The brain is a funny thing. I can remember the most obscure details about things from decades ago, like the name of the bank my parents used when we lived in rural Ohio during my childhood (Key Bank), but on the flipside I will forget a lot of short-term things, like if I ate anything for breakfast or what today's date is. I think it is safe to say most everyone reading this would relate.
Unfortunately, one of the many things we tend to forget are important. I am thinking specifically of what we hear on Sunday mornings at church. How often I have listened to a sermon and then a few days later had to really search the deep recesses of my brain to try and remember what I heard! Why does this happen? Well, I can't say I understand brain chemistry and how memories are processed and stored, but I can try and offer helps going forward, Lord willing.
This past year in particular, I have greatly benefited from reading more from the Puritans. These were men from Europe during the 16th-18th centuries that fought to purify the church and keep God and his word central in the lives of their flocks. And one of the ways they tried to help their churches was through encouraging them in the practice of meditation. Now, this was not some form of Eastern Religion where one seeks to empty their mind, quite the opposite in fact. This is a biblical practice of filling one's mind on a truth or truths about God. This can be done in tandem with daily devotions (and the Puritans encouraged that first and foremost), but it can also be done by meditating and reflecting on things we hear about God, namely sermons.
Edmund Calamy, writing in 1680, said, "The reason why all the sermons we hear do us no more good, is for want of divine meditation."
Thomas Watson, another great Puritan author, wrote, "Better meditate on one sermon than hear five. Many complain that they do not profit from sermons; this may be the chief reason, because they do not chew the cud; they do not meditate on what they have heard."
Thomas Manton adds, "To hear and not to meditate is unfruitful. We may hear and hear, but it is like putting a thing into a bag with holes...When God hath cast seed into the heart, let now the fowls peck it away."
Clearly they were very passionate about this practice! And I think it makes great sense and something I would encourage everyone to do, myself included. So, in order to help us all in this practice, what I would like to do going forward is create weekly posts on Tuesday or Wednesday from the past Sunday's sermon. This will include the basic outline, a link to the sermon audio, and then a transcript of the message if you prefer to read instead of listen. I pray that this will be a help for us all to meditate on God's word, perhaps to remember what the Spirit may have been convicting us about in our hearts that got "pecked away" after we left church.
And the point here is not so you would focus on my words because I think I am worth meditating on. Not at all. This is to benefit us to remember God's word and so we can take advantage of every opportunity to meditate on him and what he calls us to do.
Please let me know in the future if this is a benefit to you! Lord willing we will start next week with these postings. God bless!