Click on the play button above to listen to the meditation and the orange button to see the transcript.
This meditation uses images from the natural world. Although it refers to the Bible and Christian tradition, this is in a fairly open way. It can be used with people who are sympathetic to Christianity, at least at a cultural level, but might not describe themselves as Christian.
It’s designed to be used flexibly to suit the needs of the particular group you are working with. For example you might use the reflection as a way in to a period of silent prayer or meditation which you finish with a piece of music. Or you might use it right at the end of an otherwise lively session for young people to calm things down. You might organise a session in which people bring favourite poems, pieces of music, or pictures on the theme, using some of those suggested here to start things off.
It’s meant to feel light touch but with the capacity to go deep.
- It is Well With my Soul
- Anton Bruckner: Ave Maria*
- Robert Bridges: All My Hope on God is Founded (Herbert Howells wrote the now synonymous tune ‘Michael’ after finding these words following the death of his son)
- Johannes Brahms: Lord, Let Me Know My End** (From A German Requiem)
- U2: I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For
- J.S. Bach St Matthew Passion*** (BWV 244) Final movement
I believe in the sun
even when it isn’t shining.
I believe in love
even when I am alone.
I believe in God
even when he is silent.
Horatio Spafford: It is Well With My Soul (Read the story behind this famous hymn)
In my folly, before this time I often wondered why, by the great foreseeing wisdom of God, the onset of sin was not prevented: for then, I thought, all should have been well. This impulse [of thought] was much to be avoided, but nevertheless I mourned and sorrowed because of it, without reason and discretion.
But Jesus, who in this vision informed me of all that is needed by me, answered with these words and said: ‘It was necessary that there should be sin; but all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.’
These words were said most tenderly, showing no manner of blame to me nor to any who shall be saved.
*Translation of Ave Maria
Full of Grace,
The Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women,
and blessed is the fruit
of thy womb, Jesus.
Mother of God,
pray for us sinners now,
and at the hour of our death.
**Lord Let Me Know My End (Psalm 39v4-7)
Lord, let me know my end, and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is.
You have made my days a few handbreadths, and my lifetime is as nothing in your sight. Surely everyone stands as a mere breath. Selah
Surely everyone goes about like a shadow. Surely for nothing they are in turmoil; they heap up, and do not know who will gather.
And now, O Lord, what do I wait for? My hope is in you.
(New Revised Standard Version)
*** Translation of St Matthew Passion
We sit down in tears
And call to thee in the tomb:
Rest softly, softly rest!
Rest, ye exhausted limbs!
Your grave and tombstone
Shall for the unquiet conscience
Be a comfortable pillow
And the soul’s resting place.
In utmost bliss the eyes slumber there.
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