LENT 2023: PART 3 RESONATE
“Perhaps, the most courageous thing we can do as a people is to behold.”
– Mako Fujimura
Here in Türkiye, Lent began as our country was suddenly swept up in a massive disaster relief effort following devastating earthquakes. Grief, trauma, humanitarian / disaster relief aid, crisis debriefing needs – they’ve surrounded us, calling us to action and prayer. Perhaps even more in these circumstances, we need the greater truths of Holy Week – something that transcends the tragedy consuming us – to resonate in our soul. Perhaps you can relate: war, broken relationships, depression / anxiety that threatens to completely overwhelm…. How do we find hope in the midst of the many and varied storms (or earthquakes) around us?
As we end our Lenten series, we’d like to offer a simple, ancient practice from the Christian monastics of the 4th and 5th century to foster greater contemplation. May the hope of Jesus’ life and death and resurrection resonate more fully through you this week and beyond as you practice Lectio Divina with us.
LECTIO DIVINA AS A MINDFUL ACT
source: Dan McAfee: A Guide to the Lectio Divina Prayer Style
Begin by finding a spot free from distractions and practice some breath work to quiet your spirit. Let go of your day’s concerns and invite the Spirit into your time.
- Lectio (reading): Start with reading a scripture passage. This week, you might like to join us in reading from John’s gospel (choose one at a time):
– John 11:17-27 where Jesus says to Martha “I am the resurrection and the life…”
– John 20 which tells the story of Mary and the other disciples discovery of Jesus’ resurrection
Read the selected scripture slowly, and use your imagination to place yourself in the story. Write down any reflections.
- Meditatio (Meditation): Read the passage again slowly. Now reflect on the words and phrases that stand out and think about their meaning. How is God speaking to you through a specific word or phrase?
“The point is not to catch it all in a formula. The point is to stay there, to let the story wash over you again and again like a huge tidal wave, knocking you off your feet, rinsing you out, breaking you down, leaving you with nothing but awe and sorrow and gratitude and love. He did it for us. He did it for me. For you. For people near by and far away. Jesus has gone to the darkest place in the world, the place where all that he can say is ‘My God, why did you abandon me?’And he has gone there, with all the plots and accusations and paranoia and frustration and hatred and misunderstanding and failed hopes and broken dreams of the world clattering about his head. He has gone.”
– N.T. Wright (Lent for Everyone: Mark, Year B)
- Oratio (Prayer): Next, write out a prayer as you reflect on the passage you’re reading and your current circumstances.
- Contemplatio (Contemplation): Read your prayer aloud. Rest in the presence of God, allowing the Word to seep into your heart to shape your thoughts and actions. End the practice with a time of silence, or you may want to finish by praying the Lord’s Prayer.
Another form of this practice you might find helpful is called Visio Divina (Visual Art) and looks more at pieces of art to draw us into contemplation.
We hope this Lenten series has given you some practical resources and space to slow down and be more present. May these words and practices resonate through you and carry you into the season ahead.