Advent – Mark 1:1-8 – He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit

http://uts.cc.utexas.edu/%7Ejanknegt/r0012.html “Baptism” by Jim Janknegt. Used with permission

MARK 1:1-8

1The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

2As it is written in he prophet Isaiah,
“See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you,
who will prepare your way;
3   the voice of one crying out in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight,’”
4John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.5And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. 6Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. 7He proclaimed, “The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. 8I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit is silent meditation five to fifteen minutes paying attention to the breath.
  • Who is the messenger sent ahead to prepare the way for you?
  • What preparations are being made?
  • What sins to you need to confess along the way?
  • In the name of Jesus Christ you are forgiven.
  • How does Christ meet you on the path?
  • Where does the dove of peace land upon you?
  • What freedom does the dove of peace bring you?
  • Take time to savor and embody this freedom.
  • What hope is born in this freedom?
  • Give thanks to God for this time together on the path and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, December 10, 2017, the Second Sunday of Advent (Year B) 
Isaiah 40:1-11
Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13
2 Peter 3:8-15a
Mark 1:1-8

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author.
Permission to use in not-for-profit settings (c) 2017 The Rev. Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD

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Advent – 2 Peter 3 – We wait for new heavens and a new earth…

2 PETER 3:8-15A

8But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day. 9The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance. 10But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and everything that is done on it will be disclosed.

11Since all these things are to be dissolved in this way, what sort of persons ought you to be in leading lives of holiness and godliness, 12waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set ablaze and dissolved, and the elements will melt with fire? 13But, in accordance with his promise, we wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness is at home.

14Therefore, beloved, while you are waiting for these things, strive to be found by him at peace, without spot or blemish; 15aand regard the patience of our Lord as salvation.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silence paying attention to the deep breath.
  • What fire is consuming you in the midst of waiting?
  • What is the fire burning?
  • How can the fire be contained?
  • Allow the charred remains to settle, and let them go.
  • What new thing are you able to hold now that you have let go?
  • Allow God to nurture this new thing.
  • Growth will rise in the charred remains.
  • What hope do you have in this new growth?
  • What is God’s message for you?
  • Give thanks to God for this time to be in the fire, to let go, and to consider new growth.  Give thanks for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, December 10, 2017, the Second Sunday of Advent (Year B) 
Isaiah 40:1-11
Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13
2 Peter 3:8-15a
Mark 1:1-8

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author.
Permission to use in not-for-profit settings (c) 2017 The Rev. Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD

Posted in Advent, Burdens, Hope, Lectionary, Revised Common Lectionary, Waiting | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Psalm 85- The hope of God’s touch…

PSALM 85:1-2, 8-13

1   LORD, you were favorable to your land;
you restored the fortunes of Jacob.
2   You forgave the iniquity of your people;
you pardoned all their sin.                                              Selah

8   Let me hear what God the LORD will speak,
for he will speak peace to his people,
to his faithful, to those who turn to him in their hearts.
9   Surely his salvation is at hand for those who fear him,
that his glory may dwell in our land.

10  Steadfast love and faithfulness will meet;
righteousness and peace will kiss each other.
11  Faithfulness will spring up from the ground,
and righteousness will look down from the sky.
12  The LORD will give what is good,
and our land will yield its increase.
13  Righteousness will go before him,
and will make a path for his steps.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying attention to the deep breath
  • Where do you notice God’s touch…
  • in the world?
  • in the people around you?
  • in creation?
  • in you?
  • As you consider all of these places where God touches God’s creation, what similarities to you notice?  What differences do you notice?
  • Is there a message for you from God?
  • Where do you need to feel God’s touch?
  • Pray for you to be open to receive God’s touch in God’s time.
  • Give thanks to God for this time to reflect on the ways God interacts in the world and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, December 10, 2017, the Second Sunday of Advent (Year B) 
Isaiah 40:1-11
Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13
2 Peter 3:8-15a
Mark 1:1-8

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author.
Permission to use in not-for-profit settings (c) 2017 The Rev. Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD

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Isaiah 40:1-11 Comfort my people

ISAIAH 40:1-11

1   Comfort, O comfort my people,
says your God.
2   Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
and cry to her
that she has served her term,
that her penalty is paid,
that she has received from the Lord”s hand
double for all her sins.

