For our passage yesterday, we used 1 John 3:18-24, a section of one of the readings for the day. I have pasted the passage below.
On the first time through, the word that struck me was “children.” I didn’t yet know why. On the second time through, “children” again struck me, but this time so did the word “love.” Perhaps, I thought, God was reminding me that I am God’s beloved child. On the third time through, and even more forcefully in the five minutes of prayer, I felt invited to rest in God’s loving presence.
Another passage came to mind. In Luke 10:38-42, Martha is irritated that her sister Mary is just sitting at Jesus’ feet while Martha does all the work. Jesus says that Mary has chosen the better part, and it will not be taken from her. In that moment, I wanted to follow Mary’s example. But lately I have been busy—much more like Martha.
What I took from our session of Lectio Divina was an invitation to relax. I still need to do the things that need to be done. But I was reminded not to let my tasks distract me from the loving presence of God. I needed to hear that.
And the grand irony is, the passage seems to say almost the opposite! It is all about loving in truth and action. But the beauty of contemplative prayer is that God’s Spirit speaks to us through the words with a message that is directed to each of us individually. I was profoundly grateful for the opportunity to pause and listen, and to hear what I needed to hear. Thanks be to God!
18 Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action. 19 And by this we will know that we are from the truth and will reassure our hearts before him 20 whenever our hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. 21 Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have boldness before God; 22 and we receive from him whatever we ask, because we obey his commandments and do what pleases him. 23 And this is his commandment, that we should believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. 24 All who obey his commandments abide in him, and he abides in them. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit that he has given us.