You may not have noticed, but I had an unplanned absence from blog one another for nearly a month. Heck, it felt like I had an unplanned absence from life. Things have been tough, and my spiritual life sank along with the rest of me. I experienced multi-day depression, which was a new and scary experience. (Hats off to you ladies for going through it every month!)
But things are beginning to turn in the desert. Kay keeps telling me this, but I am finally beginning to believe it. The other day I told her, “I wish I cared again. I want to care — that is, I want to want to grow again, if that makes sense. …It’s a start, isn’t it?”
In Lectio Divina, the tables are turned: The Bible reads me.
I happened to receive an email today from my friend Dave Jacobs, who has a ministry called Small Church Pastor. The email was announcing a new resource for men’s discipleship, going over these five topics:
- Becoming a man of prayer
- Becoming a man of the word
- Becoming a man of humility
- Becoming a man of ministry
- Becoming a man who honors women
I felt moved just reading this outline! My thought was, “Well, my prayer life sucks. I’m not spending time in the word of God. My ministry is zilch.” But to my surprise, I actually felt motivated to do something, beginning with the first two. So before I started “doing” anything today (in particular, before my GTD weekly review), I grabbed The Message and holed up in my room for some Lectio Divina.
Lectio Divina is a way of meditating using the Bible. I’ve blogged about it before, but here’s a quick walkthrough of what I did today:
- I stilled myself. I welcomed the presence of God. I focused on my breathing, and did a simplified version of the Jesus Prayer, repeating the name of Jesus with each breath.
- I read a short passage of scripture, looking for the “shimmering phrase,” the words that pop out with special meaning.
- I meditated on the shimmering phrase. I considered it, and turned my considerations into prayers.
- I repeated this many times, re-reading the short passage, and meditating on the phrase. Each time, I thought I was done. But when I went back around again, there was still more.
- Finally, I simply sat in the presence of God, drinking in the experience, not rushing on.
The last part is hard to describe. I lay on my back, feeling… things that are hard to put into words… and saying, “I don’t want to leave yet. I just want to stay here with you.”
It was delicious.
As I have done before, I will share the substance of my meditation. But I will put it in a separate post, because it’s easy to think that Lectio is just a loose Bible study, and miss the practice of his presence. Evangelicalism puts a lot of emphasis on reading the Bible. But in Lectio, it’s as though the tables are turned: The Bible reads me.
I will share this much as a teaser: My reading got no farther than three words. And the “shimmering phrase” that popped out at me? It was a single word. Heck, it was a conjunction.