By Pastor Cynthia Ryssemus
How do we let the Word of God dwell in us richly?
Joshua 1:8— This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything in accordance with all this is written in it, for THEN you will make your way prosperous, and THEN you will be successful.
Although the early Church had access to the old testament and freely used it, they did not yet have the New Testament or any other Christian books to study. Their stories and teaching about Christ were memorized and passed on from person to person. Sometimes the teachings were set to music and so music became an important part of Christian worship and education!
I want to introduce you to a method of Bible study or meditation in God’s Word that has been a tremendous blessing to me. It is called Lectio Divina
What is Lectio Divina?
This time of social distancing or “forced pause” is a perfect time to let the word of God dwell in us richly, by using Lectio Divina. Lectio Divina means divine reading. And it is all about slowing down to read and to listen. Lectio Divina, reading the Bible aloud, meditatively and slowly, aids my hearing God in prayer. It is a style that is as old as the Bible.
St. Benedict of Nursa, a 6th century organizer of monks, is often credited with the organizing structure of sacred reading known as Lectio Divina. It is not really a Bible Study, it is more accurately likened to the praying of scripture. It is, prayerfully reading the text more with the heart, than as an exercise of the intellect. It does not replace Bible Study, but enhances it, to let God address our hearts as well as our minds. Leading us to deeper transformation. We often read scripture as a devotional duty rather than an appointment with the living God.
I have read through the Bible in a year, at breakneck speed, but when I completed the assignment, I sensed very little of the “voice of God” in my life.
Would you characterize yourself as someone who reads through the Scriptures very quickly? If so, would you receive this invitation to slow down and deeply engage with the Word of God.
How To Practice Lectio Divina
Begin your time with silence. 2-5 minutes to quiet your mind. Take a word or phrase to bring you back when you find your mind wandering off. (which, believe me, it will) this is one of the hardest things to do when starting out. To quiet and still our mind.
- Read scripture slowly. Watch for a key phrase or words that jump out at you
- Meditate- reflect on what you are hearing.
- Pray in response to your hearing.
- Contemplate- this will carry it forth into our lives.
Don’t feel rigidly tied to structure. Allow your heart to connect with God. He is spirit and he is seeking such who will worship Him in spirit and truth.
As you prayerfully sit with the Scriptures, are you able to meditate on a specific word or phrase throughout the day? The week ahead? An even longer period of time?
Prayer: Open the eyes of our hearts, Glorious One. You said, “You give light to the simple,” so I humble myself to Your Word and Spirit to bring light to my mind and heart that I may understand and embrace the treasures of your Holy Word. AMEN