FORMED

Week 3

Refresh Your Soul

  • In our fast-paced, chaotic world, it is easy to feel tired, weary, and burned out. There are many options available to us to find relaxation and leisure when we are worn out, but there is only one place we can turn to find the deep refreshment and renewal that our souls truly need. The goal of this week is to have our souls refreshed by the Lord as we drink deeply from the waters of God's great love for us. We want to rest in our identities in Christ and experience the joy of His beautiful salvation.

  • Formational Practice: Lectio Divina

  • *Quotes on Lectio Divina are taken from "The Good and Beautiful God" by James Bryan Smith*

  • Lectio Divina literally means "divine reading" and is a slow, intentional way of reading the Bible to open our hearts to hear what God has to say to us through His word. It can be done individually and communally.

  • "In lectio divina we turn to a passage of the Bible--usually no more than a few verses--and read it over and over, very slowly, reflecting on each word and phrase, all the while paying attention to the impact the words have on our hearts. In this way we are "praying the Scriptures." It is very different from studying Scripture, in which we come to the text to try and understand its meaning. In lectio divina, the Bible passage "studies us" (Smith, 108).

  • "How to Practice Lectio Divina

  • 1. First, select a passage of the Bible. In this specific exercise, I have chosen 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.

  • 2. Spend a minute or two just relaxing and breathing deeply.

  • 3. First reading. Read the passage through, one time, slowly. Pause between each clause (for example, "Love is patient," [pause] "love is kind," [pause]...). After you finish this first reading, be silent for a minute or two.

  • 4. Second reading. Read the text slowly once again, pausing between phrases, But this time pause even longer and be aware if any of the words or phrases catch your attention, or seem to stand out in some way. Make a mental note of those. After you finish the second reading, write down those special words or phrases.

  • 5. Third reading. Reread the passage up to the word or phrase that touched you in some way. When you reach that word or phrase, stop and repeat it a few times.

  • 6. Pondering. Reflect for a while on the phrase that moved you. Repeat it a few more times. Let the words interact with your thoughts, your memories or any other Bible passages that come to mind. Let it touch your heart, desires and fears. Begin to wonder, What might God want to say to me specifically?

  • 7. Prayer. Turn that last question into a prayer, asking God, "What is the word you have for me in this passage, God? Is there anything you want to say to me today?" Listen. Write down anything you sense God might be saying to you.

  • 8. Rest. Be still and silent for a while. Enjoy being in the presence of God. In this step you move from doing to being. Simply be for a while.

  • 9. Response. Ask yourself and God, What am I being called to do as a result of the word I have been given? Perhaps you are feeling challenged to love God more, or to accept some aspect of who you are, or to serve someone you know, or to begin changing some aspect of your character. Whatever it is, write it out. "Today God is calling me to be a more patient person. Be with me God, and teach me how." Thank God for the word and the calling you have been given." (Smith, 108-110).

  • Passage Ideas For Lectio Divina:

  • *Choose shorter passages of 4-8 verses*

  • 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

  • A portion of Ephesians 1:3-14

  • A portion of Romans 8

  • One of your favorite verses/passages

  • lectionary reading for the day from the Book of Common Prayer

  • A short section of something you are reading in the Bible this week

  • Try and practice Lectio Divina at least twice this week.

  • Other formational practice ideas:

  • Rest

  • Sleep in as late as your body needs one day this week

  • Engage restful activities- a walk, a nap, music, poetry, art, creativity.

  • Avoid activities that are draining.

  • Meditation

  • "mulling over" or "chewing on" a passage of Scripture or some truth about God.

  • Communal practice ideas: Lectio Divina with others.

  • GC ideas: Lectio Divina in GC

  • Steps for Practicing Group Lectio Divina:

  • 1. Have 1 person be the main facilitator, guiding when Scripture is read, when silence is kept, and when people share. Get 3 volunteers to read the passage of Scripture.

  • 2. Begin the time with a brief prayer and a few moments of silence.

  • 3. First Reading: First volunteer reads the passage twice.

  • a. One minute of silent reflection: "What word or phrase is standing out to me from the passage?"

  • b. Go around the room and everyone share the word or phrase without elaboration.

  • 4. Second Reading: Second volunteer reads the passage once.

  • a. One minute of silent reflection: As you reflect on your word or phrase, ask "What might God want to say to me specifically through this passage/word/phrase?"

  • b. Share briefly (about one minute maximum): What is the connection between your word/phrase and your life? What did it make you think of? (People can share randomly as they would like. Not everyone needs to share)

  • 5. Third Reading: Third volunteer reads the passage once.

  • a. One minute of silent reflection: "What might God be calling me to do in response to what He is showing me through this word or phrase?"

  • b. Share: Take a little more time than in the last step for people to share what they feel God is saying to them or calling them to do as a response. (People can share randomly as they would like. Not everyone needs to share)

  • 6. Prayer

  • Main facilitator can close in prayer, thanking God for this time together.

  • OR, multiple people can offer a brief prayer.

  • OR, go around the room and each person prays briefly for the person on their right.