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“For the word of God is living and active. Sharper
than any double-edged sword, it penetrates
even to dividing soul and spirit,
joints and marrow;
it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s Sight.”
Hebrews 4:12-13


We often use the phrase "meditate on Scripture" but I've been wondering how does one do that.  In chapter 3 of Ruth Haley Barton’s book "Sacred Rhythms" I discovered a way to read scripture that helps me to allow what God is saying to me now, to penetrate deeply into my heart.

There are two ways we can read Scripture. The first way is to read for information, to learn more about God cognitively, involving only our minds. We can approach Scripture more like a textbook than God’s love letter to us. As we take this approach, we are the ones in control over what the Scriptures say and can miss God’s word to us for today.

Sometimes it is good to read this way. We do need to study the Scripture or read large portions a day so that we read the whole Bible in one year allowing us to see the full scope of God’s plan for us. However, if you are reading Scripture only with your mind you may find the Scriptures becoming lifeless and boring, irrelevant and obligatory. One more box you must tick off on your daily to do list.

The second way to read Scripture is for transformation, meaning that we are reading not only with our minds but also with our hearts, our emotions, our body, our curiosity, our imaginations, and our will. Reading Scripture in this way deepens our relationship with God. It is in relationship with God that our lives our transformed. Our desire is to listen to God relationally rather than seeking to learn more about him cognitively. 

In order to do this, we may need help to move us from our minds to the rest of our selves. Lectio Divina or Devotional Reading is one way to do this. Lectio Divina is based on the belief that it is through the presence of the Holy Spirit that Scripture comes alive and active. (Hebrews 4:12)

“As we make ourselves open and available to God through this
practice, the Scripture will penetrate to our very depths,
showing us those things about ourselves that we are incapable
of knowing on our own due to our well-developed defense structures. 
In the context of such radical self-knowledge, God will invite us
into our next steps with him or touch us with healing grace.
Invariably he communicates his love for us in ways
we can hear and experience beyond cognitive knowing.” (pg.55)

My hope for us during this Lenten season is that we will experience God with our whole being, grow in relationship with God and experience his love for us.

Next Week: we will look at the steps or movements in Lectio Divina. For now, consider reading a short Scripture passage slowly, even 3 or 4 times over. What do you experience? How does it make you feel to spend time with the same passage?