From God's fullness we have all received, grace upon grace
Guided meditation: Unsung heroes

Guided meditation: Unsung heroes


When he looked up and saw a large crowd coming towards him, Jesus said to Philip, ‘Where are we to buy bread for these people to eat?’ He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he was going to do. Philip answered him, ‘Six months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little.’ One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, ‘There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish. But what are they among so many people?’ Jesus said, ‘Make the people sit down.’ Now there was a great deal of grass in the place; so they sat down, about five thousand in all. Then Jesus took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated; so also the fish, as much as they wanted.

John 6.5-11 (NRSV)



Take up a posture that is comfortable and close your eyes.
Now become aware of your breathing. Become aware of the air as it enters and leaves your nostrils . . . Not as it enters your lungs, just as it passes through your nostrils . . .
Do not control your breathing. Do not try to deepen it or change its rhythm. Simply observe your breathing, in and out, in and out . . .

I’m going to read the passage slowly twice.
Don’t prejudge the passage and what you think you will find in it. The text is a gift to be received. Ask the Spirit to speak through the passage.
Let a word or short phrase wink at you.
Stay with the word, repeat it to yourself, relish it, let it sink in to your heart.

[read passage twice with short intervening pause]

Continue to chew over the word or phrase that the Spirit has revealed to you . . .
What is it saying to you? It doesn’t matter if it is out of the passage’s context. Why has it snagged your attention now? . . .

Now address your ponderings to God.
You might have questions you want to ask. You might want to challenge God.
Or you might want to thank God, or to say sorry, or to say yes.
Offer to God whatever is in your heart . . .

Allow God to respond . . .

Now simply rest in God’s presence, filled with God’s grace . . .
If you become distracted, return to your breathing or to the word.
Stay in loving silence before God . . .

Now return gradually to an awareness of your breathing and your posture . . .
When you are ready, open your eyes.



This is the second of a series of meditations drawing on Everyday God: The Spirit of the Ordinary by Paula Gooder, one of the books which the Slow Book Group at Exeter Cathedral has been reading. The book is divided into six sections, for reflection over the six months between June and November 2022 (Ordinary Time in the Church’s calendar). The theme of Section 2 is “Unsung Heroes”, such as Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, and the boy in this Gospel story.

The style of the meditation is based on the ancient monastic practice of Lectio Divina. Although it is also for use in groups, it is a different approach to the Shared Lectio Divina I hold weekly on Zoom.