3   A voice cries out:
“In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD,
make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
4   Every valley shall be lifted up,
and every mountain and hill be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level,
and the rough places a plain.
5   Then the glory of the LORD shall be revealed,
and all people shall see it together,
for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”

6   A voice says, “Cry out!”
And I said, “What shall I cry?”
All people are grass,
their constancy is like the flower of the field.
7   The grass withers, the flower fades,
when the breath of the LORD blows upon it;
surely the people are grass.

8   The grass withers, the flower fades;
but the word of our God will stand forever.
9   Get you up to a high mountain,
O Zion, herald of good tidings;
lift up your voice with strength,
O Jerusalem, herald of good tidings,
lift it up, do not fear;
say to the cities of Judah,
“Here is your God!”
10  See, the Lord GOD comes with might,
and his arm rules for him;
his reward is with him,
and his recompense before him.
11  He will feed his flock like a shepherd;
he will gather the lambs in his arms,
and carry them in his bosom,
and gently lead the mother sheep.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying close attention to the deep breath.
  • What is withering and fading as you wait this advent season?
  • Is this your desire?
  • Is this God’s desire?
  • What word of God stands forever for you today?
  • Do you notice any comfort in these words?
  • Savor the comfort.
  • What hope do you see?
  • Embrace this hope.
  • Allow God to embrace you as you hold on to the hope.
  • As you leave God’s arms, hold this hope lightly.
  • Share this hope with someone today.
  • Give thanks to God for this time in hope and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, December 10, 2017, the Second Sunday of Advent (Year B) 
Isaiah 40:1-11
Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13
2 Peter 3:8-15a
Mark 1:1-8

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author.
Permission to use in not-for-profit settings (c) 2017 The Rev. Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD

Posted in Advent, Blessing, Lectionary, Prayer, Revised Common Lectionary, Shepherd | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Mark 13:24-37 – My words will not pass away…Keep Awake!

GOSPEL MARK 13:24-37

24“But in those days, after that suffering,
the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light,
25  and the stars will be falling from heaven,
and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.
26Then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in clouds’ with great power and glory. 27Then he will send out the angels, and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.

28“From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. 29So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates. 30Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. 31Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

32“But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.33Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come. 34It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his slaves in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch. 35Therefore, keep awake — for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn, 36or else he may find you asleep when he comes suddenly. 37And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake.”

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying attention to the deep breath.
  • What needs to be kept awake in you today?
  • What is making you sleepy?
  • Invite God into this place making you sleepy.
  • Ask God to keep you awake.
  • Do you notice any new freedom?
  • Is there new space created in you?
  • Tap into the energy that is keeping you awake?
  • Savor the energy.
  • Notice how to return to this energy.
  • Give thanks to God for this time to be fully awake and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, December 3, 2017, the First Sunday of Advent (Year B) 
Isaiah 64: 1-9
Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19
1 Corinthians 1:3-9
Mark 13: 24-37

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author.
Permission to use in not-for-profit settings.  (c) 2017 The Rev. Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD

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1 Corinthians 1: 3-9 – God is faithful…we are called into fellowship

3Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

4I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that has been given you in Christ Jesus,5for in every way you have been enriched in him, in speech and knowledge of every kind — 6just as the testimony of Christ has been strengthened among you — 7so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ. 8He will also strengthen you to the end, so that you may be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9God is faithful; by him you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying attention to the deep breath.
  • How you are waiting for Jesus Christ to be revealed?
  • How will this continue to strengthen you?
  • Read through the text a second time.
  • How are you waiting for Jesus Christ to be revealed in you?
  • How will this continue to strengthen you?
  • Read through the text a third time.
  • How are you waiting for Jesus Christ to be revealed in the world?
  • How will this continue to strengthen you?
  • How will you respond?
  • Give thanks to God for this time in prayer and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, December 3, 2017, the First Sunday of Advent (Year B) 
Isaiah 64: 1-9
Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19
1 Corinthians 1:3-9
Mark 13: 24-37

