For two Sundays now, I have been experimenting with the Bible Team Ministry of our parish. Instead of the following the usual steps in Bible Sharing, we added a “section” on prayer. Normally, we follow the following steps:
- One reads the text aloud with the others listening;
- Everyone reads their translation quietly
- They ask for clarifications regarding the text of the passage and I or somebody else explains
- We read the text again allowing the text to resonate in our experiences
- We talk about our insights in a free-wheeling conversation.
Since last Sunday, I have introduced something more. After the moment of clarification, the text is reread and we enter into prayer. Last Sunday’s prayer text was “If you want to, heal me.” (Jesus heals the leper) Each one simply repeated the passage quietly like a mantra in time with one’s breathing. After the 5-10 minute prayer, we talked about our experience. The experience was powerful; there was even one who cried while praying.
Tonight, after the clarification, we used the Jesuit bible meditation. It consists it running the gospel story as if it were a movie in our imagination, with the one praying as one of the actors. While “inside” the story, the participant can move around to ask the other gospel actors for clarification or simply engage them in conversation. After the meditaion, we talked a bit about the insights gained and then we concluded with a prayer.
Certain bible stories easily lend themselves to the above methods of prayer. And for people who are in a hurry to get back home (the participants are our parish workhorses), these bible sharing sessons seem to be the more appreciated.
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