I do not call you servants any longer,
because the servant does not know
what the master is doing;
but I have called you friends,
because I have made known to you everything
that I have heard from my Father.

–Jesus [John 15:15]

The Holy Spirit invites all of us into an intimate, transformative, friendship with Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh who came to dwell among us (John 1:14). No matter where we are in life; the struggles that plague us, the uncertainty or doubts that cloud us, or the dreams and relationships that nourish us, the Holy Spirit actively invites us into a life forming friendship with Christ.  

For any friendship to deepen there are essential characteristics that need to be in operation. One such characteristic is “listening”. Real friends listen to each other — really listen.  

This is true in our relationship with God and is a vital ingredient in our spiritual formation. One of the best ways for us to listen to God is through a special kind of Bible reading called lectio divina — literally meaning “divine reading”, but better translated as “spiritual reading”. Lectio Divina comes to us from the earliest days of the church, in the third century Origen used the Greek phrase thea anagnosis (divine reading) to describe a way of approaching Scriptures for the purpose of finding a personal message from God. This practice became more wide spread when the desert fathers and mothers made the Word of God the basis for their prayer lives, and shortly after this Saint Benedict made the practice of lectio divina central to Western monasticism. From the earliest centuries to the 21 century, lectio divina continues to be a life-giving practice that draws us into an intimacy with God that leads to real transformation personally and communally.

In 2019 we enter  this daily practice of spiritual reading and seek nothing less than God. We welcome the guidance of the Holy Spirit, attend to the word of God and listen for God’s living word to us. “Lectio Divina treats the Scriptures not as a text to be studied or a set of truths to be grasped, but as the living Word — always alive and active, always fresh and new”.  

So welcome to this journal, welcome to the next 6 months with God through sacred reading, continuous prayer, and vibrant community.  

Greg Russinger