Lectio Divina on (Mark 11 : 23 – 25)   Leave a comment

Introduction

This series is my Lectio Divina, or Divine Reading series, in this series I am going to present to you the reader my experiences with applying Lectio Divina to certain scripture excerpts. Lectio Divina is called Divine Reading for a reason; for it is more contemplative then the typical and casual reading that most people do in a busy day. Divine Reading is meant to speak to your whole being rather than solely the intellectual part of your being. Certain excerpts are large, so they were broken up into smaller pieces to respect the key contemplative aspect of this ancient practice; these are the notes which I made in light of each Lectio Divina reading. I used the Orthodox Study Bible for Reading and for its commentary on scriptural entries in order to begin the first and move into the second part of the process.

Mark 11:23-25

“Amen I say to you that whosoever shall say to this mountain, Be removed and be cast into the sea, and shall not stagger in his heart, but be believe that whatsoever he says shall be done; it shall be done unto him. Therefore I say unto you, all things, whatsoever you ask when you pray, believe that you shall receive: and they shall come unto you. And when you shall stand to pray, forgive, if you have aught against any man: that your Father also, who is in heaven, may forgive you your sins.”

According to The Orthodox Study Bible the Commentary reads for this section, “With regard to the historical and literal, it was never stated that any of the Apostles actually did ‘move a mountain’ however it is clear that they had the authority if the need arose. To be sure, not all their actions are recorded in scripture. However for our purposes, it is a clear statement of the Power of Faith and Prayer in those who Live Life in the Spirit. It is clear that whatever we ask, without hesitation, trusting in God’s power we shall receive. This would be true ultimately if it is for our Spiritual Good.”

Upon doing the Lectio Divina reading for this excerpt I recalled something that I’ve heard once said, namely that we ought to, “Act Like As If Everything Counted On You, Pray Like As If Everything Counted On God” This is an important insight into the Life of being a Christian, namely that we cannot act like as if it will just be “given to us” without our working toward it. Some might say, “God is being mean or manipulative, trying to make me work for what I want.” I would say, and I think this insight shows it that, we need to work toward what we are praying for to both avoid the arrogant claim that “God is being mean.” As well as the sloth-filled claim that, “He’s trying to actually make me work for what I want.”

Now I ask the reader, if God is considered a Parent, Doctor, or even a Coach for some competition, then how much sense would it make if your Parent would just give you what you wanted all the time without some expression of sincere want for it? How much sense would it make if you’re Doctor, in telling you that certain things would need to be done to safeguard your health, saw that you were unwilling to follow through? How much more sense would it make to ask a Coach to make you learn the ways of a sport, yet without showing much of a passion for learning, just expected the understanding to just find itself in you without your own effort. So it is with God, if we desire something from God or implore His assistance in some manner, we need to give something namely Our Faith-Trust as well as our time and energy in realizing what we want. Putting in effort, is also a safeguard against Ingratitude, which is something that The God who is Love, would never desire those in His Bosom to develop in their Hearts and Minds.

I also realized something else during the reading namely that the Christian needs to consider The Mountain as something that needs to be seen as an Obstruction or a Challenge. Two insights can be derived from this considering the archetypal meaning of a mountain, the first is closer the actual analogy that Christ is trying to paint, namely that if one finds oneself obstructed by a “mountain of a problem” then one needs to Trust in God through Christ in order that this obstructions would be removed. Consider the imagery painted here, by Trusting in the Power of God we can take a Mountain (something that intimidates and scales above us) and put it into the Ocean (something that is submerged, unseen, and far below us), thus a good petition prayer would be to see a problem at its root, put it into proportion, and to find the way through the problem in the most effortless manner possible.

The Second insight contains the first, namely that a Mountain needs to be scaled and overcome, Mountains are not simply problems to get away from then, but Challenges to head toward as well. A Mountain is also a place where one widened ones perspective and come to an expanded self-awareness. So a Mountain could be seen as God’s Invite to a Challenge wherein the goal is to expand your own awareness and once again reassess everything into new proportions. Yet even in this case, if one hesitates to scale or lacks Faith in God while scaling this mountain then one will not be able to come to a raised self-awareness. If this is the case, then ones petition prayer needs to ask God to make it apparent in ones Heart and Mind what God wants to show you, and that His Spirit may work to make one act in such a way that you can come to peace with this “mountain.” By doing so once again, the Mountain is placed into the Ocean.

Finally, I realized that one should be practical and take comfort in the fact that God meets us where we are, after all Jesus went the Party where the “rejects” of Israel were, the “rejects” of Israel didn’t go far to get to Him. Therefore, I would be willing to wager that God probably does not expect you right off the bat to become a “super spiritual saint figure.” Therefore, what I received out of this meditation was the advisement that most of us should, do small things to incrementally build up your Faith in God (Proportionality) and to not get caught up in second guessing ourselves and excessively planning things rather we should “Just Do It.”

By Proportionality I mean, putting your degree of Faith into issues and desires that correspond to your level of Faith, and to incrementally expand or increase your Faith-Trust as you apply it to issues/challenges that slightly beyond the level of Faith-Trust you currently can muster. Keep in mind, Faith itself is a Grace, so what is happening in the most realistic sense is that your working with God to Test your Faith, rather than burdened by the Tests of Faith that God gives you. Finally it only makes sense to develop a “Just Do It” mentality, and refuse to be caught up in the fearful bind of second guessing yourself, God can help us break out of Sin if we are willing to cooperate, but we must not be indecisive in our Hearts and Minds, lest we stagnate and find ourselves being tempted to return back to worldly ways, caught in a Spiritual Limbo having left one false familiar and not yet fully enjoyed the Truly Familiar.

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