Lectio Divina is the Latin for ‘Holy Reading’ and was a form and approach to praying with Scripture that was common among medieval religious orders. The value of Lectio Divina was rediscovered in the twentieth century.
Essentially Lectio Divina involves taking a short passage of Scripture and pondering it. This can be done alone or in a group, and normally involves prolonged periods of silence.
Choose a reader. The reader will read the text through four times, slowly, with a time of silence between each reading. Allow the words to wash over you. Be present. What is God saying to you right here and now? Open yourself to His Words.
From the fourth chapter of the Gospel of John:
“Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water?”
Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water. . .”
Vinyl records are made by cutting grooves or ruts into the vinyl. The record (at this point called a lacquer) is placed on the cutting machine where electronic signals from the master recording travel to a cutting head, which holds a stylus or needle. The needle etches a groove into the record that spirals to the center of the circular disc. The imprinted lacquer is then sent to a production company, where it is coated in metal, such as silver or nickel, to create a metal master.
Our lives also operate in grooves. We operate a certain way, day after day after day. Sometimes our grooves — our habits, our ways of being — create beautiful music. Sometimes our grooves are more like ruts — they create sounds that are less inviting, even harsh.
Lent is a season in which we are invited to break out of the ruts we may have fallen into, by changing up our habits, and acknowledging that our lives, by God’s grace, do not have to fall into ruts that are etched in metal or stone.
We can be changed.
Grab a record, feel its edges, its grooves, its texture. Imagine the music it creates. Consider your own present practices:
— what are the grooves that create music? How can you nourish them?
— what are the ruts that you would like to get out of? Consider ways you can change your present practices. What are new grooves you could create? What space might open up if you change a current habit?
God thank you for this life you given me.
I cherish the music you have allowed me to hear, as well as to create.
Forgive me for the ruts that increase the chaotic noise of the world.
Free me to live into grooves of grace that create beautiful music.
Music that sings of you.
In Christ, Amen.
Thou Shepherd of Israel, and mine
Charles Wesley, 1757
Thou Shepherd of Israel, and mine,
The joy and desire of my heart,
For closer communion I pine,
I long to reside where thou art:
The pasture I languish to find
Where all, who their Shepherd obey,
Are fed, on thy bosom reclined,
And screened from the heat of the day.
Ah! show me that happiest place,
The place of thy people’s abode,
Where saints in an ecstasy gaze,
And hang on a crucified God;
Thy love for a sinner declare,
Thy passion and death on the tree:
My spirit to Calvary bear,
To suffer and triumph with thee.
‘Tis there, with the lambs of thy flock,
There only, I covet to rest,
To lie at the foot of the rock,
Or rise to be hid in thy breast;
‘Tis there I would always abide,
And never a moment depart,
Concealed in the cleft of thy side,
Eternally held in thy heart.
Choose a reader to read the regular type, communal response in bold.
Brigid of Ireland
Brigid is believed to have been the daughter of a pagan Scottish king and a Christian Pictish slave. Even as a child, she was known to have a generous spirit and a compassionate, tender heart and was drawn to help the poor, the hungry, and the cold. Eventually Brigid’s father decided she must be married or taken into someone else’s household, because he could no longer afford to keep her (especially in light of her excessive giving to the poor, which he feared would be the ruin of him). Brigid refused marriage and became a nun with seven other women. At Kildare, she founded a double monastery for monks and nuns, assisted by a bishop. The perpetual fire at the monastery became a symbol of its hospitality and constant, undying devotion to God and the poor.
O Lord, let my soul rise up to meet you As the day rises to meet the sun.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.
Come, let us bow down and bend the knee: let us kneel before the LORD our maker. We are happy to be your children, O Lord: make us happier still to extend the table.
Happy are they who have not walked in the counsel of the wicked: nor lingered in the way of sinners, nor sat in the seats of the scornful! Their delight is in the law of the LORD: and they meditate on his law day and night. They are like trees planted by streams of water, bearing fruit in due season, with leaves that do not wither: everything they do shall prosper.
Brigid of Ireland said, “I would like the angels of Heaven to be among us. I would like an abundance of peace. I would like full vessels of charity. I would like rich treasures of mercy. I would like cheerfulness to preside over all. I would like Jesus to be present.”
We are happy to be your children, O Lord: make us happier still to extend the table. Prayer:
Lord, help us to welcome every guest as if we were welcoming you, delighting in their presence and ready to learn what good news they bring to us. Amen.
Blessing: May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you:
wherever he may send you;
May he guide you through the wilderness:
protect you through the storm;
May he bring you home rejoicing:
at the wonders he has shown you;
May he bring you home rejoicing:
once again into our doors.
— reading taken from Common Prayer: a Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals
Life is busy. Commitments pull us in many directions. Responsibilities attempt to smother us. We seek to make a living, to live. To love, to give. Yet so much seems to get in the way of what we are seeking.
What is it that has you preoccupied, worried, anxious?
Take a cup, fill it with water. Imagine the cleansing that water brings, the life it provides. Take a tablet from the dish. Feel its edges, its texture. See it as a representation of all that has you worried and anxious.
Drop it in the water. As the tablet dissolves, allow your worry to dissolve with it. Give it to God and trust in Him.
“Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you.”
—1 Peter 5:7
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?”
— Matthew 6:25
God thank you for this life you given me.
Receive my worries, my cares, my concerns.
Recently at Watershed we attempted to cultivate a unique worship experience, specifically for Lent.
We called it ‘The Monastery Experience’, making use of the old, late-1800’s space recently restored in the Village at Grand Traverse Commons – our collective home as a faith community. In the brick-lined hallways and arches, it was easy to imagine ourselves in a monastery in ancient times.
Various stations were set up at which one was able to stop and have a contemplative worship experience. A nice group of people attended, from our own community and beyond. Young, old, and in-between walked the halls and spent time worshiping, reflecting, absorbing. In the background we had chant playing from Benedictine and Gregorian monks. As it echoed through the halls we were truly transported to another place.
There will be a page for each station on this site, and you are invited to experience this powerful event for yourself.
LENT: the monastery experience
Lent is about making space for God. This morning, we have created a monastery-like setting in which you are invited to consider the ways you can empty yourself, and create more space for God.
There are eight stations setup in the lower mercato area. Imagine you are entering a monastery. Act with the reverence you would have on such an occasion.
Some stations will work best by yourself, others will work better in a group.
Instructions will be provided at each station. You may want to experience each station, or a few, or some more than once. Don’t worry about rushing from one to the next – be present in each space. You may start at the end, and work forward, or the front and move back, or in any order you choose. When you are finished with a station, quietly move to the next.