Community Lectio Divina: Isaiah 42:6-10

button-lectioWith autumn we return to a fuller rhythm here at the Abbey blog after the quieter time of summer.  I know many of you will welcome the Poetry and Photo Parties back. In addition, we are adding in an invitation to practice lectio divina as a community and there will also be a Dance Party at the end of the month to nourish all my dancing monks.

You can see the fall calendar of invitations here>>

Join the Holy Disorder of Dancing Monks Facebook group here>>

How Community Lectio Divina works:

Each month there will be a passage selected from scripture or poetry (and at some point  we will engage in some visio and audio divina as well with art and music).

For the year I am choosing an overarching theme of discernment.  I feel like the Abbey is in the midst of some wonderful transition, movement, and expansion.

How amazing it would be to discern together the movements of the Spirit at work in the hearts of monks around the world.

I invite you to set aside some time this week to pray with the text below. I have included an audio guided meditation for those of you who prefer to be led through the experience of lectio. It is just below the scripture text.

If you prefer to pray on your own, here is a handout with a brief overview (feel free to reproduce this handout as long as you leave in the attribution at the bottom – thank you!)

Lean into silence, pray the text, listen to what shimmers, allow the images and memories to unfold, tend to the invitation, and then sit in stillness.

I am the Lord, I have called you in righteousness, I have taken you by the hand and kept you; I have given you as a covenant to the people, a light to the nations, to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness. I am the Lord, that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to idols. See, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare; before they spring forth, I tell you of them. Sing to the Lord a new song, his praise from the end of the earth! Let the sea roar and all that fills it, the coastlands and their inhabitants.

—Isaiah 42:6-10 (NRSV)

Listen to a guided lectio divina: [audio:]

(or you can download the file here to listen on an mp3 player)

After you have prayed with the text (and feel free to pray with it more than once – St. Ignatius wrote about the deep value of repetition in prayer, especially when something feels particularly rich) spend some time journaling what insights arise for you.

How is this text calling to your dancing monk heart in this moment of your life?

What wisdom emerged that may be just for you, but may also be for the wider community?

Creative Response to Prayer

I find lectio divina to be such a rich way to engage my heart and my imagination, and it can be a powerful way to lead into art-making, poem-writing, or movement. Feel free to go in any direction with this you feel led.

I will offer a suggestion each month. For this first month’s practice, I suggest going on a photo pilgrimage following your lectio practice (in the hours or days following).

Begin by spending a few moments centering and breathing. Call your word or phrase that shimmered to mind and repeat it gently to yourself like a mantra. Then begin your walk with your camera. It can be just in your backyard or around the block.

Softening your gaze and holding this word, move out into the world without agenda, only simply noticing what arises, what shimmers in the world around you. Is there perhaps an image which offers you another way of experiencing the word from your prayer?

See if you can release your desire to do this a certain way or find a certain image. Allow yourself to receive what comes, even if that is just ten minutes of quiet, attentive walking.

Sharing Your Responses

Please share the fruits of your lectio divina practice and/or your creative response either in the comments below or at our Holy Disorder of Dancing Monks Facebook group which you can join herePhotos can be included in both places.

You might share the word or phrase that shimmered, the invitation that arose from your prayer, or a photo you received in response. There is something powerful about naming your experience in community and then seeing what threads are woven between all of our responses.

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Monk in the World Guest Post: Natalie Salminen

I am delighted to share a beautiful submission to our Monk in the World guest post series from the community. Read on for Natalie Salminen’s reflection on creativity, faith, and painting the liturgy of the hours. I was exhausted in every sense of the word.

Read More »

26 Responses

  1. “I have taken you by the hand and kept you..” As I complete my 6th decade on this planet, these words warm me, comfort me for there have been numerous bounces along the path to here. As a late entry to the feast I am grateful to be part of this group of seekers. The hands I feel keep me.

  2. As I read this passage, I imagined writing it in calligraphy, and I kept seeing God’s “I” and “I Am’s” much larger than the other font sizes. In my mind the font size kept growing and I felt like John, saying, The whole universe isn’t big enough to contain the name of God… The personal pronoun of God. And just after that I am reminded that my mighty God has Called Me. Even though I am a only speck of sand in an infinite coastline of roaring, singing, worshipping collective sand, I am being called, individually, for something that I was specifically created to do… And what is that? To tumble and dance amidst all the other crystals of sand as we offer a mighty chorus of praise. Pope Francis has called for a world day of fasting and prayer for peace this Saturday, not only among Catholics, but all faiths and denominations. I believe we should add a Holy Disorder of Dancing to the prayers.

  3. I’m not surprised that these words made me catch my breath when I first heard Christine read them: “Let the sea roar and all that fills it, the coastlands and their inhabitants.” The first time I watched my favorite movie, “The Way,” I distinctly heard the words ‘this is God’ in my head as I watched the final scene in Muxia. The churning, constantly moving, deep, mysterious ocean felt like God to me. Now that I’m reading about Celtic spirituality in preparation for next year’s pilgrimage to Ireland, I’ve learned that the Celts believed all of Creation is an expression of God’s essence. I’m feeling called to continue to explore the sea as an expression of God and also to seek the expression of His essence in other parts of Creation.

