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Posts Tagged ‘Watchman Nee’

sit walk standOn becoming commissioned as a lay minister, I have to confess, I had some doubts. In fact, it reminded me of the moments right before walking down the aisle. That voice, “Are you out of your mind? This is not for you! Go back!” But of course, whether for courage or stubbornness, I went forward. I walked it.

I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called . . . [Ephesians 4:1, NKJV]

On Wednesday last, I had the privilege of sharing my commissioning with five other fellow travelers at Restore Church Campus in Havre de Grace.  We were challenged (and entertained) by Don Cox, one of the church mentors and overseers (don’t particularly like that word, but the thesaurus wasn’t much help. Other choice was “head honcho.”) Anyway, his message was powerful and touched on the very heart of my peek into the future: sit, walk, stand. Don promised to speak on the entire book of Ephesians, and so he did, having put a great portion of it to memory.

The three words are echoed in the title of Watchman Nee’s book, but it is not a book for the faint-hearted. Written in the mid-seventies, the book still resonates today.

So what is this odd sequence of sitting and then walking before standing? Sitting is establishing one’s location. Here, and presumably, in Christ. I have written about this myself and find that phrase to be one of the great mysteries. Before anything else can happen or before any “going,” one has to accept the Christ truth and surrender to it. This is primary to faith.

Now, the assumption might be that standing would be next. After all, once in Christ, let me stand and stretch and experience the feeling. Ha Ha. Not so. It’s a go word: walk! And take Christ with you.

It is in this section that I really appreciated Don’s words as he illuminated Ephesians 4:1: not just to walk but to walk worthy. The newer translations say it a little differently, but this particular phrase will be clanging around my spirit for a while. And it’s not about rules or “do’s” or “do not’s.” Instead, we are asked to make decisions along the way, “is this action or this choice worthy of the One who lives within me, the One with whom I share spiritual space?”

And then finally, the moments of standing. Each and every journey has stopping points. Sometimes, they are places to rest, have a drink, eat a bite, and then take up the hike again. Other times, it’s a great wall of unexpected sorrow or diverloss (actually, joy can stop an expedition in its tracks too). These times are the ones where we are encouraged to suit up for the next leg of the journey. In Ephesians, Paul uses the metaphor of a suit of armor. That’s probably not the best one for a 21st century audience, but we get the idea.

So, in a way, there is a resting as we stand, but there is also prepping. And in some cases, we may need to sit again in order to remember how we have come so far and ultimately, why.

I am no different today really than I was a few days ago except for this one truth. I get it. I am in the process of suiting up. Perhaps a better image would be a wet suit before the big plunge. So be it. Let’s roll.

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Here’s a few questions I find myself pondering: where do I walk? Where do I stand? and Where do I sit? I mean, in my every day life, am I putting myself in harm’s way, despite being unengaged? Am I assuming that my lack of a direct encounter with the “enemy” means I am unaffected by the surround? Does passivity promise protections (forgive the alliteration)? Apparently not.


Psalm 1:1-2

Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night. [NIV]

Funny, I had forgotten about the old Watchman Nee (1957) book called Sit, Walk, Stand, which has a slightly different take on these same words with different order and as a result, a different emphasis: sitting as rest in God (finding strength there), to walk in trust and perseverance, and then to stand in faith to end. All valid points.

But I am taking the psalmists interpretation of these words to heart. This first verse is really a series of 3 “do not’s” and the more active “do” is quite simple: meditate on the Word. That’s prayer, that’s consciousness, that’s intentional.

Our pastor tries to give us “action” steps each week and this is mine for myself:

  • Watch where I am walking; look around; examine the stimuli around me; where am I headed and why; use the time well.
  • Stand on solid surfaces on purpose; be centered and grounded; be aware of the temperature and the environment; use the time well.
  • Sit alertly; notice what I am watching (as in television) or listening to (as in radio); where do my eyes wander and am I judging the others “walking” by? Use the time well.

For example, yesterday, I ran several errands throughout the day and while waiting for my daughter to finish her hair and doctor’s appointments, I wasted the time with Sudoku and Words with Friends. Or, in the evening, I watched a show on television I had already seen, but was too lazy to either change the channel or go to bed. My reasoning? I don’t watch TV that much, so I can afford to just “veg.” I’m not saying I can’t do those things, but in most of those cases, I just did them by default. I didn’t choose, I just allowed. Wasting time is OK as long as it’s intentional. But if it’s not, then really, the time is being stolen from me.

And lastly, I considered this idea of “meditating.” I’ve struggled with this idea before. After all, who hasn’t read Brother Lawrence’s Practice the Presence of God? (If you missed it, go to the library.) I was always a little numb after reading it. That’s impossible. I can’t do it. I can’t pray without ceasing. My life is too full.

And so, with all the “I cannnot’s” rolling around in my head, I can excuse any effort whatsoever.

But a couple of years ago, I challenged myself with praying the Hours and although it was difficult, I had some success. And looking back? It made a difference. And now, I’m thinking, maybe just a single verse in a single day, a popular verse, so that I’m not overwhelmed with memorization or some such, just a thrum, a slight little thing to repeat when I am quiet, before I click on the app.

You won’t believe it, but there’s actually a website called, Top Verses: The Bible, Sorted. Perfect. The top, most referenced verse on the web is no surprise, John 3:16; so that’s my verse for today. And when they sort the Psalms, verse 1:1 is near the top, the same verse that challenged me today as I start my next drive through the Word, through Psalms. I’m digging for God again.

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