A Virtual Church

 

In the story of the Ascension of Jesus, there is  – at the beginning of the story of the Church – a final commission: “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8

I began my first retirement in 2011. I failed at it. Yet I knew even then there was more in me to do for God. More witness, more words, more love and more to say about God and a relationship with Christ. I decided on the name and concept of A Virtual Church. After I secured the domain name, I wrote about what a Virtual Church would be. This is what is I wrote on my website:

“If the Church is the Body of Christ for the world, then a Virtual Church is that body without bounds. A Virtual Church is a place of speaking hope, praying for healing, offering communion with others, reflecting on God’s Word in Scripture, and engaging in thoughtful reflection on the world. A Virtual Church is a voice for offering peace to anyone on the planet who needs word of encouragement and life.”

Who knew that the Great Pandemic of 2020 would make most all the church virtual? Who even now knows the opportunity of that to reach the far ends of the earth with the Good News of Christ who often tells us – Be not afraid, and offers us an invitation to follow in ways that bring peace and rest. The opportunity for witness in the world has never been greater, both in the work that is done online, and in the boots on the ground ways of serving our communities. Ours is not an ordinary time.

What we offer online is for a world bigger than our own congregations. As I have scrolled through all the worship offerings from churches around the world, I see a world soaked in the Good News. The biggest challenge is that our culture is so slick with media graphics, music, gloss and mirrors, the simple story of Jesus may get lost among the competing voices and stories. What is shared online needs to be creative, compelling and relevant. Our shared word needs to serious, and honest, plain, hopeful, life saving truth. I am not a great believer in the theatrics of worship, yet certain amounts of those production values can show tender care of the Word we share. Herein lies the conundrum of the Virtual Church.

I think of the Abbas and Ammas and their voices from the desert place that still impact the faith. I think of Julien in the anchorage writing words for the ages. In the end, glitz and gloss do not a faith make. The word goes out into a field ripe for harvest, a life giving word. Yet the wheat wants a hook and a show. When the word falls like gentle rain on the parched field, the harvest comes alive.

For me in my little Virtual Church, I pray to offer healing words and words of hope. For ears and hearts who seek wholeness and peace, God will find you beyond the clamor and noise. Do not be afraid still is the call of Jesus in the world. I pray that all the church will live into the opportunity that is ours today and the world will live the kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven. Amen.

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Stephen and the Mob


A Reflection on Acts 7: 55 – 60

Stephen’s rise to leadership begins much earlier in Acts. “Choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom.” The Twelve are so busy tending the needs of widows and orphans and distributing food, the ministry of the word is being neglected. They choose Stephen and six others and lay hands on them to go and preach the word. And the gospel spreads rapidly.

There is unrest among the people. Economic disparity, mis-treatment of the most vulnerable populations and growing ideological and social “camps” are stressing the people. Sharing equally in the community of goods is problematic to some. (Wasn’t this written in the paper this morning?)

And there is one other new and annoying thing raising eyebrows. Stephen is bringing life and hope to a people outside the Temple. Stephen is a charismatic leader who, like Jesus, threatens the status quo. The opposition voices fear the change that will come in Stephen’s leadership. Change and fear of losing power stir angst and anger against Stephen and a mob is born.

Interesting that the mob against Stephen is like the mob against Jesus who end up shouting, “Crucify him. Crucify him.” Seems that mobs forget reason and civility and the seeking of mutual ideals just to get their own way. “Where have all the good guys gone? Long time passing. When will they ever learn? When will they ever learn?” Thank you PPM for an eternal question: When will we ever learn?  

Mobs are roaming downtown Raleigh this week. Para-military units loaded with weapons and hate symbols protest a government that is working to balance public health and the economy. Never mind that. Mob mentality has no room for hearing both sides. It’s my way or the highway. If the virus doesn’t keep us in, fear of protesters with assault weapons surely will. Seems a little like defeating their own purpose.

In New Hanover County, Wilmington area, just two hours from here, a mob gathered on the front porch of a young Black high school senior demanding entrance to his home for questioning about girl who was missing. The officer present jammed his foot in the door so that the young man could not close it against the mob. Then someone noticed the sign in the young man’s front yard. It had his picture on it and a big “Congratulations, Senior!” Someone realized they were intimidating the wrong Black man. And someone else called the police.

