Throughout Advent we’re using scriptures with Kris Camealy’s beautiful devotional, Come Lord Jesus, in our Lectio Divina every Monday and Thursday. Get the first five days of her devotional free on her site here or buy the devotional on Amazon here.
Good morning friends, remember we have a SLOW Word lectio divina right here every Monday and Thursday. It’s such a privilege to set the table for you and God this morning. Send it to a friend or post to Facebook to set a feast for someone else. #drawNeartoListen
I hope today you are nested in the midst of your family, surrounded by your people and all that abundance. I hope you soak there, sit back and look at everyone’s face in the light of the candles. I hope you sit still in the moment and let the thanks rise.
What a joy it has been to journey with you!
Confession: This SLOW Word video was number 5…yup 5. My phone doesn’t upload more than 15 minutes worth and oh, friends, aren’t you glad? This SLOW Word would cease to be a gift if it was any more. But, I had the hardest time getting this particular lectio divina under 15 minutes and trying again is easier than cutting and pasting in a video program. This is why #5 is significant; it wasn’t until number 5 that this scripture started making its way deep.
Sometimes we need repetition in order to receive.
I want to be child-like in joy. I never want to just receive the abundance and keep walking down the road, into the next busy moment. I need to be healed of my spiritual entitlement, and instead, return with a response that comes from overflow.
I want to be one who rises to sing: “I have seen the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living” every. single. time.
(Remember dear ones, every Monday and Thursday find a SLOW Word Lectio Divina right here. Want it slipped into your inbox? Subscribe on the right and pass on the Wordfeast.)
Sometimes we encounter a familiar chapter (like this one?) and we pass it by thinking that it’s been squeezed of it’s power through overuse. That’s when lectio divina can be such an incredible gift. There’s something about the silence and the slow meditation that allows the breath of God to breathe over tired words (or our tired minds?) and open the gift back up.
Perhaps it’s the same with a season. Lent? Been there. Advent? Done that. Yup, we can rush right over the holy without listening for the whispers of the Spirit because well, it’s been so well-trafficked. It’s a lie born of the consumers of God.
Instead, lets lean into this beautifully rich season together. Right here at aThirstforGod, I’m going to hold open the doorway to Advent through Kris Camealy’s brand new Advent devotional, Come Lord Jesus. It fits hand in glove with our SLOW Word movement giving short devotionals and gorgeous scriptures which will work well with our twice weekly Lectio Divinas. Our SLOW Word videos will correspond twice a week to the devotionals which begin on December 1st.
Sunday a man with a gentle way about him walked up to the table where Madeline and I were selling cupcakes for 60 Feet and whispered a tender word: “Summer, you are in a season of waiting and it may look like nothing is going on, but underneath the surface, hard, beautiful work is being done.” His kindness took me by surprise. My tears surprised me even more. I had thought the lament was over. I had thought the waiting was over.
Doesn’t sitting with unfulfilled longings take courage? Sometimes it’s easier to lay the heaviness down instead of stand in the discomfort of waiting. This sojourn of a book invites us to stay in that limbic state, our hands open and expectant. But you know what I love friends? Kris reminds us that one of the beautiful gifts of Advent is that we can find joy in worship while we wait singing, “O Come O Come Emmanuel.” I won’t spoil the rest of the journey. I just know you’ll want to come along.
I walked past the chip aisle to reach for my triscuit box and saw her, an early-store-stocker, sitting on the floor with small plastic Pringles containers sliding on top of her. She looked up at me exasperated, “I just can’t get these annoying little packages to stay. Every ten minutes they fall and I’m rearranging them and begging them to stay until the next person reaches for their favorite flavor.” My eyes twinkled, “Sounds like my life,” I laughed. She shot me a questioning look. “I just feel like I do the same inane things over and over.” She nodded and made one of those sounds women give to each other, “Uh-huh,” the universal: “I hear you girl.”
But friend, I see you.
I see you wondering if your small matters.
I see you taking laps around the grocery store with your handwritten list.
I see you with your Monday morning ministry hangover wondering if your Sunday sermon stuck.
I see you writing words again in the early morning and daring to push publish while its still dark.
I see you sliding into bed wondering if your small acts of faithfulness matter.
I see you friend, and your small, ordinary, courageous acts of love.
Here’s the truth that I’m leaning into as I go about my dizzying array of the very small: small can be extraordinarily lavish. “Do small things with great love,” Mother Teresa taught.
And then Jesus showed us how to open our arms just that wide.
What small things with great love are you doing today?
When the ground underneath us quakes, (from a death, a shock, a debilitating fear, a lament, even a hard fight with a loved one), we can lay ourselves right down.
Nine years into our marriage, Andrew and I were battling I don’t even remember what. We were exhausted and overwhelmed parents of two babies, carrying the responsibility of a parish under stress.
