Being Present

Interlude:  The Prophet performed by Rudy Perrone, from the Language of Spirits album.


How did meditation feel this morning?  Was it refreshing, to sit for a while, resting, waiting, listening for the voice within, the voice beyond your own thoughts?  The news has been a good motivator lately, for sitting with God. The media is good at finding things that are distressing, bringing to our attention the darker side of humanity, that we try to ignore or forget. And sitting with God can recharge our batteries, reminding us that Someone Bigger is here to help us.

When I prepare to meditate, I do find it helps to first offer up my worry and frustration, the issues of the day that are furrowing my brow.  The Lord’s prayer, or something stronger, or a bit more specific, can help to still my thoughts. Rather than pushing the unpleasantness away, I reach for it, and hold it out to God, lifting my worry in prayer. This week I reached for something stronger, and found the voice of Psalm 27 suited rather well, spoken in my mind by a faithful migrant, heading towards a better life.

The Lord is my light and my salvation;
  whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life;
  of whom shall I be afraid?

When evildoers assail me
  to devour my flesh—
my adversaries and foes—
  they shall stumble and fall.

Though an army encamp against me,
  my heart shall not fear;
though war rise up against me,
  yet I will be confident.

One thing I asked of the Lord,
  that will I seek after:
to live in the house of the Lord
  all the days of my life,
to behold the beauty of the Lord,
  and to inquire in his temple.

For he will hide me in his shelter
  in the day of trouble;
he will conceal me under the cover of his tent;
  he will set me high on a rock.

Now my head is lifted up
  above my enemies all around me,
and I will offer in his tent
  sacrifices with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make melody to the Lord.

Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud,
  be gracious to me and answer me!
‘Come,’ my heart says, ‘seek his face!’
  Your face, Lord, do I seek.
Do not hide your face from me.

Do not turn your servant away in anger,
  you who have been my help.
Do not cast me off, do not forsake me,
  O God of my salvation!
If my father and mother forsake me,
  the Lord will take me up.

11 Teach me your way, O Lord,
  and lead me on a level path
  because of my enemies.
Do not give me up to the will of my adversaries,
  for false witnesses have risen against me,
  and they are breathing out violence.

I believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord
  in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
  be strong, and let your heart take courage;
  wait for the Lord!

[Psalm 27]

As we leave today, let us be present to the world, with its beauty and its tragedy, its kindness and its cruelty. And when we return to meditation, may we bring ourselves, our joys and our sorrows, our prayers and thanksgivings, closer to God.

Delivered at Resurrection Catholic Church, Aptos, California, on June 30, 2018.