Compare and contrast

1 Chronicles 16:23On Christian meditation

Specimen 1:

Sit down. Sit still with your back straight. Close your eyes lightly. Then interiorly, silently begin to recite a single word – a prayer word or mantra. We recommend the ancient Christian prayer-word “Maranatha”. Say it as four equal syllables. Breathe normally and give your full attention to the word as you say it, silently, gently, faithfully and above all – simply. The essence of meditation is simplicity. Stay with the same word during the whole meditation and from day to day. Don’t visualise but listento the word as you say it. Let go of all thoughts (even good thoughts), images and other words. Don’t fight your distractions but let them go by saying your word faithfully, gently and attentively and returning to it immediately that you realise you have stopped saying or it or when your attention is wandering.

Silence means letting go of thoughts. Stillness means letting go of desire. Simplicity means letting go of self-analysis.

Meditate twice a day every day. This daily practice may take you sometime to develop. Be patient. When you give up start again. You will find that a weekly meditation group and a connection with a community may help you develop this discipline and allow the benefits and fruits of meditation to pervade your mind and every aspect of your life in ways that will teach and delight you. John Main said that ‘meditation verifies the truths of your faith in your own experience’

Meditation has the capacity to open up the common ground between all cultures and faiths today. What makes meditation Christian? Firstly the faith with which you meditate – some sense of personal connection with Jesus. Then the historical scriptural and theological tradition in which we meditate.

Also, the sense of community it leads to: ‘when two or three pray together in my name, I am there among them.’ And the other means by which our spiritual life is nourished – the other forms of prayer like scripture, sacraments and worship. Meditation does not replace other forms of prayer. Quite the reverse it revives their meaning. (‘What Is Meditation’ from The World Community for Christian Meditation.)

Specimen 2:

To meditation there belong the diligent and attentive search into Scripture, the study of the languages in which the Old and New Testaments were written, the reading of interpreters, engaging in debates, and other aids listed in their own place. (Johann Gerhard, On the Nature of Theology and on Scripture (CPH: 2009), p. 24.)

Me, a poet?

Certainly not!

I did once coin a little, naff limerick, though, as a comment on a discussion about Baptism between Reformed evangelicals. I post it here so I know where to find it, and in case anyone else enjoys it.

With apologies to poetry.

There once was a man who said, “Lo!
This physical stuff’s a no-no.
It’s spirit that flies
Right up to the skies.”
And we all know his name was Plato.