Recently I’ve explored the discipline of Lectio Divina, an ancient devotional practice that emerged in the early days of the Church and was nurtured along the centuries by the Benedictine movement. Lectio Divina is Latin for holy reading, and it offers an invitation to hear the voice of God arise out of the Scriptures.
Steeped in technical, literal – almost scientific – exegesis of Scripture, it can be difficult to move past analyzing God‘s word and deeper into the unhurried art of listening to it. Lectio Divina is not anti-ethical to sound interpretation of the text meaning, but it does challenge the sad reality that technical interpretation can often become our God. We seize God’s word, but we miss God‘s heart.
Quieting our mind, engaging our spirit, being moved by more than sentence structure in original meanings – why are these simple sounding notion so rare to experience? Why is connecting our hearts with God‘s such a struggle?
Could it be due to our loss of the art of savoring, our loss of the pleasure of taste? Listening to God’s heart belongs to the realm of beauty – the world of experience, image and taste. We often live in the realm of science in the world of exactness, logic and duty.
We are people of solutions. Give us a problem, and will fix it. Offer a question, and we will find an answer. We are an efficient, self achieving, driven band. There is little room for ambiguity, little space for pondering and only rare moments to pause, breathe deeply and wonder if there could be more to our restless wanderings than a slavish quest for the holy grail – getting it right. Unfortunately, getting it right plays no part in experiencing beauty.
In the heart tugging movie, Kate and Leopold, Leopold is a royal duke transplanted through a time portal from 1876 into the present. The quirky plot is the budding romance between a successful modern woman and a duke from 1876. Far more interesting than the main storyline, however, is the subplot: Leopold’s attempt to come to terms with life in the modern age. The world he left has vanished, and he isn’t certain he likes what is in its place. In one poignant scene, Leopold frustrated observation is telling: “Life is not solely composed of tasks, but tastes.” And he is right.
If our heart has chilled, the voice of God grown distant, perhaps we need space to savor. The Psalmist knew this and offered this invitation: “Taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8).
Meditate on Psalm 63. Savor God. Enjoy sunset. Take a walk in the woods.
Beautiful One, help me to taste You, to breathe with You.