Jeremiah 29:1, 4-7
For this passage to make sense, you have to know that the Jerusalemites the letter is addressed to have just witnessed the destruction of Jerusalem, where they believed God dwelled. The letter is about hope and that God will go with them in exile. In verse 7, they are being encouraged to pray for and participate in the welfare of the city they will dwell (Babylon) because the city needs to prosper in order for them to prosper.
Today is a walking meditation known as a prayer walk. Get a friend and walk around your neighborhood in silence together. If you notice something, you might direct their attention to it but without commenting. You might offer a silent prayer. When you get back home take a few minutes to write down what you saw and then share your impressions. Does your city foster a sense of wholeness (mental, economic, spiritual, environmental, etc.)?
Ever since reading/watching the second Lord of the Rings book/movie, I read verse 12 of this psalm a little differently. Begin by reading the psalm, then watching the clip of Gandalf’s return, then read the psalm again. While few of us have anything as dramatic as Gandalf’s return, reflect on when you have felt so tested. You may want to draw yourself as a “white wizard.”
2 Timothy 2:8-15
Read through the entire passage, then reflect on the saying in verses 11-13. Notice the seeming contradiction at the end of verse 12 with verse 13. Take a few minutes to reflect on which one you agree with the most and why.
The passage tells the story of ten lepers who were healed with only one being made well when he thanks Jesus for healing him. True healing after an illness is physical, mental, emotional and spiritual, but not everybody regains a sense of wholeness or shalom. In the same way, veterans may return from a war physically whole but suffering from post traumatic stress and having lost faith in the God they knew before war.
Take out a sheet of paper and draw a circle on it. Divide the circle into four quadrants and label them “physical,” “mental,” “emotional,” and “spiritual.” Then add words or images to reflect how you maintain (or regain) your wholeness in that area. Some practices may fit in two quadrants. For instance, running can promote physical health but it might also be your decompressing time after work so it also promotes mental health.