Account by Angus Duncan (Lectio Groups Officer) and Josh Sharp (Lectio Leader, Warwick)
The Weave of Manquehue Prayer, at its core, is a series of interconnected communities and individuals, united by their desire to pray together focusing on the Word of God.
Together, whether as communities or individuals, we share our experiences of God and our search for Him. Therefore, coming together to pray, live in community together and talking about our journey to God is integral to our mission. Retreats, workshops and other shared works form a large part of this but the backbone is meeting in our own everyday Lectio Communities. With this in mind, I’ve been coordinating visits to Lectio Communities from other members of the Weave. The visits aim to introduce members of the Weave to each other to allow the sharing of ideas and provide mutual support on our shared journey in faith. Wherever you go in the UK there is a lectio group living out their faith and sharing the Word of God with each other every week. Each one is unique and self-sustaining. Each one is enriched by the very act of sharing with other members of the Weave.
If you are in a lectio group; as leader, veteran member or part-time, a visit can be a chance to discover new ideas and advice on nurturing your community or to have support in holding a retreat for your lectio group. It could also be a chance for you to meet other lectio groups and aid them as you build your communities together - engaging in shared work can be a bonding experience for any community and the Weave has many opportunities to facilitate this. Visiting a group can also just be a great chance to meet new people and experience lectio in a slightly different way.
During this difficult period I am continuing to visit lectio groups via their online meetings. In some ways it is even easier to meet groups now that travelling isn’t necessary. Therefore, I would like to invite you all to take part in these visits either by welcoming members of the Weave to your group or by visiting another group yourself. If you would like to visit another group please email the Weave at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visits are usually conducted in pairs so if you have a preferred partner then please let me know.
Recently Vicente ‘Vicho’ Tagle and I visited a lectio group in Warwick run by 4th year medical student Josh Sharp. We joined them for lectio on Friday evening and were welcomed extremely warmly. Below is a testimony from Josh about his experience of lectio and faith.
"I started doing Lectio back in St. Andrews in St Benedict’s Lectio group. I remember being drawn in by its simplicity and solitude. I have grown up to be more familiar with Bible studies that have an intellectual endeavour, to grasp the text’s lesson and apply it to my life. I was attracted to Lectio for its refreshing alternative of making space for silence, meditation and listening. Instead of showing what I know about the text, I am asked simply to attend, and to notice - What is Christ saying to me through the text? This approach was tricky at first. I was distracted, I veered towards study, looking for an exegesis and application. As I do Lectio, I remind myself that I am here to encounter His person through the text, and I read the text slowly, with pauses, and consider - what words, images or phrases stand out?
Another thing I love about Lectio is the spiritual friendships it helps to cultivate. We don’t grow closer through discussion or debate, but through solitude and meditation. It’s a bit like just sitting at Jesus’s feet, all of us together, humbly recognising that we all need some bread. Lectio asks me to refrain from explicating a theology, to show off what I know. Lectio asks me to be a good listener, to be still and to sit in solidarity with my friends. This is a beautiful thing. In a mysterious way, I grow closer to my brothers and sisters when we open our hearts to one another as we share an echo from our Lord. Henry Drummond said that “Sometimes when uncertain of a voice from its very loudness, we catch the missing syllable in the echo”. I catch a glimpse of what he means when I hear something in the echo of a friend that I may have missed in my own reading of the passage. The community of Lectio helps me to listen, and wakes me up from spiritual sleep to hear His voice.
I love being part of the Weave. I love the simple motto of 'helping one another to pray'. I know that I need that help. The joy and belonging that I find in the spiritual accompaniment that comes with sharing Lectio Divina helps me to come alive. It reminds me that community is what I was created for. I am now at Warwick University, and I have found a community here that gathers around Christ with the help of Lectio Divina. We are meeting online, which isn’t quite the same, but still an important part of our week that reminds us that we help one another to pray."