All around me people sipped steaming coffee and scrolled away on their electronic devices. They were oblivious. But I could not have sensed Jesus' presence more clearly if he'd sat down in the chair across from me.
I came alone to the coffee shop. My mission: to attempt the spiritual discipline of lectio divina. The intimidating Latin name, combined with the suggested component of burning incense screamed weird to me when I learned about it in Sunday School, but I couldn't shake the nagging feeling that I should try it.
Bible study is a normal part of my routine, but I tend to go to the Word with a preconceived plan. Sometimes I want answers for raising my children. Sometimes I need to prepare a discussion topic. And, quite frankly, sometimes I just want to read a few verses and check it off my list for the day. Lectio divina does not allow that.
The English translation of lectio divina is "divine reading." It is a classic spiritual discipline of Scripture reading, meditation, and prayer. According to M. Robert Mulholland Jr. in his book Invitation to a Journey, when practicing Lectio Divina we are not to take an analytical approach to the passage but are to be mastered by God for the fulfillment of his purposes in us and through us. We are to shift within ourselves from What do I want to learn from this text? to What does God want to teach me through this text?
I finally gave in to the relentless nudge and wrote LECTIO DIVINA in orange block letters on my dry erase calendar. When the scheduled day arrived and those two words leapt off the calendar at me, I felt obliged to follow through.1