Sunday, April 3, 2011

lectio divina, when scripture soaks the soul

Today, Sunday, is a feast day during this Lenten fasting season. I have feasted today. It has been fun.

Now I sit here in the quiet of my living room. My baby is on the couch across from me, left to sleep there after his night feeding because I can't be bothered taking him to his crib when he can be out here where I can watch his little chest rise and fall. Now I watch the little baby bundle on my couch and marvel that ... I have a baby on the couch. My baby. Strange and amazing. He startles and draws his knees up to his chest and knits his brows together in sleeping concern, and I can't believe that he is mine, and he's real.

It is a place of peace tonight.

You know, a few weeks ago when I'd just accepted the new position at my work and was inundated by a huge project I didn't expect, I was brought back to my college experience of practicing lectio divina.

It was my senior year of college. I was near the end, but a full semester loomed ahead of me and I was overwhelmed. Four years of low sleep and deadlines and stress and change and intensity had compiled into physical and emotional exhaustion. I was wondering if I'd make it through the semester. Anytime I got a minute I would sleep, and anytime I had to read scripture or pray... I ended up sleeping.

It was in that setting that a class I was in practice lectio divina together with Psalm 23. A passage I know well, and yet I was floored by what I heard as we read it together, and then silently. We prayed, we separated and alone I read it again and again, word by word, verse by verse, meditating on each piece of the whole. I sat in silence, and then later we read it again together.

Back then, in my near burnout, I was floored by this:

He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul.

It hit me again in those few weeks of craziness with a newborn and new position at work and huge project due.

Lie down.



He restores my soul.

Those things whisper peace in chaos. Quiet in the midst of the moments when life is overwhelming.

It's amazing what scripture can say to our specific situation when we really sit and listen to it.

This week in the tradition of Lenten repentance, I meditated on Psalm 51. I was struck for the first time not by the repentance or the grace of God (though of course that is so powerful as well), but by the response to the confession and grace.

Then I will teach transgressors your ways so that sinners will turn back to you

my tongue will sing of your righteousness

my mouth will declare your praise...

Is this my reaction to the grace of God in my life? To sing of His praise?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Lectio Devina is a truly amazing away to meditate on the scriptures - recognizing amazing truths that you've never realized before (though you've read the passage "a million times). I love it.

That question about Psalm 51 is probing. I know I don't having respond to the grace of God that way.