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Communal Lenten Exercise for 2019

During Lent, we are encouraging you to engage in the Word by reading a chapter of Hebrews everyday through Maundy Thursday. You’ll be reading Hebrews through three times in the process (it is only 13 chapters) but we encourage you to really READ it.

One way of really digging into the reading, since it’s only a chapter a day, is to do a form of devotional reading called lectio divina which is a form of spiritual discipline practiced for centuries (1500 years).

Before you begin, you SILENCE yourself. Turn off your phone. Off the TV. (Maybe even Spotify) Quiet your body, take some deep breaths that move all the way into your toes and release your fingers so all your little aches and pains don’t become a distraction. Then quiet your mind, many things will start to budge in for attention - but just let them know that you’ll get back to them later - devote this time to offering yourself to God.

The first part is the “lectio” or the literal READING of the text. Read it aloud. Imagine what the hearers of this word were experiencing when they heard it the first time, or read it the first time. Think of Nate’s introduction and use that information to get meaning out of the text.

Then, after reading the text and getting a good grasp of what it says, read it again. Slowly MEDITATE on it. In this second reading, pay attention to what grabs you — Is there something that makes you excited? Something that makes you a little uncomfortable? Rises a question in you? Appeals? Repels? Convicts? — Sit with those things for a bit, read them slowly, a couple of times, and maybe even commit a verse or two to memory before moving on.

The third reading is when you PRAY the text. This is where those things you just sat with come to the surface and you lift them up to God, and quietly listen for an answer. This might be where you confess sin in your life or are encouraged to do the next brave thing. This might be when God brings someone to mind and you decide to intercede for them and follow-up with coffee later. This might be when you pour out your heart in your journal, or decide to sketch an image that came to mind while you were reading. This is a place where your God-given creativity can be used as an offering of prayer.

Finally, the fourth reading, (if you make it this far, you are a monk-in-the-making) is when you “lift your mind beyond yourself up to God” in CONTEMPLATION. We don’t usually take time for contemplation - we usually don’t take the time for READING and MEDITATION! - But once or twice during this season of Lent, set aside some time to “taste the everlasting sweetness” of this rich word of God. As Hans Boersma states, “see the very Glory of God in the passage.” Hebrews is full of imagery and encouragement, it’s a beautiful letter to find ourselves immersed in during a time of intentional intimacy with God.

I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Ephesians 3:17-19

Recap from Lectio Divina lecture given by Hans Boersma on February 28, 2019 at Regent College.

Other Resources
Guigo II Ladder of Monks
Eugene Peterson Eat this Book
Adele Ahlberg Calhoun Spiritual Disciplines Handbook




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