Lectio Divina w/ Cara Garrity


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For this quarter of 2024, GCPodcast is shifting our focus from interviews to immersive spiritual practices. In this segment, our host Cara Garrity leads us in the ancient practice of Lectio Divinia which translates as “divine or sacred reading.” Lectio Divina is an approach to reading the scriptures while intentionally listening for the voice of God. Join us as we foster personal and communal spiritual disciplines. May our journey in Christ’s ministry be deepened as we yield to his guiding presence.

“The term Lectio Divina means divine reading, and it is a practice that originates back to the early church. One way to think about it is a practice of praying through the scriptures. It is a guided way of engaging the scriptures in an immersive, transformational way. There are four steps or four movements that we move through in the Lectio Divina. The first is reading, second is meditation, third is prayer, and fourth is contemplation.” — Cara Garrity

 

 

Main Points:

  • Reading – listen or read along. What words or phrases jump out at you? What images? [05:58]
  • Meditation – meditate on the passage and the words, phrases, images that stood out to you. Just sit with these in the presence of God and let them wash over you. What brought comfort or challenge? What do you notice? [10:08]
  • Prayer – What do you hear God saying to you through these words, phrases, images? What do you want to say to God? [14:23]
  • Contemplation – What have you received from God as you’ve prayed through this scripture passage. What is he inviting you into? What conversion of mind, heart, and life is God inviting you into? [18:51] 

    Reflection: [25:19]

      • What was this practice like for you? What challenged you? What was life giving?
      • How might this practice contribute to the growth of healthy leadership, healthy teams, and healthy church rhythms in the life of your local congregation?
      • What questions do you have about practices of praying Scripture? What do you want to know more about? 

        Resource:

Program Transcript


Lectio Divina w/ Cara Garrity

Cara Garrity: Welcome to GC Podcast, a podcast to help you develop into the healthiest ministry leader you can be by sharing practical ministry experience. In this episode, I, your host, Cara Garrity, will introduce and guide us through the practice of Lectio Divina.

What is the practice of Lectio Divina? The term Lectio Divina means divine reading, and it is a practice that originates back to the early church. One way to think about it is a practice of praying through the scriptures. It is a guided way of engaging the scriptures in an immersive, transformational way.

There are four steps or four movements that we move through in the Lectio Divina. The first is reading, second is meditation, third is prayer, and fourth is contemplation. For each of these steps of the Lectio Divina practice, we read the chosen passage of scripture and engage in it through each of these four: reading, meditation, prayer, and contemplation.

This practice of Lectio Divina can be practiced either alone, personally, or together, as a group.

In preparation, I want to invite you to open yourself to the following, as we prepare to engage this practice of Lectio Divina:

First, that Jesus, the living Word, speaks to us through his written word.

Second, I invite you to open yourself to the fact that God is a self-revealing God that wants to be known by us. He will reveal himself to us through soaking in the scriptures.

That we are invited into transformation in our relationship with God.

That God is present with us as we read his written word.

If you are doing this practice together with the group, some guidelines to help you: between each movement of the Lectio Divina, you can pause to give each member of the group a moment to share. Although, that’s not required for each person to share; it is optional.

Approach this group sharing with the posture that God speaks to us through others, in relationships with one another. As you create this space for sharing in a group Lectio Divina, it is not a space for discussion, but a space for listening. You will just want to create space for people to share, not really for response and discussion after each movement.

The last piece of the Lectio Divina that I want to mention before we guide through this practice and go through it together is that you typically want to use a shorter passage or section of scripture [with a group].

Today we are going to use a passage that comes with the RCL for this month of June, and we are going to be reading from Mark. Mark 5:21-43.

Now using the Lectio Divina along with the seasons of the worship calendar the RCL is a fun way to follow the seasons of the worship calendar. But that is not the only way to practice Lectio Divina. That is just what we are going to be doing today.

Before we get started, I want to say a prayer over us. I want to invite you to get comfortable in a quiet space. Sit, get grounded, put your feet on the floor, turn off distractions. Take a minute to quiet your mind. Even pause this podcast for 30 seconds, two minutes, just quiet yourself.

Let us pray this prayer together, titled “Help Me Listen” from Gorillas of Grace, Prayers for the Battle, written by Todd Loder.

O Holy One,
I hear and say so many words,
yet yours is the Word I need.
Speak now,
and help me listen;
and if what I hear is silence,
let it quiet me,
let it disturb me,
let it touch my need,
let it break my pride,
let it shrink my certainties,
let it enlarge my wonder.

