Dear Friends in Christ,

Our Monday night book study group ends every session with doing a “lectio divina” on the upcoming week’s Gospel lesson. If you’re familiar with this technique you’ll probably want to skip ahead to the third paragraph, but I don’t want to miss this opportunity to share this approach to discerning the Spirit’s guidance through scripture with the rest of the congregation.

Lectio Divina is a technique in which you read a passage three times. After the first reading, you pause and sit with what you read in silence, paying attention to anything you feel moving in your body, mind, or spirit. After the second reading, you name any word or phrase that jumps out at you. Finally, after a third reading, you ask yourself this question: “How is God speaking to me through these words right now?” I encourage any and all of you to try this exercise, starting with a passage you’re fond of, to see if anything resonates.

Anyway, on Monday after the second reading there was an opportunity for anyone present to speak aloud their chosen word or phrase. Typically, the responses are quite varied as different things stick out to different people. This time though half the room (including myself) said at once: “He does not know how,” referring to someone in Jesus’s parable who scatters seeds knowing not how they sprout and grow. What struck us all was the notion that God acts in ways that are beyond our knowing and causes great things to grow with minimal input from us.

This calls us to a faith in things unknown—in something we can’t see and something we fail to understand. Paul echoes this theology in another of this week’s readings: “We walk by faith, not by sight.”

My answer to “How does this passage speak to me” is that it increases my sense of awe at what God is doing. With the little bit of stewardship humanity can offer, God continues the work of creation, bringing new things from the earth to nourish and delight us. This also draws my attention to the work, demanding that I notice God’s magnificent creation and driving my gratitude.

This passage ends  emphasizing that Jesus teaches using parables—as intentionally inscrutable and elusive a method as there ever was. Since reading over the parables time and time again leaves me coming up with new ways to think about them, I’m compelled to keep asking “How does this speak to me.” And so I ask you, what work is God doing with you and around you? How do these teachings of Jesus continue speaking to you?


Fr. Steve

This Sunday’s Lessons: