Matthew 5:14-16: Vijula Arulanantham, Sri Lanka
Sit for a few moments in quiet stillness. Focus on your breathing taking slow, deep breaths. Try to turn your focus away from outside thoughts and simply focus on your breathing. Sit in quiet for as long as you would like.
When you are ready, read the following passage of scripture. As you read, allow the ear of your heart to listen for a word or phrase that resonates with you.
You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hidden. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lamp stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.
After you have completed the reading, allow that word or phrase to resound within you. If you are in a group, take turns sharing only that word or phrase.
Allow the word or phrase you have chosen to repeat in prayerful silence.
After a short period of reflection, read the scripture a second time. This time, reflect on any thoughts or feelings that come up for you while reading the scripture again. What might God be asking you through the reading of this scripture?
After reading for a second time, take a few moments in silence to continue this personal reflection.
When you are ready, watch the following video of a personal reflection from one of Episcopal Relief & Development’s partners.
In this video, program partner Vijula shares her reflection on Matthew 5:14-16. Vijula chairs the Reconciliation and Peace Desk at the Peace Center which is part of the Diocese of Colombo in Sri Lanka. Episcopal Relief & Development has a long relationship with the Peace Center and helped reestablish and refurbish it after the Civil War in 2009. Episcopal Relief & Development is also supporting the program that Vijula mentions at the end of this video, that will provide online lessons for the children who are unable to attend the local schools during the pandemic. You can read more about programs in Sri Lanka here.
After watching the video, reflect prayerfully on what you heard. How has this person’s relationship with God given them a unique perspective?
After reflecting on the words from the video, read the passage a third time. As you read, listen once again with the ear of your heart and respond spontaneously as you listen. Notice any prayerful response that arises within you, for example a small prayer of gratitude or praise.
If you are alone, continue this prayerful reflection for a time after you complete the reading. If God is calling you to silent reflection, simply spend time in the quiet. If you are in a group, a time of prayerful silence follows the third reading.
Following this brief period of silence, an appointed person may say:
Almighty God, by your Holy Spirit you have made us one with your saints in heaven and on earth: Grant that in our earthly pilgrimage we may always be supported by this fellowship of love and prayer, and know ourselves to be surrounded by their witness to your power and mercy. We ask this for the sake of Jesus Christ, in whom all our intercessions are acceptable through the Spirit, and who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.
Book of Common Prayer, page 395
Episcopal Relief & Development would like to thank Lindsay Boyer for her guidance on Lectio Divina. For more information on Lectio Divina and other forms of centering prayer, visit lindsayboyer.com.