Linking with Diana Trautwein (Just Wondering ) for the conclusion of Â “Living the Questions” Series. Â This week the question isÂ “What do I do with all the hard/weird stuff in the Bible.” Â Â I am with Diana on this – even though there is hard/weird stuff in the Bible, Â I am willing to let the hard stuff be under God’s sovereignty and have my focus be on engaging my heart with him through scripture.
As I read through what she wrote about the Book Of Love, this is my initial response:
Engaging the scriptures with our hearts — that phrase reminds me of a book I studied and journaled through a number of years ago, Sacred Rhythms, Arranging Our Lives for Spiritual Transfomation by Ruth Haley Barton. It was life changing for me, especially chapter on engaging scripture for transformation not information. Here I learned to â€œread for the pauseâ€ and come back to it and journal what is going on there for me, using the Lectio Divina guidelines. Because I have ADD, giving myself permission to focus on a thought/word and journaling on it helps keep my mind forcused so my heart can engage Â and not just my head.
The following are my thoughts and response to her blog this week, to which I am linking. Â I encourage you to visit her post. Â Also, a wonderful conversation takes place each week in the comments.Â
Lectio Divina (Latin for â€œSacred Readingâ€) has radically changed how I interact with scripture. Described by Â Ruth Haley Barton in Sacred Rhythms as a way of engaging the heart with scripture, it is very different from the speed reading most of us usually use on newspapers, books and yes, sometimes even the Bible.Â It is listening in a spirit of silence and of awe for the still, small voice of God that speaks to us personally.
Itâ€™s different than in-depth Bible Study, which is much needed and important to the understanding of scriptures.Â Many of us have done a lot of that already, but this is a reflective reading.
Reading a passage of scripture, I listen for a word or phrase that strikes me in some way, stands out from the rest. And I pay attention to the words that bring resistance, for it is often in the things I resist that I find God has something to say to me.
CLICK HEREÂ for a blog post written aÂ couple of years ago after spending time in Psalm 23.Â The practice of Lectio Divina led me to the reflection and comfort that I experienced that day, sitting at a picnic table, under the trees, by the lake at the forest preserve
If your heart longs for a way to connect with Godâ€™s heart, see the following steps and link below.Â
Choose a passage of scripture and first of all, take a moment to just be quiet â€“ it may be the first time you have been quiet all day.Â Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths:
- First reading:Â simply listen for a word or phrase that makes you pause.Â You notice it.Â It stands out.Â Â After the reading, be quiet for a moment as you savor the word or phrase, without trying to figure out Â what it means.
- Second reading:Â Reflect on how your life is touched by this word or phrase.Â Maybe answer one or more of the following questions:
What is it in my life that needs to hear this word today?
Where am I in this text and what do I experience as I allow myself to be part of the story.
Simply stay with God on this, still resisting the urge to try to figure it all out.
- Third reading â€“ Ask yourself if there is there an invitation here?Â This is your first unedited response to God – the prayer that comes most naturally to what you have heard.Â Write out your prayer.Â Do not worry about style, punctuation.
- Fourth reading – This is time to just rest, enjoy Godâ€™s presence, realizing God is the one who will enable you to respond faithfully to what you have heard as you seek to carry this word/phrase with you the rest of the day.
For more on this transformational way of engaging scripture click HERE.