The Observer

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.

Text: “He said, ‘Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.’ Now there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of sheer silence. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. Then there came a voice to him that said, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’” 1 Kings 19:11-13, NRSV

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: What does “sheer silence” sound like? How does God break through our set expectations?

Use this time to practice being the observer of your own self. What occupies your mind? Where is there discomfort in your body? What emotions are associated with these sensations?

Does this phrase ring true to you: Suffering equals pain times resistance? Stay open to this concept by patiently observing any physical pain you experience. Stay open to it, surround it with loving attention, and gently release ideas or opinions about it.

In mindful Christian prayer you are the observer. This is an important concept because practicing non-judgmental observation of one’s self can connect you to God who is constantly accompanying you in the same way. The observer within you, when you are deep in mindfulness meditation, is God. This divine seer directs loving attentiveness toward your every sensation, urge, and thought. God is compassionate awareness of all that manifests within you.

Your true Self is God, experiencing your particular, unique life on a particular planet in a particular time. Through mindful prayer practice you can experience God directly and personally.

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,

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