Life is going to change in lots of ways as we live and die our way through this pandemic. And there are huge swaths of life that need to change if we will ever be healed. Racism has to be called out as the evil it is. Hate needs to be shunned and hate groups need to be shamed into non-existence. We don’t need more martyrs like Stephen. We need strong, ordinary people who will stand up to the pot-stirrers and hate-mongers and say, not on my watch.

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We Had Hoped

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This is a sermon I preached at Saint Mark’s UMC in Raleigh, NC on May 3, 2015.

Read: Luke 24: 13 – 23; 28 – 35      The Walk to Emmaus

These guys must not have been told by their Mamas: “Never talk to strangers!” ‘cause that’s exactly what they’re doing. They’re reviewing the events of the day, looking sad. The stranger asks: “What are you talking about?”  Now we could spend time talking about the risks and potential danger of talking to strangers, but in this case, let’s just be thankful they did.

They walked together engaged in conversation. Their eyes were kept from recognizing him and they expressed their disappointment: We Had Hoped…What was it they had hoped for and not received? They had gotten to listen to Jesus. They had gotten to see the healing work and hear the lessons of the kingdom of God. What was it they had hoped for and not gotten?

They had hoped for a thousand years that a Messiah would come, the great military leader in the line of David who would restore the fortunes of Zion. They had hoped for a king who would rally the troops to crush the Roman Empire.  They had hoped that Jesus was this Messiah.

Perhaps they had hoped for a great reformer in the Temple, one who would rid the temple of bad practices and corruption, false piety and self-righteousness. Perhaps they had hoped for one who would set the temple right in obedience to God.  Perhaps they had hoped for one who would fulfill the hopes and fears of all the years, as had been spoken by the prophets.

Could they have hoped they themselves might increase in influence and reputation by knowing a shining star in the field of prophecy and teaching? And at the end had they hoped their friend would survive all the pushback he was beginning to encounter?

Closed eyes and lost hope are not uncommon. We stumble through life  tunnel-visioned, with low perceptibility, little clarity, our eyes close as discernment clouds.  It’s pretty easy to turn a blind eye. And even easier to lose hope as life and circumstances drag us down taking us away in busyness and lowered expectations. We do not practice patient hope even when the hope of the world is born among us.

The words “we had hoped” struck me as I heard Olu Brown read this text at the preaching festival last week. Hope is a central component of the story of God throughout the entire Scriptural text. We are not a people who live without hope. For I know the plans I have for you, plans to give you a future and a hope. My hope is in you, Lord. Yet the disciples this morning are speaking in a past perfect tense: we had hoped. They might as well have said, “It’s over.” Our hope is ended.

But Jesus does not let that happen. Jesus meets them on this well travelled road in an active presence walking alongside them and talking about the scripture with them. Our Lord may be perfect, but our Lord is not a past perfect God; Our Lord is an active present God; What ever the disciples thought, all that has happened in the past few hours and days is not the end of God’s story.

In a lot of ways it might so much easier to love the Jesus who calls us from fishing and walks up the mountain to teach; the Jesus who touches the leper and the blind man and the woman with a hemorrhage. That’s a Jesus to follow, to count on for wisdom and healing. That’s a Jesus we can pattern our lives after; hard to do but easier to get a hold on ‘cause there is no mystery to it.

That kind of following reduces us to doing the do’s and avoiding the don’ts, but Olu Brown, suggests that that kind of following keeps us in chromos time… the way we mortals keep time in life and death, beginnings and endings – a linear kind of living. Resurrection calls us to a different time-keeping: kairos time, God’s time, the Eternal Now, Perfect Precious Present kind of time. This is the fullness of time beyond measure; beyond our empirical understanding. This Resurrection time is where Jesus meets the disciples on the Road to Emmaus. And their eyes are closed to seeing him.

It’s in the breaking of bread that their eyes are opened and they know who this stranger is.  Bishop William Morris tells a story about such a kind of knowing . Whey he was a little boy his family lived in one of those shotgun kind of houses. Some days he would rush into the house after school, He couldn’t see his mama, even though he thought she was home. Then the smell of brownies in the oven met him in the hallway. She was there…. In the kitchen. An ordinary smell assured him that he was not alone in the house. She was with him. He knew she was there by the smell of the brownies filling the house. The ways we are known to one another vary; Sensory perception – heart knowledge – eyes of the heart – God works to meet us through every cell of our being and very ordinary things open our eyes to knowing Jesus.

