LECTIO DIVINA

NOTE: All of next week you will need a large bowl, a pitcher or other pourable water container, and water.
For tonight, you will need cups of water for each participant.



Introduction for tonight:
Continuing our theme of ease of leadership and Sabbath rest, we offer a practice of Lectio Divina each Sunday.
Lectio Divina is a prayerful way to read the Bible and spend time with God. It involves reading the text multiple times, with stretches of silence between each reading to notice the action of the Spirit in the words.
You and your family are invited to let the pause between readings be as long as is comfortable. Because part of the process is to slow down, you might try increasing lengths of silence as you deepen in the practice. The length of time you spend on this practice is up to you.
Each Sunday evening, we invite you to choose the text that you would like to revisit for Lectio Divina. We will post all of the past week’s readings so you have every option accessible. We highlight shorter sections, typical of the Lectio Divina practice, and invite you to repeat only those few verses, the entire text, or the verses of your own choosing. Let the choosing of a text be part of the family’s discussion and practice.

CREATE A SACRED TIME AND SPACE
Leave all screens turned off and outside of the gathering space/room.
Set a single candle in the center of your space or on a child’s nightstand or headboard.

As you light the candle, you might sing together the refrain of, Send Me, Jesus

Send me, Jesus; send me, Jesus;
Send me, Jesus, into the world.

TAKE A MOMENT
This is a time to become fully present with one another and with God.
Invite everyone to take a deep breath in and exhale fully.
Repeat this deep breathing for about 20 seconds, everyone at their own pace.

LET GO & RECEIVE
Excitement over past or future events - or, worries, pain and/or guilt - can keep us from immersing in God’s loving Presence, right here and now.

You might invite participants to Let Go as follows:

“In one or two words, how have you not followed the Spirit’s lead, today?
Allow time for a response from each individual.
Breathe in: know that you are, right now, being filled with the Holy Spirit.
Breathe out: release into grace any guilt, shame or pain not following has caused.”

Pause

You might invite participants to Receive Grace as follows:

“How have you followed the Spirit’s lead, today?
Allow time for a response from each individual.
Breathe in: notice how the Spirit is as close to you as your breath.
Breathe out: thank God for filling you with what you need for each day.”

Pause

LECTIO DIVINA
Before moving on, take two more deep breaths.

Choose one of the following readings.
Lectio Divina usually utilizes shorter texts than those we typically read in worship. We have highlighted the verses within each text that we feel are central to the week’s theme or are the most helpful for prayer.
Feel free to read the entire text, the highlighted portion, or another portion that is more meaningful to you and your family.

Introduce the reading with words like this:

Tonight we get to choose our reading. Which story from this week was our favorite?

Allow a moment or two for consideration and conversation. When a text has been chosen, continue with:

We’ll read through our text three times.
As the words are read, listen for a word or phrase that speaks to you.
As we enter into silence, focus on that word or phrase.
Consider what the Spirit is saying to you, stirring in you, or lifting up in you.
As the text is read the second and third time, listen again for a word or phrase that 
speaks to you. It might be the same word or phrase, or it may be a new word or 
phrase.
Again, during the second and third silences, focus on that word or phrase.
Let your intention be openness to the Spirit’s presence in those words.

Read one of the following texts through once:

From Monday:
A reading from Genesis 12:1-4a2
12:1 YHWH said to Abram, "Leave your country, your people, and the home of your 
parents, and go to a place I will show you.
12:2 I will make of you a great people. I will bless you and make your name so great 
that it will be used in blessings.
12:3 I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse those who curse you. And all the 
people on the face of the earth will be blessed through you."
12:4a Abram, who was 75 years old when he left Haran, began the journey as YHWH 
had instructed.

From Tuesday:
A reading from Psalm 1212
121:1 I lift my eyes to the mountains - from where will my help come?
121:2 My help comes from YHWH, who made heaven and earth!
121:3 YHWH won’t let our footsteps slip; our Guardian never sleeps.
121:4 The Guardian of Israel will never slumber, never sleep!
121:5 YHWH is your Guardian; YHWH is our shade: with God by our side,
121:6 the sun cannot overpower us by day, nor the moon at night.
121:7 YHWH guards us from harm, guards our lives.
121:8 YHWH guards our leaving and our coming back, now and forever.

From Wednesday:
A reading from Romans 4:1-5, 13-173
What then are we to say was gained by Abraham, our ancestor according to the flesh? 
2For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not 
before God. 3For what does the scripture say? ‘Abraham believed God, and it was 
reckoned to him as righteousness.’ 4Now to one who works, wages are not reckoned 
as a gift but as something due. 5But to one who without works trusts him who justifies 
the ungodly, such faith is reckoned as righteousness.
13 For the promise that he would inherit the world did not come to Abraham or to his 
descendants through the law but through the righteousness of faith. 14If it is the 
adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. 15For 
the law brings wrath; but where there is no law, neither is there violation.
16 For this reason it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and 
be guaranteed to all his descendants, not only to the adherents of the law but also to 
those who share the faith of Abraham (for he is the father of all of us, 17as it is written, 
‘I have made you the father of many nations’)—in the presence of the God in whom he 
believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not 
exist.

