Monday, January 21, 2008

Ultra Short Bible Readings

Blessed are the pure in heart
for they will see God.
For years I thought that I should read as much of the bible as I could: I thought that was the way to spiritual growth. The problem was no matter how much I read (and reread) I rarely found anything new. While there was occasionally improvement in my life, there was rarely change, and never transformation (that I can remember). Consequently, I might read chapters and chapters a day or go for months without reading.

But now, more than consuming scripture, I want scripture to consume me. This distinction, of course, is just metaphoric, but I think the contrast is useful. A few weeks ago, I started practicing reading ultra short passages, even just one verse a day. (This type of reading is part of the lectio divina practice.)

I’ve started with the Sermon on the Mount. I am finding much more “meaning” in Jesus’ statements than ever before. Not just intellectual meaning. I’ve heard radical lectures on how counter-cultural Jesus is. But after changing my mind, those thoughts stop changing me. This practice I am experimenting with is about presence.

Beautiful, simple, and confounding, the verse I am reading today says, “Blessed are the pure in heart / for they will see God.” I think that a practice of being present to short passages of scripture can be spiritually purifying. For one thing, this type of reading doesn’t aim at accomplishment, bragging rights, or moral self-affirmation. More significantly, however, we know that only God can work purity in us; much like with silent prayer, this reading practice gives God space to work.

God please work purity in us.

-- Paul Corrigan

1 comment:

living stones said...


I like how you remind us once again that being present gives God room to work. The short parts in The Hours works for me.Amen!


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