Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Urban Meditation: My First Lectio Divina with Emerging Christianity

I loved my first experience of lectio divina in the Urban Meditation series of the DC Emerging Christianity Meetup last night. It perfectly balanced a key polarity I wrestle with in The Bishop and the Seeker: Following our hearts vs. following scripture.

Divine Reading
Eight of us gathered in an architectural gem of an apartment building just off 16th street in Mount Pleasant. Coordinator Glenn Zuber started by reading from the work of Basil Pennington, a Cisterian monk who brings contemplative practices into the lives of spiritual seekers. Genn told us that we would hear a scripture four times, each time from a different perspective or level. We were not to analyze or figure out its meaning, but simply let the "living Word" speak to us directly--to experience "union or communion with God."

Glenn Zuber
Glenn did a masterful job of setting the tone by lighting a candle and guiding us through a visualization of releasing concerns to be fully present. Then he read Matthew 20: 20-27. In this New Testament scripture, the mother of James and John asks Jesus to make high places for her sons in his kingdom. After each reading of the story, we sat in silence, told our experience, or contemplated a piece of art depicting the story. Then we each wrote a brief prayer capturing our intention or request about what the reading illumined for us. We could choose for this prayer to be our "homework" for the week ahead.

My Intuition is Your Holy Spirit
This is it, I thought. This is a perfect synthesis of the two points of view Bishop Thomas and I took in our book's chapter, "My Intuition is your Holy Spirit."  I start by arguing that no holy book can cover every modern scenario, we must each follow our hearts. He tapped into my own doubts by countering that we never have clear vision or motivations; we must rely on a "standard" that stays firm. And while I think of that standard as the world's wisdom traditions--including the Bible but also science, I came to realize the truth in what he said. We need an "all quadrant" perspective of sources, as Integral theory says (inner & outer, self & group). Bishop Thomas and I then had a great discussion about the Holy Spirit as the dynamic force that brings to life the static standard of the Bible. This practice is a beautiful way to integrate them, I thought.

The mother of the sons of Zebedee presents her boys to Jesus. My eye was captured by that
perfect sphere on the right. And what is that thing on the bottom right, anyway?
After the session, our hosts Ruth and Jose served us pasta, wine, and a loaf of whole grain bread. While casual, the meal retained a sacred glow. Lectio divina (divine reading) is definitely a practice I want to integrate in the Integral Life Practices group of my Intergal Emergence Meetup.

See more about Genn Zuber's work in this post: Networking with Emerging Christianity. Why isn't there a Meetup like this in every city?

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