The sign on the door said “Quiet Prayer Only”. I’d been in many chapels but never one that didn’t allow any talking. I was intrigued so I opened the door. Inside I found a room with glass walls on three sides and large stone at the center of the room. It wasn’t just a rock it was a boulder. The stone was almost as tall as me and at least five feet around. Around the room the glass walls were lined with chairs, kneeling benches and some pads for lying prostrate in prayer.
The chapel is at the Spiritual Life Center. The Center is owned by the Catholic Diocese of Wichita and is open for all to use for everything from seminars to retreats. I was there on a weekend men’s retreat our church was holding.
I wasn’t in great need of a place to unburden myself in prayer; I was just exploring the building. Once inside the chapel, I sat down to look around and take in the beauty and majesty of being in such a sublime place. My mind and my heart began to dwell on the words of Psalm 19. As I stared at that boulder I could see in it, “Jesus, my rock and my redeemer.”
The Psalmist tells us that the heavens declare the glory of God, that day and night pour forth the voice of God without needing words (v 2-3). Growing up with a Catholic background in my youth, I was familiar with the spiritual discipline of meditation. However, in my years with the Church of the Nazarene, I must admit that I lost the call to such times of meditation, but there in that quiet place it all came flooding back. The gift of Christian meditation is for all believers; scripture calls us to it.
The windowed walls look out at the beautiful grounds surrounding the Center. There is a view of a lake with a fountain in the middle, and many trees and birds. It’s really quite serene. The stone boulder in the middle of the chapel had a small bronze tabernacle sitting atop it. Beside the tabernacle was a lighted lamp, and inside the tabernacle was the Eucharistic bread, also known as the Host. In Catholic theology to be in the presence of a consecrated Host is to be in the transubstantiated presence of Christ.
I thought I was dropping in for a moment. However, the moments turned into minutes, and the minutes turned into an hour. I was lost in the words of the Psalmist:
3 There is no speech, nor are there words; their voice is not heard;
4 yet their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them he has set a tent for the sun… 7 The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple;
Have you heard the voice – the voice of God in creation? It is as the Psalmist says, “sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb.”
In the chapel that day there were no words from my mouth, but the meditation of my heart was pleasing to my soul, and I pray it was pleasing to my rock and my redeemer as well. As I write this devotion the words of a song by Norah Jones comes to my mind, “Come Away with Me”. Listen to the words. I don’t know who Norah was thinking of when she wrote this popular love song, but I’m hearing the words of my rock and my redeemer calling me to come away with Him, to meditate on Him and His love for me. Won’t you come away too?
Come away with me in the night
Come away with me
And I will write you a song
Come away with me on a bus
Come away where they can’t tempt us, with their lies
And I want to walk with you
On a cloudy day
In fields where the yellow grass grows knee-high
So won’t you try to come
Come away with me and we’ll kiss
On a mountaintop
Come away with me
And I’ll never stop loving you
image credit: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/55169164160870383/