Hey y’all! How is everybody? I understand it’s been really hot back in Kansas, and I know it’s been flooding like crazy not far from here, just over into West Virginia. People here are complaining of how hot it is, but the temps are only in the upper 80’s. The problem is the humidity. Like a sauna! So, find something cool to drink and a cool dry place to relax a minute! My pastor once remarked that there was no telling what thoughts were percolating through my head. Percolating is a good word.
Do y’all remember the old coffee pots – the ‘percolators’- the ones with the glass knob on the top where you could see the coffee as it percolated up through the stem to wash back through the grounds and get stronger as it brewed? When I was little, my aunt always had a percolator going. I was fascinated with the view of the coffee as it got stronger and darker in color as it splashed into the glass knob on top of the lid, so we could see if the coffee was done yet. Of course for my aunt, it was never too strong, so it got pretty dark.
Percolation is a good way to think of meditating on the Scriptures. There are lots of similarities. First, we need a container – our uncluttered mind or a journal or something. Just as we add water to the percolator, we find time and space to consider the Scriptures. Then we need to put in just a little of the coffee or a verse or two of Scripture. We don’t dump the entire coffee can into a 12-cup percolator! In the same way, we don’t try to meditate on a whole chapter of Scripture. We may begin by reading a chapter, but then pare it down to what really speaks to us. That’s what we will use.
In the old-fashioned percolator, the coffee rests in a basket that is elevated by the ‘stem’. This stem had a round base for stability, and a thin, straw-like stem that went through the bottom of the basket. The hot water would expand or boil, and rise up through the stem and then into the basket, filtering back through the coffee grounds. The more times it filtered through the grounds, the stronger the coffee. If I’ve really confused you, you can see a picture here.
One of my favorite aids to meditation is the “T” chart. We can so easily get distracted by the dailies demanding our attention when we are trying to focus on the Word. If you have a sheet of regular notebook paper, draw a horizontal line across the top where the first or second line is. Then draw a vertical line which traces the right margin line, or slightly left of that. The mark should look like a “T”. In the very top section, write out the verse(s) you wish to concentrate on. Leave the rest blank.
Read the verse, then read it again, then read it again – this time very slowly. Does a word or phrase jump out at you, or speak to you? Is there something you don’t understand in the verse? In the large space on the left, write your thoughts and insights. As the Holy Spirit to enlighten you and teach you. He will certainly do that for you! How does the verse apply to your life situation? There may be many applications that would work well. Let the verse sink down past your brain into your heart. Give it time, let it move on its own. You can’t force this, just allow the verse and thought process and prayer process to ‘percolate’ – let it flow over and over and over until it speaks something to you that means something. When those distractions come, jot them down in that right-hand column for later.
Other methods of Scripture meditation might be to sing the verse over and over again, letting the melody soak the words down into your heart, and allowing them root deeply in your soul.
The newest way to slow ourselves down is to do art journaling. Some folks color or draw in their Bibles, some use a separate journal for this, some use the Scripture journals or coloring books specifically designed for this type of work. As we slow down and color a single verse, it gives us the time we need to really think about it, and let it take root in us.
What’s your favorite way to journal and meditate? Or is this a practice you use? Find something that works for you, and let the Word root itself more deeply in your heart. If you don’t know where to begin, find a pastor or priest. They will be happy to help you get started and to develop a true relationship with Jesus. After all, that’s the entire point. Happy percolating!