Friday, May 31, 2013

Another Way of Reading

Thanks to Rev. Derek W. White, a Methodist pastor also known as the geekpreacher,I discovered a new way of reading.  Or rather, a new take on a very old way of reading scripture.

Lectio Divina is an ancient practice of reading the Bible in an intentional, prayerful, meditative way.  Often a passage is read multiple times, with prayer and reflection between each reading.  Often it is followed by extended prayer or meditation.  One description, among many along the Interwebs, is here, from the United Church of Christ.  And let's face it, if the distant children of the Pilgrims and Puritans can accept an ancient form of Christian mysticism and reading, then just about anybody can.

Derek linked to an interesting article on Congregational Excellence.  While the article made for good reading, what really caught my eye were the questions at the bottom of the page.  These were (and I quote:)

REFLECTIONS FOR THE DAY: Use a program on your computer, a traditional journal, or feel free to use the comment section of this blog post to record your reflections as a conversation with others…

  • READ – What spoke to me as I read today’s meditation?
  • REPENT – Where is God showing me that I have failed to be obedient to the call to discipleship today?
  • RECEIVE – What words of redemption and grace is God offering to me?
  • REMEMBER – Who and what is God calling me to remember in prayer related to today’s reading?
  • RESPOND – How is God calling me to respond today?

I find these reflective cues helpful.  They feel like a combination of the Wesleyan tradition of spiritual accountability (which is appropriate for a Methodist site, after all) with the Ignatian/Jesuit practice of the prayer of Examen.  Perhaps they simply point to how many of our "various and diverse" traditions are all walking up the same hill.

If you want to give them a test drive, pick a passage, perhaps a favorite, or from a daily lectionary, or from a recent church bulletin, or maybe open the Bible and plunk down a finger.  Pray that you would receive something from the reading.  Then read it.  Then in a journal, or just on a piece of paper, answer the questions.  Try reading the passage and sitting in silence with it for a bit between each of the questions.

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