Contact Us

Use the form on the right to contact us. 

11920 Northeast 80th Street
Kirkland, WA, 98033

425-298-4973

We are a Jesus-focused, inclusive community of faith that strives to live as Jesus lived in real, everyday ways. Come Thrive Go. Salt House is a Church on Seattle's Eastside located in Kirkland, Washington. 

Location: 11920 NE 80th Street, Kirkland, WA 98033.

LECTIO DIVINA ON ACTS 1

Sermons

LECTIO DIVINA ON ACTS 1

Jason Bendickson

May 28, 2017 / LECTIO DIVINA ON ACTS 1 / Katy McCallum Sachse / Acts 1:1-11 (MSG)

This morning we are going to encounter the love story of the bible in the simplest and probably most profound way – by just reading it. The practice we will enter today is called Lectio Divina (on screen), which translates to mean, “divine reading.”

This practice began early in the life of Christian communities. I want to share a short quote from James Wilhoit, who has written a book introducing Lectio Divina:  “Shortly after the New Testament was completed, Christians were reading their Bibles for joy and transformation, as a way of simply being present with God. This practice of the devotional reading of Scripture was especially popular among those who retreated to the deserts for prayer and renewal. Lectio divina-as this practice was named-immersed people in the reading of Scripture, and yet the point was to employ the Scriptures as a doorway into transforming intimacy.”

It’s important to remember that, as those who follow Jesus, we don’t worship the bible. I love that image that the bible is a doorway, an entryway, a lens through which we see God at work even now, in our own lives and in the world. Reading the stories of scripture helps form our minds, our hearts, our ears, and our eyes to look for a God of steadfast love, of persistence justice, of unending mercy and hope.

While doing some reading this week about Lectio Divina, I found an article called, “Why Lectio Divina is a dangerous practice.” That sounded good, so I read it – and found that, in this case, the author was very suspicious of all kinds of spiritual practices. Meditation, yoga, anything remotely contemplative was listed as treacherous and threatening for Christian life, in ways I wasn’t exactly able to understand.

But, although this author and I have completely different interpretations of what makes something dangerous, I don’t completely disagree – Lectio Divina is supposed to be dangerous. It’s supposed to change us, rattle us, transform us as we encounter the living, moving, always-present God in the story of scripture. That kind of transformation is dangerous if we want to stay who we are and where we are and never be challenged or changed.

Love is dangerous in that same way, dangerous to our ideas of personal comfort and safety. To love someone is to take yourself out of the center of your own life. To be loved is to rest in the assurance that you are enough, that you are worthy, that you are claimed and good and whole not if you become someone better, but for who you actually are. These are dangerous things to trust and believe because you cannot believe them and remain unchanged.

So today, we’re entering into the grand love story of the bible by our careful listening and sharing with one another. If you haven’t tried Lectio Divina before, I’ll give you some basic descriptions as we go. But my role today is mostly to get out of the way.  

So first, take a few deep breaths. Feel your feet on the ground and your fingers at the ends of your hands. Roll your shoulders, get comfortable in your seat. With each exhale, let go of some worry or anxiety you carry with you. Imagine putting those things down just for now, just for a few moments. For this first reading, I invite you to close your eyes and simply listen though, if you are a visual person, the passage will be on the screen as well.

The first step in Lectio is simply to read. No agenda. Just listen. (read Acts 1:1-14)

(Silence.)

The next time we read, listen for a word or phrase that stands out to you. Something that gets your attention. You don’t have to know why, or interpret it at all – just see if something catches your attention along the way. When you hear it, focus on that word or phrase during the silent time that will follow the reading.

(Read, then silence)

If you’re willing, I invite you to share that word or phrase out loud – no commentary yet, just name the word or phrase for all of us.

Thank you. The third step is reflection. As you hear the story this time, keep in mind that word or phrase that caught your ear. Begin to think about why that might be. Does it challenge you, comfort you, confuse you? Don’t worry about getting distracted during the reading – if you have errant thoughts, offer them up as prayers. And then return to listening as closely as you can.

(read, then silence)

As you’re comfortable, I invite you to turn to someone near you and share your thoughts so far. What has come up for you? What is causing you to pay particular attention? We’ll just do this for a few moments and then I’ll call you back for one last reading.

Alright. This last time we’ll hear the passage read by _______. As you hear this story for the last time, listen for how you are being called to respond. What might you do or be differently this week because of what you are hearing this morning?

(read, then brief silence)

Let’s take a few minutes to share with each other, again as you’re comfortable doing so. There are no right or wrong answers, so there’s no need to debate each other – just our witness together to how this dangerous practice of reading scripture begins to change us. We’ll use a mic so we can hear each other. What word or phrase spoke to you today and how do you think you might be called to respond?

(group responses)

For me, the phrase that stood out is this: “why do you stand here looking up at an empty sky?” I wonder how I limit my experience with God, how I shrink my relationship with God and with my neighbors, by looking for God only in certain places, places I expect and have experienced before and can easily name as holy, or spiritual, or churchy. I feel called by those words to look and listen beyond what I’m used to, or comfortable with.

As the band comes up, I invite you to take another deep breath or two, and hear a blessing, written by Jan Richardson, a blessing she wrote for this inbetween story, where Jesus has ascended and the disciples are waiting for what is yet to come. You will hear that what caught her attention was the command to stay, to wait. So hear this blessing for you, as you head into this week with your own sense of call and response.

I know how your mind
Rushes ahead
Trying to fathom
What could follow this.
What will you do,
Where will you go,
How will you live?
You will want
To outrun the grief.
You will want
To keep turning toward
The horizon,
Watching for what was lost
To come back,
To return to you
And never leave again.
For now
Hear me when I say
All you need to do
Is to still yourself
Is to turn toward one another
Is to stay.
Wait
And see what comes
To fill
The gaping hole
In your chest.
Wait with your hands open
To receive what could never come
Except to what is empty and hollow.
You cannot know it now,
Cannot even imagine
What lies ahead,
But I tell you
The day is coming
When breath will
Fill your lungs
As it never has before
And with your own ears
You will hear words
Coming to you new
And startling.
You will dream dreams
And you will see the world
Ablaze with blessing.
Wait for this.
Still yourself.
Stay.