We had a rich lunchtime yesterday - connecting with PAOC pastors from across the city. My predecessor at PGCC, Nick brought refreshment, challenge and enrichment in equal measures by leading us in an example of lectio divina. He drew out the difference between informational reading (we are the master of the text and we use it to increase knowledge, and particularly as pastors, gain something to "pass on") and formational reading (allowing the text to master us, put aside analysis and allow God to speak - which I guess if we really believe 2Tim3:16 we should make sure we do a lot more!).
we went through 4 slow readings of a passage of Scripture: 1st reading) allow God to highlight a phrase or word, then spend some time mulling it over; 2nd reading) what is God inviting you to through this word/phrase 3rd) what is your response to God 4th) rest in the presence of God -no mulling/thinking allowed.
We did this as a group, responding individually. It took about 20mins and I have to say it was profound. Nick chose Mark 15:6-15 as part of Holy week. The phrase I felt God highlighted to me I’m going to post separately 'cos it got me thinking. He spoke to me a load about leadership. Bizarrely, Nick had the same phrase highlighted and was also spoken to about leadership .. we’re obviously on a similar journey right now!
Another thought Nick brought to us was: "this Easter, which of the characters in the Easter story are you thinking about" (other than Jesus of course). Bizarrely again, Nick and I are both thinking about Mary the mother of Jesus this year .. perhaps as both our wives are pregnant again, highlighting motherhood - perhaps we have a subliminal desire to go Catholic? For me perhaps the most poignant and striking scene in "The Passion of the Christ" is where Mary sees her son through an archway dragging the cross and barely walking, and there are a few flashbacks of family life from many years before .. wow. What was it like for her to watch her son go through that day, we simply cannot imagine .. but it has to be worth thinking about. Think about it in the context of the magnificat.
Who’s your character this year? Peter, John, Mary Magdelene, Barabbas, Pilot, Caiaphas, Simon of Cyrene, the centurion.
My 'honourable mention' has to be Joseph of Aramathea when I read from Mark 15 this morning.
43Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member of the Council, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for Jesus' body.That was a risky request wasn’t it? What was he thinking? What would everyone think of him? Worship and sacrifice in an incredible moment as he "went boldly to Pilate"