The spiritual discipline of Lectio Divina (www.lectio-divina.org) is a practice that was part of the winter workshops held for our final cohort of Spirited Life pastors. Kept alive by the Benedictine monastics, Lectio Divina’s four traditional steps are read, meditate, pray and contemplate. In the slow, deliberate reading of a selected passage, Lectio Divina is not used to gain scriptural information but “as an aide to contact the living God”.
The passage used at the workshops was John 6:1-14, the miracle of Jesus feeding the five thousand. Since we were in a corporate space, we dimmed the lights and invited the pastors to listen as the scripture was read slowly and thoughtfully. After each reading of the passage, the pastors were invited to speak a world thought or phrase that resonated with them. The full exercise was concluded with prayer and a moment of silence.
Rev. Dr. Tom Steagald, a Cohort 3 Spirited Life pastor, wrote a blog entry about his personal experience with Lectio Divina while attending his Spirited Life winter workshop. Through his experience, Rev. Steagald invites us to consider this passage in an interesting way. Instead of considering this story through the lens of Jesus or the boy that provided the fish and loaves of bread, Steagald invites us to consider that perhaps we are “the leftovers” collected after Jesus had fed everyone. He poses the question this way:
“But what if, on the other side of that, I am the “leftovers”: one of the scraps cast aside when the crowd is sated? A piece of what I used to be, just a crust? The best part of me, after all these years, just eaten up by the crowds; there is nothing much left to be done with me but to be cast aside, on the ground, away?”
Here is the link to his full blog entry entitled, “Nothing is lost, Jesus says” and read just how Pastor Tom’s experience with Lectio Divina revealed a different perspective for him.
-Angela M. MacDonald
(Top image by Donn Young for the Clergy Health Initiative, lower image by flickr user hoyasmeg via creative commons)