Invitation

When I found your words, I devoured them;

They became my joy and the happiness of my heart.

– Jeremiah 15:16

Let us get up then, at long last, for the Scriptures awaken us when they say, “It is high time for us to arise from sleep” (Romans 13:11). Let us open our eyes to the light that comes from God, and our ears to the voice from the heavens that every day calls out this word: “If you hear God’s voice today, do not harden your hearts” (Psalm 95:8).

– Benedict of Nursia,
Sixth Century

 

There’s a picture of Jesus on my wall where Jesus is holding an open Bible (photo at right). His eyes are warm and present. The Bible pages read: “I am the Living Bread. Come to me you who labor and are burdened and I will refresh you.”

It does me good to sit in front of that picture now and then, to be still for a moment. To hear for myself that written invitation: Come to me…

“Come to me.” The words echo in my heart’s deepest chambers and my heart responds. I find a Bible and begin to read. Tolle Lege, (“take and read”) are the words St. Augustine heard in a dream. They also fill my heart.

“Take and read.”

“Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have become to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God” (John 6:68-69).

Will you read with me? Will you listen for the voice of God, the voice of Life in this season of Advent? I want to hear the Word of God. I want my cavernous heart to be filled with the Presence of Christ and the Spirit of God. I want the same for you, for all of us, all ages and stages among us.

Follow me in these readings, these questions, these prompts toward prayer. Let’s listen every day and know that we are not alone in this pursuit of God but know that God pursues us and that we, together, are listening with one common attention.

The steps of this journey are arranged so that, “the strong have something to yearn for and the weak nothing to run from” (Benedict of Nursia). If a journey like this is new to you, you will find accessible steps. If this is familiar, I hope you will find an energizing challenge.

Each day will have a shorter reading and a longer reading. You decide which is best for you and I challenge you to stretch for the longer, that the roots of your soul might be soaked longer in the waters of the Word.

Questions will follow the readings. These are prompts for thinking, journaling, and conversation—whatever you are disposed to. Allow the questions to take you back to the Scriptures. The Scriptures will be the Living and Active Word that they are and will call your heart to prayer.

That’s all there is to it. From this springs forth new life. As you journey through your days, words that you read will come to mind. The Spirit of God will guide your steps through the day. Attend to the Word that you might attend to the Spirit. Both lead you to walk with the Father and within the Father’s love.

 

Attend. Listen.

Be still and know…

I have found great benefit in setting aside a dedicated space and time for such practices. I have a worn out green recliner with a small table beside it. There are stacks of books all over with a candle free of the books. The candle is ready for light and a pocket cross sits below it. My young boys sometimes come downstairs and find me there in the early morning. They puff at the candle. Sometimes the youngest climbs onto my lap. My reading stops and I hold him like Christ holds me. The Word just takes a different form then.

Find your place and your time. Set them aside with whatever might nurture attention and intentionality. And receive whatever comes your way as a gift. Receive the Word. Receive the contemplation of the Spirit. Receive the interruptions. Dwell forever in the grace of God that intends to fill your heart with faith, with peace, with hope. The Lord is reading you as much as you are reading the Lord.

 

Tolle Lege

(Take and Read)

 

Oremus Pro Invicem

(Let us pray for one another)

 

Your happy brother in the faith,

Pastor Ben

P.S. This journey will work well for individuals, for families, or for other groups. Simply journey the road together: Read, think, pray, and live.

 

 

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