Monday, August 25, 2014
for Sunday, August 31st, 12th Sunday after Pentecost
READ: Exodus 3.1-15 “keeping”
REFLECT: One of the things I appreciate most about the Lectio Divina form of prayer is that it enables me to engage well-known biblical passages in fresh ways. Because let’s be honest, it is so easy to tune out and feel our eyes glaze over when we think we know how the story goes. What’s more, every time I revisit a passage, something new stands out to me. And why shouldn’t it? I’m a living being that grows and changes. This helps me to understand the “living” word in deeper ways.
So today, when I read this passage the first time, the verb “keeping” stood out to me. As I chewed on this word for a bit, I began to think about the infrequent use of the noun “keep” as the stronghold of a castle, a place of refuge. Reading the passage again I thought of a turtle, withdrawing into its shell for protection when it senses threat. And I imagined “keeping the flock” as leading the herd into the stronghold of the castle, away from danger.
Sometimes withdrawal is wise and necessary. The problem is when we want and try to live there permanently, refusing to poke our heads out of our shells and venture out again. We live with permanent walls that keep us cut off from others, from God, and from ourselves. No one out, and no one in. But like Moses’ flock, we are made to roam about the landscape of life – God’s creation – the rolling hills and wide pastures. The keep is no place to live and thrive.
RESPOND: God, sometimes as we struggle to work for peace and justice in our lives and in the lives of others, we need to withdrawal, regroup. Give us wisdom to know when to stay and when to go. Help us to have the courage to leave the place of refuge when it is time, and trust that you are leading us to the land of milk and honey.
Is there a place in your life when you are holding some part of yourself back? What threat or wound are you protecting yourself from? If you sense that you are not yet ready to venture out again, what do you need from God in order to heal? If it is time to move on, ask God for
whatever you need to take those first steps. 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):
Jeremiah 15:15-21 Romans 12:9-21 Matthew 16:21-28
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.