This week’s eNewsletter Feature
was written by Rev. Amanda Golbek
FPCE minister of children and youth.
We are so close to entering the final week of our journey to Easter.
Maybe Lent has felt long to you, or maybe it is has flown by. It definitely has felt different. Different than last year, for sure, in the context of significantly less restrictive COVID protocols. This year different in the context of a raging, incomprehensible war. Every day seeming different in the context of a new “normal” unfolding.
Lent this year has been its own unique journey, and, yet, it is easy to find ourselves going through the motions of this season, without much thought to the enduring significance and meaning it holds in our faith lives as disciples. While the traditional rhythms of discipleship are helpful, they also can lull us into complacency and apathy if we aren’t careful. Every year, we walk the journey of Advent, of Christmas, of Lent, Easter, and Pentecost. Every year, we hear the pivotal Scripture stories of God’s work in the world, and, before we know it, our reaction and intention can become muted.
The danger of such a reaction is that we are denying one of the most life-giving characteristics of God: that God is revealing new truths to each and every one of us throughout our faith journeys, every single day. The familiar Scriptures we remember each and every year, the seasons we walk through, are not simply an act of remembering what God did, but are acts of acknowledging what God is still doing in our lives and in the world at large today. We walk through these seasons each and every year as they are cues and calls to open ourselves to God’s continued, ongoing revelation.
This Sunday is Palm Sunday. Once again, we will begin walking the final stretch to the Cross. In the coming Holy Week, we will hear Scriptures that many of us have heard numerous times. Our challenge is to listen, encounter, and reflect on these texts as though we are hearing and reading them for the first time.
One way I encourage meeting the Scriptures with fresh ears and eyes is through a spiritual practice called Lectio Divina, a discipline first introduced by St. Gregory of Nyssa and St. Benedict of Nursia in the fourth and fifth centuries.
The practice has four parts to it: After finding a quiet spot, you read the scripture (Lectio). This first reading is an opportunity to simply get to know the Scripture. Then you spend time in silence, after which you read the Scripture again. This time you are reflecting on the scripture (Meditatio). What might God be saying? What stands out to you? Then, following another time of silence, you read the Scripture for a third time. After this reading, you respond to the Scripture (Oratio); this can take on the form of journaling or open prayer with God. What are you learning through this scripture? What is God pointing you towards? Finally, spend some time absorbed in quiet (Contemplatio). This is an opportunity to let the Scripture and God’s presence wash over and through you.
The goal of Lectio Divina is not to come to some specific answer but to open yourself to what the Holy Spirit is speaking to you anew. What is God saying to you this time?
As we walk from the gates of Jerusalem to the Cross at Golgotha in this next week, let’s sit in the Scriptures, bringing ourselves through the highs and lows, the terrible injustice and miserable disappointment — being transformed — so that, on Easter Sunday, our shouts of Alleluia will be markers of our ever-new life in Christ.
I look forward to seeing you Sunday. “Hosanna! Blessed are those that come in the name of the Lord!”
Minister of Children & Youth