Amen.

So, I invite you now. To participate with me in the practice of Lectio Divina using Mark 5:21-43. We are going to go through each step of the Lectio Divina together.

[05:58] So again, I invite you to quiet yourself. Sit in a comfortable position. You can close your eyes if that is what is comfortable to you. We are going to start with the first step, which is the reading. You can just listen along to my reading. You can follow along if that is what is most comfortable to you.

The question I want you to think about as you listen or read along is what word or phrases jump out at you? What images in this passage speak to you? Let us read.

21 When Jesus had again crossed over by boat to the other side of the lake, a large crowd gathered around him while he was by the lake. 22 Then one of the synagogue leaders, named Jairus, came, and when he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet. 23 He pleaded earnestly with him, “My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.” 24 So Jesus went with him.

A large crowd followed and pressed around him. 25 And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. 26 She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. 27 When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, 28 because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” 29 Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.

30 At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?”

31 “You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’ ”

32 But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. 33 Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. 34 He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”

35 While Jesus was still speaking, some people came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. “Your daughter is dead,” they said. “Why bother the teacher anymore?”

36 Overhearing what they said, Jesus told him, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”

37 He did not let anyone follow him except Peter, James and John the brother of James. 38 When they came to the home of the synagogue leader, Jesus saw a commotion, with people crying and wailing loudly. 39 He went in and said to them, “Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep.” 40 But they laughed at him.

After he put them all out, he took the child’s father and mother and the disciples who were with him, and went in where the child was. 41 He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum!” (which means “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”). 42 Immediately the girl stood up and began to walk around (she was twelve years old). At this they were completely astonished. 43 He gave strict orders not to let anyone know about this, and told them to give her something to eat.

What word or phrases jump out at you? What images? What connects with you as you hear and read this passage? Take a moment, pause the podcast for a minute or two. What connects you?

[10:08] Now, together, let us move on to meditation. We will read the passage once more, this time meditate on the words, the phrases, the images that stood out to you. And just sit with these images in the presence of God.

Let them wash over you. What brings you comfort or challenge? What do you notice as you sit with this image, with these phrases, as you meditate on them?

21 When Jesus had again crossed over by boat to the other side of the lake, a large crowd gathered around him while he was by the lake. 22 Then one of the synagogue leaders, named Jairus, came, and when he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet. 23 He pleaded earnestly with him, “My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.” 24 So Jesus went with him.

A large crowd followed and pressed around him. 25 And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. 26 She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. 27 When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, 28 because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” 29 Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.

30 At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?”

31 “You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’ ”

32 But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. 33 Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. 34 He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”

35 While Jesus was still speaking, some people came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. “Your daughter is dead,” they said. “Why bother the teacher anymore?”

36 Overhearing what they said, Jesus told him, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”

37 He did not let anyone follow him except Peter, James and John the brother of James. 38 When they came to the home of the synagogue leader, Jesus saw a commotion, with people crying and wailing loudly. 39 He went in and said to them, “Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep.” 40 But they laughed at him.

After he put them all out, he took the child’s father and mother and the disciples who were with him, and went in where the child was. 41 He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum!” (which means “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”). 42 Immediately the girl stood up and began to walk around (she was twelve years old). At this they were completely astonished. 43 He gave strict orders not to let anyone know about this, and told them to give her something to eat.

What have you noticed as you meditate on the words, phrases, and images that stood out to you?

What has brought you comfort? What has challenged you? What have you seen in a new light? What do you relate to?

[14:23] Now, let us move on to prayer together. As we listen to this passage, again, come with a posture of prayer. What do you hear God saying to you through these words, these phrases, these images that have stood out to you?

What is God saying to you through these scriptures, the living Word through his spoken word? What do you want to say to God? What praises do you have to lift? What thanksgiving? What petitions?

Let us approach his written words with a posture of prayer.

21 When Jesus had again crossed over by boat to the other side of the lake, a large crowd gathered around him while he was by the lake. 22 Then one of the synagogue leaders, named Jairus, came, and when he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet. 23 He pleaded earnestly with him, “My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.” 24 So Jesus went with him.

A large crowd followed and pressed around him. 25 And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. 26 She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. 27 When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, 28 because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” 29 Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.

30 At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?”

31 “You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’ ”

32 But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. 33 Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. 34 He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”

35 While Jesus was still speaking, some people came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. “Your daughter is dead,” they said. “Why bother the teacher anymore?”

