A small group of high school seniors meets at our house on Monday evenings. Every week, they gather with Julie and me on our couches in the basement, munching popcorn and drinking Diet Coke. We've spent the year trying to get our arms around the entire Bible, reading a chapter each week from Walt Wangerin's novelized version called The Book of God.
But deep in the heart of a Minnesota winter, our group has fallen into a rut. Everyone comes every week, but most aren't reading the chapter consistently. We've been reading from the Old Testament for almost six months. Although we're just about to make the turn into the New Testament, I figure a one-week diversion will help. After our college updates and a brief report on Jeremiah from Katy (the only person who read the chapter), it's almost nine o'clock. We're ready to start lectio divina.
All the members of our small group have done lectio divina before, so they know the drill. I start by reminding them about contemplative prayer: "We've all got a lot on our minds tonight, me included. Chad's got a math quiz tomorrow, Julie's got a busy day with the kids, Charlie's got his internship, and I've got meetings from 7:30 a.m. until 9 p.m. All of our activities will try to creep into our lectio divina. When this happens, don't get upset with yourself. Just gently repel the distractions. This is all about us getting quiet and listening for God. Ultimately, it's about resting in God's love."
A couple of the kids have their eyes closed as I'm saying these things. Some are shifting on their couches, getting comfortable. Others find their cell phones and turn them off. ...