The invitation to participate in a life with Jesus beyond the bonds of time is offered on the Emmaus Road; they had seen Jesus do this a lot at the table. Bread taken, blessed, broken and given that they might have life. They could see clearly now. This was Jesus who was present with them. Their eyes opened to the promise; Christ is with them-Grace upon grace; hope upon hope – restored. 

Here at the table of the Lord on Sunday morning, Jesus is present with us: the invitation comes not from Saint Mark’s, not from the United Methodist Church, but from Christ our Lord and we come… we know – we see – we hope and grace falls down upon us, grace that has the power to change us from the inside out. This is the grace that fuels our hope and calms our fears. This is the thin place where we meet the living God, the Resurrected Christ who is known to us in the breaking of bread. This is where we taste and see that God is good. This is where we enter kairos time in the Mystery we speak every week – Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will  come again.

This is our hope, our active present hope going forward. Open our eyes, Lord that we too may see you and know you and follow you with our whole lives. Amen.

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Doubt


Dear Thomas, what questions you leave us with! You come into the room with such doubt. Jesus has already stood with the others. Where have you been? What have you been thinking before this moment? To come late and full of doubt is actually not a good look for you. So, Thomas, this whole telling of your story is pretty bad for your reputation. Just saying. Then again, maybe you are OK with the moniker Doubting Thomas.

O Lord Jesus, unless I can see with my own eyes and touch your wounds… well, what am I left with? Practical inquiry. Reasonable question. Empirical knowledge. That’s what we need. Right? Thomas, are you sure you don’t live right down the street from me? Are you part of my family? You are here. Or at least your spirit still lives where I live.

Today’s world is full of doubters and more doubters, replicated till their voices resound in pitch perfect skepticism and mistrust. Who are the reliable sources? Who are the voices that bring healing calm? And why does it seem like the louder voices are those ringing with vitriol and mean-spiritedness?

I have always thought of doubt as the prod for faith building, the place where the knowing and the unknowing live a push-pull creative tension. Doubt becomes the place where dynamic faith is grown. Doubt seeds the questions and the questions stretch us even when they go unanswered.

The story of Thomas from John 20: 19 – 31 speaks to a personal doubt that needs tangible proof. Thomas’s doubt is about seeing before believing. “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.”

I have not seen the world from outer space, but I believe the world is round and not flat, as some in the world today still believe. I have not seen the glaciers cracking and melting, nor have I seen thick air pollution over Beijing and Los Angeles, but I have seen weather changes and increasing storms. I believe in science and environmental research while doubters and deniers abound even as the water rises. I have not been in a New York Hospital, or in Milan, Italy to see how COVID 19 is impacting lives, but I believe what I see in the media. People are dying and body counts are mounting. Even funeral homes are overwhelmed. Still there are some in the world who are calling this pandemic a hoax.

Who will we trust? In what or whom will we have faith? Who among us is building trustworthiness? When we cling more to ideology, dismissing and demeaning those who do not agree with us, the doubt wins and we all lose. Throwing stones destroys goodwill and sets a divide that hurts everybody. How much more of the acrimony seeded by doubt can we live before completely breaking?

Jesus reveals his wounds and invites Thomas to believe. Our world is wounded; God’s people everywhere are hurting. Now is a time to grow faith and build trust. Now is the time to take a leap toward all that is good, all that is God. In this season after Easter, may we encounter the risen Christ and find new hope that restores and saves. Through our believing, we will find new life. In Christ’s name. Amen.

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Mary Went to the Phone


Perhaps it was that my mouth outran my brain, or the other way around. Or perhaps in light of this COVID 19 shelter in place order of the day, that I actually was prescient. I stood in the parking lot at Saint Francis UMC to lead the Sunrise Service on Easter Morning. As I read from the gospel of John, “Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the —-wait for it—- PHONE.

I heard myself say it. Brain lapse. I hope I said something like, “I hate these new translations,” but I likely just lowered and shook my head, mortified that I had screwed up the most glorious reading of the whole story of Jesus. I still shake my head when I think about it. People still remember this Sunrise Reading of the story of the Resurrection. I usually am reminded about it at this time of the year. “Where is Mary going this year? Is Mary still going to the phone?”

Actually this year, 2020, when physical distancing is necessary, going to the phone or the iPad is probably a good idea for Mary and all of us. Many pastors, musicians, Bishops and other church leaders will be filling the cyber sphere and the Internet with the Good News that Christ is Risen. One will need only to scroll through our Facebook feeds and You Tube videos to hear the message of Easter. That in itself is good news.

