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Students at commencement

Ministry in Context

Zanny Johnson: Spiritual Practices and Spiritual Direction

On a gorgeous June morning I had the honor and pleasure of meeting with the 27 incoming MDivX students and lead them in a robust conversation about spiritual practices and spiritual direction. As a Spiritual Director, and a life-long Lutheran lady, I am so passionate about deepening our spiritual lives and filling our cup with life-giving spiritual practices...those ways and means by which we intentionally and mindfully come to the One who made us to be refilled, refreshed, reinvigorated. As these students embark upon this two year ride of intense study and internship on their way to becoming pastors, I have been tasked with helping to equip them with tools and methods to stay spiritually healthy...for this part of their journey and beyond.

During our morning together, the students each received a journal in which to record the many spiritual practices they’ll be learning along the way through their Christian Public Leader course, as well as a place to record their joys and sorrows and a receptacle for morning pages (three longhand pages of stream of consciousness writing). In addition to the spiritual practice of journaling, we experienced Lectio Divina, a contemplative method of deeply engaging with sacred texts, using the 4 “R’s”: reading, reflecting, responding and resting. Please enjoy this same lectio divina by Henri Nouwen.


I have called you by name, from the very beginning.

You are mine and I am yours.

You are my Beloved, on you my favor rests.

I have molded you in the depths of the earth and knitted you together in your mother’s womb.

I have carved you in the palms of my hand and hidden you in the shadow of my embrace.

I look at you with infinite tenderness and care for you with a care more intimate than that of a mother for her child.

I have counted every hair on your head and guided you at every step.

Wherever you go, I go with you, and wherever you rest, I keep watch.

I will give you food that will satisfy all your hunger and drink that will quench all your thirst.

I will not hide my face from you.

You know me as your own as I know you as my own.

You belong to me.

I am your father, your mother, your brother, your sister, your lover, and your spouse. Yes, even your child.

Wherever you are I will be.

Nothing will ever separate us.

We are one.

Excerpt from Life of the Beloved

May you be blessed and know your own belovedness,

Zanny Johnson


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