Please read John 15:9-11 (NRSV)

9As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. 10If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.

James Martin, S.J., teaches one method of the lectio divina (sacred reading) that I know I’ve shared before that he calls “4 questions.” Practicing ways of engaging scripture is one way we can pay attention to what God is up to in our lives. For most of us, any devotional method of tending to our faith lives takes some practice. I invite you to use this method today focusing on part of our reading from Sunday, John 15:9-11 as you think about joy. 

4 Questions

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.

In Peace, Pastor Ruth

Let us pray:
Lead us, Gracious God, and shape us by the grace of Christ and the inspiration of your Holy Spirit. Open our hearts to expand our understanding of joy, that we may grow in our ability to reflect your love and grace to those we meet this day. All this we ask in the name of Christ, Amen.