The following is the text from my bulletin insert. I am designing a series of weekly inserts to help me better explain the Wesleyan Way of Discipleship. You can download a pdf of this insert at the end of blog.
This week, you are encouraged to ask a church member the following:
Can you recall a time that you were reading the Bible and the words really came to life for you? How did that affect you?
Let’s continue this week with what are referred to as individual acts of piety. These are things that we are able to do without the presence or assistance of anyone else. We don’t have to be in a certain place. We don’t have to be with a group of people. We can practice them any where and any time of the day or night.
This week I want us to consider a specific way that we can read the Bible to help us better understand its implications for our lives. I am not talking about a simple cursory reading as I suggested last week. This week I want us to consider a form of Bible Reading called lectio divina.
Linda Douty, writing a daily reflection for the Upper Room (Aug 24, 2013), says the following about Lectio Divina:
“THE ANCIENT BENEDICTINE PRACTICE OF lectio divina (literally, “spiritual reading”) can breath new life into our reading of scripture. In the context of this practice the Bible is not fixed set of words and images but the living Word of God, which enters our prayer as something dynamic and alive. In her class book on the spiritual disciplines, Marjorie Thompson’s simple translation of thee Latin words is helpful.
There are four basic phrases in the classic practice of spiritual reading, termed in Latin lectio, meditatio, oratio, and contemplatio. For a basic English equivalent, add the letter n to each. The ordering of these four phrases represents a general and often neural sequence of progression, not to be understood rigidly. In practice we can experience great fluidity between them, weaving back and forth as the Sprit moves us.
Several years ago, The Upper Room produced reminder cards that simplified the method:
1. READ a biblical passage, savoring key words.
2. REFLECT on what God may be saying to you as you read the passage again.
3. RESPOND by offering your reflection to God in prayer.
4. REST in God’s presence, being open to God’s word for you.
This time tested way of reading the Bible encourages us to move toward transformation, rather than just information, in our encounter with holy scripture. Rather than trying to capture scripture, this method allows scripture to capture us.”
I am just a simple United Methodist pastor. I am an elder in the Holston Annual Conference. This blog is my attempt to share the insights that I have gathered from John Wesley's writings and from others more knowledgable than myself in regards to Wesley. I am not a scholar. Perhaps you could best think of me as a practical theologian.