The Corona virus is taking a huge toll on us, we humans, all around the world. Suffering is not partisan, nor is it particular to one people or one continent. Death tolls are startling, even to funeral home companies. And for every death counted, there are families, extended families, and friends who grieve each person lost to them. The grief is compounded as financial pressures also mount. In the months since the journey with an unleashed virus began, life has changed drastically. Our new journey will not let us dismiss or ignore the pain of death. Death is not a hoax.

What we can do is invite Mary to the phone. Hear someone read the story she lived with the Risen Christ. Or read it yourself: John 20: 1 – 18. Then go stand on your front steps and shout to the world, “Christ is Risen. Christ is Risen indeed.” You may hear the birds sing a response. You may feel the breeze softly whispering, “O death, where is your sting? O death, where is your victory?”

The hope of Resurrection stands beyond the thief that is COVID 19. I pray that wherever you hear the good news, know the good news is for you and for all of us who hope. Jesus has prepared us for this moment: “I will not leave you comfortless; do not be afraid.” Easter is ours to claim because we believe this promise. We are not alone. Christ is Risen and death is defeated. Mary, pick up the phone and tell someone new that you have seen the Lord. Amen.

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Where Can We Go?


A Reflection in Psalm 139

Leaving Steeretown, Jamacia, after ten days of working to build a Methodist Church there, was filled with emotion. There were goodbyes to the church members who had hosted us and worshiped with us and worked alongside us to lay a concrete floor and paint windows. Our team had grown close, and we were beginning our goodbyes to one another. We shared a moment in time that changed us.

Steeretown is not where the Sandals Resort is. It’s closer to where Bob Marley was born; where he wrote his songs. “One love; One heart. Let’s get together and feel all right. Have pity on those whose chances grow thinner; There ain’t no hiding place from the Father of Creation.”

Jamaica is a poor island. Beautiful beaches with multi-million dollar resorts skirt the poverty that is the real story of Jamaica. But the people there are generous and hospitable and welcoming to teams like ours. I left remembering the goodness of the people, and I left thinking how hot the sun was there. I missed air conditioning and a bed in a room where I did not have to watch out for the scorpions. I had an overwhelming sense of my own hubris and naivete in swooping down from my perch of privilege to put a little band-aid on the situation and circumstances of pervasive wealth inequality and systemic inequities.

I remember thinking about the question of Psalm 139. Where can I go from your Presence? I remember feeling so thankful that I had a place to go back to. Home. Comfortable, beautiful, air conditioned home. Food. Gasoline in my car. And I remember thinking our Steeretown friends really did not have another place to go. They were home.

One lesson I am learning in the COVID 19 shelter-in-place social distancing is that there is nowhere I can go – nowhere you can go to get away from it. We can’t just board a plane or hop a bus and drive to a place the virus is not, or not yet there. For people in a lot of places around the world, money and mobility afford a way out. Even that is not much help now. Corona virus is the new equalizer of the human condition.

Going back to the Psalm of the second week of Lent, Psalm 121, it asks the question, “Where can I go for help?” Psalm 139 gives a clear picture of the answer by asking another question, “Where can I go from your Spirit, or where can I go from your Presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there. If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there. If I take the wings of morning and settle at the farthest limits of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me fast.” As this virus sweeps across the globe, God is already there.

In every town and city from New York to Los Angeles, from New Orleans to Seattle, from Steeretown to Raleigh, North Carolina, God is already there. In every hospital and clinic, in every ICU and every family waiting room, God is already there. It’s why the psalmist of psalm 139 acknowledges, “How weighty to me are your thoughts, O God. How vast the sum of them. I try to count them, they are more than the sand.”

Harry Smith, television photo journalist offered a piece on NBC that compared our days living with the pandemic as living in real time Bill Murray’s Groundhog Day. We wake up and every day is the same. Spring is still springing; grass is still greening. Infection is still infecting. The virus is everywhere around us. Thankfully and blessedly, God is around us too. “The darkness shall cover me, but even the darkness is not dark to you.” 

Approaching Holy Week 2020, I pray we will find a prayer of assurance in the psalms and that we will find strength in the coming days and weeks to live as Resurrection people. Amen.

