LECTIO DIVINA - PALM SUNDAY

PLEASE NOTE:
THE HOLY WEEK RHYTHM WILL BE DISTINCTLY DIFFERENT FROM OUR NORMAL PRE-BEDTIME RITUAL.
EACH DAY OF HOLY WEEK PRESENTS A DIFFERENT OPPORTUNITY FOR PRESENCE WITH GOD.
MONDAY, TUESDAY AND WEDNESDAY ARE ACTIVITY BASED AND SHOULD BE SHARED SOMETIME DURING THE DAY.
THURSDAY WILL BE AN EVENING MEAL PRACTICE.
FRIDAY AND SATURDAY CAN HAPPEN ANYTIME AND/OR SPORADICALLY THROUGHOUT THE DAY AND EVENING.
SUNDAY WILL BE A RETURN TO PRE-BEDTIME LECTIO DIVINA.
BLESSED HOLY WEEK!

Introduction for tonight:
For 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 or say the call and response song, This Is the Day1
Leader: This is the day…
Others: (This is the day…)
Leader: That our God has made…
Others: (That our God has made…)
Leader: Let us rejoice…
Others: (Let us rejoice…)
Leader: And be glad in it.
Others: (And be glad in it.)

All: This is the day that our God has made;
Let us rejoice and be glad in it!

Leader: This is the day…
Others: (This is the day…)
All: That our God… has… made!

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 been living like someone asleep, with the covers 
still over your head?”

Allow time for a response from each individual.

Breathe in: know that you are, right now, being filled with the Holy Spirit and the light of God.
Breathe out: release into grace any guilt, shame or pain caused by letting your ego be your guide, today.

Pause

You might invite participants to Receive Grace as follows:

“How have you lived fully awake, 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 opening your eyes and ears and heart 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 Isaiah 50:4-9a2 (MSG)
The Master, God, has given me
    a well-taught tongue,
So I know how to encourage tired people.
    [God] wakes me up in the morning,
Wakes me up, opens my ears
    to listen as one ready to take orders.
The Master, God, opened my ears,
    and I didn’t go back to sleep,
    didn’t pull the covers back over my head.
I followed orders,
    stood there and took it while they beat me,
    held steady while they pulled out my beard,
Didn’t dodge their insults,
    faced them as they spit in my face.
And the Master, God, stays right there and helps me,
    so I’m not disgraced.
Therefore I set my face like flint,
    confident that I’ll never regret this.
My champion is right here.
    Let’s take our stand together!
Who dares bring suit against me?
    Let [anyone] try!
Look! the Master, God, is right here.
    Who would dare call me guilty?
Look! My accusers are a clothes bin of threadbare
    socks and shirts, fodder for moths!

From Tuesday:
A reading from Psalm 118:1-2, 19-293

1I thank you, YHWH, for your goodness!
Your love is everlasting!
2Let Israel say it:
“Your love is everlasting!”

19Open the gates of justice for me,
let me come in and thank you, YHWH!
20This is the gate of YHWH,
and only the upright can enter!
21Thank you for hearing me,
for saving me.
22It was the stone which the builders rejected
that became the keystone;
23this is YHWH’s doing,
and it is wonderful to see.
24This is the day YHWH has made -
let us celebrate with joy!

25Please, YHWH, please save us!
Please, YHWH, give us prosperity now!
26Blessings on the one who comes in the Name of YHWH!
We bless you from YHWH’s Temple!
27YHWH is God
and God has enlightened us.
Join the festal procession!
With palm fronds in hand,
go up to the horns of the altar!
28You are my God, and I thank you;
you are my God, and I exalt you.
Thank you for hearing me,
for saving me.
29Thank you, YHWH, for your goodness!
Your love is everlasting!

From Wednesday:
A reading from Psalm 31:9-164
9 Be gracious to me, O [YHWH], for I am in distress;
   my eye wastes away from grief,
   my soul and body also. 
10 For my life is spent with sorrow,
   and my years with sighing;
my strength fails because of my misery,
   and my bones waste away. 

11 I am the scorn of all my adversaries,
   a horror to my neighbours,
an object of dread to my acquaintances;
   those who see me in the street flee from me. 
12 I have passed out of mind like one who is dead;
   I have become like a broken vessel. 
13 For I hear the whispering of many—
   terror all around!—
as they scheme together against me,
   as they plot to take my life. 

14 But I trust in you, O [Holy One];
   I say, ‘You are my God.’ 
15 My times are in your hand;
   deliver me from the hand of my enemies and persecutors. 
16 Let your face shine upon your servant;
   save me in your steadfast love.

From Thursday:
A reading from Philippians 2:5-115

5Your attitude must be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
6Christ, though in the image of God,
didn’t deem equality with God
something to be clung to -
7but instead became completely empty
and took on the image of oppressed humankind:
born into the human condition,
found in the likeness of a human being.
8Jesus was thus humbled -
obediently accepting death, even death on a cross!
9Because of this, God highly exalted Christ
and gave to Jesus the name above every other name,
10so that at the name of Jesus every knee must bend
in the heavens, on the earth and under the earth,
11and every tongue proclaim to the glory of God:
Jesus Christ reigns supreme!

From Friday:
A reading from Matthew 21:1-116

1As they approached Jerusalem, entering Beth-Phage at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent off two disciples 2with the instructions, “Go into the village straight ahead of you, and immediately you will find a tethered donkey with her colt standing beside her. Untie them and lead them back to me. 3If anyone questions you, say, “The Rabbi needs them.’ Then they will let them go at once.”
4This came about to fulfill what was said through the prophet:
5“Tell the daughter of Zion,
‘Your Sovereign comes to you without display,
Riding on a donkey, on a colt -
The foal of a beast of burden.’”

6So the disciples went off and did what Jesus had ordered. 7They brought the donkey and her colt, and after they laid their cloaks on the animals, Jesus mounted and rode toward the city.
8Great crowds of people spared their cloaks on the road, while some began to cut branches from the trees and lay them along the path. 9The crowds - those who went in front of Jesus and those who followed - were all shouting, 
“Hosanna to the Heir to the House of David!
Blessed is the One who comes
  In the name of the Most High!
Hosanna in the highest!”

10As Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred to its depths, demanding, “Who is this?”
11And the crowd kept answering, “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth in Galilee!”

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 or say the call and response song, This Is the Day1
Leader: This is the day…
Others: (This is the day…)
Leader: That our God has made…
Others: (That our God has made…)
Leader: Let us rejoice…
Others: (Let us rejoice…)
Leader: And be glad in it.
Others: (And be glad in it.)

All: This is the day that our God has made;
Let us rejoice and be glad in it!

Leader: This is the day…
Others: (This is the day…)
All: That our God… has… made!

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.”


  1. We remember this song from our youth and searched for copyright/author/composer info, to no avail. Please share if you know who deserves the credit!
  2. THE MESSAGE, copyright © 1993, 2002, 2018 by Eugene H. Peterson. Used by permission of NavPress. All rights reserved. Represented by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. Found on Bible Gateway; accessed 03.28.20.
  3. From The Inclusive Bible (Rowman & Littlefield; 2007). Used with permission from The Quixote Center.
  4. THE HOLY BIBLE, (NRSV) New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Found on Oremus Bible Browser; accessed 03.28.20.
  5. From The Inclusive Bible (Rowman & Littlefield; 2007). Used with permission from The Quixote Center.
  6. From The Inclusive Bible (Rowman & Littlefield; 2007). Used with permission from The Quixote Center.

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