Lectio Divina (Part 02)
Today we are looking at the last two parts of Lectio Divina a way of reading the Bible that attempts to take us into a deeper relationship with Jesus through our meditation on Scripture. Last time we looked at the first two principles of lectio divina – Lectio and Meditatio – this time we will finish with a look at the final two steps which will, I hope, bring us into a closer connection with God. So let’s get on with it, and then I will have some closing thoughts about lectio as a whole.
As we look at the text, as we meditate on it, as we turn it over and worry on it in our minds, often something will strike us, something will catch our attention. It may be a part of the text, or a word, or a thought about the word that we have been thinking on. How can you give that back to God?
That is the foundational question for this step – What can I say to God from this step of the process?
Another question to ask might be – What is God saying to me through this text?
Remember that with each of these steps it is important that you take your time. You don’t need to rush them, because the more time that you take, and the more you allow God to work the more that you will get out of this process.
At this point, you take whatever has risen up in your meditation and reading, you hand it all over to God, and give yourself over to him and his work in your life once again.
Once you have gone through each of these steps, then the final one is to simply sit and rest in the presence of God. This is the best part, it is where all the work of the first three steps pays off.
Here you get to spend time really communing with God in his presence, and the key here is that, most of the work of clearing your mind of the distracting thoughts of the rest of your life, and the discipline to focus on the text at hand has been done.
Now you are solely focussed on God and his word, and you are able to hear far more clearly anything that he might want to say to you without the interruption of other thoughts. The best way to think of this step is as just a sitting in the presence of God, a place of full surrender, and just sitting listening.
Imagine it as if you are sitting next to one of your best friends and are listening to the tell you something that is important to them – you are engaged, you are switched on, and tuned in. This is the place where you will hear from God most clearly in this process.
A Couple of Caveats
There are a couple of things that I would stress at this point, just for you to be aware of in your pursuit of God through lectio.
Firstly, this is a practice that you will need to work at. Reading the bible in this way is not natural to us a modern people, we need to form ourselves differently in order for this sort of thing to come easy, and that takes doing it again, and again, and again, and again. So don’t be discouraged if you don’t ‘get it’ at first, come back again next time and try again.
The second thing to be aware of is that this takes some time, so you will need to put aside some time to do this, about 20 minutes as a good rule. Then spend 5 minuets reading, 5 minutes meditating, 5 minutes praying, and 5 minutes contemplating. It may not seem like you’ve allocated a lot of time to it, but trust me, when you’re reading a single verse of scripture, and you have to read it over an over for 5 minutes, you will see that it is plenty of time.
Finally, remember that God doesn’t speak to each of us the same way. It will be slightly different for you than it is for me, and different again for all of your friends. So when you are in the place of contemplation, don’t discount or ignore things that you think are just you, or that might seem a little random. If it helps you, write it down, and come back to it later to see what you thought it was that God is saying to you. The only way that you will develop that sensitivity is by practicing.
Question: Would you consider practicing this as a way of connecting with God? Why/Why not?
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