36 Overhearing what they said, Jesus told him, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”

37 He did not let anyone follow him except Peter, James and John the brother of James. 38 When they came to the home of the synagogue leader, Jesus saw a commotion, with people crying and wailing loudly. 39 He went in and said to them, “Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep.” 40 But they laughed at him.

After he put them all out, he took the child’s father and mother and the disciples who were with him, and went in where the child was. 41 He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum!” (which means “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”). 42 Immediately the girl stood up and began to walk around (she was twelve years old). At this they were completely astonished. 43 He gave strict orders not to let anyone know about this, and told them to give her something to eat.

What have you heard speaking to you through this passage? What rises in you to speak to God as you hear this passage read?

[18:51] Finally, let us enter a phase of contemplation. What have you received from God as you have prayed through this scripture? What might he be inviting you into? What transformation, conversion of mind, heart, and life is God inviting you into? How is he meeting you right now in his presence during this passage and drawing you deeper into who he is transforming you to the image of Christ?

21 When Jesus had again crossed over by boat to the other side of the lake, a large crowd gathered around him while he was by the lake. 22 Then one of the synagogue leaders, named Jairus, came, and when he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet. 23 He pleaded earnestly with him, “My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.” 24 So Jesus went with him.

A large crowd followed and pressed around him. 25 And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. 26 She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. 27 When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, 28 because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” 29 Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.

30 At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?”

31 “You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’ ”

32 But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. 33 Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. 34 He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”

35 While Jesus was still speaking, some people came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. “Your daughter is dead,” they said. “Why bother the teacher anymore?”

36 Overhearing what they said, Jesus told him, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”

37 He did not let anyone follow him except Peter, James and John the brother of James. 38 When they came to the home of the synagogue leader, Jesus saw a commotion, with people crying and wailing loudly. 39 He went in and said to them, “Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep.” 40 But they laughed at him.

After he put them all out, he took the child’s father and mother and the disciples who were with him, and went in where the child was. 41 He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum!” (which means “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”). 42 Immediately the girl stood up and began to walk around (she was twelve years old). At this they were completely astonished. 43 He gave strict orders not to let anyone know about this, and told them to give her something to eat.

Take a moment, pause the podcast.

What have you received from God as you have prayed through the scripture? What may he be inviting you into? What conversion, transformation of mind, heart, life, is God inviting you into?

Now let us pray.

Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we thank you so much that you are a God who wants to be known by us. We thank you for revealing yourself to us. We thank you that you are a God that is present with us. We thank you for your written words. We thank you for speaking to us through your written words.

We thank you for transforming us through your written words and we thank you for this practice of Lectio Divina. I thank you for all the ways that you have spoken to each one of us personally and communally. As we engage in your written word in this way, as we pray through your scriptures in the confidence that it is your living Word that brings them to life, that it is your living Word that transforms us as we read, that it is your living Word that draws us in to life everlasting, that it is your living Word that brings all of this meaning.

We thank you, God. We thank you for being present here with us. And we thank you for the wisdom of the church historical, for this practice of sitting quietly at your feet, meditating on your scriptures, spending time with you, allowing you to transform us, speak to us, form us more into your image as your people, your image bearers here.

We thank you and praise you for being so faithful to guide us and we pray this in your holy and wonderful name, amen.

[25:19] Now I invite you all to reflect on a few questions. Whether on your own, or if you are going through this Lectio Divina practice with a group, or even your leadership team, let us reflect on some questions together. You can pause this podcast in between each question to give yourself as much time as you need to reflect in the ways that you need to. You can journal these reflections. You can discuss them if you are in a group, whatever is beneficial to you.

The first question I want us to think about as we have gone through this practice of the Lectio Divina together is what was this practice like for you? What challenged you? What was life giving about this practice?

The second question I want us to reflect on is how might this practice contribute to the growth of healthy leadership, healthy teams, and healthy church rhythms in the life of your local congregation?

Finally, what more do you want to know about practices of praying the scriptures? How might you go about learning or immersing yourself in such practices?

I want to thank you for joining me today and going through this guided practice of the Lectio Divina, whether it was the first time for you, and this was a new practice, or whether it was the 50th or 100th time for you.

Thank you for joining me. This is a wonderful and beautiful transformative practice that the church has held for many generations. Until next time, you all keep on living and sharing the gospel.


Thank you for listening to this episode of GC Podcast. We hope you found this time valuable. We would love to hear from you. Email us at info@gci.org with your suggestions or feedback. And remember, healthy churches start with healthy leaders, so invest in yourself and in your leaders.

 

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