I started out the day re-reading a section of Richard Foster’s Celebration of Discipline. I tried to allow his section on Christian meditation to sink in as I ate lunch, and then headed out. It was a perfect day today, one of those Texas days that you just can’t waste. There were no sweeping Spring hailstorms, or silent freezes of winter, and the summer furnace had not been stoked yet. Outside, there was nothing but miles of blue sky and all of creation going through its April busywork. I went to the park.
As I turned off the car in the parking lot, I grabbed my Bible. I was looking for a passage in Philippians, but ended up reading 1 Thessalonians 5:5. “You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness.” I let that seep in, and I began to walk, meditating on being a son of light and day.
As I walked, I saw all the inhabitants and visitors of the park going about their business. The lovers were wooing, the birds were cooing, and the insects were busy doing…well, doing whatever it is that insects spend the day doing. And I was walking, trying to get in touch with God. Christian meditation is not an act of emptying yourself, as what comes to mind when we think of Eastern meditation. Christian meditation is the opposite. It is a filling, filling yourself with God and letting yourself and your flesh get out of the way. I find that letting myself and my flesh get out of the way to be a very difficult thing. It is in fact, much harder than saying “Ohm” and contemplating the sound of one hand clapping.
So, I just walked, and observed, and tried to be a “son of the light,” and of the day. I stood with my head back, and let the light of the sun pour over me, as if God was shining deep into the darkest corners of my being. And what I discovered through all of this was both beautiful, and horrible.
I don’t actually want to be a son of the light. I don’t want all that I do exposed to the sun. I want to have things in my life be mine. I want to be bitter at the people I am bitter toward, and I want to be selfish about what is mine. There is a battle inside me over a part of me that wants to be holy (call it the heart, mind, soul, whatever), but there is a powerful part of me that doesn’t want that at all. It seems that times there in the light of God make that first part grow stronger and wrest control, but the battle is never won.
It is really God that works in me to cause me to want God to work in me at all, and make me want to be a “son of the light.” I find a constant law at work in my body, that the things I want to be and do, are the those things that I do not become nor accomplish. On the other hand, the things that I don’t want to be or do, are the very things that I consistently find myself becoming, and dwelling in. In fact, the only thing that can save me from this is Jesus, and I am thankful for Him, because I believe that He both has and will, although I usually don’t have any idea why He would love me enough to do that.
So, I don’t want to be a child of the light at all, or a son of daytime. I want to dwell in darkness, and selfishness. But I don’t want to want that. Maybe it is enough just to want to want to be holy. At least, maybe to start. -Ryan