Weekly Thought – October 10, 2023
Fred considered contemplation a productive aspect of Christian living. He not only enjoyed quiet, but created a personal environment which required it. When he and Mary Alice traveled to Colorado one of his favorite activities was standing alone staring at the stars in the sky free from city lights.
The Joy of Contemplation
Americans are not much for quiet. The TV blares even when no one is in the room; teenagers walk around loaded down with boom boxes on their shoulders; car rides cannot be respites from unwanted sounds because vehicles sitting adjacent at stop lights actually vibrate with the deafening decibels.
Occasionally I see an exception. One is my friend Bob Turner who took his wife out to his Palm Beach Club for an enjoyable evening. At one point he spoke to the bandleader then returned to the table with a big smile. Thinking he had requested “their song” for the next dance she was surprised to see the band leave the stage. Bob had paid the band to quit for the evening, leaving the ballroom in total quiet.
Americans don’t appreciate contemplation. Short attention spans are supported by all forms of communication. (Editor’s note: Imagine Fred’s thoughts on current messages consisting of icons, emojis, and acronyms!) Television sitcoms convince us that we can solve international strife, political conflict, relationship dysfunction, and career problems within 30 minutes.
While speaking with a small group including many international attendees I was impressed with a man’s bright, attentive face. Afterwards he introduced himself to me as a Hindu from Nepal. He asked to have lunch because he had never heard an American Christian talk about contemplation. To him, it was a normal, critical part of his life from childhood.
It made me think about the noise in American homes. There is no time dedicated to silence and contemplation. Lapses in conversation are not respected, but filled with talking, music, even arguing. We are uneasy with any type of silence.
Contemplation is an acquired skill. In Scripture we are advised to “taste and see that the Lord is good.” As we consider Him in quiet He comes alive.
“Be still and know that I am God” isn’t just for personal worship – this should apply to corporate worship, as well. Sadly, studies show that contemporary churches attribute their growth to being loud. They call it celebration, but I am tempted to call much of it noise. Where is the consideration of the awe of God as a group of believers? Where are the moments to sit in contemplation of who He is?
In contemplation we establish our relativity with God – not relationship, but relativity. He is eternal; we are temporal. He is infinite; we are finite. He is Creator; we are created. The point of contemplation is that when I am small in Him I am utterly secure; but when I am big in myself I am insecure. Contemplating the infinite stretches me beyond measure. Meditating on an immeasurable Go stretches me beyond all human thought – this is the joy of contemplation.
This week think carefully about: 1) How often do I stop and contemplate the greatness of God? 2) What do contemplation and meditation mean to me? 3) When is the most productive time for me to think about God?
Words of Wisdom: “As we consider Him in quiet He comes alive.”
Wisdom from the Word: “May my words and my thoughts be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my sheltering rock and my redeemer.” (Psalm 19:14 NET)