Monday, February 23, 2015
(This is the second post in our Lectio Divina Paci Lenten series. To read the introduction, click here).
READ: Philippians 4.4-8 “the Lord is near,” “never worry about anything”
For as long as I can remember, this part of the passage has seemed awkward, like it was a misplaced afterthought. But then, as I turned the phrase “the Lord is near” over in my mind, I began to find it deeply comforting. What a wonderful phrase to meditate on and to take down deep into my heart, to let it infuse my soul, and permeate my being. When I sat down to pray I had been angry and felt that anger surging through my whole body, my blood pressure elevated. But this phrase was like a long-lens telescope that helped me focus on life and reality beyond myself.
If the first phrase felt awkward, the next one, “never worry about anything” seemed utterly laughable, not to mention impossible. With everything that is going on in life and the world, it also seems foolish, naïve and irresponsible. We wear our worries and concerns like badges of honor. It’s a mark of responsibility, awareness and social concern to worry. And when we’re so independent and isolated from one another, there’s no faith, no trust that anything will get done or change if I don’t do it myself.
When I prayed about this passage, I suddenly imagined the lines on the page rearranged – what if this phrase was not the next line down, but connected in a smooth and continuous thought “the Lord is near, never worry about anything.” And rather than carry everything myself, trusting in myself alone, the Lord is near. Always near.
RESPOND: God, when I worry help me to remember that you are near. Make your presence known, felt, as palpable as my own pounding heart when I am anxious.
Another way to exercise gratitude is when you notice yourself becoming anxious or worried. Notice how your body feels – does your heart or mind race, does your breathing become shallow? Let those cues prompt you to choose gratitude instead. Do you have any practices that stop worry dead in its tracks?
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.