Recently during my morning meditations, I have been focusing a lot on The Shema – Jesus Style. Author Scot McKnight calls it, “The Jesus Creed” and it sound like this,
“Hear O Isreal, the Lord our God. The Lord in One. Love the Lord you God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.”
You might recongize these words, but not exactly. They are a blend of Deuteronomy chapter 6 and Mark chapter 12. You more than likely will remember the story. A religious leader asks, Jesus, “What is the greatest commandment?” Jesus responds. “Love the Lord your God….
Now I was doing a great job reciting this every day, following the words of Deuteronomy Chapter 6 from whence the Shema originated, ” These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates. ”
I desperately appreciated the practice for the depth of encounter I was having with God, focusing on God in a new way. This sense of peace in that moment was so beyond, that I started to wrestle with ramping up the medication. What happened? The inclusion of movement. The inclusion of the whole being through breath awareness and body position to express the language I was speaking and wrestling with.
To my great and wonderful surprise, the simply shift between static sitting while reciting and kinetic movement while speaking, has added a depth of awareness to the text, that I did not gather before. Or maybe it is more truthful to say, it added a depth of awareness to who God was that I did not gather before. For example, the Shema – Jesus Style – calls us to love with are whole heart and soul. How do you understand heart? How do you understand soul? Where does one start and the other begin? And what does it mean to encounter God through each of those two different means?
What I came to wonder is that loving God with my heart, allows me to love with all of my emotions, but loving with my whole soul allows me to sit in the experience of who God is. This was profound affirmation to me, that God isn’t just a head trip, but a relationship with God is an experience that my life is immersed into.
WOW!!! Affirmation that the God we lift up and sing to, is beckoning us into an experience, and embodiment into a living relationship that has depth in all facets of our life. Not just a cousin, or person we visit on occasion, but a deep every day WELCOME in the midst of God, a mutual indwelling of relationship.
Beautiful isn’t it!
So I share this all today to say, next time you pray or meditate, Do Not Be Afraid. Allow the words you speak to God, not only to be an expression of sound from your lips, but words from you hands and feet and body language as well. Let all of you find language with God. Embody Faith.