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See How the Lord Speaks: a fresh look at an old idea of how to read scripture

Reading Scripture is always an invitation from the Lord, right? We read with expectancy, with soft hearts. Maybe you were taught to read Scripture in a particular way: a Psalm and a Proverb a day; five chapters a day; inductive style with questions and observations; sit in silence and mull until you have a divine revelation (pressure, much?).

Over the years, I have read Scripture a myriad of ways, and they all have their place and season. But something shifted for me when I started the classical method of Lectio Divina: "reading, thinking, praying, and living Scripture with the intention of inviting an infinite, omniscient God into your life--as it is, no gloss, no veneer ... it teaches you to absorb and meditate on Scripture, converse with God openly, and to live out what has become a part of you--His word" (Eugene H. Peterson).

I felt guided as I read Scripture—given permission to ponder, to wait, to listen. I felt like I was digesting the Word instead of skimming along or trying to make seminarian observations of the passage (which after I did this in seminary for a grade, it became less invitational and impersonal). The Bible is wholistic--it's not just about "making the wise decision" or "avoiding sin" but rather it is a collection of small books that addresses the whole person--our minds, our bodies, our emotions. Lectio Divina is a way in which you can engage your entire self in the Word of God, a way you can truly be transformed.

I invite you to try it--and see how the Lord speaks and brings that divine revelation.

Here is a sample from Solo by Eugene H. Peterson

JUSTICE SERVED  Esther 7:3-10

Take some time before you begin to sit in silence. Let your thoughts settle. Now read the passage once silently.

Queen Esther answered, "If I have found favor in your eyes, O King, and if it please the king, give me my life, and give my people their lives.

"We’ve been sold, I and my people, to be destroyed--sold to be massacred, eliminated. If we had just been sold off into slavery, I wouldn't even have brought it up; our troubles wouldn't have been worth bothering the king over."

King Xerxes exploded, "Who? Where is he? This is monstrous!"

6  "An enemy. An adversary. This evil Haman," said Esther.
Haman was terror-stricken before the king and queen.

7-8 The king, raging, left his wine and stalked out into the palace garden.
Haman stood there pleading with Queen Esther for his life--he could see that the king was finished with him and that he was doomed. As the king came back from the palace garden into the banquet hall, Haman was groveling at the couch on which Esther reclined. The king roared out, "Will he even molest the queen while I'm just around the corner?"
When that word left the king's mouth, all the blood drained from Haman's face.

Harbona, one of the eunuchs attending the king, spoke up: "Look over there! There's the gallows that Haman had built for Mordecai, who saved the king's life. It's right next to Haman's house--seventy-five feet high!"
The king said, "Hang him on it!"

10 So Haman was hanged on the very gallows that he had built for Mordecai. And the king's hot anger cooled.

Read this story of justice being served again, this time aloud. Listen specifically for a word or phrase that touches your heart in some way. When you finish reading, close your eyes. Recall the word and sit quietly, mulling it over. After a few moments, write the word down. Don't explain it or say more about it; just note it.

Read the passage aloud again, this time looking for a person or an action that accentuates your internal picture of God's justice or heightens your understanding of how he governs the world. Perhaps it will be Haman's response of his fate or King Xerxes' authoritative command. How is this depiction of God's justice meaningful to you today? Again sit in silence. Briefly note what comes to you.

Read the text one final time. This time, listen for what God, through the text, is inviting you to do or become. Perhaps he is offering a new perspective on how he cares when unjust things happen to you, just as King Xerxes was outraged to discover the threat to Esther's people. Or maybe you sense God is calling you to take a stand for justice in a particular situation, like Esther did. Write down what you are being invited to do.

Solo by Eugene H. Peterson
Soul Shepherding website

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