I love lectio divina! For nearly ten years, every Wednesday morning, my contemplative prayer group has used this discipline to center our prayer time. Three times, we read through a short Scripture. We read aloud, slowly, meditatively. After the first reading, each person speaks one line or one word in the Scripture that speaks to her heart. The passage is read again. We sit in silence for a moment, and then each person shares, again, what speaks to her heart (which may be a different word or line this time through), and how it speaks to the circumstances of her life today. The passage is read once more, and then we go into quiet, waiting for the Holy Spirit to move through the words of Scripture written on the page, transforming them into living Words; enlivening us, lighting our paths, speaking words of wisdom into today’s situation.
The Holy Spirit never fails us.
This week, we read Psalm 1:
“Blessed is the woman who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but her delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law she meditates day and night. She is like a tree planted by streams of water, that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that she does, she prospers.” (v 1-3)
The line, “She is like a tree planted by streams of water, that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither,” speaks to me. I am in a time of major life transition, which is hard enough. On top of that, people that I love dearly are hurting. I spend hours, in the middle of the night, praying for them. Truth be told, I spend more time worrying about them and trying to solve the problems of their lives, than praying for them!
And so this image of a fruit-bearing tree, planted by streams of water, speaks to my soul. I want to be that tree! I want to soak up the Lord’s presence. I want that living water instead of these sleepless nights that leave me feeling tired and dry and dusty.
I close my eyes and sink into meditation.
I repeat my centering words. Maranatha, come, Lord Jesus. Maranatha, come Lord Jesus.
I picture myself as a tree. A cypress tree, my leaves evergreen. I see myself planted not next to a stream, but in the stream. Bubbling, sparkling water courses around my roots.
As the picture becomes clearer, I see knobby cypress knees surrounding me, their ugly misshapenness protruding out of the water. These twisted, unsightly roots don’t belong in this meditation!
Look again, the Spirit whispers.
I look more closely, and see that each of these knobby knees represent a difficult life situation. Joel’s slide back into manic swings. Matt’s chronic pain. My mother’s dementia, among others.
Each of these situations has brought me to the Lord in prayer. Over and over again, they bring me home. They remind me of my powerlessness and root me in the power of the Master of the Universe. Like the knobby knees of the cypress tree, these roots are part of me, misshapen as they are. They tap down into streams of living water. Water that hydrates my dryness, refreshes my thirst, resurrects my dying self as I hand my life over to God for the power I need to make it through each day.
“She is like a tree planted by streams of water, that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that she does, she prospers.”
Lord, thank you for this vision of myself as a cypress tree, knobby knees and all. Thank you for meeting me in my place of need. I praise you that your Word is a living word, a word that speaks directly to my life today.