OR

A reading from Romans 4:1-5, 13-174
4:1 What should we say Sarah and Abraham - our biological ancestors - gained?
4:2 Sure, if they had done everything right, they could have bragged about it - but 
not in God’s eyes.
4:3 What do the holy stories say? "Sarah and Abraham trusted God, and because they 
did what God said, people thought they were really good.”
4:4 Now, when a person works, their pay isn’t given to them as a favor, but because 
they earned it.
4:5 But when all someone does is trust in the One who makes the ungodly holy, their 
faith makes them right with God.
...
4:13 The promise that Sarah and Abraham and their descendants would inherit the 
world was not made to them based on how well they followed the Law, but because of 
their faithful relationship with God.
4:14 If only the people who follow the Law perfectly (as if that’s possible!) are able to 
inherit God’s blessings, then there’s no point in faith and God’s promise doesn’t mean 
anything.
4:15 Because the Law will always bring punishment; only when there is no Law can 
there be no violation.
4:16 So it depends on faith; the promise depends on grace so that it is still guaranteed 
for all of Sarah’s and Abraham’s descendants, not just the ones who have or keep the 
Law, but for everyone who shares their faithful relationship with God.They are the 
mother and the father of us all,
4:17 that’s why holy stories say, "I have made you the parents of lots of nations" - this 
is what God sees as worth bragging about: trusting the One who brings life out of 
Death; the One who calls into being things that don’t exist.

From Thursday:
A reading from John 3:1-122
3:1 A certain Pharisee named Nicodemus, a member of the Sanhedren,
3:2 came to Jesus at night. "Rabbi,” he said, “we know you’re a teacher come from 
God; for no one can perform the signs and wonders you do, unless by the power of 
God."
3:3 Jesus gave Nicodemus this answer, "The truth of the matter is, unless one is born 
from above, one cannot see the kindom of God."
3:4 Nicodemus said, "How can an adult be born a second time? I can’t go back into my 
mother's womb to be born again!"
3:5 Jesus replied, "The truth of the matter is, no one can enter God’s kindom without 
being born of water and the Spirit.
3:6 What is born of the flesh is flesh; what is born of the Spirit is spirit.
3:7 So don’t be surprised when I tell you that you must be born from above.
3:8 The wind blows where it will. You hear the sound it makes, but you don’t know 
where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit."
3:9 "How can this be possible?" asked Nicodemus.
3:10 Jesus replied, "You’re a teacher of Israel, and you still don’t understand these 
matters?
3:11 "The truth of the matter is, we’re talking about what we know; we’re testifying
about what we’ve seen - yet you don’t accept our testimony.
3:12 If you don’t believe when I tell you about earthly things, how will you believe when 
I tell you about heavenly things?

From Friday:
A reading from John 3:13-172
3:13 No one has gone up to heaven except the One who came down from heaven - 
the Chosen One.
3:14 As Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so the Chosen One must be lifted 
up,
3:15 so that everyone who believes in the Chosen One might have eternal life.
3:16 Yes, God so loved the world as to give the Only Begotten One, that whoever 
believes may not die, but have eternal life.
3:17 God sent the Only Begotten into the world not to condemn the world, but that 
through the Only Begotten the world might be saved.

Silence for as many minutes as your family finds comfortable.

As I read the passage again, listen for an image, word or phrase that stands out to 
you.
During the following silence, focus on that image or word.

Re-read the same text.

Silence for as many minutes as your family finds comfortable.

We will read the passage a third time.
Listen again for an image, word or phrase that stands out to you.
During the following silence, focus on that image or word.
Wonder what the Spirit is saying to you through that image, word or phrase.
In the reading and the silence, let the presence and love of the Spirit wash over you 
and bring you rest.

Re-read the same text.

Silence for as many minutes as your family finds comfortable.

At the end of your silent time, invite attention back to the room with words like these:

I invite you to return your awareness to this place.
You might wiggle your toes and fingers or gently roll your shoulders or your head.
Slowly bring your body and mind back to here and now, and rest for a moment.

Resting is important: the transition from silence to immediate action or thought can be very jarring. Let the movement from rest to engagement be gentle.

PERSONAL REFLECTION
After a few beats, while people are still transitioning, introduce the reflection questions, as follows:

As we bring our awareness back to here and now, let’s consider how the Spirit was 
with us: 
Where or in what way did you experience the Spirit in this time?

After a moment or two of resting, encourage people to write, draw or doodle about their experience.
You might offer the following journal prompts:
*Write the word or draw the image that stood out to you during this time.
*What feelings did you have during tonight’s practice?
*What might the Spirit be saying to you in your image?

Allow about 3-5 minutes; gauge the activity-level of participants to determine when they are “done”.
Invite people to share their reflections with the group/family, only as they are comfortable. Not everyone will have something to share or feel comfortable sharing their experience. Let this be okay: not everyone needs to share.

Listen carefully to one another.
Acknowledge each sharing with words of affirmation.
Discussion can and should be about curiosity, clarity and/or affirmation.
This is not a time for correction or psycho-analyzing experiences.

BEDTIME SONG
As the following song is sung or said, the Leader should gather all materials utilized during the practice. Stow them in the basket for easy removal and future use.

As adults prepare to leave the room, you might sing, Send Me, Jesus1

Send me, Jesus; send me, Jesus;
Send me, Jesus, into the world.

FINAL BLESSING
As they blow out the candle, children can offer the following blessing/prayer with their adults:
“I love you and I know you love me; let’s always be gentle with each other.”

Adult(s) can share the following blessing/prayer with the child[ren] as they turn out the lights:
“I love you and I know you love me; let’s always be gentle with each other.”

NOTE: All of next week you will need a large bowl, a pitcher or other pourable water container, and water.

  1. Evangelical Lutheran Worship, Augsburg Fortress; 2006: #549.
  2. From The Inclusive Bible (Rowman & Littlefield; 2007). Used with permission from The Quixote Center.
  3. New Revised Standard Version, inserted from Oremus Bible Browser.
  4. Emily’s revision; based on the NRSV and the Inclusive New Testament.

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