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author.
Permission to use in not-for-profit settings.  (c) 2017 The Rev. Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD

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Psalm 80 – Restore us, O God

Break through…

PSALM 80:1-7, 17-19

1   Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel,
you who lead Joseph like a flock!
You who are enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth
2        before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh.
Stir up your might,
and come to save us!

3   Restore us, O God;
let your face shine, that we may be saved.

4   O LORD God of hosts,
how long will you be angry with your people’s prayers?
5   You have fed them with the bread of tears,
and given them tears to drink in full measure.
6   You make us the scorn of our neighbors;
our enemies laugh among themselves.

7   Restore us, O God of hosts;
let your face shine, that we may be saved.

17  But let your hand be upon the one at your right hand,
the one whom you made strong for yourself.
18   Then we will never turn back from you;
give us life, and we will call on your name.

19  Restore us, O LORD God of hosts;
let your face shine, that we may be saved.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying attention to the deep breath
  • Look into the light of the candle.
  • Or if you are sitting next to a window, look at the light that dances on the landscape.
  • Seek God in the light.
  • How is the face of God reaching out to you in the light?
  • Allow the light to shine upon your face.
  • Allow the light to penetrate you with warmth and love.
  • Embrace this warmth and love.
  • See God’s face shining upon you.
  • Embrace God’s saving grace that is a gift for you.
  • Carry this light and this gift with you throughout the day.
  • Share this gift with those you encounter.
  • At the end of the day, spend some time to reflect upon the ways you are able to let God shine through you.
  • Give thanks to God for this day to share in the light and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, December 3, 2017, the First Sunday of Advent (Year B) 
Isaiah 64: 1-9
Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19
1 Corinthians 1:3-9
Mark 13: 24-37

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author.
Permission to use in not-for-profit settings.  (c) 2017 The Rev. Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD

Posted in Burdens, Creation, Hope, Lectionary, Prayer, Psalm, Revised Common Lectionary | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Isaiah 64:1-9 – Breaking through to us…

ISAIAH 64:1-9

1   O that you would tear open the heavens and come down,
so that the mountains would quake at your presence —
2   as when fire kindles brushwood
and the fire causes water to boil —
to make your name known to your adversaries,
so that the nations might tremble at your presence
3   When you did awesome deeds that we did not expect,
you came down, the mountains quaked at your presence.
4   From ages past no one has heard,
no ear has perceived,
no eye has seen any God besides you,
who works for those who wait for him.
5   You meet those who gladly do right,
those who remember you in your ways.
But you were angry, and we sinned;
because you hid yourself we transgressed.
6   We have all become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy cloth
We all fade like a leaf,
and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
7   There is no one who calls on your name,
or attempts to take hold of you;
for you have hidden your face from us,
and have delivered us into the hand of our iniquity
8   Yet, O LORD, you are our Father;
we are the clay, and you are our potter;
we are all the work of your hand.
9   Do not be exceedingly angry, O LORD,
and do not remember iniquity forever.
Now consider, we are all your people.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying attention to the deep breath.
  • As you read through this passage from Isaiah, consider a time you did not call upon the name of the Lord.
  • What do you remember about this time?
  • Notice any tension you feel in your body.
  • Take several deep breaths to soften the tension.
  • Read through the passage a second time.
  • How did God break through to you?
  • In what way(s) did God remold and reshape you?
  • If there is still tension in your body, invite God into this tension.
  • Offer a cry for forgiveness.  Take several deep breaths to soften the tension.  Breathe in the breath of God.  Breathe out the tension.
  • Allow God to heal this tension in you and to give you freedom in its place.
  • Breathe in freedom.  Breathe out tension.
  • Give thanks to God for this time in reconciliation and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, December 3, 2017, the First Sunday of Advent (Year B) 
Isaiah 64: 1-9
Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19
1 Corinthians 1:3-9
Mark 13: 24-37

