By: Lynda Baker
It’s Friday: time for good old Lectio Divina—my new favorite way of studying God’s word! Lectio Divina is a way of praying and listening for what God has to say to us that has deep roots within the church. At Mercy, we use it to help us study the Bible and get firmly rooted in a passage.
When we study this way, I do not know what passage has been chosen for the Bible study. In part, this is done because many of us like to read along. Instead, we are encouraged to listen, at least for the first two of the three times we read the passage. When we listen to words, instead of reading them, we process the information differently, new ideas stand out to us. I settle back and listen to God, pretending this is the first time I have heard it.
The first time we read the passage, we are invited to notice one word without any additional comments. I am like a shallow swimmer, floating at the deep end of the pool. Lectio helps me to dig—or swim—deeper, especially when I don’t know the context of the passage. I like to picture the passage as it is read. When it is “the word” for me, its picture takes me over, and it is all I see. It just seems to pop out!
We read the passage again—or rather, it is read to us again. After a brief silence, we again share, this time a phrase taken directly from the scriptures. This time it is like I am bobbing on the surface of the pool, sometimes dunking underwater, fully wet. I just listen, picture, and pop—again!
As we look at the board where our words and phrases are listed, as a community we start to see the movement of the larger picture. Or if multiple people share the same word or phrase, we can see where God is directing the attention of the church.
Together we read, not just listen to, the passage one final time. This time the book, chapter, and verses are announced. We are encouraged to consider the “so what?” of the passage—our own questions and where we feel like our lives connect to the passage. I share with the rest of the church what God has been speaking to me in the passage and have the opportunity to hear the experiences of my fellow community members. I finally dive into the deep, cool waters of the swimming pool, surrounded by God’s word and grace. That’s why we have come to love Lectio Divina in our community!