August 8, 2019
Today's Gospel Reading (Mark 9:2-13) tells about Jesus' Transfiguration. Jesus had taken his disciples Peter, James, and John up to a mountaintop with him. Once there, "he was transfigured before them and his clothes became dazzling white." Moses and Elijah then appeared and began speaking with Jesus. Then, in the dramatic climax of the scene, the voice of God the Father says, "This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!” (Mark 9:7).
This is my Son, the Beloved. They are the same words which were spoken over Jesus at his baptism (Mark 1:11). And, through the grace of our union with Christ, God the Father speaks these same words over us as well. But how often do we pause to listen to the Lord's voice calling us Beloved? In Henri Nowen's book Spiritual Direction, he recommends using the following thirty-minute guided mediation called "The Beloved Prayer" for soaking in God's love. It was written by Aurthur LeClair, and goes as follows:
Sit relaxed and at ease. Have confidence that God's love will show itself in some way. For the first ten minutes, without fuss, say the following words slowly and fervently: Jesus, You are the Beloved. Repeat the words as necessary. Let your heart fill with nonverbal praise and thanksgiving. Let distractions float by, even when they press upon you. After a while the distractions will seem less and less urgent as you let them go. Simply be with Jesus in this precious moment.
Then, gently and without fanfare, move on to the next ten minutes. Paul reminds us in Romans 9:25 that we too are destined to become the Beloved. Another color is added to this scene: Jesus, I am the Beloved. Let your core-being soak up God's favor. At first, this shift might seem jarring. But rest in the depth of prayer and let this truth settle in.
Then go on to the next ten minutes: Jesus, we (all) are the Beloved. Let people come into your heart: a neighbor, a friend, a relative, someone you read about in the morning paper. The important thing is not to exclude anyone. Your heart will bring to the surface the ones you need to give attention to. At the end, simply conclude with a word of thanksgiving or the Lord's Prayer.
May Christ the Beloved bless you with an awareness of his love for you and those for whom we pray, this day and always.
Grace and Peace,
P.S. Our weekly prayer email will take a break next week because of my vacation. If you are in need of emergency pastoral care between now and August 18, please contact the Rev. Amy Morgan, pastor of First United Presbyterian Church in Loveland, at 970-541-9899.