Last week, I wrote about a spiritual practice called “Gospel Meditation”. This week, I thought I would include an example of a gospel meditation that I did a few weeks ago. It is one thing to describe something, it is sometimes clearer to demonstrate it.
I begin with prayer: “Father, help me encounter Jesus Christ through what you have revealed through the Holy Spirit. I want to know you by knowing Jesus.”
I read the passage John 5:1-8 through, out loud slowly several times.
I place myself in the scene as the lame man who has been unable to walk for thirty years.
Here is how I experience this scene:
I am an island of misery in a sea of despair. We are broken, blind, paralyzed, and lame. We are helpless. Waiting. Waiting for God. Waiting for a miracle. We hear the waters stir, and then a splash, followed by a cry of joy. Someone else has received their miracle. The rest of us groan. Helpless and alone with no one to help us into the pool. God’s mercy is for others, but not for me.
Suddenly there is a shadow and then a figure standing over me. He has a question for me. “Do you want to be well?” At first, his question seems cruelly obvious. “Of course I want to be well. That is why I have been lying here all this time.” But the more I think about, I feel the power and the depth of Jesus’ question. “Do I really want to be well?”
I think about my grief. I think about my anger towards God. I think about how God has wronged me. I think about the bitterness that I cling to. They have become part of my identity. Do I want to let that go? Do I want to surrender to God or do I wish to hold on to my grievances? Do I wish to stew in my anger? Do I truly want to be well?
Jesus stands over me, commanding me to rise, pick up my mat and walk. Will I listen to his voice or will I sink back down into despair?
Do I want to be well?
Closing Prayer: “Father, Jesus stands ready to heal me. Give me the courage to let go of my bitterness and answer his call to do the impossible: rise, pick up my mat, and walk.”