This past Sunday we shared as a congregation in the practice of Lectio Divina. The practice invites us to trust ourselves and the Spirit of God working (always) with us.
I share a simple overview of the practice below, and two other items: a word about a free ‘teaser’ yoga class coming up and a word about an opening for people’s warden.
Lectio Divina: Praying the Bible
“Lectio Divina”, a Latin term, means “divine reading” and describes a way of reading the Scriptures whereby we gradually let go of our own agenda and open ourselves to what God wants to say to us. In the 12th century, a Carthusian monk called Guigo, described the stages which he saw as essential to the practice of Lectio Divina. There are various ways of practicing Lectio Divina either individually or in groups but Guigo’s description remains fundamental.
These stages of Lectio Divina are not fixed rules of procedure but simply guidelines as to how the prayer normally develops. Its natural movement is towards greater simplicity, with less and less talking and more listening. Gradually the words of Scripture begin to dissolve and the Word is revealed before the eyes of our heart. How much time should be given to each stage depends very much on whether it is used individually or in a group. If Lectio Divina is used for group prayer, obviously more structure is needed than for individual use. In group prayer, much will depend on the type of group. Lectio Divina may involve discussing the implications of the Word of God for daily life but it cannot be reduced to this. The movement of the prayer is towards silence. If the group is comfortable with silence, more time could be spent resting in the Word.
The practice of Lectio Divina as a way of praying the Scriptures has been a fruitful source of growing in relationship with Christ for many centuries and in our own day is being rediscovered by many individuals and groups. The Word of God is alive and active and will transform each of us if we open ourselves to receive what God wants to give us.
The basic format is below:
- What passage will you pray with? (usually 10-15vv only)
- What is the general context of the passage? (Near Jesus’ crucifixion? Jesus’ teaching? One of the early Christian letters?)
- Pray in silence for a few moments and mark off the time for Lectio.
- God our Father, I set aside this time to listen and discern your voice, anoint me by your holy Spirit to receive your teaching, learn of your ways, and live in the fullness of your love.
Lectio Divina Process
- Lectio (Read)
- we read the Word of God, slowly and reflectively so that it sinks into us.
- Meditatio (Consider)
- we think about the text we have chosen and ruminate upon it so that we take from it what God wants to give us.
- Oratio (Respond)
- we leave our thinking aside and simply let our hearts speak to God. This response is inspired by our reflection on the Word of God.
- Contemplatio (Rest in prayer)
- we let go not only of our own ideas, plans and meditations but also of our holy words and thoughts. We simply rest in the Word of God. We listen at the deepest level of our being to God who speaks within us with a still small voice. As we listen, we are gradually transformed from within. Obviously this transformation will have a profound effect on the way we actually live and the way we live is the test of the authenticity of our prayer. We must take what we read in the Word of God into our daily lives.
Review – How has God met me in this passage? Is there anything I carry out with me?
Free Yoga class led by Sandra Parr
“hatha” yoga is the physical aspect of yoga practice. Sandra has studied extensively and, through her own journey of physical healing teaches in a very gentle way. You may even do the class sitting in a chair. Many find yoga to be an activity that leads them into a space of prayer and, in opening the body, opens the spirit as well. It is a practice that works in many traditions. Sandra will be beginning a new series of yoga classes and has elected to offer a free class so people can ‘try before you buy!’ Please consider if yoga might be helpful to you right now.
FREE sample Yoga Session – Tuesday, January 24th, 9:30am-11
People’s Warden Opening at St. A’s
People’s warden is one of the key elected lay-leaders of an Anglican Parish. The role is particular to give voice to the needs of the ‘people’ on vestry and to the Rector. The people’s warden also helps give direction in planning and parish care. In a small parish like St. A’s the role mean’s largely to be a part of the community, and be willing to share in planning the practical elements of community life. This year whoever is people’s warden will also attend the upcoming whole-diocese synod meeting in September.
The question is: who do you want to be your people’s warden at st. A’s? If you don’t nominate anyone, you can’t have your say later! Few people will step up on their own, so please think of who your dream warden is, and encourage them along the way! Joyce Taylor is taking nominations, so people let her know.