I started reading Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster this weekend because we are beginning a sermon series at The Ascent based on the book. I’m two chapters in, and already I’m loving it. It’s a very simple and easy to follow read with plenty of great things to say. I can’t believe I haven’t read it sooner!
Anyhow, I thought that as I read, I’d share a few tidbits that stuck out to me from each chapter.
First up–The Discipline of Meditation.
“In contemporary society our Adversary majors in three things: noise, hurry, and crowds. If he can keep us engaged in ‘muchness’ and ‘manyness,’ he will rest satisfied.”
“Christian meditation, very simply, is the ability to hear God’s voice and obey his word.”
“Theophan the Recluse says, ‘To pray is to descend with the mind into the heart, and there to stand before the face of the Lord, ever-present, all seeing, within you.'”
“What happens in meditation is that we create the emotional and spiritual space which allows Christ to construct an inner sanctuary in the heart.”
“Everything that is foreign to his way we will have to let go. No, not ‘have to’ but ‘want to,’ for our desires and aspirations will be more and more conformed to his way.”
“The detachment from the confusion all around us is in order to have a richer attachment to God. Christian meditation leads us to the inner wholeness necessary to give ourselves to God freely.”
“Meditation sends us into our ordinary world with greater perspective and balance.”
“…to be in the presence of God is to change.”
“That is why meditation is so threatening to us. It boldly calls us to enter into the living presence of God for ourselves. It tells us that God is speaking in the continuous present and wants to address us.”
“Dietrich Bonhoeffer says, “…just as you do not analyze the words of someone you love, but accept them as they are said to you, accept the Word of Scripture and ponder it in your heart, as Mary did. That is all. That is meditation.'”
“The heavens do indeed declare the glory of God and the firmament does show forth his handiwork…So give your attention to the created order. Look at the trees, really look at them. Take a flower and allow its beauty and symmetry to sink deep into your mind and heart. Listen to the birds–they are the messengers of God. Watch the little creatures that creep upon the earth. These are humble acts, to be sure, but sometimes God reaches us profoundly in these simple ways if we will quiet ourselves to listen.”