Monday, April 20, 2015

R is for Ruminate

I really wanted to do another blog post about Once Upon a Time, my guilty pleasure TV show. I was going to do "R is for Regina." Sadly, this week's episode did not feature a lot of Regina: it was Cruella's backstory instead. Now, I'll try to avoid spoilers, but I will say this: if you name a child Cruella, you really shouldn't be surprised if that child isn't exactly an angel. 

And now back to our regularly scheduled programming!
Rumination. Rumination is pondering. Medically speaking, it means to bring up food that has already been chewed and rechew it. Cows chewing cud are ruminating. I like to think about ruminating on the Bible.

I’ve done all kinds of Bible study and meditation. At this point, when I meditate on a scripture, it’s akin to rumination because I’m often retrieving passages I’ve already studied. Yet there’s always something to learn. Meditation is spiritual rumination.

Right now I’m following the Book of Common Prayer for my bible reading. This means every day that I pray (which is not every day), I read a passage from the Hebrew Testament, the New Testament, and one of the Gospels. The readings were assembled hundreds of years ago and put together very deliberately. Sometimes this is beautifully obvious, as when I read a prophetic passage and then read the fulfillment of it. Sometimes it’s much less obvious, and my mind searches for the connection in the texts. While this method of Bible reading is much less intense, it has great value for me. No, I’m not doing an inductive study, searching for patterns and asking questions of the text. Nor am I imagining myself in the story, or reading the passage repeatedly and letting meditation guide my prayer. I’m simply reading the passage in the setting of the liturgy. What I’ve found, however, is that often one or two verses will simply call out to me. They leap off the page and nestle into my mind and heart, and I’ll remember them throughout the day. It’s a different kind of rumination, much less intentional. But it is clearly led by the Holy Spirit. This is the rumination I need at this season in my life.

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