I have been attending a class all week which begins each day in small group Bible study at 8:15 a.m. Now, I have to tell you I am not a morning person - so I've really resisted this time, but I have dutifully risen each morning to attend. Our study is a focused model (African Bible Study) which is similar to lectio divina. I am part of a small table group of six who interact throughout this week together and our relationships deepen throughout the week. My experience is that most of the deepening for all of us happens at this Bible study. What I am always struck with is the way Scripture speaks to each of us where we are - in the midst of our lives and in the midst of what is on our hearts. A Scripture passage is read three times with reflection between readings - and sharing according to specific questions at the end of periods of silence. The whole process takes 45 minutes. Yet, the depth and breadth of the sharing is amazing. The way Scripture informs all of us is varied and wide ranging, and yet as each person shares the connections and understanding deepens and the Word is alive in a new way for all of us. At the end of the sharing time, each of us in the group prays for the person on our right based on the sharing and we end with the Lord's prayer. Wouldn't this be a wonderful model for faith communities? I'd love to give up preaching and break everyone into small groups in order to deepen the community involvement in scripture and in sharing at a deeper level with one another. Obviously, I can't do this, but I am thinking of setting up two different times (during the day and during the evening) during the season of Advent to practice this type of Bible Study together. Don't know how many people might be interested, but it would be a worthy practice to implement. I'd also like to find a small group of folks to meet together with and do this on a regular basis. This study has far and away been the best part of this week!