Spiritual Life Coaching – The Disciplines of Lent
Last night I invited people I was talking to about Lent to enter into a discipline of daily scripture reading. It’s not a “read through the Bible” type program and it is not a “fit it into your schedule” program – rather it is us entering into the Living Word and encountering God in the Word. There is an old practice called Lectio Davina (Latin for “Divine Reading”) is traditionally associated with the Benedictine practice of scriptural reading, meditation and prayer intended to promote our relationship with God and to experience scripture as God’s Word. It is not a textual or literary study of scripture but understanding the Word as the Living Word.
The roots of Scriptural reflection go back to Origen a 3rd century Church leader, after whom St. Ambrose introduced them to St. Augustine. The monastic practice of Lectio Divina was first established in the 6th century by Saint Benedict so it has ancient ties to our Christian life. So I invite you to this practice daily during Lent and maybe it will catch on with you the rest of the year as well.
Many people tell me that they read Scripture intermittently or hardly at all. They have “good intentions” but life gets in the way. We may even schedule it but then that gets away from us too. So consider this – don’t try to FIT IT IN to daily routine, rather FIT YOURSELF INTO the Living Word. Let reading the Word be an encounter with God. You don’t have to read a long time, or lots of chapters or books but take one passage or just a few and approach it this way:
First, we READ the scripture passage.
Second, we REFLECT/MEDITATE on its meaning.
Third, we REST/PRAY about this encounter giving special attention to listening.
Fourth, we RESPOND/CONTEMPLATE how we will live and experience the Word.
It doesn’t have to take a long time but it can bring us great meaning a way of entering the Word and not just another check-off from our list of things to do.
Let’s take Galatians 5 vs 1 for instance. Quietly take a deep breath, exhale, relax, and be open to the Word. Then read the passage, “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand fast therefore and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” Meditate on that for a moment, let the Word just sink in. Pray about what those words say to you – freedom, standing fast, not submitting, and so on. Finally, how can you experience this Living Word what will it mean for me today. Try this experience each day of Lent and let me know how you experience it.