Sunday, September 02, 2007

lectio divina

Today we practiced a little Lectio Divina in our community. Lectio Divina is sacred reading/listening.

We did this because we want to communicate that the Word of God is not meant to be studied only. It definitely should be studied, no doubt, but that is not its sole purpose. The Word of God is meant to be engaged. We believe that we are to normally read it as more than a text book to be parsed; we see it more as a personal communication to be embraced. When we read it we clearly want our minds to be informed and thereby our hearts transformed but more, we want our hearts to beat faster and stronger as we encounter the God of the Bible through His written communication to us.

The Bible is certainly a book to be studied (Acts 17.10-11) but also a collection of letters to be experienced.

So, Thomas Keating defines Lectio Divina "reading or more exactly, listening to the book we believe to be divinely inspired. In this way we hear the word of God in the scriptures. It is the most ancient method of developing friendship with Christ by using scripture texts as topics of conversation with him."

The four stages, of Lectio Divina (known as the four R's):
  • Lectio - Reading
  • Meditatio - Reflecting
  • Oratio - Responding
  • Contemplatio - Resting, Contemplation - Centering Prayer
To be clear, there is a contemplative prayer movement today that while I have not studied them, I have heard some frightening things. The practice of Lectio Divina overlaps with practices in that movement. I am not promoting them at all. Our purpose here is simply to more fully engage Scripture.

Some Evangelicals these days have unwittingly fallen into the same trap as the Pharisees of Jesus' time (Jn 5.39). They search the Scriptures because in them they think they find life but they miss the One to whom Scripture bears witness. They fail to receive His heart and embrace His witness. They find Scripture to be a series of instructions to be dissected and reconstructed in a way that props up their religious practices and cuts down the practices of others. They have altogether missed Christ and they are so deceived in that they take pride in doing so.

Luke Dysinger suggests "Lectio divina teaches us to savor and delight in all the different flavors of God's presence, whether they be active or receptive modes of experiencing Him."

We must take care, the beginning and end of this is the God of the Bible. Scripture must be the basis of the practice. Knowing Scripture in the first place will provide a basis for the Holy Spirit to bring to truth our remembrance. I have an easy time seeing how this practice can become very wrong very fast but on the right foundation, to open ourselves relationship with the God of the Bible is consistent with what the Bible teaches.

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Randy (no blog) said...

Sounds mystic to me.

rick said...

In and of itself I don't see that but yes, it has been adapted by some that have overall questionable practices. It certainly is something to be careful with but in the end, meditation is Biblical.