Psalm 1:1 Happy are those
who do not follow the advice of the wicked,
or take the path that sinners tread,
or sit in the seat of scoffers;
2 but their delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law they meditate day and night.
3 They are like trees
planted by streams of water,
which yield their fruit in its season,
and their leaves do not wither.
In all that they do, they prosper.
With every right intention I had plans to move through all the lectionary readings this morning in order to re-ground my daily life in God’s Word. I slept so well last night knowing I would begin the morning submerged and surrounded with the wisdom and love that speaks to me and all of God’s people from and in scripture. With every intention I planned to just listen – listen to God’s Word, putting aside all the clatter and clutter messing up my head.
For the past few weeks I have been distanced from my center as different life events have been thrown at or around me. Untethered from my life force. I’ve felt myself to be in an unknown land, actually. Though the walls around and the floor beneath me are familiar, I have had no sense of gravity or grounding or my space in this place.
And at the same time, I have been acutely aware that I know better – that I have been trained, raised up, equipped, even chosen, to keep my Lord, God at the center, keep His Word ever before me. I know to pray unceasingly to allow space for the Holy Spirit to animate me, to tether me ever closely to my God – to land my feet and give me a sense of direction.
But, like the zero-gravity battle room in the story, Ender’s Game, I have awakened the past few weeks and months to life here knowing that at some point during the day, I will be called to the battle room. As the hours of a day progressed, I found myself just waiting – hours of waiting – to enter the battle-room to fight the enemy.
And, again, like the cadets in the Ender’s Game story, I have walked the corridors to the zero-gravity battle room with a lot of anxiousness, aware that I wasn’t equipped or experienced enough to not be “frozen,” to not lose, once again.
Each cadet who enters the zero-gravity battle room has been selected, based upon their intelligence and promise, to be part of the game. They are being trained to win a war, to lead the people into victory against an enemy. To win a war, the cadets are taught, battles must be waged – battles that in the season of training are more often than not, lost.
Re-reading the book recently I saw a lot of parallels to life in seminary. Seminary is a training ground for leaders in God’s church. Seminary teaches and trains the ‘cadet’ to lead God’s church in authentic faith-full living that glorifies the Lord, God. Seminary teaches and trains church leaders to equip God’s church with armor to know the enemy, to be rightly grounded in God’s law for any battle-room a believer may be thrown into. Seminarians are called – chosen – to attend an institution for such training.
But here the analogies to Ender’s Game end – at least for, today. I just want to focus on this idea of the zero-gravity battle room and how it is that upon entering it so many genius cadets are at a total loss, beginning with the basic sense of what is up and what is down. Where is the enemy’s gate, the cadet is asked? Where is our gate? How is it that a trained and educated cadet can enter the zero-gravity battle room day after day so confused? Lost? Untethered?
The zero-gravity battle practice room I so anxiously anticipate entering every day has been a sort of hell-hole. Made me inert. I plod down the corridor, battle-suit (the armor of God) in hand. Such a rub. When you know you should have – do have by faith and training and education – the experience and tools – the heart and faith – to deal with whatever is hurled your way.
But, again like the zero-gravity battle-room in the Ender’s Game, it is just a room – just a season. And I, like the cadets, leave the battle-room on any given day. I return to the life that functions in gravity, exhausted by the exercise but grateful to have some functional, practical space to return to. For the cadets, it is their bunk room. Reprieve – a peace which passes understanding? – comes as they close their eyes and reflect upon their failed attempts to master the zero-gravity battle room. Meditating, if you will, upon the law of gravity.
And I likewise, lie down to sleep in prayer and meditate upon the law of the Lord as Psalm 1 whispers. And in so doing, I am able to offer God thanks for giving me yet another day to figure things out, and pray that upon awakening, God’s presence would ground me. That I would not awaken again adrift in my own weightlessness, my own profound-less, thinking. Wallowing. Wondering.
I did not make it through all the lectionary readings this morning. The Holy Spirit paused me at the first verses of the first psalm. Paused at the intersection of my intention to get back to God’s Word and the Spirit’s Word waiting for me. In those first verses I heard God’s promise that in the intention of immersing myself in His wisdom and love, of meditating upon the Lord’s law, I am rightly grounded. I do know what is up, what is down. I am tethered to my life force. I am equipped rightly for the battle to come today.