This month's focus on spiritual practices is Dwelling in the Word.
Dwelling in the word is a spiritual practice developed by Dr. Patrick Keiffert and Pat Taylor Ellison. It is a way of reading scripture that intentionally focuses people on listening to each other and discerning what God is up to amongst us. It does not seek to provide answers that arise or historical insight about the text. There is no correct thoughts or right answers but welcomes all thoughts and experiences as equal. It asks us to be present in the moment, aware of our thoughts, patient with others, and listen deeply to the spirit.
Welcoming and Discerning the Spirit
Dwelling in the word welcomes the spirit to breathe among those gathered and opens our imagination to what is being stirred. Keiffert states, ‘The Spirit uses whatever space we give to create an environment of spiritual discernment."
Bishop Mark Beckwith briefly talks about the spiritual practice and how it opens us up to conversations with others and deepens our relationship with God. He believes it helps us ask more questions about life and the purpose we have individually and collectively. Please take a quick listen before we describe more thoroughly how to use the spiritual practice.
How to Dwell in the Word
There are many different versions and ways to Dwell in the Word but all of them have the same focus of openness and allowing the spirit to be present.
1. Welcome the Spirit - Ask the spirit to be present with them through prayer, silence, or another way.
2. Read a Scripture - Have someone read the selected scripture aloud for the group. Sometimes two people will read the scripture with silence in between allowing more time for people to become familiar with the text.
3. Sit Silently and Reflect - Ask yourself 1). What captured your attention and/ or imagination? A word or phrase that jumps out. 2). What would you like to find out more about?
4. Share with a Partner - Find a partner in the group you can share your thoughts with about the scripture passage and what stood out to you about the questions above.
5. Share with the Group - Have people report out as comfortable what they learned from their partners with the larger group. This might be what was felt, thought, and experienced during the reading.
6. Wrestle Together - Take time as a group to discuss what God might be up to in this passage. Are there any key themes that stand out for the group and how does that impact the group today?
Why Dwell In The Word
If you have been bored with reading scripture or have no idea where to start, this might be a great starting spot. I believe this spiritual practice makes the text come alive for this day and age. Dwelling in the Word is spiritual practice that allows for openness in discussion and experience, thoughtful engagement with the text and a welcoming of the spirit in our lives.
Another aspect I like is that it develops community and deepens relationships when practiced with others. When we invite the Holy Spirit to be present among a group of individuals our response as a group can be powerful.
So go out there and Dwell in the Word!
Please follow us on Instagram or Twitter so you get notifications of our new posts. This week try dwelling in the word with a few people you feel comfortable with.
The views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of Community of Christ. We believe individuals should be allowed to have their own opinions and be at different places in their faith journey.