A few years ago we started Bible Meditations for guests in the hostel twice a week. It is one of the activities we organize for guests to reach out to them with the gospel.
We choose a passage from the Bible and during the meditation we read it several times. In between reading, we sustain several minutes of silence, and wait on God to do the talking.
Sometimes we give a short explanation at the beginning or the end, but the objective of this meditation is to let the Word of God speak for itself. The silence gives the participants the opportunity to connect the truth of the text with their own life. Two or three times during the meditation, the participants get the opportunity to share what is on their mind; this can be a question or a reflection about what God is saying to them at this moment.
During a meditation on the Matthew 6:25-33, which reflected on worry, there were a lot of interesting responses. “I don’t understand this text, because I think about so many Christians who actually live in poverty”; “God says to me that he takes care of me”; “I do worry a lot about clothes and stuff, not because I have a lack of them, but because I want to make good impression at my work. Maybe I should focus more on what God thinks about me”.
Another long-term guest burst into tears during the meditation, saying that she came to Amsterdam for her work. However she found that her visit at the Shelter had a much larger impact on her heart and on her life than anything else she experienced in the city. The meditations give space for people to reflect and spend time with God.
We don’t directly respond to their questions or debate about anything.
The big difference between our Bible Discussions and our Bible Meditations is that we don’t directly respond to their questions or debate about anything. It is a great opportunity for guests and staff to open up to each other. There is some guidance from the leader and questions to help people think. However the biggest challenge is to be silent and wait for God to speak in the silence. Sometimes the guests want to talk more after the Bible Meditation. Often the meditation itself gives enough food for thought. We believe that the Guest Bible Meditation is a valuable new way to offer real rest to our guests, and what we experience is that God is willing to speak when we take the time to listen.