by Christine Sine,
Welcome to Meditation Monday. This week I am trying something different – I am sharing the meditation both as a video and as a written meditation. Last year when I created my Psalm 91 meditation garden and shared it as a video I asked if people would like to see more videos and the resounding answer was yes. It wasn’t possible at the time but finally I am able to plan to make this a more regular practice so please let me know what you think of it.
Today, I want to talk to you about Psalm 1. It is one of my favorites and in the aftermath of the intense heat we experienced last week, it has taken on new meaning.
What delight comes to the one who follows God’s ways!
He won’t walk in step with the wicked,
nor share the sinner’s way,
nor be found sitting in the scorner’s seat.
His passion is to remain true to the Word of “I AM,”
meditating day and night on the true revelation of light.
He will be standing firm like a flourishing tree
Planted by God’s design,
deeply rooted by the brooks of bliss,
bearing fruit in every season of life.
He is never dry, never fainting,
ever blessed, ever prosperous.
When I think of a tree planted beside a stream, I think of this painting with an Australian red river gum prominently in the foreground.
Red river gums are common in Australia, especially in the dry interior. They always grow along the banks of water courses some of which dry up periodically and then are inundated with flooding waters. Red river gums can withstand both drought and flood – being able to stand up to 9 months of emersion in the flood waters.
This tolerance is because of their extensive root system. In drought, they reach down, sometimes 30 to 40 feet, to the subterranean water systems. Some of their roots also contain a spongy air-filled tissue that accumulates and transports oxygen in waterlogged soils.
Red river gums grow huge and can live up to 1,000 years. They often provide shelter from the heat for both animals and humans and one of my childhood delights was to come across a herd of kangaroos lounging in the shade under their canopies.
Their roots really do go down deep.
My hydrangeas on the other hand, have shallow roots that probably remain in the top 6” of the soil. They do better in shade than in direct sun and as you can see, these ones did not do well when the heat hit. Such a vivid contrast to the trees in my painting.
We all need deep root systems like the Australian red river gum. We need to be able to survive in times of drought as well as flood when we feel inundated by the world’s problems and the challenges of our own lives. In Australia, drought is often followed by flooding rains so being able to survive in both situations is essential.
This last year has flooded all of us with downpour after downpour of rain and in its aftermath, we feel dried out as though we are in the middle of a drought.
So as I sit here today contemplating this painting, I wonder, “What helps build my root system so that it goes deep into the hidden sources of God’s water beneath me? What within me stores oxygen for those times when I feel flooded by the challenges both of my life and of our world?”
Three things come to mind that I do on a regular basis and you are probably sick and tired of me talking about them, though I feel we can never remind ourselves too often.
- Morning contemplative practices like breath prayers, and meditating on my contemplative garden. I never get tired of sitting in my sacred space in the early morning drinking in the presence of God in the stillness around me.
- My awe and wonder walks both around the garden and through the neighbourhood. Absorbing the beauty and wonder of God’s created world enables me to worship God with all my senses both growing deep roots and storing oxygen for those torrential rains.
- Regular retreats. Nothing is as soul renewing for me as the quarterly retreats that Tom and I take. Like most of us, I lead a busy life and the busyness alone can flood my soul with negative thoughts and emotions that dry me up inside. Without these retreats, I would not survive.
I love to see the scriptures come to life as I examine them with real life examples from God’s created world, as I was able to do with Psalm 1 today. I love the imagery of a tree deeply rooted by a stream where it can grow down to the deep subterranean water sources. Whenever I see a red river gum on my trips to Australia, Psalm 1 comes to mind. It is such a wonderful connection that helps deepen my faith in surprising ways.
What about you? What have you seen, or heard, or touched or tasted this week that connects you to the imagery of the Psalms or other scriptures? In what ways has this experience strengthened your faith and your connection to God? What kinds of practices do you perform on a regular basis that encourage you to strengthen you faith in this way?
Want to learn more about summer practices and connecting with God through summer symbols and experiences? Check out Christine Sine and Lilly Lewin’s Making Time for a Sacred Summer Online Retreat. This course allows you 180 days of access for only $24.99!