Everything Old

I was looking through some notes I’d made a month-or-two ago whilst reading the book Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Peter Scazzuro. In it he advocates that believers participate in the Daily Office which are set times of stillness, Bible reading and prayer each day. He suggests the components and indeed the times and frequency can vary and be flexible, but there is value in setting aside multiple parts of the day for spiritual input and reflection.

As I was reading that book I considered what elements I would incorporate into my Daily Office. I came up with the following:

  • Silence and stillness
  • Scripture
  • Reflection
  • Prayer

As I revisited that list this morning I was struck by how these four elements or components mirror the elements of Lectio Divina I wrote about the other day.

I then gave some thought to other methods of devotional Bible reading I’ve come across: SOAP and REAP in particular. The acronym SOAP stands for Scripture, Observation, Application and Prayer whilst REAP is Read, Explore (or Examine), Apply, Pray. Again I was struck by the degree of commonality between these different practices. Here’s that commonality in table format:

Lectio Divina Daily Office SOAP REAP
=================== ======================== ============== ==========
Lectio (reading) Scripture Scripture Read
Lectio (study) ? Observation Explore
Meditatio Reflection Application Apply
Oratio Prayer Prayer Pray
Contemplatio Silence and Stillness N/A N/A

But what strikes me most? Everything old is new again, and there is nothing new under the sun. When SOAP and REAP were developed/reinvented whenever it was with the intention of promoting a Bible reading/reflection model that was simple to use and with an acronym that made it simple to remember. By that same token lectio divina has been around for 1,400 years and is still remembered and still practiced. Everything old is new again - just sometimes with a new name.