Day Five: The Inner Focus
Written by Jeremy Neckers
Large, ornate churches have a strange effect on me. In Muncie, we have High Street and First Presbyterian. They’re beautiful, inside and out. But perhaps you’ve had the chance while traveling to see an actual cathedral. The National Cathedral in DC is impressive, but it’s not quite the same as what Europe has to offer. I have a distinct memory of walking into St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome and being quickly overwhelmed with the grandeur.
I wasn’t prepared for that to happen. And even more, I wasn’t prepared that inwardly the moment would become quite spiritual. My thoughts and feelings were a jumbled mess, but there’s only one way to adequately describe it. I felt small.
To be more precise, I was acutely aware of my insignificance – not in a “I don’t have anything to offer” kind of way, but rather a glimpse of my minuscule place in the grand scope of history and the world. I don’t want to exaggerate. Seriously, I was just a tourist in a really old building that cost way, way too much money to build. And yet, there was this little piece of me, like at a core level, that couldn’t help but worship.
“Praise the Lord, O my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.”
And that, I think, is the approach we can take over the next two weeks as we turn our attention inward. I may be small, but He is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I may be weak, but He has conquered death and the grave.
“If we hope to move beyond the superficialities of our culture, including our religious culture, we must be willing to go down into the recreating silences, into the inner world of contemplation. In their writing all the masters beckon us to be pioneers in this frontier of the Spirit.” (Richard J. Foster).
This is risky. I don’t know about you, but if you’re like me, there’s a whole bunch of junk swimming around in your heart and mind. The temptation is to think that we have to deal with ourselves before we let God in. The truth, though, is that we cannot deal with ourselves if we don’t let God in.
In the next eleven days of Lent, we’ll take a closer look at meditation, prayer, fasting, and study. Read and reflect for sure, but part of this season is about putting these disciplines into practice. It’s up to you what you do with this. (There’s no wrong way here.) No matter what you decide, though, be open and ready to dive in deep and let God in.
Write this Way:
Read Psalm 139. You may want to journal about your thoughts and reaction but try this for sure. Choose one verse or phrase from the passage, memorize it or write it down, and repeat it as a prayer over the next two weeks.
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About the Author
Jeremy Neckers is the Administrative Pastor at Commonway. Originally from southwestern New York, Jeremy moved to Muncie in the early 90s with his parents and sister. After graduating from Delta High School, he earned a degree in chemistry and biology from Ball State in 2002. While Jeremy has been a part of Commonway since its inception, he spent a number of years as a middle school math & science teacher before joining the staff. He and his wife, Maggie, live in Muncie with their two daughters.