Sacred Reading as a group exercise is an excellent way to encourage the practice of “being still in God’s presence”. It is also a good way to give attention to special projects and programmes by committing your hopes and wishes to the Lord.
Sacred Reading is known to most as "Lectio Divina", particularly in the Roman Catholic church. It is not exclusive however and members of other denominations and those that are associates of Religious orders such as the Order of St. Helena and the Society of st. Francis use the method as well.
To start the group will assemble and say an opening prayer, usually followed by a breathing exercise which helps to quiet and still the mind.
Before the session begins each person should be asked to chose a sacred word, i. e. Jesus, Peace, Love, Shalom, to name a few. This word will help you return to the intent of the sacred reading should your mind begin to wander during the session. The chosen *scripture text is to be read three  times followed by a period of silence.
After the first reading there will be silence and persons will be asked to reflect and meditate.
After the second reading, persons will then be asked to share either a word or verse that has spoken to them.
Following the 3rd reading, the group will share what the word or verse has meant to them. [No one should be forced to share, this is optional]
The exercise usually concludes with each person praying for each other ending with the Lord’s Prayer. However, it is equally effective to form a ‘circle of prayer’ where each person prays using the word or verse they received. This too will end with the Lord’s Prayer or alternatively the Doxology.
I encourage the exercise as a way to begin meetings in general. You will be surprised by the focus and accord that will take place.
*[Generally the scripture text used is either the Sunday’s epistle or gospel, however you may use any scripture as led by the Holy Spirit.]
Author: R Cecilia Askew
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