March 16, 2020
The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. Colossians 1:15-17
If Christ is the “firstborn over all creation,” where might we look to experience Christ in prayer? What even is creation? The phrase “things in heaven and on earth” paints a pretty complete picture of what creation might be. It seems to point toward a resounding “EVERYTHING” that includes any experience whatsoever: any sight; any sound; any sensation; any thought or emotion; whether “visible or invisible”.
Taking this to heart in relation to our practice of prayer (and prayer is definitely something we must “practice”), what would it be like to rest our attention in the “befores” and “betweens” and “beneaths”: the spaces of silence and stillness out of which our thoughts arise and into which they return? This stillness is where the world is “born” to us. It is the “womb” of all that we are and all that we know.
Christ is the Ground of this spacious Silence: the “firstborn”; and to experience Him we must set down all that is born after Him. We can be guided to that Ground by words, but, eventually, we must surrender even our most sacred and pious thoughts to allow that Silence to receive us.
He is before all things and He holds all things together; He saturates and surrounds all. Let us wait wordlessly for Him in that Silence before all things — before all sight, all sound, all feeling, all thought. Christ invites us to find Him, and He tells us where to look. But, in our seeking, we are actually sought; and in our finding, we are actually found. Let us set down the egoistic effort to acquire Christ within the container of our own will, and be acquired by recognizing our lives as but the contents held together by the affirming container of the universal Christ.
May our prayerful thoughts of Your Goodness and Mercy guide us to the wordless experience of Your Goodness and Mercy. May our attention lovingly gaze into the receptive spaces before and beyond our own selves. May we wait there (without expectation) for the coming Christ who is already and always here, within and around us.
About the Contributor:
Henry Anderson is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and certified mindfulness coach in private practice with Highest Heights Individual and Family Therapy LLC. He lives with his wonderful wife and two precious children in Spartanburg, SC.