Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Scripture Engagement for Worship - Lent 3C

During Lent, I've been experimenting with engaging the congregation in responding to the scripture reading. Inspired by the ancient practice of Lectio Divina, and focusing the Lenten season on "listening for God and listening to one another," I wanted to find a way to practice this in worship. So, here's a bit about what we've been doing:

Lent 3C (March 3, 2013). Focus Scripture: Luke 13:1-9

Introduction to Reading and Instructions for Listening:

This week, we will engage with the images that the text brings up for us. As usual, I will begin with a moment of silence, so that we can center ourselves and be ready to listen. Then I will read the scripture slowly.

Pay attention to the images that come to mind - they do not have to be images in the text, but they can be. After the reading, keep your eyes closed for a moment and just let those images float around in your mind’s eye. See whether one or two images become prominent for you, and consider what God want you to notice.

Next Step:

Leave at least a full minute of silence for people to reflect. Then, invite them, as they feel led, to share the image that came to mind. Be clear that if someone already said "their" image, they can repeat it. The scribe will make a notation of those called out by multiple people. If you are the only one who has a microphone, it can be helpful to the scribe (and to all present) to repeat what each person says. Note - the first few responses were emotions or adjectives, not images - so I had to prompt them a bit to encourage them to name images, but I used everything they said for the word cloud.

Important - Ahead of time, ask a member of your congregation to be a "scribe" to write down people's responses and give or send you the list afterward. Alternately, you can walk around with a smart phone and record responses, but this creates more work later.

Sermon Reflection:

I keep my sermons under 10 minutes so that there's plenty of time for the scripture engagement piece.

Follow Up:

This is the really fun part! After you get the list of words and phrases from your scribe, create a word cloud that visually depicts the responses. I like Tagxedo for its ease of use and variety of shapes. Here's the one I made for the third week. Don't forget to send it by email and post on your social media sites!

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