During these weeks of Lent, I am offering here an invitation to an ancient spiritual practice called “Lectio Divina”. It is a practice of contemplatively reading scripture in order to still one’s mind and connect to God. Below are the steps to this week’s exercise.
What is unique about the text for this week is that it does not come from the canonical bible. This is intentional so as to remind everyone that sacredness is not confined to the bible. A myriad of texts can be used with Lectio Divina.
This text is taken from The Round Dance of the Cross which is a section of the Acts of John; and early Christian writing. You may remember that in the gospel accounts of the Last Supper, the evening ends with Jesus and the disciples leaving the table and “going out” to sing a hymn. The Acts of John elaborates on this scene as the disciples form a circle around Jesus and dance as they respond to Jesus’ who is singing the words below:
“I am a mirror to you who know me…this human passion which I am about to suffer is your own.”
Lectio: Read this scripture passage aloud, slowly. Release any interpretation or opinion you may have about this passage as you read it.
Meditatio: Let the passage “sink in” for two minutes. Sit with the passage. Hold it lightly–don’t force any attempt to interpret it.
Repeat “lectio” and “meditatio” three more times.
Oratio: Pray aloud: “May I receive from the scripture what my soul needs for today.”
Contemplatio: For the next 20 minutes enter into a time of mindfulness prayer. Focus on your thoughts. What are their colors, textures, tones, and qualities? Which ones are “sticky” and which ones pass quickly? What form do they take? Are they voices? Are they images? What emotions are associated with them? Try not to judge, just observe.
Mathematician George Polya took a contemplative approach to solving mathematical problems by repeating the mantra “Look at the unknown”. That is, instead of looking that the problem or worry or thought that is plaguing you, focus on what is yet to be known about it. It is a subtle difference but it can lead to release and solutions.
I will be providing additional texts here to practice this ancient spiritual discipline to aid in our shared journey toward the crucifixion and the resurrection.
See you in church,