“Contemplation” is one of the most transformational practices I was ever taught. While the word carries connotations of abstract pondering, for St. Ignatius it describes a very active method of reading the Bible (more on why we care about St. Ignatius is found here.)
What Ignatius reminds us is that Jesus is truly risen. That is to say, Jesus is – here and now – carrying on the work that we read about in the gospels. Jesus’s ministry of healing the sick, calming storms, forgiving sinners, declaring “good news” of God’s victory…did not end on Good Friday. No, Jesus is risen! And in his resurrection he continues his ministry of bringing all creation to shalom.
This awareness, then, brings us to a very different way of approaching the Bible – particularly the gospels. Surely we ought to continue to read them as historical records of historical events, and apply our best scholarship to their interpretation in this manner (Ignatius was devoted to academic study). But the Bible – “living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword” is more than a narration of history. It is also a narration of the present. Jesus is still doing what Jesus does. He may not be – at this very moment – calming a literal storm on the Sea of Galilee (though he might be!). But he is forever exercising his power to bring storms to cease – physical storms, emotional storms, relational storms, political storms…
In this episode we examine Ignatius’s understanding of scripture as a window into God’s immediate presence and how the practice of contemplation can bring us into direct contact with Jesus right now.
This is a sermon that was originally presented at Canvas (a Presbyterian church in Irvine, CA), March 22, 2015. To learn more about Canvas, click here!