“May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.” Psalm 19:14
Words. Meditation. According to dictionary.com’s second definition, meditation is “continued or extended thought; reflection; contemplation” (italics added for emphasis). I am sitting at the dining room table The Thinker style (when I’m not typing, that is), struck by the seeming profundity of my observation: in the scores (hundreds?) of times I have read this verse since I was a child, I have never – literally, never! – noticed the plurality of “words” and singularity of “meditation.” That we think and say myriad words daily, even hourly, given the amount of information we take in at any moment, makes sense. But on what do we meditate? What are those things to which we dedicate an extended period of thought?
I will be the last person to give you the traditional evangelical “it’s Jesus!” Sunday school answer. However, as Jeanne Adleman wisely said, “Prayer is talking to God but meditating is listening to God.” So, if we listen to “whatever is true…honorable…just…pure…lovely… [and] commendable”(Philippians 4:8), and if we attune our hearts to the voices of suffering and injustice, and if we open wide our eyes and look at the world around us with sensitivity and compassion, then we will, indeed, be meditating on God.
O God, give us courage to listen to you, perseverance to wait, and awareness to be your hands and feet while we do.