences of the current pandemic.
That said, we all have probably heard stories of the tragedies unfolding around us. And the prospects of these tragedies and the long term implication of social distances might leave you, as they leave me, stressed and worried.
These are healthy emotions to have in a time of crisis.
But I am beginning to feel the pressure of an unchanging situation.
Each day is beginning to blur a little bit into the next, each moment of worrying is beginning to build on top of the last one, and it’s getting harder to see the path forward. During one of our live streams Jordan Mason, our summer counsellor, suggested that in isolation it is easy for us to get lost in negative stories and it is easy to get overwhelmed by the stories we tell ourselves.
If what I am describing is sounding like yourself or is beginning to feel too real I have an exercise for us today to help us focus in on a better story: a story of hope, of truth, and of God’s good love over us.
To do that, I want to offer you an exercise in meditating on scripture.
Meditation, though often associated with other spiritual lifestyles, is a deeply Christian tradition. It ranges back into the Jewish faith and has a significant role in the life of the early church and beyond.
As a simple definition let’s say:
Meditating on scripture is the act of focusing one’s attention to God’s word in order to hear from God. It is making time to silence your own mind so that the word of God may become central to your life.
This act of meditation is a valuable tool to fight against the negative stories of living in a global pandemic. The worries and the stress are real and important emotions but they can (even just for a short while) be put aside so that we can focus in on the heart of our story: God’s working of grace and peace in Jesus.
Here are a few quick tips in how to meditate on scripture:
Find a passage
Before you begin you need to have a passage to reflect on. You might start with your favourite scripture, you might want to search for a theme (like “peace” or “grace”), and ultimately you can choose whatever passage you like. I recommend printing it out so you can focus on it but you can just as easily read it directly from the bible.
Find the right place and have the right posture.
Find a quiet place and sit in a way that is most comfortable. It might be in your room on your bed or in the basement on a desk chair. Wherever you feel comfortable that is a good place to start. Maybe put on some quiet instrumental music to keep the sounds of the world around you quiet.
Take a moment to invite God into this time and prepare yourself for what God will do through his word.
Take a few deep breaths in and out to calm yourself.
Recite and Reflect
Begin reciting the verse in your mind. Trying to keep your focus on that verse by repeating it again and again. Your mind may wander but thats ok, keep coming back to the verse, and you will be able to focus over time.
Wait in silence
Quiet your mind and listen. If you get distracted recite the verse again. Waiting in silence is hard but it can focus you on God in ways that you cannot in our loud daily lives.
At the end of your time take a moment to thank God for his grace.
I can’t tell you what this kind of experience will offer you.
I hope it will be clarity and peace but in the end, if you finish and feel like you have nothing to show for it remember that practices, like a meditation on the word, are skills that must be practised to both experience and learn.
I’m going to end today with a guided meditation that you can do on your own. The passage will come from Psalm 46. We spent a few days thinking about this passage in our new Digital Refresh devotionals (check them out on our summer staff resource page at miniyowe.com/summer-staff-resources). And it feels appropriate to round out those reflections by meditating on this verse:
Psalm 46:1 – God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
As we wrap up today, I want to remind you that your camp friends and director team are here for you. You can reach Jesse by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You are remarkable people who have survived the challenges of camp. I believe you can continue to survive through these complex times. In both cases, we do it by relying on God and each other. Look out for your friends, keep in touch, and dive deeper into God’s word.
And while you do that: keep being awesome.
This post is part of our Leap of Faith Audio Check-ins. We want to encourage you to leap into your faith and continue to grow at home, at school, and in your church. These audio check-ins are meant to encourage you as live out your faith every day.
Want to keep growing?
There are more episode of Leap of Faith and other resources for you to grow in your leadership and faith here.