A Day in the Circle

We have many people who have joined us here at Shekina in Thailand, friends who live the same dream: to practice following Jesus in a way that embraces those who want to learn more about Christ centered life. These past weeks have been a blur of joy and adjustment as we have welcomed two couples, and some adorable children who will stay here long term, as well as four pilgrims and beautiful family friends who are visiting for a month.

Morning. We sit in a circle and listen to the words of the day’s meditation guide, slowing into breath and the waiting, quiet expectancy for the Spirit of God. Some of us are new at this, some have been working in meditation for years. We are all the same together today though, this morning with the birds singing around us, a buzzsaw going through metal in the distance, a washing machine nearby whirring. The fields are full of flowering weeds or garlic. The hills are blue. God’s word pierces like a sword, washes like a gentle cloth on a hot face. 

A pharisee and a tax collector went to the temple to pray. 

All of us from different backgrounds. There are three children in the circle, two of them my own, grown enough now to join a grown-up (sit very still) meditation. Some people in the circle are emotional and even in tears. Some are more at peace, resting with familiar words that challenge and embrace.

The pharisee thanked God that he was not like the tax collector.

Josh is leading today. He speaks the ancient words slowly and with care. I find myself deep in the story. I find myself, as he guides us, sitting across from Jesus at a table. Jesus grips my forearms and speaks the words to me. 

The tax collector begged God for mercy. He knew his sin well. 

Every meditation is different. If all is well with the world, we may hover gently over the scripture, hearing the words as song. If life seems harder, we may dive down so deep it is hard to come back up. How many ways are there to hear a word? Certainly as many as there are people in the circle.

The humble will be exalted, the exalted will be humbled. 

A breeze picks up and it is chilly in the shade. Sharing time is deep, as we hear from one another, stories and hearts, minds full of questions. We do the work of faith, no matter where we are on the path to Jesus. We hear truth and and dig in, and the same story moves each of us differently because the Word is alive, though unchanging and Eternal.