When I started blogging several years ago, I chose the title Ruminations. It’s still in the subtitle. It’s not just a graphic term for bovine digestion. It was adopted early in the church as a metaphor for the essential discipline of meditation. It means internalizing and assimilating the truth of God (specifically from Holy Scripture) into our spiritual bloodstreams. It runs counter to our frenzied culture but it’s the only way we flourish and mature in Christ-likeness! You can listen to the sermon here and I’ll include more below on the WHY and HOW of biblical meditation.
What is Biblical Meditation and why is it so important?
:: It has a vocal component: “to talk; mutter; whisper; muse; ponder; moan; sigh. It’s talking with God about His Word and your life.
:: It’s getting God’s truth from the ‘head’ to the ‘heart.’
:: It’s “the sister of reading, the nurse of prayer, and the guide of action;” “the beginning of all good!”
:: It’s internalization God’s Word so as to transform our way of life. It’s not about emptying the mind as in some religions and spiritualities. Biblical meditation opens us to the “mind of Christ” and to God’s presence in the world.
:: It’s listening to God; giving attention (someone has said, “Inattention is the greatest obstacle to the life of faith!”)
:: It’s tuning into God with all the “antennae of the soul” (mind, emotions, imagination, and will.)
:: It’s spiritual digestion – or rumination! “Words and truths of God “eaten, chewed, received in unhurried delight” (Eugene Peterson)
So HOW do we Practice Meditation? Some suggestions:
Choose a verse, chapter, or story in the Bible – perhaps from your overall reading or a sermon or Bible Study. (You can also meditate on an attribute of God, like God’s justice; or a name of Christ, like the Good Shepherd or the Bread of Life)
1. “a.e.i.o.u.” is a way of “chewing” on the passage you are reflecting on. The vowels stand for:
Ask questions (Kipling’s “6 honest serving men” who taught him all he knew: What and Why and When; and How and Where and Who!)
Emphasize different words
In your own words, or paraphrasing
Other verses that relate and inform
Use, i.e. “Lord, how do you want me to apply this truth?”
2. Martin Luther taught a simple and practical way to meditate and pray:
Luther took for example, The Lord’s Prayer and using each petition, he wove “a garland of four twisted strands. That is, I take each (petition) first as a teaching, which is what it actually is, and I reflect upon what our Lord God so earnestly requires of me here. Secondly, I make out of it a reason for thanksgiving. Thirdly, a confession and fourthly, a prayer petition.” You can read more about his practice here from a past blogpost.
However you and I come to “ingest” the Word of God, let our prayer be with the hymn writer: “Beyond the sacred page – I seek YOU Lord!” *
Let’s be people who Ruminate on God and His truth!