GROWING THE LIGHT OF HOPE

WEEK 4

INTRODUCTION

Lectio Divina is an ancient way of reading scripture. The term, Lectio Divina, means holy reading because the practice is a holy time of relating to God in a personal and intimate way through scripture. This practice is very helpful in nurturing hope because it allows us to go deeply into scripture with words that we especially need to hear.


There are five parts to Lectio Divina:


PREPARE: Choose what you will read. Shorter is better than longer. Before you begin reading, it’s helpful to be intentional about what you’re doing: light a candle, take some deep breaths, pray—anything that helps you settle in and be present.


READ: Read slowly until a word or phrase catches your attention. This likely won’t be dramatic. Listen for something comforting, interesting, or puzzling.


MEDIATATE: To meditate simply means to think through and wonder about what you’ve read. The word meditate shares the same root meaning as a cow chewing her cud. When you meditate, you are chewing your spiritual cud, thoughtfully bringing out the nourishment of the words. How does the word or phrase affect you and your life situation, especially as you reflect on hope?


PRAY: Talk to God about what you have read and pondered.


PLAN: Is there an invitation or idea that came to you during this time? How will you integrate the fruits of this time into your daily life?


THIS WEEK’S SCRIPTURE

Psalm 103

Bless the Lord, O my soul,

    and all that is within me,

    bless his holy name.

Bless the Lord, O my soul,

    and do not forget all his benefits—

who forgives all your iniquity,

    who heals all your diseases,

who redeems your life from the Pit,

    who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,

who satisfies you with good as long as you live

    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

The Lord works vindication

    and justice for all who are oppressed.

He made known his ways to Moses,

    his acts to the people of Israel.

The Lord is merciful and gracious,

    slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.

He will not always accuse,

    nor will he keep his anger forever.

He does not deal with us according to our sins,

    nor repay us according to our iniquities.

For as the heavens are high above the earth,

    so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;

as far as the east is from the west,

    so far he removes our transgressions from us.





  As a father has compassion for his children,

    so the Lord has compassion for those who fear him.

For he knows how we were made;

    he remembers that we are dust.  

As for mortals, their days are like grass;

    they flourish like a flower of the field;

for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,

    and its place knows it no more.

But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting

    on those who fear him,

    and his righteousness to children’s children,

to those who keep his covenant

    and remember to do his commandments.

The Lord has established his throne in the heavens,

    and his kingdom rules over all.

Bless the Lord, O you his angels,

    you mighty ones who do his bidding,

    obedient to his spoken word.

Bless the Lord, all his hosts,

    his ministers that do his will.

Bless the Lord, all his works,

    in all places of his dominion.

Bless the Lord, O my soul.


INVITATIONS

  • You can use this week’s scripture for lectio divina. It is intentionally long and has five sections, so it gives you five days’ worth of reading. You can also use the readings from Sunday worship on First Lutheran’s website.
  • Write the words you found meaningful on a post-it note and put it where you will regularly see it: bathroom mirror, computer screen, kitchen counter, etc.
  • Learn your words by heart to keep them with you as an inner touchstone or mantra. When you need some hope, repeat them.
  • Historically, Christians practiced lectio using the same scripture for a long time. They wanted to get as much nourishment out it as possible. If your words continue to feed you, stay with them. If they don’t, move on. Poetry or the words from hymns are also good for lectio divina.


THIS WEEK’S PRAYER

Talk to God about what you have read and meditated on.