This year, for Lent, we’re doing A New Thing. Instead of a traditional sermon, where I talk for about 15 minutes and y’all listen, we’re going to use this time to explore some different ways of encountering scripture, some perhaps unfamiliar ways of praying, and how our study and our prayer inform and intersect with how we live our everyday lives.
Today, we’re going to focus on listening with a practice called “Lectio Divina,” or ‘Divine Reading.’
Lectio Divina is not an intellectual study of the Bible. It doesn’t provide historical details, it doesn’t offer critical commentary, it doesn’t ask questions of the text or go diving into the Greek or Hebrew.
It is, instead, a guided invitation to hear a particular piece of Scripture as God’s word for you. It is an invitation to listen to the Holy Spirit within you, and what She may be inviting you to say or do or pray. It’s an invitation to sit and receive, with quiet humility, what God is saying to you.
In just a moment, I’m going to read Psalm 131 as our prayer for illumination. Then, I’m going to read for us Psalm 25:1-10 three times, asking you to pay attention to something different each time, with a period of silence after each reading.
So I invite you to sit comfortably, close your eyes if you need to, and quiet your hearts as we listen and pray together.
Psalm 131 says:
O Lord, my heart is not lifted up,
my eyes are not raised too high;
I do not occupy myself with things
too great and too marvelous for me.
But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
like a weaned child with its mother;
my soul is like the weaned child that is with me.
O Israel, hope in the Lord
from this time on and for evermore.
Psalm 25 First Reading:
As you listen, listen for a word or phrase that sticks out to you.
To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
O my God, in you I trust;
do not let me be put to shame;
do not let my enemies exult over me.
Do not let those who wait for you be put to shame;
let them be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.
Make me to know your ways, O Lord;
teach me your paths.
Lead me in your truth, and teach me,
for you are the God of my salvation;
for you I wait all day long.
Be mindful of your mercy, O Lord, and of your steadfast love,
for they have been from of old.
Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions;
according to your steadfast love remember me,
for your goodness’ sake, O Lord!
Good and upright is the Lord;
therefore he instructs sinners in the way.
He leads the humble in what is right,
and teaches the humble his way.
All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness,
for those who keep his covenant and his decrees.
Psalm 25 Second Reading:
As you listen, consider: what gift do you find in this passage? What would you like to ask God for?
Psalm 25 Third Reading:
As you listen, consider: what invitation is God extending to you in this passage? How is God inviting you to act, to pray, or to do something differently in your life?