Psalm 1 (and other Psalms) speaks about loving the law of the Lord, and for many years that felt stifling to me. Loving laws? That seems contradictory to my desire for relationship. But when I delve into the Psalmist David’s engagement with God, I see a relationship that is real, relevant, and brutally honest. There was something about meditating on scripture that fed David’s soul. He clearly had a sense of calling, and if he ever forgot, he had Samuel there to remind him. David put all of his emotions, his sense of being chosen, his whole life on paper, as he records his conversations with a relational God.
Over the years, I have come to understand David’s longing for God’s word, as my longing has morphed from an “I should” to “I want to,” because of the ways that God has met me in His Word. Through the practice of personal lectio divina (“Divine Reading”), I have found longed-for answers, challenging directives, and revelations that have left me breathless. For many people, reading scripture for information (facts – who, what, where, when, and why) has breathed life into the words on the page, but for me, with two degrees in theology and a life of studying scripture for information, the practice feeds a feeling of disconnect from a relational God. But when I began to read formationally, listening to the voice of my heart in the reading, and trusting that God has a specific message for me in each and every day and story, I have found that it is true that when we seek God, we will find Him. Scripture has connected to my life in whole new ways.
Lectio Divina involves little more than an open heart and a Bible. A journal to record the message God has sent, or a trusted friend with whom to share, are valuable additions. To practice lectio, prepare your heart and mind by asking for God’s Word to reach out to speak to you. Then read a short passage three times, slowly and deliberately. The first time, listen for a word or phrase that stands out to you. The second time, pay attention to the feelings that Word or phrase evokes. Then, the third reading, listen for the invitation that is being extended from God in that word or phrase.
Knowing God requires ongoing communication. In order to abide in Jesus, we must keep the lines of communication open. Reading scripture formationally is a key communication tool that opens us up to listen to God’s direction. Abiding in Jesus/the Word in person requires spending time in the written word. I don’t say that in order to guilt you into a daily “quiet time,” but to encourage you to listen to the yearning for connection that you already feel, and let God speak into it through scripture.
If you find yourself longing for a deeper connection with God, put Becoming: Immerse Weekend on your calendar. Becoming is intended to help you to discover how God is reaching out to you through the longing of your heart. =