Thursday, October 26, 2006


During our Wed. night youth group time I experimented with fusing together two things that I really enjoy- lectio divina (or sacred reading) and the use of media.

A couple of weeks ago our youth group started watching season 1 of THE 4400. I won't go into detail about the premise of the show, but it's very cool. We didn't get to discuss it too much the first week, but the youth were really into it so we all agreed to continue watching it.

Obviously, this is going to take a while and I didn't like the idea of "only" watching a television show as our youth group meeting. I do believe that by watching within the church the tv shows/movies that teens are watching we allow a bridging of culture and possibly a little more critical thinking when it comes to pop culture.

So, for week two I took a little different approach: I'm calling it "Specto Divina" or Holy Watching. We watched the second part of the 4400 but made a prayer practice out of it. I'm not saying that everyone got something out of this experience, but we did introduce a "new practice" into the life of our group: making something ordinary and everyday into something sacred.

Here's how it worked:
1. We began with centering prayer asking God to be present in our viewing
2. Everyone was asked to be mindful in their watching the 4400, watching for scenes, emotions, people, or events that stand out to them. Around the room was various art supplies such as clay, crayons, paper, and markers.
3. As students watched the show we all were invited to express what we saw and experienced through any artistic/creative way we in which we were drawn.
4. Afterward I simply asked- "What did you see?" People began to share their experiences.
5. We closed in a prayer and benediction.

Some of the things that came out of the "Specto Divina" tonight were:

Scene: A person who is one of the "4400" experienced the pain of loss- One of the women in our group shared that she could identify with that kind of pain.

Scene: A woman who is one of the "4400" appears to her husband after 11 years of being missing and pronounced dead. The husband shares with her that he used to just have conversations with her when he missed her- a student shared that this reminded her of what prayer is like and talking to God.

Scene: a teenager who is one of the "4400" gets into a fight at high school, defending himself from another person- one of the guys in our group thought of the proverb "pride comes before the fall." (proverbs 16:18; yeah rob, i found it)

I have to say, after having reflected on the night- this turned out to be a pretty holy moment in my life. And I can't wait to see what God has to show me next week.

see a clip from THE 4400

1 comment:

michael norton said...

I have deeply enjoyed and benefitted from the discipline of Lectio Divina. I have been offering a shortened version at the opening of some Church meetings at a small gathering in San Diego. It has been well received and I thought to create a blog as a way to encourage people to practice this reading/meditation daily.

The purpose of the blog is really only to suggest passages daily and provide a place for sharing their experiences in a spirit of edification. You're all welcome to join us, and I would really appreciate any suggestions you might make about the functionality of the blog I've created. I want it to be as intuitive as possible.

check it out at