I am currently part of one of the best adult Sunday school classes ever. At least I think so. There are about 20 of us who get together each week to do nothing more than meditate prayerfully on a few verses of Scripture, Lectio Divina style. Our method is simple. One person reads the passage aloud while the others of us simply listen. Then we wait in silence for three to five minutes allowing the Holy Spirit speak to us individually. When we've had time to reflect on our own, the leader calls us back together to share what we have been hearing from the Lord. Very often God's Spirit seems to pick out a single theme to share with us as a group, using each person's contribution to make up the big picture. We repeat the read, listen, wait in silence, come back together, share steps three or four times during the 75 minutes we typically meet.
Yesterday, the last Sunday of 2009, we altered the method slightly. We read Deuteronomy 8, a wonderful passage about not fogetting God's work in His people's lives, and then after the time of silence, reflection, and sharing, the leader asked us to spend more time with the Lord individually, asking Him to remind us times during the past year when we'd experienced consolation (a sense of God's presence and life) and desolation (a sense of God seeming far away and a feeling drained of life). His point was to encourage us to invite God into a prayerful contemplation of the previous year so He could help us recognize, savor, and learn from the ways He'd been working in us. With these things in mind, we will be in a better place to move more intentionally into the new year with the conscious awareness of His presence and purposes for us.
Needless to say, 75 minutes was not enough time for us to finish the exercise. In fact, we barely scratched the surface. But the time was meaningful to me, so I wanted to share it with you so that you might also try it, if you like. Or perhaps you have another way of prayerfully reflecting on the year past and moving prayerfully into the one to come. If you do, please share that with the rest of us. But whatever you do, find a way to reflect with and talk to the Lord about the year you've just finished and the one we're ushering in.