In time for Bible Sunday - 25 October 2009 - I have 'wordled' the two readings we shall be using from Isaiah 55:1-11 and John 5:36b-47. Interesting themes come out...
Towards the end of the service I shall be encouraging the congregations to read the Bible for themselves. I shall encourage them to try Lectio Divina, as I have been so profoundly moved by what God has been saying to me through using it. Lectio Divina (spiritual or divine reading) has it’s roots in the early days of the church and can be found in the monastic rules of both St. Augustine and St Benedict. What I encourage people to try is:
1. Find a quiet place, pray, and ask God to help you to understand what it is you are reading and to speak to you through it.
2. Read the passage that you have slowly out loud
3. Read the passage quietly to yourself
4. Read the passage again quietly to yourself and underline key words or phrases that stand out to you.
5. Go back over the words or phrases that you have marked and prayerfully seek what Richard Foster calls ‘God’s Word for us.’ We should apply all of our senses and imagination to the task and enter into the phrases or words highlighted. We may find our minds linking to other passages or parts of our own lives. Doing this we are asking ‘God, what are you saying to me?’
6. This reflecting or meditating should lead to a response in us, in prayer. The highlighted words and the connexions we have made should give rise to confession, a cry of gratitude, lament, relief or praise in us.
7. The final stage in this process is obeying or applying what we have read and prayed. How will it affect our choices and lives this day?
Lord, may your Word be a lamp to our feet and a light upon our path...