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Watching for the Morning


A Reflection on Psalm 130

The projection clock displays the time in red numbers on our bedroom ceiling. The clock was a gift to us one Christmas. We chuckled when we opened it that Christmas morning. Who needs to know the time in the middle of the night? From the bed? Apparently I do.

Sometimes I have nights when wakefulness overtakes sleepfulness. Long stretches of darkness and quarter turns in the bed quickly become the order of the night and waiting for the light becomes increasingly long. I watch for the morning, doing the math in my sleep deprived mind. Only an hour and forty five minutes till sunrise. I think I can wait that long.

What do I do in the stretches of darkness? How do I make the darkness fruitful as I watch for the light? Sister Kathleen said to pray the hours in those times of wakefulness. Yours is the morning, O God and yours is the evening. Keep me in the shadow of your wings. Keep me as the apple of your eye. Being awake to God becomes the present reality in the darkness that surrounds me.

I pray the alphabet – A is for Ann, B is for Bobby and on and on. I usually go back to sleep around the L’s. Because I am an equilateral prayer, sometimes I start praying from the Z’s and pray the alphabet in reverse. The Zeh’s are deceased now, so I start with the Youngs. I pray the Lord’s Prayer and recite bits of Scripture in my head. I do the examen.

The psalmist invites the examination. “Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my supplication. If you, O Lord should mark iniquities, Lord who could stand?” In the darkness iniquity seems more exposed. The shadow side is absorbed into the darkness of night. Maybe that’s why Mother always said nothing good ever happens after midnight.

But there is forgiveness with God. And in God’s word we hope and we wait and we watch for the morning light. Darkness has its place. We cannot fully escape it. Light will come in the time after the watch. That is the good news of Christ in the world. Christ is the Light born into the darkness. Christ is the Light and Life risen from the grave.

As we approach Holy Week 2020, great darkness of infection, disease, and death cover the earth. We seem so small in the darkness, but God is still God and God is awake all night long. God will redeem the world through the many who are working through this darkness. Long nights; little sleep. God bless those who work or watch or weep this night. Give your angels charge over those who sleep. Tend your sick ones and rest your weary ones. Bless the dying and soothe the suffering. Lead us, Lord, to the light of your love and grace. Amen.

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Got Solace?


A Reflection on Psalm 91

In times of unease and fear, recalling God’s deliverance brings solace to our weary souls. Our times are bringing anxiety. Panic is setting in. We can see it in the hoarding going on at the grocery stores. The churches are scrambling for ways to address the rising tide of dis-ease COVID – 19 is bringing to us. Even if we are not infected, we are affected.

The psalms of the Hebrew Scriptures are a great resource for addressing the human condition. In the psalms we find praise, assurances, expressed anger, comfort and assurance – a gamut of human emotion. Psalm 91 gives us assurance.

“You who live in the shelter of the Most High…” hear this word from the Almighty. God will deliver you from the snare of the fowler. God will cover you with his pinions – (I hope this is a small army of angels with arrows to pierce the plague.) You will not fear the night… you will not fear the pestilence that stalks in darkness or the destruction that wastes at noonday. Sounds like good news to me.

Then I get to verses 7 and 8 of Psalm 91. Here is what they say:

            “A thousand will fall at your side,

            ten thousand at your right hand,

            but it will not come near you.

            You will only look with your eyes

            And see the punishment of the wicked.”

Even in the midst of comfort, I get stuck on these two verses. Seems to me that a little slippery slope is hidden in the solace. I ask myself, who are the wicked? Who are the other, those who have not done what is right so as to lose the protection and blessing of God? You know, so I have heard, the good are blessed with a providential specialissima[1]

We so quickly identify the bad and are quick to call them wicked “godless, nasty, self-serving people who are a cancer on Americans. They are a band of demons.” And this is just a sample of how we are characterizing others of a different political party. Think of the ways we demonized homosexuals when HIV first arrived. It was not until a young hemophiliac in Ohio contracted HIV from a blood supply that attitudes began to change. When I ask who are the wicked, I think it must be I myself.

I, as all of us, have a shadow side. It’s where anger and rage live. It’s where the bruised ego lives, that part of me that needs to make someone else less so that I can be more. It’s the place where the greatest reckoning is called forth; the place of my constant Examen.

