Seeking Calm with Jesus

Scripture: Matthew 6:25-34

Seeking Calm with Jesus

Meditation seems to be all the rage these days. There are numerous apps you can download to help guide your breathing, focus, or intention in mediation. In a world that seems to be increasing the pace and demands of life, many people seem to thirst for respite and escape from the fragmentation experienced by the frenetic rhythm of life. 

Meditation may seem to some like a fad from the late 1960’s and 70’s that is merely making a resurgence in the 20th century. It is true that in America, in that stage of the 20th century and now in the 21st century we seem to be at intersections of immense social, political, technological, and cultural upheaval. Perhaps, our western pseudo-rational mindset particularly longs for some way to experience inner peace and wholeness in times of acute anxiety and pressure. 

Some are wary of meditation. They suspect it is a component of the new age movement or eastern spirituality. Jesus the Messiah, an ancient near eastern spiritual leader, practiced what we would call meditation in the silence and solitude of his retreats away from the crowds and their clamoring demands. Jesus’ instructions for prayer to his disciples place an emphasis on sincerity over performance (“do not be like the hypocrites”  Matt. 6:5), withdrawing (“go into your room, close the door” Matt. 6:6), and simple trust over superfluous words of manipulation (“do not keep on babbling “ Matt. 6:6). There is a clear de-emphasis on prayer as performance and as a form of surface level communication.

Later in his teaching Jesus addresses directly the regular worries that plague our existence. In Matthew 6:25 he asks a startling question, “Is not your life more than food, and the body more than clothes?” We could ask it hundreds of ways. Is not your life more than your upcoming big presentation, social media presence, job interview, child’s class ranking, automobile, pressing deadline, relational dilemma, or asserting your own rightness, brilliance, and image? Yet most of us live overly attached and identified by these and thousands of other conscious and unconscious markers of our safety, power, and esteem. We struggle to know, value, and feel connected to our deeper life. 

Meditation in the Jesus Way, invites us to reconnect to who we are apart from titles, failures, accomplishments, talents, worries, and obligations. Jesus invites us to walk through nature spiritually attentive. Birds aren’t weary from worry, and life mostly works out for them. God takes care of them. It’s bird brained of us to live under the specter of the death-dealing assumption that God won’t work for our care and good, too. Flowers are inherently beautiful as they are, so why do we obsess over needing to play dress up to find our value? The beautiful flowers fade, die, and are thrown into the fire. Jesus reminds us that life is short, and much of what we invest so much of our life’s energy obsessing over is fading and temporary.

When we center our lives on the Eternal One, whom Jesus reveals to us as Abba Father, we find our lives in harmony with God’s Reign. Why not spend some time in silent prayer with Jesus being reconnected to your eternal life hidden with Christ in God?

Christopher Mack