Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Lectio Divina

I continue to read through Sacred Rhythms (Ruth Haley Barton) and today's chapter was about how scripture is a way that we encounter God. 

She writes a lot about what I already know and have myself taught and preached.  How the Bible needs to be read like a love letter, how it is given to us for transformation and not information.  And that we read it for relationship.

I read through the three scripture for today (Haggai 2: 1-9:  20-23;  Psalm 119:9-16; John 12: 24-50)  and did a little background reading on Haggai.  I wrote notes in my journal about Haggai's theological conviction that God actively worked in his with his people to fulfill his purposes in the world.  It takes courage to follow God in the face our our inability to accomplish the task.  Interesting and important. However, I still did not feel connected this morning.

Then after a shower I returned and sat with the Psalm and practiced lectio divina.  Reading it through several times and allowing the words to go beyond my head and into my heart.  Yesterday I wrote about : "With my whole heart I seek you;" and that is followed by "Do not let me stray from your commandments."  And that is where a connection occurred within me.  My reality is that I begin my day seeking God and then as the day progresses I start to stray - not really trusting God, looking to God, loving others and myself , etc. etc.

Last Wednesday I slept at Audrey's home on an air mattress   I started the night with a comfortable bed and by morning - there was still air - but it was noticeably less.  And that is me.  I start full and slowly lose air as the day goes on. What happens?  A loss of focus?  interest?  faith?  I don't know.  But straying from your commandments is a pretty apt phrase.

Chuck has found a piece of furniture that is going to go in our bedroom to replace a large TV stand that currently houses about 50 journals I have started and stopped over the last 30+ years.  Yesterday I put them in a storage contained  and perused some of them.  Last night I read through a journal I wrote literally thirty years ago as I was ending seminary and beginning my first call in Zanesville. A lot happened during that time - including a divorce.  Some of it was written about but there were a lot of holes.  When things got really hard I discontinued writing for a while. 

Anyway, what I found is that despite the difference in age  and circumstances many of the prayers I wrote then are similar to what I am writing today.  There is awareness of God's blessings throughout my journal and awed by  God's call upon my life and at the same time the exact same "issues" that I continue to struggle with.  I  recognize  that I was and am a woman who seeks God and at the same time I continue to stray. - wanting to be in control, lacking self discipline and forgetting self care. In other words this Psalm and these verses of seeking and straying are my life then and my life now.

All of which points to the reality of the need for "Sacred Rhythms" - meaning practices that bring us back to center, that will fill us up again with spirit, that will remind us of God's presence and power and call upon us.  And bring us back to receive God's love and grace which we need before we can do the work of fulfilling his purpose in the world.

So I end with this blessing by Maxine Shonk

May the God of EVERYDAY bless you, leading you by the hand through each moment, calling your attention to each tiny trace of blessing threaded through your day.
  At the end of every day may you be wobven into the loving arms of God and sleep peacefully as night falls.
May the God of EVERYDAY be with you.



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