Weekly Thought – August 23, 2022
Fred never tired of thinking about the expansiveness of God. He nurtured relationships with scientists, philosophers, and theologians. Plumbing the depths of creation fascinated him. He didn’t use these times for knowledge acquisition, but as sources for contemplation.
Charles Kuralt let the camera and microphone “talk to us” for several minutes on his CBS show. There was no narrative allowing us to look at these beautiful evidences of spring and hearing the birds, breeze, and rippling water. I would like to have an hour daily to contemplate nature.
Americans are not much for quiet. City streets, boom boxes (those noisy boxes on the shoulders of the young), and even our church services feature noise. Church growth experts say the fastest growing churches are the loudest. They call it “celebration worship.” But I still tend to think of it as noise, joyful as it may be.
Recently I spoke to an audience containing several foreign businessmen. I discussed the value of contemplation. After I finished a man with an unusually bright face approached me. “May we have lunch? I am a Hindu and contemplation is a major part of my religion, but I don’t hear many American Christians talk about it.”
“Be still and know I am God.” This is personal worship, removing the ritual of communal worship and arriving at the reality of a one-on-one relationship with the Almighty God.
After speaking at the Convention Center in Anaheim I was walking down the hall, I saw an old friend Gerardt Dierks, the German scientist. We held out our arms and hugged. “Gerhardt, what are you excited about?” His eyes misted and he replied, “The awe of God, the awe of God!” And then he said, “Fred, can you imagine a mind that can conceive of the DNA?” For the next 45 minutes discussing the awe of God as expressed in creation.
Contemplation is not passive; it is not what we do as we fall asleep. It is intense concentration, producing high moments for those practiced in it. Think of the moments in your life which are so deep you will never forget them.
I remember standing beside Mary Alice in the hospital after she delivered our first born. She held her, counting fingers and toes. I ask myself “Do I find those same high moments of emotion in our contemplation of God?”
In contemplation our relativity with God – not our relationship, but our relativity. He is eternal; we are temporal. He is infinite; we are finite. He is Creator; we are created.
For me, the effect of contemplation is: when I am small in His presence I am utterly secure; when I am big in my humanity, I am insecure. When I lean on my own position and power I am always expecting someone else to knock me off. My smallness in Him gives me ultimate security.
For me that is the joy of quiet contemplation.
This week carefully think about: 1) How comfortable am I with quiet contemplation? 2) Why do I prefer man-made noise to God-given quiet? 3) What am I learning about myself in the quiet?
Words of Wisdom: “’Be still and know I am God.’ This is personal worship, removing the ritual of communal worship and arriving at the reality of a one-on-one relationship with the Almighty God.”
Wisdom from the Word: “Indeed, I have calmed and quieted myself like a weaned child with its mother; I am content like a young child.” (Psalm 131:2 NET Bible)