Out of the Shallows

Have you read a good book lately?  Have you read The Good Book lately?  Christian writer and contemplative, Henri Nouwen said this about the need for spiritual reading:

Spiritual reading is good for our souls.  As we slowly let the words of the Bible or a good spiritual book enter into our minds and descend into our hearts, we become different people.  The Word gradually becomes flesh in us and transforms our whole beings.  Thus spiritual reading is a continuing incarnation of the divine Word within us.  In and through Jesus, the Christ, God became flesh long ago.  In and through our reading of God’s word and our reflection on it, God becomes flesh in us now and makes us into living Christs for today.  ( from Bread for the Journey-devotional for April 16)

That puts a new spin on the phrase “ Word become flesh.”  When we read scripture it becomes a seed that sinks deeply into the soil of our beings, and the divine word becomes part of us.  That is a powerful reason for us to participate in the ancient practice of lectio divina, or sacred reading.  This is not just about acquiring knowledge or gathering information about the Bible.   Nouwen would say that as we read spiritual things in a spiritual way, we open our hearts to God’s voice.  

It is not in vogue these days to read and think deeply about things.  I recently picked up a book by Nicholas Carr entitled: The Shallows:  What the Internet is Doing to our Brains.  Basically his point is that constant and quick access to information on search engines like Google is turning us into shallow thinkers.  As the book jacket says, “We are becoming more adept at scanning and skimming, but what we are losing is our capacity for concentration, contemplation, and reflection. “  Carr is certainly not writing from a Christian perspective, but those three qualities are at the heart of a faithful life.

On Monday nights starting in October we will revive the ancient practice of lectio divina…sacred reading and prayerful reflection.   We belong not to the world, but to God…so it is on God’s holy word that we base our lives and actions.   Devise a plan for reading and meditation that works for you.  Join us in one of our Sunday study groups, or join us Monday nights.   Suggest to me a time and format for a new study group that suits your needs.  Find a partner with whom you covenant to spend a few minutes a week in devotional reading and prayer.  I would be happy to make suggestions as to how this might work. 

In the words of the prophet Isaiah:   “ Morning by morning he wakens—wakens my ear to listen as those who are taught. “   Let the word become flesh in you.  I look forward to the fall and new opportunities to grow as disciples.