Lectio Divina: Part 2

We met in a small room off the sanctuary before worship one Sunday afternoon. I was facilitating group lectio divina for the first time and of my six companions five had only recently returned to church after many years away. One of the beautiful things about the aptly named Hope Church, a church start in Boston, was that it attracted seekers from a broad spectrum of society, including many who had been rejected and alienated by churches because of their sexual orientation or gender expression.

I did not know it at the time, but of the six present four did not even own a Bible. That was about to change. Over the course of the next 45 minutes of praying the text together the rich tapestry of the scriptures came into focus. The insights each participant brought transformed our perception of the Bible from a single dimension (dominated by a few who claimed the authority to rightly interpret it) into a multidimensional reality where God is still speaking. The experience enriched not only our study that day, but our relationships with each other to this day.

The method I used I first encountered at First Church in Cambridge, Congregational, UCC. I was told the method originated in South Africa, which I found intriguing for obvious reasons.

Here’s the process:

Select a text. Then find three different versions (translations) of the text, which is easy to do at BibleGateway. Have a copy of each available.

Gather a group. From my experience in Bible studies and committee settings, I’d limit the group to 8. Any larger and it would be wise to split into two or more groups.

Ask for three volunteers to the scripture and hand them each the version they will read. (At this point it’s wise to summarize the process for the participants so that they know what to expect. Assure the group you’ll guide it every step of the way.)

Open in prayer:
You can ask for openness, reverence, a listening heart, the kind of silence into which another voice may speak. Then leave space for silence.

First reading of the text:
Before the first reader begins, ask the participants to listen for a word or phrase that stands out to them.
After the reading, encourage them to share, as they’re comfortable, the word or phrase that stood oout. Ask them just to mention the word or phrase (we’re not looking for explanations). When the sharing has ended, leave space for silence.

Second reading of the text:
Before the reader begins, ask the participants to listen for the way this text intersects with their lives. After the reading, encourage the participants to share, as they’re comfortable, this insight. Once again, we’re not looking for explanations. When the sharing has ended, leave space for silence.

Third reading of the text:
Before the reader begins, ask the participants to listen for what they believe, through this scripture, God is calling them to do. After the reading, again encourage participants to share this insight.

Close in Prayer:
After a few moments of silence close in prayer. At First Church we each prayed for the person sitting to our left and concluded with the Lord’s Prayer.

Debrief:
You can ask participants what surprised them, what they learned from the process, and how they might practice it in their lives going forward.

Explore posts in the same categories: Church, Meditation, Prayer, Reflection, Spiritual Practices

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