Retreat/In-House Conference Retreat 3
Session 1. What Is Meditation? (60-75 minutes)
While studying Scripture is familiar, meditation on Scripture – the natural step 2 – is not. Study involves dissecting the text, but in meditation we enter into the passage and savor it so that it penetrates the depths of the self and blossoms in our behavior. In this session, we learn about Ignatian-style method of entering into the narrative (actually as old as the practice of Passover), or what I call the “movie method.” This concludes with a meditation exercise.
Session 2. Unearthing the Buried Treasure of Scripture (lectio divina) (60-75 minutes)
For centuries Christians have meditated on Scripture by hearing it read aloud, pondering it and praying it back to God. We explore this process of “treasuring” words and phrases in a fresh way everyday. This concludes with a lectio divina exercise.
Session 3. Praying Scripture (90 minutes)
This session involves 30 minutes of instruction on various methods of praying Scripture such as Martin Luther’s “four golden strands” and C. S. Lewis’ method of festooning Scripture. It concludes with 30-60 minutes of silence, with participants scattering to isolated spots of the retreat center. Several handouts are provided to help participants wary of this silence.
Session 4. How Meditation Differs from What I Already Know (60 minutes)
To further equip participants to meditate on Scripture, differences are explained between formational Bible reading and informational reading, between meditation and application. We also explore the effects of modernity on our attempts to meditate and the effects of meditation on Bible study. This concludes with a different style of group lectio divina.
Session 5. Contemplation: Abiding in God (60-75 minutes)
Most people struggle with impatience. Contemplation helps us learn to wait on God in silence (which teaches us to wait on God in all of life, which teaches us to be patient). In this way, we become people who abide in God (John 15:4,5). We also explore how journaling can be used in the meditation and contemplation process. This concludes with an exercise in which several styles of meditation can be used.
Suggestion: If this retreat is practiced on a weekend, it is suggested that the group have some extended periods of silence. At a minimum, silence from Saturday after breakfast until Saturday dinner (except for sharing in sessions). Experience shows that this creates a realness with God and subverts our attempts to pay attention to everything in life but God. Participants are much more able to hear God in the exercises as well as the ordinary moments.