What do breadsticks have to do with the ancient practice of Lectio Divina? You're about to find out (and I don't think you'll ever forget!).
At the recent Middle Tennessee Annual Centering Prayer Gathering, I listened to Father Carl Arico, one of the founding members of Contemplative Outreach, speak about "Centering Prayer as a Way of Life."
Those of us who practice Centering Prayer often combine this silent prayer with Lectio Divina, Latin for Divine Reading. In a nutshell, Lectio Divina takes a short portion of Scripture and goes through 4 movements, sometimes referred to as the Four R's:
Father Carl told the story of a youth pastor friend of his who sought to teach his students Lectio Divina in a way that was easy to understand and difficult to forget! So he bought his youth group breadsticks. After passing them out, he told each teen to hold their breadstick in their hand. Then he walked them through the following:
Isn't this a wonderful way to learn to read Scripture?
When we read or listen to a portion being read during Lectio Divina, it's like we're taking a bite but not chewing yet. When we move into meditation, we allow a word or phrase to stick out to us and spend time chewing on this bite of Scripture, reflecting on how it intersects with or speaks to our life. Then as we respond by bringing our voice to the Scripture through prayer, we swallow. And just like the ingested breadstick, contemplation invites us to rest in knowing we are being nourished by the word of Scripture through the Spirit of God in ways we have no idea.
Now grab a breadstick or Bible and take a bite!
Here are some suggested portions of Scripture from the life of Jesus:
Kasey is a scarf, ball and club juggling spiritual director just outside of Nashville, TN. Play helps her Type-A, Enneagram 1 personality relax, creating space for poetry and other words to emerge. She also likes playing with theological ideas like perichoresis, and all the ways we're invited into this Triune dance.