“The higher goal of spiritual living is not to amass a wealth of information but to face sacred moments. In a religious experience, it is not a THING that imposes itself on man but a spiritual presence” Rabbi Abraham Heschel
“God still speaks today as he spoke to our forefathers in the days gone by, before there were either spiritual directors or methods of direction. The spiritual life was then a matter of immediate communication with God. It had not been reduced to a fine art not was lofty and detailed guidance to it provided with a wealth of rules, instructions, and maxims. These may very well be necessary today. But it was not so in those early days, when people were more direct and unsophisticated. All they knew was that each moment brought its appointed task, faithfully to be accomplished. This was enough for the spiritually-minded of those days. All their attention was focused on the present, minute by minute; like the hand of a clock that marks the minutes of each hour covering the distance along which it has to travel. Constantly prompted by divine impulsion, they found themselves imperceptibly turned towards the next task that God had ready for them at each hour of the day. There remains one single duty: to keep one’s gaze fixed on the Master one has chosen and to be constantly listening so as to understand and hear and immediately obey His will.” Jean-Pierre de Caussade, The Sacrament of the Present Moment
We’ve all made life so complicated. “To-do” lists, smart phones, calendars spread throughout the house…more and more and more stuff to do. The fact is, we are so busy with living life that we never have a chance to savor a moment. Most of us would say, “a moment…what’s that?” For most of us, we have to look up the word on wikipedia or do a google search to really know what it means. Seriously and practically, we can’t take pleasure in any one moment because we are either exhausted from the past moments that blew by or we are worried about future moments that are upon us in weighty manner. Have you ever fantasized about what life must have been like in days gone by? Ever wondered what your life would look like without commuting, television, electric lights, alarm clocks, computers, shopping malls, grocery stores, and all the other modern “conveniences” that rob you of capturing the sacredness of any given moment? Did you know that there was a study that was present to the USA Congress back in the 60’s that said we would become so technologically sophisticated before the year 2000 that we would have to work only 5 to 6 hours a day. The “experts” said that the big problem of the 21st century would be what to do with the over-abundance of leisure time. Right? We’ve been meaning to confront you on your leisure time!
Seriously, when was the last time you cherished a moment? When was the last time that the only thought that crossed your mind in a moment in time was how you were going to be obedient and responsive to the will and heart of your God? When was the last time you didn’t need instructions on how to spend time with God because all you needed was the moment? When was the last time you didn’t need anything around you (a bible, worship music, a journal, etc…although each of those are great things) but only “the presence”? Tell the Lord, your God, that you so desire the fullness of His presence in the following moments on this, your Sabbath! If you need a guide to fill the moments with His presence and the enjoyment of your relationship with Him, use the following as your guide…it is a meditation based upon Psalm 23:
Say “The Lord is my Shepherd – Jehovah-Rohi – the Lord, my shepherd”
Thank your Lord that He knows you by name and wants to spend these moments with you. Talk to Him about cultivating an ever-increasing intimacy with Him.
Say “in Him, I shall lack nothing – Jehovah-Jireh: the Lord, my provider”
Thank your God that He provides all your needs. Ask Him to carry your worries, burdens, and cares.
Say “He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside quiet waters – Jehovah-Shalom: the Lord is my peace”
Thank your God for His attention to the details of life that you enjoy. Tell Him you want to see Him more clearly in the details of your life. Let Him speak to you. Plead with your Lord to give you His peace.
Say “He restores my soul – Jehovah-Rapha: the Lord is my healer”
Thank your God that He understands everything you are experiencing in life. Thank Him for being your healer and restorer. Recall in these moments the times where His restoration gave you life.
Say “He guides me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake – Jehovah-Tsidkenu: the Lord is my righteousness; Jehovah-M’Kaddesh: the Lord is my sanctification”
Thank your Lord for His guidance in your life. Ask Him to reveal Himself in your life’s moments. Thank Him for the complete acceptance that He has given you as a gift of His mercy and grace. Ask Him for His righteousness to be revealed in your daily moments.
Say “even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for you are with me – Jehovah Shammah: God who is there”
Thank the Lord for His presence that calms every fear. As Hebrews says, “I will never leave you are forsake you”. Tell the Father how you feel about that truth. Does it set you free? Can you live it?
Say “your rod and your staff, they comfort me”
Thank the Lord for His authority in your life to discipline, correct and give you security within boundaries and limits. Thank your God that you can never mess up so bad that you would fear punishment by Him.
Say “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies – Jehovah-Nissi: the Lord is my banner of victory”
Thank the Lord for His strength and protection in your life!
Say “you anoint me head with oil. My cup overflows”
Thank your God for His grace, mercy and favor. Ask Him for the enjoyment of His presence during these moments of Sabbath.