Last week we were told to begin our Lectio Divina assignment which has us reading, praying, and journaling through spiritual texts for
thirty days. "YES!" I thought to myself. For once my devotional time will not conflict with my homework, and the "achiever" in me can rest content knowing that I will be doing two things at once.
The first day we had to read and pray through Gen. 1.26-28. It was a great passage to begin with, full of theological concepts and implications for humanity's vocational destiny. The reading for the second day, however, was a little unsettling and confusing. When checking the document that indicated what was to be read, I saw that this morning's text was not scripture but the reflections of a Christian thinker in the patristic period. How could this be devotional material? I "knew," however, that God could speak through anything, so I began reading Gregory of Nyssa's thoughts on the spiritual calling and devotion of his sister Marcina. Halfway through the reading, I caught myself mid-highlight: I had been reading the text like I would read for a Church history assignment. I was engaging only cerebrally with the text, not opening up my heart and soul to God as I was reading.
After getting past the frustration of not knowing how to devotionally engage anything but the scriptures, I revisited Gregory's words and encountered God's Spirit in Gregory's reflections on the tender and devoted heart of his sister in spite of her immense emotional and physical suffering. In my prayer time I admitted to God that although I knew he was present in and could speak through anything, I was not engaging life's "texts" in that way. To hear God (or at least make oneself available to hear) in all things and people requires an intentional readjustment of mind and heart. The whole self must be involved in the retuning process if we are to hear God in all the frequencies he is speaking. By frustrating my old devotional habits, Touchstone is rebuilding them to make my time with God (and other things and people) much richer.