Indeed, I do know God’s providence and assurance and blessing. I also know that God’s providence is broad upon the creation God called very good. God will be with us in this trouble. God will hear our prayers. Let us not destroy one another in our differences, but lift one another in our common humanity and oneness. Life is fragile at best. Let us uphold one another in all that is good, all that is God. Amen.


[1] Hans-Joachim Kraus, The Psalms, A Commentary, p. 225.

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Comfort: A Reflection on Psalm 23


For a psalm that many of us learned as children, and a psalm that today we most often hear and speak responsively at funerals, Psalm 23 speaks to life today as we are living through what seems like unstoppable dis-comfort, fear, and anxiety in the Covid-19 pandemic. Stories of this time will be told in families for generations. History will be written about how we acted and how we did not act. There will be huge financial tolls, small business shutdowns, lost 401K profits. Some of the most vulnerable populations among us may not live to tell their stories. Yet this is where we are.

Speak to us, O Ancient Psalm. Speak to us in our fear and dis-ease. God of the Universe, comfort us as we walk through the dark valley of uncertainties and suffering.

The psalmist says: You are with me; your rod and your staff they comfort me. A rod and a staff! Seems a little harsh, don’t you think? Yet I can’t help but think of one of my divinity school professors who said she did not much like the shepherd/sheep imagery of the Bible. “Sheep are stupid,” she said.  I think she thought that comparing sheep to human beings was denigrating to human beings. Perhaps God might say back, “if the shoe fits”, or something like that.

Sheep will munch their way to the edge of the cliff, their appetites and grazing habits a drive greater than their judgment. Sheep herd. There are few who stand out as leaders, unlike geese whose leaders share turns at the point of the V, offering draft to those who follow. Shepherds have to poke and prod sheep along, less they get distracted. The shepherd’s crook is just right for pulling the wayward sheep back into line. And even if there is embarrassment or pain, the shepherd’s interest is the greater good of the herd that all might reach the green pasture together.

The dark valley calls us to new trust that offers assurance that may sometimes feel like a crook around our necks pulling us along. But we will not fear evil nor the pestilence that knocks at our doorstep. God’s cup overflows with grace and goodness that follows us. This is the comfort God affords.

This is a time for our collective wisdom and faith to pull us back from our most instinctive behaviors – fear and anger. This is a time to speak truth to power, to muster hope and courage to carry on and find ways to help the human herd through the valley. One other thing about shepherds; In the evenings when the sheep are corralled in their pasture, the shepherd sleeps at the gate so that not one sheep will be lost alone in the night. I pray the Shepherd will sleep at your gate tonight and grant you comfort in the dark. Amen.

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Lectio Divina at Home

For the Lenten Season 2020 a small group from various churches has met at Saint Mark’s UMC in Raleigh for lectio divina in the Psalms of Lent 2020. It occurs to me that the Virtual Church might appreciate a plan for doing lectio divina at home for the season of Lent as we are being asked to stay at home. Hope you find a blessing in this practice.

This is your suggested format for doing lectio divina at home for these weeks when we are apart. I pray you are well and using best practices for staying safe. Our times are in God’s hands. God is still speaking; let us listen together in our solitude.

Choose your most convenient hour:

:30  Settle in the silence. Breathe deeply. Gather your thoughts and open your heart.

:35 Offer a Morning Prayer – 

New every morning is your love, Great God of Light, and all day you are working for good in the world. Stir up in us a desire to serve you, to live peacefully with our neighbors and all your creation and to devote each day to your Son, our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen. [1]

                                                Enter 3 minutes of Silence

:38  Prayer for Illumination   

God of Light, open our hearts and minds by the power of your Holy spirit that, as the Scriptures are read and your word proclaimed, we may hear with joy what you say to us today. Amen. [2]

:40 First Reading of Psalm 23 – Read aloud. Follow with  2 minutes of silence

:45 Second Reading of Psalm 23 – 10 minutes of silence

:55 – Name/ Write down the word or phrase you have been given. word –

            Third Reading of Psalm 23 in Silence.

:00 Enter the Silence – 20 minutes – This is the time of journaling.  Sit in Meditation as you engage with your journaling, and Contemplation as you sit silently in the Presence of Holiness.

: 20 Reflect on these questions: How has God spoken to me through this psalm? To what action/response am I called?

:30  May the peace of God go with you in the day. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.

Pray for one another till we meet again. Blessings and Love, Lib


[1] Upper Room Worshipbook, p. 8

[2] Upper Room Worshipbook, p. 35

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