“It’s really a radical thing in today’s world,” he says. “Every day we are inundated with tons of information and we can become desensitized in our relationship with Jesus.”
We are in a classroom just off the rotunda in this hotel in Pittsburgh—a rag-tag bunch—coffee cups cradled just under our chins. His hair is all standing up in the back but something in his voice…in his eyes…speaks calm.
We’ve come to read scripture together. It’s a workshop on Lectio Divina and it’s the only one held at 8:00 A.M. While most of the conference attendees sleep in or laugh over coffee in the hotel café, we pull inward…quiet our thoughts.
“Lectio Divina,” he says. “It means sacred reading. We are not deconstructing or analyzing. We are enjoying the beauty of the words for themselves…”
He gives us a handout and we take it in turns to read through the description he has put together from this book. When we get to the last step, he says it again.
“This is a deeply counter cultural activity we are engaging in today,” he says.
He tells us a story about a friend who is in medical school.
“As an exercise to deepen compassion, one of his professors made the students go to an art museum and stand in front of a painting for an hour. They had to study it…notice all the details they could. For an hour.”
He smiles at me. I smile back—thinking how it would be to stand in front of this painting…let its colors and story and light draw me in, become part of the compassion in my soul. Let its beauty become part of the framework that I live my life through.
We come to the last step on the handout—Contemplatio—and beside the word he has simply typed “Be”.
“Think of having a great meal with a great friend and then sitting in silence after wards…”
I silently re-read the last lines of the description he gives of Contemplatio.
Facilitate your re-entry to your day by using a florilegium, a notebook used by monks to record what God said to them through that day’s passages. In Latin, it means “picking flowers”—preserving the beauty of what God gave you that day.
So that’s what I’ve been doing in my old yellow notebook. I feel a bit of awe inside as I think of words as flowers—as I think of my bouquet.
And when we go through the exercise…I pick a couple more. And as I turn them around and around in the light of my mind, I feel it:
And here are a few more flowers I've picked...this week's memory verses. You can download this James scripture memory card here. Last week's scripture memory card is here. You will find a link on this post for a complete set of scripture memory cards of the book of James.
with the amazing Jen:
and dear Michelle too: