This past Sunday for the adult forum we talked about different ways of engaging scripture. One way is by reading scripture devotionally. Other ways include looking at scripture from a historical perspective, a literary perspective, and so on. During the forum we tried one devotional method together and I’d like to share it with you this morning. 

James Martin, S.J., teaches one method of the lectio divina (sacred reading) he calls “4 questions.” The method is this: 

Read the passage slowly, maybe even out loud. Then ask yourself the first question –

  1. What does the text say? Give yourself about 5 minutes to just think about what the text says. This is a context question: What’s happening? Who is there? What is the setting? Who is the author? What is the purpose? 

Then read the passage again and ask – 

  1. What does the text say to me? Give yourself about 5 minutes again to notice what stands out to you. What feelings come up? What is happening in your body? Does it bring up memories or questions or challenges? 

Then read the passage again and ask – 

  1. What do I want to say to God about the text?  Give yourself about 5 minutes again and talk to God about what is coming up for you. Do you have a response you want to lift to God? A question? Gratitude? This is a prayer response.

Then read the passage on final time and ask – 

  1. What difference will this text make in my life?  Give yourself about 5 minutes again and reflect on what difference this passage, your reflections and prayers can or will make in your day. 

I like to finish any devotional reading with a moment of just being. Paying attention to my breath I give thanks for the time to be in God’s presence and experience God through the Word. For today I suggest you give this method a try using a passage from John 15. May your time of reading and reflection be a gift. 

In Peace, Pastor Ruth

Photo by Stefano Zocca on Unsplash

John 15:1-5 
Jesus said, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinegrower. He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing.”

Let us pray:
Gracious God, you teach us that without love, our actions gain nothing. Pour into our hearts your gift of love, that, made alive by your Spirit, we may know goodness and peace, through your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Friend. Amen.