indithim – “meditation”
- Cormac, Glossary, Irish, 10th century
Indeed, let no one who waits on You be ashamed…
- Psalm 25.3
Meditation is a form of waiting on the Lord, as we see in Psalm 27. Or perhaps better, waiting for the Lord.
But what are we waiting for?
We’re waiting for the Lord to make Himself known, to bring us into His beautiful Presence; we’re waiting for the assurance of His love, the safety of His grace, and the understanding of His Word and will. In meditation we wait for God to draw us into a kind of participation in or partaking of Him – experiencing His Presence and glory. We wait in silence, fixing our mind on the things that are above, and asking the Spirit to show us Jesus in His glory (Col. 3.1-3; 2 Cor. 3.12-14; 4.6). We believe that meditation will bear fruit in our lives of peace, joy, hope, righteousness, and power – all of which come from participating in the divine essence, according to His promises (2 Pet. 1.4).
But for meditation to bear such fruit, we have to learn to wait.
Cormac, that enigmatic bishop/king, collected Gaelic words that were going out of use in his day (10th century) because he thought they were important to preserve. The dusk of the Celtic Revival was upon Ireland then, and Cormac hoped to keep the candles burning for a while.
One of the words he thought worthy of preserving referred to the discipline of meditation. Celtic Christians practiced the discipline of meditation with gusto. We think of Brendan, as a young boy, singing his psalms throughout the night. Or Kevin, praying and meditating so long that a bird built a nest in his outstretched palm.
You know the great period of Celtic Christianity was coming to its end when one of its keen observers noted that meditation, as a discipline, was falling into disuse.
Meditation requires three things: Time, which you must set and keep, because meditation doesn’t just happen; focus, that is, something on which to concentrate your thoughts and affections for an extended period of time; and resolve – the will to stay at it. You need resolve to keep at the work of meditation, believing that your meditation will yield an acute awareness of divine Presence – an encounter with the glory of God – if only you keep at it in prayerful contemplation and patient waiting. Like Jacob wrestling the angel.
Waiting. Yes, that’s an important key to fruitful meditation. We are not good waiters. We want what we want now, because, frankly, we have too many other things to do to wait for God to meet us in His way and time.
It is perhaps because we have so infrequently experienced God in His glory that we are not willing to take the time to wait on Him in meditation. Simply put, we don’t know what we’re missing.
Waiting on the Lord is a good way of describing meditation. Were he compiling his glossary today, Cormac would probably define indithim as “waiting on the Lord.” And I’m sure he would lament that it was passing out of use in our day as it appeared to be in his.
Let’s hurry on to rich times of meditation, waiting on the Lord to draw us into Himself and His glory. Rich blessings of divine Presence and favor can be known through meditation, by waiting on the Lord. And if we really believe this, and really want to meet God in His glory, then we will make the time, gather the focus, and muster the resolve to wait.
1. As we’re waiting on the Lord to draw us into His Presence, what should be our focus?
2. How do you expect to experience the Presence of the Lord through meditation? What will that be like?
Psalm 25.1-5 (Festal Song: Revive Thy Work, O Lord)
I lift my soul to You; O Lord, in You I trust.
Let me not come to shame, nor let my foes o’er me exult.
All they who wait on You shall never come to shame:
Yet they to shame shall come who stand against Your holy Name.
Make me to know Your ways, teach me Your paths, O Lord!
My Savior, all day long I wait and seek You in Your Word.
I’m not good at waiting, Lord; but I long to know You in Your glory. Help me to wait on You so that I…
“Wait Time” is one of the meditations in our book, Ray of Sun. We hate to wait, but if we knew better how and why we should, we might find the resolve to do so. Order your free copy of Ray of Sun by clicking here.
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T. M. Moore, Principal
All Psalms for singing from The Ailbe Psalter. Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.