And let’s just say high stress brings out blame and it’s easier to point the finger away from us. We’d fight until I would lay down and remember God was the ground of my being and stable enough to carry us both. Gravity became a gift of prayer. We weren’t holding ourselves up on the earth. He was. “For in Him we live and move and have our being.”Acts 17:28
Two years ago my sense of vocation was rocked. Once again, I often laid down cruciform in front of the altar. The lament was so darn heavy, laying it down in front of the altar was the only way I could hand it back to God. As I lay down on the red carpet, I would sense Him lay down next to me, look into my eyes and whisper, “I do this all the time.”
Cruciform, our bodies teach our minds and spirits to empty.
Cruciform, we lay down our own toxic self-righteousness.
Cruciform, we lay down knowing that even in the pit and pain of life, we are not ever alone.
Cruciform we join His suffering, and still choose to serve.
Cruciform we give up demanding our rights and choose to focus on our Redeemer.
There are many who found their prayers answered during Tuesday night’s election and they are rejoicing. I find myself sitting with this bizarre election cycle trying to remember how to breathe. Everything was downright messy and many got smeared. Some of us experienced the roller coaster of this last year more like an earthquake. But whether you are rejoicing or rocked from Tuesday night’s election outcome, it’s time to lay ourselves right down on the ground facedown, cruciform. It’s time to seek the healing of our land.
“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and I will forgive their sins, and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14
Oh friends. Thursday the kids and I sat around the kitchen table during Morning Time with tea and Madeline’s delectable orange, cranberry scones. This Luke 13:10-17 was the gospel from the Daily Office. In a bit of a hurry, I read the Word straight from my iphone. We chatted for a moment, I prayed, and then I set the scripture down not realizing that the Spirit would keep picking it back up for me to stare into like a mirror.
These are the questions I’m living with:
Where am I a captive?
What am I bent towards?
What is Jesus’ attitude towards my captivity?
Let’s set aside time today to kneel at Jesus’ feet and receive:
(Remember dear friends, new lectio divinas or Slow Word videos appear here every Monday and Thursday. Perhaps you’d like to send it to a friend and set a long table to feast on His Word with them? Or maybe you’d like to subscribe on the right to receive them straight to your inbox?)
I needed a day off. I could feel the rising crankiness, the need to gaze quiet. I had created Monday’s schedule to fill, refresh, to build something worth standing on for another week, a Sabbath.
There was just this one other thing to fit in: the oil change. No problem, I thought. But the voice on the other line said he only had one appointment left…smack dab in the middle of my well-planned day. With annoyance, he grumbled, “Ma’am, is that the time you want, or not?” I had been dreaming of a hike around Slippery Rock River, skipping stones into the current, a slow saunter around a bookstore, even a Target run. Noon? I could feel the whine rising. The car would take at least an hour and a half and the day’s schedule was now smeared.
We would have to be content on our own familiar streets. No adventures today.
I pushed the button for the garage door to open. “Xavier, we’re going a walk. You lead.” Exercise always clears my head. He swung his thin four-year-old leg over his muddy BMX, still balanced with training wheels. I held onto his black leather bike seat and pushed him up the short hill toward town until he could pedal forward himself.
I had lost the heart to lead: “Left or Right, Xavi?””Left!” he steered down the curb between the two white lines. Again and again he pedaled north taking us beyond our normal boundaries, one block after another, straight down Beaver St. We landed at the bottom of the hill in Edgeworth in a triangle of a park, huge oaks, small brook, inviting child-size stone bridge. Sometimes you don’t need to leave town to see new kingdoms.
We were in unfamiliar territory in our own town. We scrambled down stone walls and sat next to the creek. He combed through the pebbles with his fingers, then piled them together to build a dam. Running up and down the creek, He tried to stay on the dry sidelines. Every few minutes he looked back to see if I was watching, eyes shining. I watched the magic gather and spread. Under the bridge, he spread out his arms, a strong man holding it up. I sat down in the middle of the joy fully immersed in the present.
My own stuck stream of delight was undammed by entering into NOW, senses alive, scrambling on rocks, listening to water grate over pebbles, breathing in the freshly mown grass. Simple, I know. But I wondered, how often am I truly Here, Now?
Back at home, I took out the dollar-store bottle of bubbles and the “fancy” camera. Just last year he could barely blow a bubble, more soap would spill on the concrete than spin through the air.
As he blew into the wand, I held my breath. How often do I live life shrouded in a tangle of emotions and lists written long, pounding hard after life, when Life can be blown up full right here in the present?
I’ve always wanted to be one of the fully present people. Available. Paying attention. Listening. An “icon” of Julian of Norwich hangs above my writing desk, she who was cloistered in Norwich’s cathedral, present to the Presence. Anchored. So often I spin dizzy through life missing the present as I reach out anxiously toward the future.
The present is as temporary as a bubble floating upwards and all we have is the gift of now to enjoy, to taste and see that God is good.
And I know: He is almost five and I want to memorize the surprised giggles, the smell of his sweaty blond head after he plays, the shine of his eyes as he twists around and searches for mine. I want to live thankful in the Now.
In this ordinary, magical life I’ve been given, I want to be marked “present.”
Share with us one of your favorite ways to be fully present. On the back porch with your first cup of coffee? Rocking that little one to sleep? Deep in the arms of your Love?