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author.
Permission to use in not-for-profit settings.  (c) 2017 The Rev. Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD

Posted in Break through, Hope, Potter, Prayer, Psalm, Revised Common Lectionary | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Matthew 25:31-46 – Are you feeding the hungry?

31“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. 32All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, 33and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. 34Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; 35for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ 37Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink?38And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? 39And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ 40And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’ 41Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; 42for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?’ 45Then he will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying attention to the deep breath.
  • How have you been blessed by God?
  • How have you been a blessing to others?
  • What new blessings are you called to give to others?
  • How is your hunger fed, your thirst quenched?
  • Who feeds you?
  • Who welcomes you?
  • Who are you to welcome?
  • What is the message from God?
  • What call to action do you hear?
  • Give thanks to God for this time to recognize blessings and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, November 26, 2017, Christ the King (Reign of Christ) Sunday (Year A)
Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24
Psalm 100: 1-5
Ephesians 1:15-23
Matthew 25:31-46

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author.
Permission to use in not-for-profit settings  (c) 2017 The Rev. Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD

Posted in Christian, Devotion, Faith, Hospitality, Humility, Lectionary, Matthew, Parable, Prayer, Revised Common Lectionary | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2 Corinthians 9:6-15 – Thanksgiving Day! Thanks be to God for God’s indescribable gift!

2 CORINTHIANS 9:6-15

6The point is this: the one who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the one who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work. 9As it is written, “He scatters abroad, he gives to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.”
10He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. 11You will be enriched in every way for your great generosity, which will produce thanksgiving to God through us; 12for the rendering of this ministry not only supplies the needs of the saints but also overflows with many thanksgivings to God. 13Through the testing of this ministry you glorify God by your obedience to the confession of the gospel of Christ and by the generosity of your sharing with them and with all others, 14while they long for you and pray for you because of the surpassing grace of God that he has given you. 15Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!

  • A morning reflection:
  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Spend five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying attention to the deep breath.
  • With each inhale recognize something for which you are thankful.
  • With each exhale let go of anything that is keeping you from Christ’s presence with you.
  • What seed have you been supplied?
  • How has this seed multiplied?
  • Describe the harvest.  How is God present in the harvest?
  • Give thanks for the harvest and for God’s presence with you.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

GOSPEL LUKE 17:11-19

11On the way to Jerusalem Jesus was going through the region between Samaria and Galilee. 12As he entered a village, ten lepers approached him. Keeping their distance, 13they called out, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” 14When he saw them, he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were made clean. 15Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. 16He prostrated himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. And he was a Samaritan. 17Then Jesus asked, “Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they? 18Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19Then he said to him, “Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well.”

  • An evening reflection:
  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying attention to the deep breath.
  • In the midst of thanksgiving, what affliction has hold of you?
  • As you feel led, prostrate yourself before Jesus, asking for healing.
  • How does Jesus heal you?
  • Savor this time at Jesus’ feet giving thanks.
  • How does Jesus restore you with himself?
  • How does Jesus restore you with yourself?
  • How does Jesus restore you with your community?
  • Notice how your faith has made you well.
  • Give thanks to God for this time in prayer and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Thursday, November 23, 2017, Thanksgiving Day, Year A 
Deuteronomy 8:7-18
Psalm 65
2 Corinthians 9:6-16
Luke 17:11-19

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author.
Permission to use in not-for-profit settings (c) 2017 The Rev. Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD

Posted in Faith, Harvest, Lectionary, Luke, Prayer, Revised Common Lectionary, Sower, Thanksgiving | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment