The Last Frontier

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful,

committed citizens can change the world.

Indeed, its the only thing that ever has.

-Margaret Mead

Our capacity to be strengthened by God and to find peace in God is constantly at risk.

It is at risk of being diluted by rivers of ideas contrary to Life.

At risk of being squandered by shiny things that are urgent but not important.

At risk of being lost in a sea of demands that clamor for our attention but lack substance.

At risk of being stolen by a thief who actively works to take from us the very thing that alone can wholly renew our vitality.

In order to stay infused with an unending stream of life, one heroic act we must vigilantly choose is to recover our present-tense connection with God. Thus the loving plea of God’s heart to us: Remain in me.

But how do we remain in God? One accessible doorway is to practice praying with the help of a sacred mantra. Not only is this practice accessible on a moment-by-moment basic and effective in sustaining our awareness of the Presence of God, it is also an antidote to the spirit of overload so pervasive in our age.

The term “mantra” might evoke thoughts of eastern mysticism, but a cursory visit into early Christian literature quickly substantiates that this practice was regularly employed by many of the saints of old. It is these saints we have to thank for recovering and preserving the gospel of God’s accessible presence so that we might feast on its provision in this hour on the earth.

In our day, I believe the great war is for our attention and our affection.

Progress gives us more and more of everything, faster and faster. Even in these unprecedented days, the prevailing culture does not change. The destructive result is an ever-increasing division of our attention and our affection. Notice what has happened to your attention span over the last five years alone. Has it increased? Are you able to read longer pieces of content for longer amounts of time? Are you better at holding what is most important to you at the center of your attention and your affection? How long are you able to fully immerse yourself in some mental, soulful endeavor without the urge to check your mobile device?

Our soul is finite in its capacity. And when our load exceeds our limits, our attention fragments and our affection fatigues.

Our prevailing experience becomes one of overload, leading to a soul-fatigue that makes us vulnerable to losing our anchor, which is designed to be firmly set in an unshakeable hope. I want to suggest that it is to our attention and our affection that we must lovingly collect and return to if we are to participate and mature in our union with God.

Allow your fears to help identify where you have allowed your attention and your affection to wander. Friends, at this unique hour on the earth, I want to invite you to hold fast to a regular practice of leaning into a sacred mantra as a way of returning your attention and affection to God. 

Mantras are limitless, and the particularities of the one you choose will depend on what is helpful and sacred to you. Find one that works and begin to practice it regularly. By way of example, here’s one I have found to be immensely fruitful:

God, I give you my attention.

God, I give you my affection.

Father, I give you my attention.

Father, I give you my affection.

Jesus, I give you my attention.

Jesus, I give you my affection.

Holy Spirit, I give you my attention.

Holy Spirit, I give you my affection.

Our perhaps this one from Psalm 46:10…

Be still and know that I am God. 

Be still and know that I am God. 

Be still and know.

Be still and know.

Be still.

Be still.

Practice this five-minute exercise, giving yourself over to the heart of God by using one of these sacred mantras or another of your choosing. Stop and settle in. Find a soul’s pace. Allow your soul to return to the One who knows your name, the One who cannot be shaken.

Whatever else is happening, God is always inviting us to participate with him in restoring things on earth as they are in heaven. Perhaps in order to be a part of the work God is doing, it would do us well to allow God to once again collect and unite our affection and attention. 

Perhaps, in time, heaven and earth would be joined in us more regularly on a moment-by-moment basis and through us in our worlds with more power, ease, effect, and joy. 

To unite our attention and our affection into God is one of the most heroic and transformative measures we might ever recover in this age. And it is available to you today.

Strength and Honor,