meditations

Pray the original Jesus prayer from the fifth century

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Around October 20, I said to my wife, Lisa, as I woke her up to feed our newborn, Etta, “Do you want the good news or the bad news first?” “Ah, the good news?” she hesitantly responded. “I replaced the bulbs in the main floor bathroom. It’s so much brighter in there now. They weren’t even matching wattages. One was 40W and the other was 60W. Also, it’s snowing outside. Probably 2 or 3 inches of accumulated snow.”

Then I heard an audible groan, and I continued, “The tree in the backyard still has like 80% of the leaves on it. I was trying to wait to rake the leaves until that tree’s leaves had fallen. Now they will be buried in snow. With a potential light blizzard coming this weekend, who knows if I’ll even get to rake them before spring now?”

I imagine that a number of you might have had similar conversations with your spouse. But I have to say, that if those snowfalls happened in about any other year, my Facebook feed probably would have had a decent portion of people posting pictures talking about how they “can’t believe” the snow already came or “can’t wait” for more to come. But this isn’t any other year. This year, because of all that has transpired, we have become desensitized to things like an early snowfall. They don’t seem to carry the same weight as before. A Facebook post will read, “On my way to work, and I got a flat tire. Must still be 2020.” But some things carry even more weight. Another Facebook post reads, “We are sorry to tell you, but we are going to postpone our wedding until next year. We can’t wait to celebrate with our family and friends! – Love, the future Mr. and Mrs. Smith.”

This year because of COVID-19, especially since our communities (at the time of this writing) are at the most severe spread ever with 133 active cases and 5 deaths; with civil unrest this past summer in response to racial injustice; with schools, churches, businesses, all closing down back in March and slowly reopening over the summer; with what was a politically divided general election; all while adjusting to medical safety measures like required masks, plastic dividers and shopping for a much larger portion of our household items online; it seems our whole perspective on what is important or a nuisance has changed.

With all that is going on right now in our world, I invite you to stop what you are doing…like literally right now. Turn off your TV and silence your phone for 20 minutes. Meditate while praying this ancient Christian prayer that has its roots in the 400’s. Breathe in and out on the commas and mentally say, “[in] Lord Jesus Christ, [out] Son of God, [in] have mercy on me, [out] a sinner.” Allow these words to envelope you. Focus on them. May Christ’s peace surround you while you meditate and pray this day.

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