Meditation: Seeing to hear
I thought I’d try a little experiment on here. Last weekend, I went to a workshop on hearing God. There was a meditative activity given that I thought was cool where you use the eyes of your heart, or your imagination, Like with almost any meditative practice, the initial task is to still and quiet your soul. Then, pick a true story about God, picture it in your mind’s eye, imagine you’re a character in it, and then talk to him using the eyes of your heart. Most folks raised in Christianity and some who aren’t are used to the idea of putting their name in a verse or a promise from God, for example, “though you walk through the fire, Jennifer, you will not be burned” (Isaiah 43:2) or, “I have loved you with an everlasting love, Jay, therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness.” (Jeremiah 31:3). The challenge was to take that idea a little deeper and try it with a true story to spark a real dialog. Then we were asked to actually write that dialog down; what writing does is it gets you out of left-brain analytical thinking to just allow the flow of thoughts to come. So I’m going to do it here on this blog. I’m going to use the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000. I’m going to imagine I’m one of the Andrew the disciple, and I’m going to begin with the dialog in the text and continue listening for what Jesus might say to me or to us as a blogging community. (I used Matthew 14:13-21 in the Amplified, and I’m putting it in its entirety at the bottom of the blog for those who want to read it but at the end in case you just want to read the experimental meditation) This is imaginative and meditative, and while I do believe that God will speak through this exercise I am not claiming that these were the true thoughts and feelings of Andrew or that everything happened exactly the way I am imagining it.
In my mind’s eye I see the barren hills, like dusty fall-type vegetation eaten down by sheep and goats. I am sitting on a rock talking to a couple other disciples, and see the crowds, and Jesus with his hands on someone, healing them. I am tired from all this people management and I wish they would just go away but Jesus is still delightedly engaging with everyone and being both kind and charismatic. We’re talking about dinner because we’re getting a little hangry. Someone says, “Let’s go see if Jesus will send these crowds away so we can get a bite to eat and get some rest.” So we go. But it’s hard because He’s still so engaged with everyone, from the little girl who gives him a bunch of ratty wildflowers (he receives them with delight as if they are actually a nice bouquet) to the blind man whose eyes He is healing. It’s hard to interrupt these things even if you are a Son of Thunder. But we finally get His attention.
Me: JESUS! it’s late, send these folks away so they can get food in the villages.
Jesus: (with laughter in His eyes) No! they’re fine right where they are—give them something to eat!
By now we are tired of everyone but he looks perfectly at ease and still full energy.
Me: (exasperated) But we don’t have anything except a couple of fish and maybe five naan. What do you want us to do? Where are we gonna get the food and WHO IS GOING TO PAY FOR IT?
Jesus: (his eyes still laughing) Bring them here to Me.
So now the stage is set, I’m going in for the dialog piece. The picturing and imagining of the story has helped to quiet my mind, will and emotions. I’ll go for it a little more by holding the scene of Him asking Andrew/me to bring them to Him. Then I’ll let myself just be me; and start the conversation as if He was right here (because He is).
Jesus: (I can still see the joy in his eyes) It’s hard work isn’t it, loving all these people.
Me: Yup. How do You do it? I get sick of them a lot easier than You do.
Jesus: Yeah, those are the moments when I need more strength than this human frame can really carry. So I look at the Holy Spirit who lives inside. And He holds each one of these people in His eyes as if he or she was the only person in the world. And there’s thousands of them! And then I take my human hands and I look at the one right in front of me and I heal that person and I give them a glimpse into the Father’s love, a glimpse through the window of the moment in time I have with that person in the limitations of my human body. Like the little girl with the flowers: She found the small pieces of beauty on this barren hillside and said, “Oh, that’s for God,” And I bent down and received them from her hand because I like broken beauty just like I like broken people. And you didn’t notice but when I gave them back to her, they were full and fresh and fragrant as any you’d find in a florist’s shop in 21st century LA. And she will always remember, through the brokenness of her life on earth (because you also didn’t notice the bruise on her cheek, the cut under her eye) that a bruised reed I will not break.
Me: So what do you want ME to do? Like, You said, “I only do what I see the Father doing.” I’m seeing You doing something now so how can I follow?
Jesus: Within the confines of your humanity you have a precious gift: The same Spirit who lives in Me is also in you. You can give the same glimpse that I do; like a small window into heaven, when you remember and talk to Him who lives inside. Your humanity is like these two fish and these five round naans: It can only go so far. But even in your weakness give your little strength to Me and I will do mighty things with it. I never asked you to move mountains; just to have a little faith.
Me: Is there anything else You’d like to say to us, to me and my blogging friends?
Jesus: I have enough for you all:-) I AM enough.
“When Jesus heard about John, He left there privately in a boat and went to a secluded place. But when the crowds heard of this, they followed Him on foot from the cities. When He went ashore, He saw a large crowd, and felt [profound] compassion for them and healed their sick. When evening came, the disciples came to Him and said, “This is an isolated place and the hour is already late; send the crowds away so that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” But Jesus said to them, “They do not need to go away; you give them something to eat!” They replied, “We have nothing here except five loaves and two fish.” He said, “Bring them here to Me.” Then He ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass, and He took the five loaves and the two fish and, looking up toward heaven, He blessed and broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people, and they all ate and were satisfied. They picked up twelve full baskets of the leftover broken pieces.”
MATTHEW 14:13-20 AMP