Monday, November 17th
for Sunday, November 23rd, 24th Sunday after Pentecost
READ: Matthew 25.31-46 “gathered”
REFLECT: I’m always amazed by the powerful way that imagery speaks to me if I really let it. For example, when I first read this passage, the word “gathered” drew me in. As I rolled the image around in my heart, an image of a little girl gathering wildflowers came up. But soon that image dissolved into another image, an actual memory.
We went to the Gulf Coast of Florida this past summer for the first time. The warm, clear water and gentle waves could not have been more different from the giant, cold, crashing waves of my beloved Pacific. It was a truly exotic and wonderful experience. Even the seashells were nothing like what we would ever find along California’s central coast. We spent hours and hours walking at a snail’s pace along the beach, collecting shells and putting them in anything we could find: shirt pockets, empty sandwich bags, plastic cups from our hotel room. It was near obsession, and there were always more to find.
As I began to pray with this image, this memory, I asked God what exactly I was gathering. Then I noticed the word “separate” in this passage as well and held these words up together. So my prayer became the question not only of what am I gathering, but also what am I separating? The response that came up was no real surprise: myself. The way I often live my life — the way we often live our lives — leads to a separating, a fragmenting of ourselves. We’re pulled in so many directions. And sometimes when we compartmentalize to cope with the complexities of life, we wind up compartmentalizing ourselves instead.
RESPOND: God, gather us together, into ourselves and into one another. Give us courage to abandon the temptation to live fragmented, separate lives and to live fully and in all circumstances from the center where you dwell within and among us.
In which area or areas of your life are you feeling fragmented, pulled apart, or separated from yourself, your family or your community? Choose one aspect of your life to pray from. What would it take to move away from fragmentation toward a more centered way of life?
LECTIONARY TEXTS FOR THE UPCOMING SUNDAY (and for you to try on your own):
Ezekiel 34.11-16, 20-24
Lectio Divina Paci is a weekly devotional guide by Audrey Hindes 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.