St. Paul's United Methodist Church
Wednesday, September 19, 2018



We invite you to worship with us each Sunday!
You will be warmly welcomed as you experience
the love and the grace of God through our
Sunday worship services and teaching.



TWO SERVICES - 8:30 AM & 11 AM
The folks of St. Paul’s offer worship in which we honor tradition, are challenged with the Christian journey, celebrate the Word and share our stories in the intimate setting that is St. Paul's Church. Parents are encouraged to bring their children to worship for the Children’s Celebration at each service. If you and your family are searching for meaningful worship and discipleship, join us for these opportunities to explore your faith. St. Paul’s is a spiritual home for people of all ages and backgrounds and for families, traditional and non-traditional, where creativity and passion for the Gospel flourish and we are bound by the love of God that draws us together.



Wednesday, September 12, 2018


Dear Saints of St. Paul’s,

This Sunday, we begin our Adult Studies Group again in the Fellowship Hall from 9:45-10:45. One of our Lay Leaders, Paul Loder, will be leading us in the practice of Lectio Divina, a Latin phrase which means Divine Reading. This ancient practice of experiencing the richness of scripture, rather than studying it, has led many Christians who practice it to experience the power of scripture to lead us into a greater awareness of the Holy Spirit’s presence. While some of us may be familiar with this practice, I thought it might be helpful this week to explain the process. In the coming weeks, I will be leading the group, alternating with the Rev. Ryan Scott.

Why Lectio Divina?

Too often we approach the reading (and studying) of scripture with all head and no heart. I remember a youth once asked me about the crucifixion, and where specifically the nails were driven into Jesus’ hands. She had heard that they might have been driven into his wrists instead of his palms, and I confirmed that this was probably true. This is head knowledge, but as I spoke to her, tears began to fall down her face, as she demonstrated to me what happens when the Word of God penetrates our hearts. It was the Season of Lent, and as I watched her weeping for Jesus, I thanked her for reminding me with her tears that this love story is not a mere collection of historical or even theological facts, but a relationship with the living, risen Christ.

Lectio Divina blurs the lines between prayer and scripture reading. The practice dates from the 12th Century, but is based on ancient Hebrew practices of praying the scriptures. It involves reading (or, more accurately, listening) to God’s Word with our hearts, in order to attune ourselves to the presence and guidance of the Holy Spirit. Sometimes I like to simplify Lectio Divina by inviting people to listen for a word or a phrase that “leaps off the page” for them. The goal is not to explain the word, phrase, or concept, but to recognize and to celebrate that we are not reading alone, but in the company of the Advocate, the Helper that Jesus promised would guide us into all truth.

How Does it Work?

Classic Lectio Divina involves four moments: (1) Lectio – listen to scripture read out loud with your heart for a phrase, sentence, or word that stands out; (2) Meditatio – reflect on that word or phrase, savoring it as a prayer, in an attitude of expectant attentiveness to God’s presence; (3) Oratio – respond with a prayer of praise, thanksgiving, or petition, as the Spirit leads you; and (4) Contemplatio – Rest in God as you open yourself to a deeper hearing of God’s Word in God’s presence.

The above sequence works best as an individual prayer practice. In group practice, Lectio Divina involves repeated readings of scripture, by different voices, interspersed with periods of silence, after which group members may share with everyone the word or phrase, or the prayer they are inspired to offer to God. The scripture we will use will be the passage we are using for the following Sunday in worship (which you can find in this edition of the Mid-Week, online or in the bulletin). I am excited about what God will do among us as we open ourselves to experience the presence of God through the sacrament of God’s Word together.