Contemplation can open us to recognize that there is more to an experience than what we see, feel, or think. Contemplation helps us to see with eyes of faith the depth of meanings threaded throughout our experiences. Rev. Antonio Lawrence encourages us to see the threads of redemptive hope embedded in Jesus’ time on the cross. “We are headed straight to Calvary and Calvary is a time of redemptive hope,” he states in this Lenten reflection.
Using contemplation, I encourage us all to engage in this spiritual discipline for a week as we examine the meaning of the cross as a time of reconstruction and reformation. We are now at the last stages of Jesus’ journey and a “new normal” is about to happen. Antonio offers us a space to reflect on this new normal as we serve as God’s co-creator of this new world. So, as we prepare to celebrate on Sunday morning, let us gaze into the center of the cross, to contemplate on the faith, love, and hope embedded in this new beginning. Listen to Antonio at: https://youtu.be/7p8QGTcUdZg.
- Contemplate Jesus.
Intentionally place yourself in the presence of God. Become quiet. Express to God your intention to rest in his love. Use your imagination: you may want to picture yourself leaning on Jesus’ breast as John did or sitting at Jesus’ feet as Mary did or kneeling before Jesus as other desperate people before you have. Be with Jesus. (When thoughts and distractions interrupt, gently return to Jesus. Begin again and again.) What is it like to receive God’s gift of new beginnings?
- Palms down, palms up.
Sit comfortably with both feet on the floor and your hands on your lap. Breathe deeply and relax. Intentionally place yourself in the presence of Jesus. Turn your palms down and begin to drop your cares, worries, agendas, and expectations into Jesus’ hands. Let go of all that is heavy or burdensome. Relax. Breathe deeply. When you have given your cares to Jesus, turn your palms up on your knees. Open your hands to receive God’s presence, word and love. Listen. When you feel prompted to end, tell the Lord what it is like for you to simply be with him.
- Take a contemplative walk with Jesus.
Express your intention to be alone with God. Enjoy moving your body. Smell the air. Take in the sights. Appreciate God’s good handiwork within and without. Love God for God’s gifts and goodness to you.
- Contemplate people.
Set aside time to really look into the eyes of those you love. Listen with your heart. See them through the eyes of God. Be with them over a meal. If you like to journal, write down what you think you know as well as what is mysterious to you about them? What did this experience symbolize for you? What gave it meaning?
Calhoun, Adele Ahlberg (2009-09-20). Spiritual Disciplines Handbook: Practices That Transform Us (Transforming Resources) (pp. 50-51). InterVarsity Press. Kindle Edition.