November 8, 2020 Lectio Divina

The Godly Person

This is week 35 of the Living Room Liturgies.  I have decided to pause on our regular liturgies this week and offer some thoughts and a practice.

What does it mean to be a Godly Person?  The first picture in my head of a Godly person is a person who calmly folds their hands, whispers, and has the perfect words at just the right time. Someone who is centered and pious and good at religious things.  Honestly, I struggle with that picture for myself. I am far too dramatic. I say “yes” to too many things. I have to work really hard in order to be centered. But, I often find myself longing for communion with God.

As I have journeyed in the Christian faith a little longer, I have re-painted my picture of what it means to be a Godly person.  A Godly person is not a lazy person.  They may even be a busy person. They are devoted to God and to people (and that leads to a full life). A Godly person also is one who integrates spiritual practices into their lives.  These practices make a Godly person out of a busy person.  Spiritual practices are not intended only for Christians who have a lot of spare time on their hands, rather, they are God-given means by which busy believers become like Christ. 

So, for this Sunday, November 8, 2020, I invite you to practice Lectio Divina with me.  There are a number of ways to do it.  I will share with you one of my favorite ways to practice it.  I pray that this practice of the “divine reading” will be life-giving to you in the midst of this loud, busy, full world. 

Blessings.

Lectio Divina

Lectio Divina is an ancient way of praying with scripture.  Lectio Divina refers in Latin to the practice of “divine reading.” This form of spiritual reading originated in the Benedictine tradition and involves a deeply personal and prayerful encounter with the presence of God through scripture reading and prayer. Lectio Divina invites us to listen to the word of God with our whole being and our longing to be in communion with, healed and transformed by the Holy Spirit.

In order to practice lectio divina, select a time and place that is peaceful and in which you may be alert and prayerfully attentive.

Choose the scriptures you wish to pray. Don’t set a goal of “covering” a certain amount of text: the amount of text “covered” is in God’s hands, not yours.  A complete word-picture or story is best, but a single verse can work just as well; a whole chapter is too much. Complex doctrinal passages are tough; short narratives from the Gospels and portions of the Psalms are easier.

You may want to use the lectionary texts for this week.  This week’s lectionary texts are:  Joshua 24:1-3a, 14-25 and Psalm 78:1-7, Proverbs 6:12-16 or Amos 5:18-24 and Proverbs 6:17-20 or Psalm 70, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, Matthew 25:1-13.

Sit in a posture for prayer in whatever way is natural for you. This may be a spoken prayer to God to open you more fully to the Spirit, a gentle relaxation process that focuses on breathing, singing or chanting, or just a few minutes of silence to empty yourself of thoughts, images, and emotions.

Step One

Reading (lectio) – Slowly begin reading a biblical passage.  Approach it reverentially and expectantly, in a way that savors each word and phrase. Read the passage until you hear a word or phrase that speaks to you, resonates, attracts or even disturbs you.

One minute of silence

Step Two

Reflecting (meditatio) – Ponder this word or phrase for a few minutes. Let it sink in slowly and deeply until you are resting in it. Listen for what the word or phrase is saying to you at this moment in your life, what it may be offering to you, what it may be demanding of you.

Read the text again. 

One minute of silence

Step Three

Expressing (oratio) – When you feel ready, openly and honestly express to God the prayers that arise spontaneously within you from your experience of this word or phrase. These may be prayers of thanksgiving, petition, intercession, lament, or praise.

Read the text again. 

One minute of silence

Step Four

Resting (contemplatio) – Allow yourself to simply rest silently with God for a time in the stillness of your heart remaining open to the quiet fullness of God’s love and peace.

Read the text again. 

One minute of silence

Step Five

Offer to God a prayer of gratitude.

These five movements of lectio divina may not always follow a linear progression. Allow yourself freedom and pray as you can. The aim is to move into silence and stillness where we can hear the Word spoken to us in love and respond to this Word with our love and our life.

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