To Hear and See Joy (Lectio Divina and Psalm 126)

On Sunday, we spent time thinking and talking about joy. Jer talked last week about hope as the certainty we find in God's character, and on Sunday I suggested that joy was a response to God's actions and the activity of God's people congruent with God's character. So hope is certainty that God will act and joy is the response when God does act. Jesus frequently said "those who have ears, let them hear," which, at least in part, means that everyone is capable of hearing but not everyone choose to. Part of our formation is to become people who can see and hear God's activities around us.

One way to do this is through the ancient practice of lectio divina ("divine reading"). Lectio is a practice of listening for God to speak as we meditate on Scripture. Lectio is an invitation to trust that:

  • God speaks.
  • God speaks through Scripture.
  • God speaks to you.
  • God speaks through you.

This week, we practiced lectio divina together and I'd invite you to carry that practice with you throughout the week. Here are some guidelines using Psalm 126 as a starting point.

  1. Find some comfortable space for silence. Read Psalm 126 slowly, listening for a word or phrase that rises to the surface for you. What images or ideas come to mind as you dwell on that word or phrase?
  2. Read Psalm 126 a second time. Focus on the same word or phrase, and spend time reflecting on how that word or phrase speaks to the current reality of life. Think about your week in the context of that word or phrase. What's happened or what's on the schedule that resonates with that word or phrase?
  3. Read Psalm 126 a final time. As you continue to meditate on the word or phrase God has lifted to the surface for you, consider what God might be asking you to do, see, hear, or become in response. What is an invitation, loving reminder or promise God has for you in this?

Let this practice cultivate in us an awareness of God's presence and work in our midst so that we might be people of joy!

Introducing Anchors & Propellers

This Sunday, we launch a new teaching series!

Anchors & Propellers Texts that Ground us, Move us, and Leave us Undone

This series will focus on passages from the Bible that have been particularly formative for our community and explore how we understand God's story as we read the Bible.

Written in multiple languages by more than forty people, compiled over at least a millennium or two, read by people around the world in thousands of languages, the Bible has inspired incredible acts of charity and been used to justify horrific acts of destruction.

The Bible is messy. The Bible is confusing. The Bible is beautiful. The Bible is a gift.

Open Door is a Jesus-following, Bible-informed community. We see the Bible as authoritative and worthy of our attention; The Bible is helpful, trustworthy and true as we navigate life in the way of Jesus (II Tim 3).

God’s unfolding story is best understood by looking at the life and work of Jesus and considering how Jesus interacted with the Bible. Again and again, we see Jesus framing and interpreting and interacting and playing with the Scriptures (anytime Jesus says “you’ve heard it said...” or “it’s been written…”) in order to understand and teach beautiful truth about the world and work of God and to invite us into life to the full (John 10).

As we read the Bible from the vantage point of a 21st century Jesus community in the East Bay, we see certain texts rise up. These texts have played a significant role in the unfolding story of Open Door and continue to shape our life together moving forward. These texts are our anchors and propellers.

A&P_webbanner Like anchors, these texts ground us. They stabilize us in God’s story for us and for our place. They root us in God’s extravagant love made real in Jesus.

Like propellers, these texts move us. They lift us up and push us forward towards life in the way of Jesus as we dream about heaven and earth being woven together.

Functioning as both anchors and propellers, these texts leave us undone. They are both gathering and scattering, planting and pushing, rooting and extending, stabilizing and sending. They call us into question, setting our hearts on fire (Luke 24), while amplifying Jesus’ invitation ever-deeper into ‘life to the full.’

This first iteration of Anchors & Propellers will last five weeks, but we'll revisit this series again and again in the future as we continue to be shaped by the Scriptures as we follow Jesus together.

Let's talk about this!

  • What texts come to mind as you think back on the trajectory of Open Door?
  • How does this language (Anchors/Propellers) help us understand how the Bible functions in the life of our community?
  • How has the Bible served as an anchor and propeller in your story of following Jesus?