Lectio Divina Paci – August 4, 2014

Monday, August 4, 2014

for Sunday, August 10th, 9th Sunday after Pentecost

READ: Genesis 37.1-4, 12-28 “wandering,” and “seeking”

REFLECT: When I read through this passage the first time, it struck me that a man saw Joseph “wandering,” but asked him what he was “seeking.” There are times when we think we are wandering, but actually we are seeking – likewise there are times we are certain we are seeking when in fact we are merely wandering. In my mind, “wandering” connotes aimlessness and uncertainty, purposelessness, drifting off course. “Seeking,” by contrast, is imbued with purpose, direction, certainty. But how to tell these doppelgangers apart?

As I read through this passage a second and third time, an image of a hiking trail came to mind. I am walking on it, going uphill. I am tired, and the trail ahead curves around a bend. I cannot see what lies ahead. As I pray about this, I ask God whether I am “wandering” or “seeking.” I do not know where I am going – does that mean I am not seeking? As I look back down the trail, I can see clearly how far I have hiked; I can see the bends that formerly held only mystery and uncertainty. More than anything, I see that every step on this trail is connected. And as I turn back to the path ahead, a peaceful certainty settles over me. What lies ahead is connected, too. I think this is what faith is. I chuckle as I think of Abram when God said “go to a place that I will show you.” How can I go if I don’t know where I am going? This is how.

RESPOND: God, sometimes it is terrifying, being on this path, not always knowing whether I am wandering or seeking. I can’t see what is ahead, and if I look over the edge, it’s an awfully long drop. Sometimes I feel paralyzed with not knowing. Sometimes I do find that I have wandered off the path. Whether I have wandered off or been too afraid to take the next step, recall to my mind instances of your faithfulness in my life.  May those memories give me the courage to trust that you will guide my next steps, even when I cannot see the destination.

How are you feeling on your own hiking trail? What drives you? Check in with yourself. Anxiety and our needs for affection and control can give us a false sense of direction and purpose. Ask God to work with you to sift through these false indicators, to the place of deeper trust and union with God. Feel free to respond or ask questions in the comments below.

LECTIONARY TEXTS FOR THE UPCOMING SUNDAY (and for you to try on your own):

1 Kings 19:9-18 Romans 10:5-15 Matthew 14:22-33

Lectio Divina Paci is a weekly devotional guide for peacemakers in the lectio divina form. Lectio Divina (Latin for divine reading) is a traditional Benedictine practice of scripture reading, prayer, meditation, and reflection that treats scripture as the Living Word. Lectio Divina Paci is an opportunity for peacemakers to become more in tune with the voice of the Prince of Peace.

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