I would invite you to imagine a pool of water, a pond which is tranquil and calm. It reflects the sky overhead, the trees around it and your own image when you lean over and look in.
You sit there and observe its perfect surface. As you watch, a dragonfly hovers into view emerging from the reeds and grasses growing along the surrounding bank. It briefly breaks the surface of the water and, as it does, you notice the gentle ripple that spreads from its point of impact across the water before it gradually fades.
Looking more closely at the water, you see a fish rise up towards the surface and again the water shifts and moves in response.
You are aware of a breeze which is bringing in darker clouds overhead; the water responds to its touch before rain begins to fall. Little ripples appear with each rain drop but they hardly have time to break and spread out before more ripples appear.
You move into the shelter of a tree and watch as the pond responds to the wind and the rain. The ripples are now like little waves moving out towards the bank to break against its shore.
The rain gradually lightens and eventually stops. The wind also drops and fades. Slowly the pond recovers its poise and tranquility.
Rest in that peacefulness.
You are invited to take some time contemplating the photos below. Contemplation, in the sense that I use the word, is the invitation to allow your attention to linger on what you see with an open and attentive spirit.
As you look, you are also listening to what the photos are saying to you in what you notice and in what reflections come to mind.
Contemplation is transformative; what you hear can change you.
To take your reflections deeper, I would invite you to meditate on this scripture from the book of Philippians.
Meditation, in the way that I am using the word here and unlike the gentle receptive act of contemplation, is a more active process of the mind as you wrestle with the text, chew on it, and look to understand and allow its deeper meaning to work transformation as well.
Philippians 4: 4 – 8 (NIV)
Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.
Stones can create ripples. Insects can create ripples. Wind can create ripples. Rain can create ripples. So too can what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy.
The invitiation, finally, is to bring the response that rises in you to your reflections to God in prayer.
© Sarah Dickinson