Today started with my Spirituality class. We did a contemplative prayer exercise called Lectio Devina. Each semester, the class has a different focus. Last semester it was Contemplative Listening, and I think the semester before that was on Quaker Clearance, but I'm not really sure what that is.
I took the class because I had heard so many good things about it, but to be honest, I had never had any kind of real emotional or spiritual experience while doing Lectio Devina. This time was very different. The way it works is that you are usually with a group of people and there is a leader taking the group through the exercise. The leader reads a short Bible passage, then there is a moment of silence while everyone thinks about the passage. Then a different person reads the same passage, and there is another moment of silence. Then the group is lead through a series of questions about the verse, the first of which is normally to discover what word or phrase really stood out during the reading. Then the leader asks each person to think about how they feel about that word or phrase and then what they think the meaning behind it is, etc. There is typically a few minutes of silence between each question for people to really listen for the voice of God. It's different from meditation, because with meditation, you are using your mind and your imagination to wrestle with a Bible verse or a question or idea, but with contemplation, you are more receptive as the verse works on you. The meaning of "meditation" in Eastern tradition is more like what we mean when we say "contemplation" though, so you have to be careful who you're talking to when you use these terms.
The phrase that stood out for me was "don't worry." The last few days have been pretty stressful as I've been thinking about the requirements of ordination and how much money going to school was going to cost and all of the homework I was going to have. God really used that moment to calm me down and help me to understand that He is in control of it all.
Of course, I began to study Hebrew for the quiz on Friday, and I started stressing out again. But we got a study group together and we found the above video on YouTube. I was really surprised to discover how quickly I was able to learn the Hebrew alphabet once we all started working on it together. I made boeuf bourguignon for everyone and we tested each other using desert plates and dry erase markers. It actually ended up being really fun! I have the Aleph Bet song playing in the background right now hoping to burn it into my memory.
Church History is tomorrow. It's my only class on Thursdays, but we're also having our first weekly class dinner, which of course I'm in charge of. I didn't get to the inquirer forms today nor did I mail out my application to work on the 2010 census, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a more manageable day tomorrow.