This summer our spiritual formation team has invited our community of faith into the practice of formative reading. We are calling the initiative “Engage Your Mind Through Summer Reading” and the writings of Eugene Peterson have helped shape this initiative. Two primary sources have been his books, Take and Read and Eat This Book. Here are three important thoughts:
“Reading today is largely a consumer activity – people devour books, magazines, pamphlets, and newspapers for information that will fuel their ambition or careers or competence. The faster the better, the more the better. It is either analytical, figuring things out; or it is frivolous, killing time. Spiritual reading is mostly a lover’s activity – a dalliance with words, reading as much between the lines as in the lines themselves. It is leisurely, as ready to reread an old book as to open a new one. It is playful, anticipating the pleasures of friendship. It is prayerful, convinced that all honest words can involve us in some way, if we read with our hearts as well as our heads, in an eternal conversation that got its start in the Word that ‘became flesh.’” (Take and Read, Spiritual Reading: An Annotated List)
But as it turns out, in this business of living the Christian life, ranking high among the most neglected aspects is one having to do with the reading of the Christian Scriptures. Not that Christians don’t own and read their Bibles. And not that Christians don’t believe that their Bibles are the word of God. What is neglected is reading the Scriptures formatively, reading in order to live. (Eat This Book: A Conversation in the Art of Spiritual Reading)
This may be the single most important thing to know as we come to read and study and believe these Holy Scriptures: this rich, alive, personally revealing God as experienced in Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, personally addressing us in whatever circumstances we find ourselves, at whatever age we are, in whatever state we are – me, you, us. Christian reading is participatory reading, receiving the words in such a way that they become interior to our lives, the rhythms and images becoming practices of prayer, acts of obedience, ways of love. (Eat This Book: A Conversation in the Art of Spiritual Reading)
This morning in worship, I shared with our community a formative model for reading the Scriptures. Tony Jones in is his book, Read, Think, Pray, Live unpacks the ancient practice of lectio divina for a 21st century people. We actually created some significant space during the message to read, think, pray, and live around Luke 10:38-42 and had a number of extended periods of communal silence.
Question: what does it mean for you to engage the Scriptures formatively?
Here is our complete worship flow:
- Fall on Your Knees (David Crowder Band)
- O Praise Him (David Crowder Band)
- Welcome and Greeting
- Reflection on Psalm 31:1-4
- My Hope (Paul Baloche)
- Cornerstone (Hillsong)
- Announcements and Offering
- Message (Dwelling in the Word)
- Second Chances (Rend Collective Experiment)
You can learn what other communities of faith experienced this weekend in worship at The Worship Community.