I love to spend time in God’s love letter, the Bible. And one of my favorite ways to do that is by using a lectio divina approach. Lectio divina means divine or spiritual reading in Latin. It is a quiet, prayerful practice where we invite the Holy Spirit to open the ears of our hearts in order to hear God's still small voice speaking to us through His Word. It is not a discipline meant to master the Word or to acquire new information or knowledge, it is, as Henri Nouwen calls it, reading the Bible on your knees...where we allow the Word to descend from our minds into our hearts and become a personal word to us.
But, quieting ourselves and listening for God's whisper isn't an easy thing for us to do in our hurry-up, commotion-filled world. Yet, it is so vital to our spiritual well-being. So...I would like to issue an invitation to you today to carve out some time over the next several days to walk with me through the book of Ruth...lectio divina-style.
The first thing you are going to need, if you accept my invitation, is a quiet little corner to meet with God. It may be out on your back porch or on a comfy couch in your living room, but, quiet is the operative word here. Try to make that space as interruption-free as possible. It should be a set-apart place where you enter, as it were, the Holy of Holies to meet with your Savior.
Have a journal and pen with you. Throughout this experience you may feel compelled to stop and write something that touches, convicts, or challenges your heart. Or you might want to dialogue with God, writing out a prayer or words that you sense He may be speaking to you.
Once you enter this space, take a minute or two to quiet your spirit. Ask the Savior to silence the voices that may whisper to you from time to time to draw your attention away; and ask the Spirit to open the ears of your heart so that you may be attentive to His voice alone.
Open your Bible to the book of Ruth. (Her story lies about halfway between Genesis and the Psalms.) Slowly read through the first chapter. I like to read it out loud just to get the gist of it.
Go back and read that first chapter again. As you do, be aware of a verse (or verses) or a phrase (phrases) that stand out to you. As you sit with that verse(s) or phrase(s), you may want to pull out your journal and jot down what it is about them that impacts you.
Now take a few minutes to go back through the passage again and as your read it, pay attention to a word (or words) that seem touch your heart. Take some time to sit quietly with that word(s). Have your journal handy in case you want to write out any thoughts or feelings that come to your mind.
Take some time to dialogue back and forth with God about your thoughts. You may do this as a silent prayer, out loud or by writing both your thoughts and His...in your journal. (I like to insert my name into the dialogue.)
As your time comes to a close, try to stay a few minutes longer in the silence and simply rest in His presence, before going out to meet the day.