On June 24, we launched a new Wednesday Night study through Christian Meditation, by Edmund Clowney. This study follows on our recent in-depth study of Psalm 119, and compares and contrasts the biblical call to “meditate day and night” on the law of God (Psalm 1).
Clowney introduces his study by explaining to us how transcendental meditation and eastern religious and philosophical thought are a challenge to the Christian church. The book was first published in 1977, when eastern religious thought and meditation in particular were somewhat new on the American scene. As a result, the language he uses to describe meditation might seem somewhat dated. But the concepts he addresses are as timely as when Clowney wrote, especially in our age when meditation has morphed into “mindfulness” and become a widely adopted strategy for healthy living.
The strength of Clowney’s book is in recognizing that properly understood, meditation as contemplation is fundamental to biblical faith. He charts three vectors on which Christian meditation differs from its Eastern imposter: truth, love, and praise.
Christian meditation is grounded in the truth of God… it responds to the love of God… The truth and love of God lead us to worship him; Christian meditation is an exercise in praise.Christian Meditation, p. 12
This is a short book of under 100 pages, but by developing our understanding of Christian meditation, it helps us to engage more fruitfully with the great book of meditation and praise found at the center of our Bibles: The Psalter. As a Reformed church deeply anchored in the Christian tradition of psalm singing and committed to giving the psalms the primary place in our sung worship, we are looking forward to spending time with Edmund Clowney’s book.
Our Wednesday study meets at 7:00 pm in an elder’s home in Alexandria, Virginia. We also welcome participation via Skype for those members of our community who may not be able to join us in person.