Create Space to Listen
Katie Harmon-McLaughlin, Spiritual Formation Ministries
For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body-Jews or Greeks, slaves or free-and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but of many. -1 Corinthians 12:12-14
Creating space to settle in and open our hearts is an important beginning. It’s also helpful to remember that we have been through a significant, painful, and transformational time as a global community. We hope you feel freedom to help your community breathe, rest, reflect as a faithful response before feeling the urgency of diving back into pre-pandemic levels of activity. Slowing down to pay attention to God’s call in the midst of this situation may determine a new pace, rhythm, and priorities that reflect what has changed in us along the way. You are invited to create space through this pandemic-related lectio divina that can be practiced individually or in community.
Lectio Divina (Sacred Reading): “The Joyful Exiles”
…their life shall become like a watered garden,
and they shall never languish again…
I will turn their mourning into joy,
I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow…
There is hope for your future,
says the Lord:
your children shall come back to their own country…
Set up road markers for yourself,
make yourself signposts;
consider well the highway,
the road by which you went.
Return, O virgin Israel,
return to these your cities. -Jeremiah 31:12, 14, 17, 21
Read the scripture slowly and prayerfully. As you read the first time, notice if there is a word, phrase, or image that captures your attention. In silent prayer, hold this word, phase, or image before God.
Read the scripture a second time and notice what is evoked in you. Are there feelings, memories, or sensations that are revealed in this reading? Record any movements or memories that surface for you.
Read the scripture a third time in the context of your discernment question. What is God’s invitation for you and/or your community through this text?
Read the text a fourth time and rest in the silence. Consider setting a timer for 5 minutes to simply be in God’s presence, creating space to listen for God. At the end of the 5 minutes, record any insights, movements, or awareness that came from your time of listening. It is ok if your time of listening doesn’t yield anything specific. Simply making yourself available to listen for God more regularly is an important part of discernment. Paying attention to how you felt in the silence can be a helpful way of identifying where discernment is leading.
If you are in community as you engage this text, spend time processing your experience together and sharing any insights that are beginning to emerge in response to your discernment question. Be cautious not to assume that you’ve answered the question. This is just one way to begin gathering perspectives and experiences.
Questions for Group Reflection:
- What was your experience of this time of prayer?
- What do you sense is God’s invitation to you or to the community through this time of prayer?
“Discern what is the will of God” (Romans 12:2).
The heart of discernment is listening for God. God speaks and reveals in many ways-through nature, the voice of a friend, or a deeper knowing in our own souls. How can you create space today to listen for God in your life? What do you hear when you take time to slow down and listen?
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.