Note to the reader: These pandemic days have my emotions in a whirl. Some days I feel fine, and other days not so much. Heartbreaking stories and disturbing data about Covid-19 spread are unsettling, and understandably so. Psalm 46 addresses our unsettled world and exhorts us, remarkably, to be still. But it is being still in order to know God, because he is our refuge and strength. For those of us not in our usual schedules, we have opportunity to step back, to be still, and to meditate on the presence and power of the One who meets us in the stillness. Then we will remember, pandemic notwithstanding, God’s glorious splendor (Psalm 145) and that he will be exalted among the nations (Psalm 46). We and our students need reminding of what is sure and certain, particularly when much about us seems uncertain. Meditating on the Scriptures is the way.
Now this week’s meditation:
One generation will commend your works to another; they will tell of your mighty acts. They will speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty, and I will meditate on your wonderful works. They will tell of the power of your awesome works, and I will proclaim your great deeds. They will celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness.
– Psalm 145: 4-7
Response to the mighty acts of God comes in a number of ways in this psalm. The writer observes the cross generational passing on of the stories of the glorious splendor of God’s majesty through joyful singing, celebration, and meditation. Meditation? Along with overt, even boisterous, ways of responding to God, the psalmist adds meditation.
To our modern ears, this may seem strange. Why stop to be alone and reflect as a way to respond to our Lord’s awesome works? It’s time to dance, isn’t it? Yes it is, but it is also time to pause, to study, and to engage in silent wonder. Apparently, what God has done is worthy of engaging us in all the ways that make us human beings. And “being still and knowing that I am God” is one of those ways.
Henri Nouwen laments the fact that although we are busy doing important things, we no longer seem to have the capacity to stop and ask ourselves why we are doing these important things. Perhaps studying, meditating and celebrating complement each other. We need to do them all together to realize their power and benefits.
The Christian school is the perfect place to celebrate the mighty acts of God as teachers and students explore them in their Bible, science, and history classes. But what about the school as a place for meditating on what God has done?
One school I know of has added meditation as a regular part of their school day. They wanted school to seem less like a rat race driven by bells and routines. Even first graders are asked to think quietly about what God means to them and to their families. After a few minutes of meditation, often with heads on desks and appropriate music playing, these students are ready to talk about the acts of God that shape their lives. After the school’s meditation program was in place for some time, they reported the surprising additional benefits of higher academic achievement and fewer cases of student misbehavior. Apparently what students think about makes all kinds of differences.
The Psalm 145 prescription for what students might do each day is most inviting. In addition to all the other important things that go on in school, perhaps preparing students to commend God’s works to the next generation should be one of them.
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.
– Psalm 19:14