Monday, February 13, 2006

Stop, Reflect, Listen & Pray

This afternoon we listened to scripture. We started with the first Psalm found in the first testament or Old Testament of the Bible. The assignment was to read it repeatedly and listen to the passage. This is the ancient practice of lectio divina (spiritual reading) of which I am quite familiar and maybe I will share about another time. You are familiar, too, with lectio but you may not realize it. Here is an example. For the past several weeks my faith community has been listening to a passage read orally from different voices and different languages. This is a form of sacred reading. Usually in the reading and re-reading of scripture a word or a phrase is especially meaningful. You mediatate upon that word or phrase. Then, you offer it back to God as a prayer.

Here is what I experienced. I wanted to get outside, but all I found in this concrete city was an outdoor burger joint called Rick's Burgers. I couldn't hear the passage for the noise of traffic, the crying of a newborn, and conversations in other languages. City life. My focus was on verse four: the one who meditates on the instruction of God is like a tree planted by streams of water. This is one of my favorite images - a tree that has the bennefit of unlimitted water. I realized that trees always thrive along a riverbed. In fact, I had seen trees snaking their way across the country supported by water they did not dig for or channel.

People are like trees. We grow where the water is. The city is a collecting place of people. A busy street corner is a place to give water. The gathering of believers cannot become a sheltered tank of water. It must be outside, on the streets, where the thirsty people live. I want to take the water to the people and help them grow.

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