March 28, 2021 Liturgy

Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday Reflections

Palm Sunday marks the beginning of Holy Week–the week leading up to Easter Sunday.  I have decided to pause on our regular liturgies this week and offer some thoughts and a practice.

There is so much to reflect on this week. During this week, we reflect on our lenten journey.  We ponder the events that lead to the crucifixion and death of Jesus. We also look with hope toward the resurrection and the new life offered to us in the work that Jesus did on the cross.  

So, for this Sunday, March 28, 2021, 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 the ways I practice it.  I pray that this practice of the “divine reading” will bring to life the texts we read as we reflect on Palm Sunday and the events that followed Palm Sunday.

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: 

Liturgy of the Palms:  Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29, Mark 11:1-11

Liturgy of the Passion:  Isaiah 50:4-9a, Psalm 31:9-16, Philippians 2:5-11, Mark 14:1-15:47

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.

PDF for print version HERE. For permission to print and redistribute, comment below.

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