Adirondack Meditation Workout
First Week of Advent 2020
The following exercise is based on the ancient Christian practice of Lectio Divina. At the center is a short reading from the Bible.
By first opening the mind to our own memories and life experiences, we can touch the Scriptures, allowing God’s Word to respond in a way we can personally appreciate.
This approach respects the fact that when we enter into dialogue with God we do so with our mind, body and soul already affected by the world we live in and the experiences we already have.
Like a “power nap”, ideally one should mark out at least 20 minutes and find a place where you know you will not be disturbed. At best, this exercise could be printed out or if on a smartphone screen, consider engaging the airplane mode for the duration of the meditation.
Recall and Notice
When you are ready to begin, first be conscious of your breathing and your body. This is an invitation to the Holy Spirit, the breath of God Who dwells in your body, His Temple.
When ready, follow these pointers.
What are some of your memories of staying up late at night alone or, during the day, having to wait a long time for someone to arrive?
Have you ever had to stay in a place without access to your phone or WiFi?
Is there anything in your immediate surroundings you can notice, as if for the first time, sights and/or sounds?
(Don’t go to the next section yet. Spend a good 5 minutes at least, pondering the above questions. Only when you sense calmness, gently move to the next step.)
“Jesus said to his disciples: “Be watchful! Be alert!
You do not know when the time will come.
It is like a man traveling abroad. He leaves home and places his servants in charge, each with his own work, and orders the gatekeeper to be on the watch.
Watch, therefore; you do not know when the lord of the house is coming, whether in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or in the morning.
May he not come suddenly and find you sleeping.
What I say to you, I say to all: ‘Watch!’”
(From the Gospel of Mark 13:33–37)
Read the text again, this time a little slower. Notice particular words, actions, objects. Take your time and perhaps repeat the reading again, allowing other words, actions or objects to catch your attention.
(When you sense the passage has become “fresh” in your mind, gently move to the next step.)
The following is not a quiz nor a search for the correct answer. Each statement can instead beckon a different response. Take each one of them, pondering the suggestion allowing it to attach or be let go.
How does the master’s servant watch and work at the same time?
1. Each servant is assigned a unique responsibility. 2. The servant is always multitasking. 3. The servant keeps to their own role. 4. The servant can rest when their work is done. 5. The servant keeps looking for more things to do. 6. The servant begins with the hardest tasks first. 7. The servant begins with light tasks and slowly builds up strength. 8. The servant races against the clock. 9 The servant shouldn’t be disturbed or surprised while at work. 10. The servant is deserving of their rest.
Return to these pointers a few times, now seeing yourself as the servant, noticing how greater or lesser each point is reflected in your own everyday life.
Returning to the points again, this time pondering how Christ’s life and ministry was the actual servant is reflected in each also in the above statements.
After reflecting on you and Christ as waiting servants,
consider this prayer.
Jesus, my Lord, friend and savior. We are both servants, to each other and to others. You are tasked with saving my life. I am tasked with a unique pathway to meet you on. I am always in your sight within the complexities of every day. You will never overwhelm me with too much, so when I feel the burdens of the hour, remind me to step outside the storm and look for you. Remind me that together we are both strong to accomplish the tasks at hand and that you hold the balance between time and eternity. Allow me to catch glimpses of you here and there, assurances that you are present even in the mess or the mundane. Assuring me of my lasting value to you, grant me calmness and a gentle peace whether I work, rest or pray.
The Lord's Prayer - say it slowly and carefully.
Our Father, Who art in heaven,
Hallowed be Thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come.
Thy Will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.”
Finally, take note of your breathing, your body and how your spirit is now. Remind yourself not to forget this present moment.
You can return and enter this to this same meditation again, with a fresher insight of one’s soul. Like any physical exercise, it will mean a commitment to a regular time and place, even repeating the same exercise to slowly build up a discipline of loving God with your mind, heart, body and soul.