Centering Prayer & Meditation
November 11, 2010
Are you awake?
This meditation is excerpted from the book “Present Perfect: Finding God in the Now,” by Gregory A. Boyd.
This is the title of Boyd’s second chapter. God created us with a hunger for LIFE. A hunger for feeling like we matter. Animals really only care about biological needs: shelter and food. After that, they are satisfied. But humans are not satisfied with just those things. We feel empty unless we sense that our lives serve an “ultimate purpose.”
God wants to share Himself with us. He wants us to participate in his divine nature. Boyd says it’s like we have a sort of “homing-device” built into our being that keeps dragging us toward communion with our creator. But He also has given us a choice. And often we push God away.
When we push Him away, it does not turn off the homing device. It just gets redirected and we end up trying to satisfy our longing for meaning by looking in other directions: affluence, fame, maybe earthly relationships.
Boyd get a little controversial, I think, when he talks about our beliefs. He says we tend to place great importance on beliefs but don’t really seem to internalize those beliefs. He stops just short of calling us idolaters. Believing Jesus is Lord doesn’t make Him so. It’s what we do with that belief. It’s the conscious act of submitting our lives to Him and making him Lord of our lives. By chasing after things other than our relationship with God, we fail to become full and complete citizens of heaven.
“Money, praise, poverty, opposition, these make no difference, for they will all alike be forgotten in a thousand years, but this spirit which comes to a mind set upon continuous surrender, this spirit is timeless life.” ~Frank Laubach
Live in the Present Moment
Chasing our worth outside of God’s kingdom takes us out of the present moment:
“If you doubt this, investigate your own soul. How much of your thought-life is spent in the past or future, and what is the purpose for this nonpresent thinking? You may be so accustomed to living in the past and the future that you find it difficult to notice how much of your thought-life is spent there, let alone why you spend so much of your thought-life there. But if you are completely honest with yourself, you’ll probably find that most of your past and future-orientated thoughts revolve around you and are centered on your attempts to feel worthwhile and significant.
When we feel perpetually hungry in the flesh, we spend a great deal of our thought-life savoring past experiences or possible future experiences that make us feel more worthwhile and significant. We also spend a great deal of time ruminating over past experiences or worrying about possible future experiences that will make us feel less worthwhile and significant. All the while we are strategizing over how to position ourselves to have more of the worth-giving experiences and how to better avoid the worth-detracting experiences.”
“The very process of trying to acquire Life on our own forces us to miss most of life, for real life is always in the present moment.”
Boyd talks about finding “home,” or “reorienting the homing device,” by practicing the presence of God. So tonight I’m going to read an exercise from his book that he says helped him to experience God’s closeness and helped him feel “at home.”
“Think for a moment about the way God designed the world and the laws of nature to support you. Unless you’re living in a zero-gravity environment, your body is always in contact with something and is always being supported in multiple ways. At this moment, your feet are probably being supported by the floor and your body is probably resting on a chair or sofa. When you lie down tonight, your body will be supported by your bed. Your skin is always touching some other part of the physical world, and that touch can be transformed into a little signal from the Father that he is watching over you and caring for you.
In this moment, turn your attention to the points of contact between your body and the things that are supporting your weight. Become aware of the weight of your body against the chair, your feet against the floor, and so on… Allow yourself to rest in that support and realize that every point of contact reflects the truth that you are held in existence each and every moment by the perfect love of God.
God is personally holding you securely in the world. He cares that you have places to rest. Throughout your day, turn your attention over and over again to these physical points of contact and transform these physical sensations into a deeper awareness of the great love of God.”
Peter 1: 3 – 4: Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you,