I have turned my attention to the topic of spiritual disciplines in my celebration of the Lenten season. One discipline I'm particularly attracted to is lectio divina.
Lectio divina (“divine reading”) is a spiritual practice that involves the meditative reading of a short passage of scripture with the aim of letting God seep through the words into our thoughts. The point is not to study the passage academically, but to let God inform your understanding of scripture. It's done by reading the passage slowly several times, with each reading focused on a different layer of meaning. In between the readings, experienced lectio divina practioners leave several minutes of silence for reflection, listening, and prayer. The less monastic of us typically have trouble with the silent parts. At least I do, and often I get frustrated when I feel like I can't hear anything divine. That's been my trouble since Lent started a few weeks ago.
However, upon further reflection, I considered the experience of the communal lectio divina we occasionally perform at Urbanites meetings. We have modified the protocol slightly to share our thoughts after each round of reading and meditation. Everyone hears different aspects of the scripture passage, and it is fascinating to learn what parts stick out to different people based on their religious and cultural backgrounds, as well as their personal experiences of God. Somehow, without fail, we end up in a discussion I never could have anticipated. The passage of scripture becomes much richer when interpreted through the lens of community.
I have yet to come to some great divine insight during my individual meditation. But, when I commit to communal lectio divina, I certainly hear God and experience the Divine embodied in my fellow Urbanites.