Lent 2019 "Can God spread a table in the wilderness?" Psalm 78:19

"Can God spread a table in the wilderness?" asks the psalmist. The image of the desert evokes in us many feelings like isolation, solitude, transition, fear, and hope. In the Hebrew Scriptures the desert is an essential stage for the stories of God and God's people. Not all deserts are arid or rocky. Some have vegetation, wild animals and rain. The diversity of the desert has much to teach us about our lives and our relationship with God.

The spirituality of Lent

The image of the desert is given to us in the beginning of our journey every year in Lent. For 2019, we will take the metaphor of wilderness as a background for our liturgical season. The Liturgical Planning Committee for this season in an attempt to enrich our Lenten spirituality is inviting you to taste from the wells of Ignatian spirituality. The two key words for us in this Season are "religious imagination" from Saint Ignatius of Loyola. His spiritual practices of prayers allows us to enter the dialogue with God. If prayer can be done with a creative heart, then Lectio Divina and Gospel Contemplation can be two paths to enhance reading of the Holy Scriptures. With these instruments we can grow deeper in intimacy with God.

Learning the method

“The word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it.” Deuteronomy 30:14

Instructions for Practice

  • First, go to your holy place, a place of rest and quiet, in order to center your body and mind.
  • Find a posture in which you can easily sit erect without being rigid.
  • Let your body be firmly planted on the earth, your hands resting easily, your heart soft, your eyes closed.
  • Ground yourself in your physical sensations for several minutes. Slowly become aware of the sensations in your body. Feel the sensations in your head...neck, shoulders...arms, wrists, palms...chest, belly, pelvis...thighs, knees...ankles, soles of your feet...
  • Ask God to touch you through the passage of scripture you have chosen.
  • Tell God that you desire to be open to the word, healing, probing, or consolation – whatever God knows you need at this time.
  • Pick up your Bible and read the passage slowly and carefully several times, aloud and silently. Pause between each reading for half a minute or so to allow yourself to notice details in the story. Let questions and insights occur as you notice more with each reading.
  • Place the Bible aside.
  • Now give your power of imagination free reign to bring the scene to life with yourself as a participant. Don’t look on it as if it were a movie projected onto a screen. It is happening all around you. Feel free to smell the scents. Hear the noises. Sense the movements. Allow yourself to become whoever you want to be, or are drawn to be, in the scene. Are you one of the disciples? A bystander able to see everything happen right there on the spot? Someone in search of healing? Are you Jesus? How are you feeling at the beginning of the story?
  • Let the drama slowly unfold. Let whatever happens, happen. Don’t control the story. Let yourself feel what happens. Don’t step back out by trying to glean lessons from the story or why you are the person in the story that you are. Don’t start thinking about applications to your life. Allow yourself to be affected by the words and actions of the story.
  • As your feelings are affected by the event, let yourself respond. Often you need to respond by articulating these feelings to Jesus. Tell him how you have been touched. Ask him what the feelings mean. What kind of gift are they? What are you thankful for? What do you want to ask for? Who is God for you just now? How is God inviting you? At other times, the best response is to stay with the impression the story has had on you, savoring it and soaking yourself in it, aware of the presence of Christ.
  • When awareness naturally ceases, or you feel you have replied and responded to God’s way of touching you in prayer through this particular story, bring the meditation to a simple conclusion by reciting a prayer such as the Lord’s Prayer, or by singing the verse of a hymn.
  • Shift your posture. Take a few moments to feel the sensations in your body. Take a few deep breaths, open your eyes and slowly move from your holy place.
  • Move gently toward whatever you will be doing, carrying the fruits of your awareness with you as a backdrop for the rest of your day.

Adapted from the course The Life of Prayer taught by the Rev. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas

Created By
Dessordi Leite


Photos by Sam Dessordi

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