Food for thought #3

Lectio Divina

This week we'd like to challenge you to read the psalm Jess and Steve preached on last Sunday using the 'Lectio Divina' Method.

What is Lectio Divina?

Lectio Divina is a Benedictine practice of reading the bible prayerfully. The intention is not to study a specific Bible passage but to meet God by reading scripture. By reading the same passage a few times, each time with a different focus, we encounter God whispering to us, pointing out things in our life He'd like to change, encouraging us and drawing us near to His Father's heart.

Again, the intention is not to understand what the passage says, it's to hear God's voice speaking to us personally, so take your time in each step.

How to do Lectio Divina?

There are a couple of ways of doing this but the simplest  way is to read the same passage 3 times.

  1. The first time you just look at the text. What is happening? Who is speaking? Are there phrases or words that pop out? We're not looking to work out why, just be aware of what captures your attention.
  2. The second time you read the text while praying "God, what are you saying to me today?". So now we ask the question why specific phrases or words stand out.
  3. The third time we ask what God is inviting us into. Are there opportunities God is highlighting for you to step in? 

We would recommend this resource when you want to read Psalm 68 with Lectio Divina.

Thomas's Thoughts on Psalm 68

When I started reading this psalm with the intention of doing the three steps of Lectio Divina, I initially thought it was quite a long psalm with many movements and different themes. The first time through, I had to read a couple of verses multiple times to understand what was going on. To be honest, in the first reading not a lot jumped out to me. For clarification, I used the ESV when reading the Psalm. There was one word in verse 9 that jumped out to me as I was reading - 'inheritance'. I couldn't see a reason why it jumped out to me so I almost didn't pay attention to it but I underlined it anyway. 

I prayed "God, what are you saying to me today?" and read the psalm a second time. This time a couple of things jumped out. Especially the movement we see in verse 24 where it speaks about a procession into the sanctuary. I saw a picture of Jesus on a horse entering the city with his warriors celebrating a victory. I felt an intense joy with this. I was standing in the crowd cheering.
On top of that, the line in verse 10 stood out to me that says: "From your bounty, God, You provided for the poor". This reminded me that, although the psalm talks about how God defeats His enemies, He doesn't want to have enemies and would rather save people, but there's no room for people intentionally going against Him.

The third time I asked what God was inviting me into. As I started reading, the first words of the psalm instantly hit me: "May God arise". Now the next thoughts are hard to explain so bear with me. Verse 16 jumped out as well and it was as if the mountain in the verse was an image for my heart. God invited me to not be in the crowd cheering during the procession, but one of the warriors. In order to become that, I need to have an undivided heart. Some things in me are enemies of God and there's just no room for that. So He invites me to let those things go and let Him be the ruler in my heart. 

I shared these to give you an idea of how Lectio Divina can work, of course you will probably pull different things from psalm 68 in conversation with God!

What is God inviting you into?