What does the word ‘meditation’ mean to you? Does it evoke feelings of suspicion or fear, thoughts of New Age or Eastern religions and images of chanting Buddhist monks, silent remote retreats or mountain-dwelling yogis?

Sure, many would have heard Christian devotional practice referred to as ‘a meditation’, but what does Christian meditation actually involve? What’s the scriptural basis for this practice? And what did Luther say in his writings and teachings about the subject?

These are some of the questions we look at this month – an ideal topic as we continue to journey through Lent. This edition is by no means an exhaustive explanation of Christian meditation, but rather an invitation to you, as it has been to me, to begin to explore it – and to discover the entreaties throughout Scripture to engage, if you have not already done so.

Through my research and in speaking with and interviewing some LCA/NZ leaders and members passionate about contemplative prayer, I have realised how little I knew. I have come to see the vital role Christian meditation can play in our faith journeys and its great and varied physical, emotional and spiritual benefits for those who participate in this form of worship.

And that’s the crux of the matter. For while there are many structures for Christian meditation – whether using prayers, sayings, Scripture verses and/or songs to concentrate our thoughts, whether silent or spoken, solo or in a group, guided or self-led, in retreat or everyday life – it is always a way of praising and communing with God and keeping him and his word central in our thoughts.

That’s the difference between Christian meditation and that of secular or other religious traditions. God, in Christ, is our focus. This is about being still and really getting to know him, as we are encouraged in Psalm 46. It’s about listening to the Father, allowing his Spirit to work in us and his Son to reveal himself to us. This is the ‘heart stuff’, the experiential side of our relationship with God. It is something we may too easily ignore if we concentrate only on the ‘head stuff’ of doctrine or dogma.

Of course, along with our theme features and study, your March edition is full of Church@Home content, news, views, resources and columns (and Going GREYT! will be back next month). I pray these pages will be full of blessings for you.


PS – Remember, The Lutheran is now also available as a digital edition, so why not encourage people with online access to subscribe via this cost-effective and convenient format, or give a subscription as a gift? Print subscribers can access the digital version at no extra cost, too! Just go to www.thelutheran.com.au/subscribe

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