All posts tagged: lectio divina

Sacramentality of Time and Pastoral Asceticism of Presence

“Time is precious.” “My time is valuable.” “Time is money.” “Do you have any free time?” We have commodified time. We “spend time,” “save time,” “make time,” “waste time,” “kill time.” Time is the water we swim in, the air we breathe, and so we take it for granted. We forget that it is granted, that it is entrusted to us as a gift that we are to steward and return to our Giver. We have forgotten that the economy of time is woven tightly together with the economy of salvation, “as if,” in the words of Henry David Thoreau, “you could kill time without injuring eternity.”[1] Pastoral ministers of the Church, of all people, should know that we are made for eternity—that, though in time, we are not ruled by time. Yet we, too, live under what Charles Hummel calls “the tyranny of the urgent.”[2] Robert J. Wicks, author of Availability: The Challenge and the Gift of Being Present, writes: Some of us are ‘too available.’ Thus, true availability becomes watered down. We become …

An image of Jesus Christ in blue and gold. He holds the Scriptures in his hands.

Lectio Divina with Middle Schoolers

Lectio Divina, or praying with Scripture, is one of my favorite forms of prayer. Taking time to read a passage of the Bible, meditate on what it might be saying for my own life, and responding in prayer to God has been an enjoyable and fruitful part of my spiritual practice since I was introduced to Lectio in high school. Perhaps because of the way I was taught to pray Lectio Divina, I have always been very quick to latch onto one word or phrase in the passage. Being taught how to meditate on Scripture as a high school student, this was a very helpful way to direct my thoughts and truly have a personal interaction with the text. Focusing on one word or phrase allowed me to make the passage personal, instead of just thinking about the most common interpretation. So, naturally, I emphasize this a lot while leading Lectio Divina in my classroom (at the start of class every Monday). When we get to the slide for step 2, “Meditate,” I read or …

A drawing of Christ crucified upon a wall of a Protestant Church in France

A Man Died Here, and He Is My Brother

In 1937, Abel Meeropol, a teacher in New York City, wrote a poem and a song that echoed through the country: Southern trees bear a strange fruit: Blood on the leaves and blood at the root, Black bodies swingin’ in the Southern breeze, Strange fruit hangin’ from the poplar trees.   Pastoral scene of the gallant South: The bulgin’ eyes and the twisted mouth, Scent of magnolias sweet and fresh, Then the sudden smell of burnin’ flesh,   Here is a fruit for the crows to pluck, For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck, For the sun to rot, for the tree to drop: Here is a strange and bitter crop. When I first heard this song a few years ago, my body could barely handle it. I shook; I was angry; I was profoundly sad. Made famous by Billie Holiday, the first version I heard was by Nina Simone. Her voice like a knife, sharp, unpleasant, cutting through my heart. It unleashed something within me, a primal need to do something. …