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/ 29 April 2020

Lectio Divina with your family

Sam Donoghue explains an activity for you and your family, combining Bible reading with craft. 

This week I offer you a great joy; the chance to use an ancient spiritual practice together as a family that turns out to be massively simple and really effective.

Let’s cut to the chase. There are many, many times during this lockdown when you will feel inferior to other parents. They will share images of freshly baked sourdough loaves while you tuck into a bowl of cereal for lunch. They will post images of family bike rides which you observe on your phone with Joe Wicks playing in the background with no one joining in. At least now you will have the chance when someone asks about church stuff to say ‘actually we’ve been focussing on the Lectio Divina’ and sound like you’ve really got this stuff together!

I do of course jest, but the fact remains that this way of working with Bible Stories is amazing and so simple. It doesn’t even require any preparation; it just trusts that the Bible is a living text and God is able to speak through it as we dwell on it. All you do is this:

  1. Choose a passage from the Bible to read out. I find Paul’s letters work well for this, as do Psalms. Choose a decent sized chunk, 10 verses or so or even a whole chapter. You want to create lots of things to think about!
  2. Give each person some resources to use – pens and paper would be the minimum, but playdough or more elaborate craft materials would be good. Just so long as it’s all ‘neutral’ and isn’t the resources to make a thing; you want to use the resources to think and explore, not make the thing!
  3. Explain that you are going to read the passage twice and all they need to do is listen to it, and if anything in it grabs their attention just jot it down. It might be a phrase, a word or even something that the passage makes you think of.
  4. After a pause for silence, read the passage and then allow a good length pause for people to think.
  5. Explain you’re going to read it again but this time invite people to try and focus on one thing, maybe even one word. They can then use that word or phrase as a focus for their writing, drawing or craft.
  6. Read the passage again and then give people plenty of time to finish their work.
  7. While people are finishing, go round and ask people what they are working on, what they focussed on and why. You’ll find as you do this you’ll be amazed at the depth of the chat you’ll have and the variety of thoughts that will have come out.
  8. I would then finish with one minute of silence to allow us one more chance to think, and then say the Lord’s Prayer together.

About Sam Donoghue

Sam Donoghue is Head of Children and Youth for the Diocese of London, a keen cyclist and a supporter of Everton FC.

Read more from Sam Donoghue

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