Meditation or Prayer

Many of us have lives so busy we often feel overwhelmed. Too many of us believe we have no choice. We just keep on keeping on. Some are like pet hamsters who run on treadmills, hard as they can, but go nowhere. Now that’s drudgery. For some people like me, this crazy life is exciting. I fly on God’s Spirit.  After all, I love to write. It doesn’t really feel like work.  For all of us, if we don’t stop to think about it, drudgery or excitement, we’re not taking care of ourselves.

In the church year, we have a special season called Lent. For forty days we STOP for at least fifteen minutes every day to LOOK at what we have been doing with our lives. During that small break we LISTEN for how our faith speaks about it all. The thought of forty days of stepping out of the rat race feels huge.

Fifteen minutes is really not very long. If we line up at Tim Horton’s for coffee or treats twice in one day, our fifteen minutes have already passed. Over the years, I have learned that this fifteen minutes not only brings peace. It is lifegiving. Whether or not you claim any faith in God, setting aside time regularly for at least one week, or hopefully the whole forty days, can turn your life around.

Why? For that very short period of time, we actually allow ourselves to step off the treadmill. Look at our values. Are we actually living by them?

For example: We truly want to care for our world. Are the things we purchase wrapped in excess packaging? Where do they come from – sweatshops in third-world countries? Do we always sort our trash carefully? Do we reuse those milk bags? Do we take unwanted clothes to a thrift shop, maybe even look around while there for a bargain for ourselves? Why or why not? Do I drive when I could walk or take a bus? Or, I can look at my relationships and the things I say every day. Do thoughts of peace and love govern my words and actions? As a person of faith, how does my treatment of people line up with my beliefs?

Fifteen minutes is mighty short when it comes to this kind of thought. We need to take one area at a time. Maybe this week, choose the environment, next week, relationships, and so on. Always use the last minute for giving thanks for your blessings and for the things you are actually doing to make this world a better place. The church calls it prayer. You can call it meditation. You can use the forty days of Lent or any month or week, or even a year. Just give it a try. Start small. It might help you control your life. Now, wouldn’t that be a gift all by itself?

“Clean the slate, God, so we can start the day fresh! Keep me from stupid sins, from thinking I can take over your work; Then I can start this day sun-washed, scrubbed clean of the grime of sin. These are the words in my mouth; these are what I chew on and pray.” (Psalm 19:14 The Message)

Today’s Faith by Rev. Janet Stobie

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