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Lectio Divina “without neglecting”

Lectio Divina “without neglecting”

Gospel reading: Matthew 23.23-26

[Jesus said] ‘Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint, dill, and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. It is these you ought to have practised without neglecting the others. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel!

‘Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup, so that the outside also may become clean.’


There are so many of the “weightier matters of… justice and mercy and faith” that need doing in this world: climate and other environmental issues, and women, and sexuality, and race, and and and.

I’m concerned. I’ve been trying to make a difference, lately reading books on #BlackLivesMatter, ‘doing the work’. But for all I wish I could, I can’t possibly sort all of that – no-one could. And they would burn themself out if they tried.

Typically, that has not stopped me insistently questioning and second-guessing myself: Have I got my priorities right? What is my vision? Is this truly my calling?

It has taken me many years to come to the realisation that actually it comes down to “without neglecting”. First I must love God – with my heart, soul, mind, strength – then myself and then my neighbour as myself. Finally I paid attention enough to God’s still small voice!

So my priority now has become my practice of contemplative prayer, seeking God’s face. That is my calling, and must be my focus… but… “without neglecting” the big things of justice and mercy and faith, and too “without neglecting” to pay attention to the small things of the daily round. It is my hope that if I seek God’s face first, then my priorities for the other things will fall into place.


Since April 2020, I have been jointly hosting a shared Lectio Divina group on Tuesday or Wednesday evenings. These are my reflections only, during the prayer session and as I wrote them up. Please see my separate commentary and leaflet for more information about shared Lectio.