Saturday, March 31, 2012

Using Mandalas in your Lectio Divina Practice

I have found mandalas to be helpful in accessing scripture.  The drawing of the mandala helps me to be more open to the scripture's message and helps me to connect on a deeper level with the message and the words.

Lectio Divina is a process to internalize scripture.  There are a couple different ways to do it, but basically it entails reading the passage multiple times.  Between each reading, you are to focus on a piece of the passage that speaks to you and then connect it with something currently in your life.  I have been twisting its use by:

1.  Read a passage.  I have been focusing on the Psalms.
2. Find a section that speaks to me.
3.  Reread the passage.
4.  Begin the drawing of my mandala. (note: my mandalas are not as structured as this.  I begin only with the circle and a center.  And sometimes even the center is optional)
5. Read the passage again.
6. Write a short passage myself about how the scripture, the particular verse, and my drawing relate to me.

In, Go and Do Likewise: Jesus and Ethics by William C. Spohn,  Spohn writes, "The ancient practice of mediation read the text for transformation, not information.  The sacred texts of every tradition have to be read with a listening heart, not at 350 words per minute.  The early monks would hear the scripture read in common and commit phrases to memory so they could continue to be nourished by it in solitude." (pg 137)

I encourage you to try this practice, whether you draw or not.  Lectio Divina is a totally different way to read scripture than I had ever been taught.  While I would not use this as the only way to read scripture it is a usefull tool to deepen your understanding and to become active in your Bible studies.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Mandala - Another to consider

Here is another mandala that I have created:

Saturday, March 17, 2012

I want to share with you the power of drawing mandalas.  This mandala was created with the intention of thinking about my upcoming Discernment Meeting with the Central Association of the United Church of Christ.  This meeting is the step toward becoming an ordained minister or a road block depending on its outcome.  Clearly one might bring a lot of tension into such a meeting. So when I went to the mandala workshop held by fellow seminarian, Kelly Beard, I used this meeting as the intent for my drawing.

You cannot clearly see in this drawing, but the drawing began with a lot of chaos and movement.  Eventually, the flower grew out of the middle and the chaos receded.  You will notice if you look carefully that my take away from this was that I was enough.  The flower I felt represented me and my gifts.  To me this was a messages that if I went into the meeting with the talents and skills that God had gifted me with then I was ok.  I was surprised by this result when it first emerged, but even more surprised when it emerged just before I entered the meeting.

On the day of my Discernment Meeting, I was sitting on the deacons' bench waiting to be called in.  I decided to take a minute to pray and center myself.  As I closed my eyes and began to pray to God to give me the words so that I could properly articulate my calling to these people who needed to open the next gate so that I could follow, a picture blossomed in my head.  I saw that flower bloom right before me.  God sent me a picture message reminding me that I was enough.  If I went in just as myself, I would be ok.

I have continued to draw several mandalas as part of my spiritual practice time now and over the next few weeks, I will share some of what I have created.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

My Mandala

I got the blessing of attending a mandala making workshop week.  This is the very first mandala that I have ever made.  I hope that you may enjoy it.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Found Prayer (AKA Capture a Prayer)

Do you find it hard to compose a prayer that properly encapsulates an event?  Here is a wonderful way to be sure that your closing prayer properly reflects all that has gone on: create a found prayer.  During your activity, meeting, retreat record snippets of people's comments.  If someone's words are particularly poignant, touching, or poetic, jot them down.  Continue to add to your found comments throughout the event.  At the end of your time together, weave the words together to praise God.  Often there is little framing that needs to be done.  Perhaps a simple "Dear God, Thank you for bringing us all together today.  We have been blessed with your presence and the presence of each other.  As we listen to each other, we can often find your words speaking to us . . .[add words that were captured throughout the day]   Please allow us to continue to be graced by your presence and help us to continue to hear your words through others.  Amen

I would love to hear some of your captured prayers, and I will try to share some of mind.

This concept was presented in Praying Out Loud, a seminar held at the MAUCC Super Saturday, Ludlow, MA  Co-led by Rev. Bob Johansen and Rev. Anastasia Kidd, Commission for Leadership Development