Friday, February 19, 2010

Lectio Divina---Reading Scripture Prayerfully Part I

There are many was to read scripture. Sometimes we read scripture in order to learn more about the culture and world in which the scriptures were written. We learn about the various languages, people, and places. Then we read scripture for the content, we try to understand the words, phrases, and meanings. We consult Bible dictionaries, concordances, and Bible atlases which help us learn about the message in the words of the Bible. Then we can read scripture in a prayerful manner, which we call lectio divina, holy or divine reading.

It is tempting to read the scriptures quickly and then move on to the rest of our daily activities. We are very busy people. We live fast pace lives. Our bodies and minds are constantly moving a mile a minute. When we sit down for five minutes for some rest we still might be thinking: What do I have to do later today? What time is my lunch meeting? Who will pick up the kids from school? Do I have enough time to finish my errands? Where is my “to do” list?

When reading scripture we can easily get distracted. We begin reading a passage from scripture and we get distracted by so many thoughts and we miss the message of the scripture lesson. Lectio divina forces us to slow down.

Lectio divina requires that we need to take time with each passage, think about what we are reading, and then ask ourselves: how can this scripture passage be understood or applied in my life today? What is God saying to me now? What difference can these words make in my life? When reading the Bible slowly we allow the words to run over us like water running over our head, slowly seeping into our very skin and bones. So too, we read the Bible in a slow way, allowing the words to flow across our minds and hearts. Lectio divina, or simply called lectio, is a slow, meditative way of reading scripture by which the reader ruminates or actually chews on each word, considers what the word means, and how it connects to the rest of the scriptures. Lectio takes time and cannot be rushed.