  4. What a blessing to read and retread “I have taken you by the hand and kept you.” I am recovering or on my way to recovering from pneumonia. Feeling so weak and knowing the movers come in one week to pack up our household and move from Washington to Utah is daunting. Although I have little energy right now, this passage reminds me of the joys that come from willing surrender to God reaching for my hand.

  5. My initial response … the image of being given, to open the eyes of the blind, and to bring out the prisoners sitting in darkness … these resonate with me in this passage, in the milieu of ministry I am doing in spiritual accompaniment, and with the senior adults of my church. I am being given to accompany others in awakening to their belovedness before God, to affirm them in their giftedness – at every age – and to walk with them as they claim their areas of imprisonment, and seek healing and release.

    Thank you, Christine, for your ministry to all of us who walk with others in the world. And thank you to all of you dancing monks who make up this beautiful field of creativity and contemplation.

  6. “I am the Lord. I have called you in righteousness, I have taken you by the hand and kept you….” Oh, how comforting this morning. Sitting in the shade of the oak trees at the home of my children and grandchildren. An early morning fire in the fire pit, wood smoke wafting. Gentle September 1st breeze caressing me. Holy Spirit. Kids in the pool loving the playing together as cousins. I am glad to be reminded at age 72 and still ministering that God has called me and is keeping me. As I deal with health problems and questioning my value at times in ministry, I need the reminder that God continues to “call” me and “keep” me. What a faithful God!

    1. Oops….my reply to you ended up attached somewhere else! Lord please give me patience with my challenge with this tech stuff!

    2. Kay, I can see you with my mind and carry you, as always, in my heart. I feel great peace and joy in your words. Let me add to the Spirit’s affirmation of your call to ministry: you are a great blessing, teacher and soul companion in MY life. And I am CERTAIN this is true for SO many others with whom your life touches.

  7. Mmmm Christine, I am blessed by your presence in my life and all the recipients of my mailing list are also… (I know that especially after I introduced you to them by ‘Following the Ancient Call”. ) This time in Lectio is relaxing for the body, calming for my mind and freeing for my spirit, it has been part of my morning ‘spiritual spa” for a while. Thank you for this guided contemplation.

    1. Thank you for your reflection, Kay. As I move from one sacred space to another, it is good to know I do not travel alone. It is so hard to see the picture from inside the frame! It is good to have other eyes….even from afar….reflecting my reality, encouraging me on my way?

      1. My dear Sharon – our connection continues and in the most beautiful unexpected of places the presence reveals itself.

  8. “I have given you as covenant to the people.”
    After some years surrounded by serious illnesses and caregiving, I am beginning afresh to love and respect, to embrace and live out this covenant. I was called, taken by the hand many years ago. I did my work, within and without. The covenant between me and my God, me and God’s people has both challenged and sustained me throughout those years. Now, with dis-ease at bay, caregiving eased, though I thought to rest at 74:), I hear the whisper of the invitation to soften my gaze and move out into the world once again, with courage, without agenda. That no agenda part just might be the biggest challenge so far! …………along with navigating the tech connection to the Abbey/Dancing Monks:)

  9. “I have taken you by the hand and kept you…”
    I bid you walk over the ocean of pain as “twinless twin”…
    Sing my Glory through grief and tears…
    Hold on to the numinous dream at time of death…

    Sister Water – free – tumbling with laughter
    Over rocks and tree branches
    Forming beautiful waterfalls
    Singing a happy melody to be free
    Flowing and dancing in the sunlight
    Numinous gladness fills my heart,
    I am awake in Paradise
    As at death we awaken from the dream of life
    Awaken from the dream of delusion into full enlightenment

    Hold on to the dream of Our Lady of Knock
    A Christmas tree that turns to an Easter Lily tree
    That is seen next to the altar at church in Knock
    Mary, Joseph, and John, the Evangelist
    Mom, dad, and step father, John,
    Also, coming in dream and rainbow
    As if to warn me of coming parting
    Opening arms of Divine Mercy to welcome him
    I have no camera, but images
    The lovely butterfly dancing in the wind and sunlight at the gate
    The peacock feather shimmering immortality in translucent blue-green eye
    The rose on my altar that returns from service and does not wilt
    Flower petals now filling Tibettan singing bowl
    Waiting to join ashes poured upon waves of the Ocean Mother
    “I am a speck of ash dancing in a Son-Sunbeam now, Sis,
    I am taking you by the hand and I keep you
    Even unto Eternity in the Heart of the Cosmic One
    My heart burst into an ocean of Divine Love-Light
    Sing with me in this Word-Song my thanksgiving for Life.”

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