This week I was reminded of the words of Blaise Pascal, “the greatest single distinguishing feature of the omnipotence of God is that our imagination gets lost thinking about it.”
My inbox is rapidly filling with emails, people finding it progressively more challenging to survive the anxieties that the pandemic is generating. As a Pastor, I empathize. The emails are from Moms who are trying to muddle through working remotely, aiding their children to complete the school assignments and traverse marriage – describing the unending shifting currents in their mind and disturbing feelings. Others are struggling to save their marriage, now wrangling over details of an excruciating rift. Our oldest friends are feeling lonely; they are isolated in their care homes. Daily visits from loved ones have halted. With all this mental anxiety, what can help? I jumped into my daughter’s car a few days ago, and on came a pounding dance number, followed by a short interview with a famous singer who talked momentarily about meditation to calm our minds, it felt vague. These days when we talk about meditation, it tends to be of the new spirituality variety. What some people fail to realize is that the Christian tradition of meditation and deep contemplation goes right back into the ancient scriptures of the Hebrews—the poetry of the Psalms. I have studied Christian meditation for many years. Christian meditation is about filling your mind with beautiful truths and musing on that truth, allowing it to fill your thoughts. It is about taking a piece of scripture and thinking about it, softly repeating it and letting it change the way you feel. King David wrote in the Psalms, “but whose delight is in the law of the LORD, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water.” (Psalm 1:2-3). A lady told me that when she was travelling through a particularly difficult time in her marriage, she memorized Psalm 23, the Lord is my Shepherd.” She would spend many hours travelling with her high-powered sales job. She said, “rather than filling my mind with angry and resentful thoughts, I simply started to repeat the passages, some days dozens of times, it gave me deep peace.” A young Father said, “when I feel like I want to yell, I now find a quiet spot and say, Be still and know that I am God, I repeat it slowly ten times. I’m then ready to face the mayhem of my world;” he was quoting Psalm 46:10. As we enter a new week, let us find our imagination in the omnipotence of God.