Spiritual Rhythms for the Life You Have – Part 3
Part 3 – Engaging Scripture
The Spiritual Rhythms for the Life You Have series is an effort to look at our lives and see where we can come up higher to improve our spiritual health and service to others. There are many spiritual disciplines from which we can benefit. Still, prayer and the reading of God’s Word are integral to living a godly life. The previous article in this series is a very broad stroke on approaching our prayer life. It is the hope this article will whet your appetite for looking at scripture from a fresh perspective.
Certainly, we all have had moments when we have been transported when reading the Word of God. There are also times when we get up from our Bible reading feeling somewhat ambivalent because our minds are preoccupied with the big and small details of life. We find it difficult to rein in our thoughts to concentrate on the Word.
Our western culture has taught us to obtain information for the purpose of repeating to be knowledgeable. In other words, information in – information out. This seems to have infiltrated its way into our engagement with scripture. When we approach scripture in this way, it goes through our cognitive filters. It needs to go beyond informational to transformational aspects of our lives, engaging our minds, bodies, and hearts.
An ancient spiritual discipline can be easily followed to put a fresh viewpoint on engaging in scripture. Lectio Divina, or sacred reading, reminds us that God’s Word is his love letter written to us. We can approach it in that way rather than, as we sometimes do, a fact-finding mission to meet an informational need.
“The Word of Scripture should never stop sounding in your ears and working in you all day long, just like the words of someone you love. And just as you do not analyze the words of someone you love, but accept them as they are said to you, accept the Word of Scripture and ponder it in your heart…’ What does it say to me.’ Then ponder this word long in your heart until it has gone right into you and taken possession of you.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer
The practice of Lectio Divina is to take a short passage of scripture, read it over four times, allowing a word or phrase to catch your attention, and then process it in different ways. With each reading of the chosen scripture, you are looking for a specific response:
- 1st reading – listen for what word or phrase catches your attention
- 2nd reading – how does that word or phrase relate to you today?
- 3rd reading – what is God’s invitation to you in this word or phrase?
- Rest in the word God has given you – wait on God to direct you to how you will live out what you have learned.
You may be thinking this is a wonderful practice, but there is nowhere to insert it into your already jam-packed life. The Spiritual Life Development Department would like to help you get started on this worthwhile practice by providing “Lectio on the Go.” The link below is double-sided scripture cards that have the four movements of Lectio on the other side. So, the next time you are standing in line at the grocery store or waiting at the doctor’s office, pull one of these cards out of your pocket, read, and follow the Lectio steps.
What a valuable way to make wasted time holy.