If you do not own a copy of Richard Foster’s Celebration of Discipline you need to. (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1998). I’ve not read anything so practical and accessible which aims to help the believer rightly pursue relationship with Jesus Christ. In my estimation there’s the Bible (obviously), then C.S. Lewis (most especially Mere Christianity), and then Celebration of Discipline. I read it for the first time just three years ago, but it quickly became my number one “must read” behind Lewis. Not that I agree with every single word, but there is profound truth on every page. So if you don’t own it, here is the link to secure your own copy.
The first discipline that Foster writes about is meditation, and since I haven’t read the book in over a year, I had been thinking this chapter was about five or six pages. Well, it’s sixteen pages! So I can hardly begin to summarize all that Foster covers in sixteen pages, but I will share some highlights.
In the first paragraph, Foster quotes Carl Jung who quipped, “Hurry is not of the Devil; it is the Devil.” This is poignant to me because I am prone to hurry. Very prone. In fact, today I hurried from one thing to the next, and felt quite impatient and frustrated over how long it took my boys to make it to the car in the carpool line. I realize that to pursue meditation I need to slow it down, and that I need to be intentional about quiet times reserved for contemplation. I realize too, with a hint of sorrow, that this means getting up early.
As for the methodology, Foster says that Christian mediation is wholly unlike Eastern meditation which aims to empty the mind. Instead the goal is to hear God’s voice and obey it. One simple way of doing this is to meditate on Scripture. Choose a verse or brief passage and spend time meditating on it this week. The goal is to internalize and personalize the passage.
As for me, given it’s Thanksgiving week, I intend to meditate on Psalm 9: 1-2 for the next six days, and I’d love for you to join me.
Also, I was planning to post a different discipline each day for the next eleven days, but that “Hurry is the Devil” quote gave me pause. So I will keep reading (but more slowly) and I hope you will too. Look for Celebration of Discipline: Prayer, late this week.