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

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Eve of Thanksgiving – How will you give thanks to God?

DEUTERONOMY 8:7-18

7For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land with flowing streams, with springs and underground waters welling up in valleys and hills, 8a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey, 9a land where you may eat bread without scarcity, where you will lack nothing, a land whose stones are iron and from whose hills you may mine copper. 10You shall eat your fill and bless the Lord your God for the good land that he has given you.

11Take care that you do not forget the Lord your God, by failing to keep his commandments, his ordinances, and his statutes, which I am commanding you today. 12When you have eaten your fill and have built fine houses and live in them, 13and when your herds and flocks have multiplied, and your silver and gold is multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied, 14then do not exalt yourself, forgetting the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, 15who led you through the great and terrible wilderness, an arid wasteland with poisonous snakes and scorpions. He made water flow for you from flint rock, 16and fed you in the wilderness with manna that your ancestors did not know, to humble you and to test you, and in the end to do you good. 17Do not say to yourself, “My power and the might of my own hand have gotten me this wealth.” 18But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, so that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your ancestors, as he is doing today.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Spend five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying attention to the breath.
  • Where do you notice God’s power within you?
  • Focus on this place within you.
  • Give thanks for this power of God that leads you.
  • Give thanks for this power of God that holds you.
  • Give thanks for this power of God that comforts you.
  • Give thanks for this power of God that strengthens you.
  • Give thanks for this power of God that loves you unconditionally.
  • Give thanks for this power of God that transforms you.
  • Give thanks for this power of God that sustains you.
  • Rest in the power of God.
  • Feel this power and presence of God grow within you.
  • Move anything out the way that threatens this growth.
  • How is God calling you to share this growth?
  • Give thanks to God always!  Give thanks for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

PSALM 65

1   Praise is due to you,
O God, in Zion;
and to you shall vows be performed,
2        O you who answer prayer!
To you all flesh shall come.
3   When deeds of iniquity overwhelm us,
you forgive our transgressions.
4   Happy are those whom you choose and bring near
to live in your courts.
We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house,
your holy temple.

5   By awesome deeds you answer us with deliverance,
O God of our salvation;
you are the hope of all the ends of the earth
and of the farthest seas.
6   By your strength you established the mountains;
you are girded with might.
7   You silence the roaring of the seas,
the roaring of their waves,
the tumult of the peoples.
8   Those who live at earth’s farthest bounds are awed by your signs;
you make the gateways of the morning and the evening shout for joy.

9   You visit the earth and water it,
you greatly enrich it;
the river of God is full of water;
you provide the people with grain,
for so you have prepared it.
10  You water its furrows abundantly,
settling its ridges,
softening it with showers,
and blessing its growth.
11  You crown the year with your bounty;
your wagon tracks overflow with richness.
12  The pastures of the wilderness overflow,
the hills gird themselves with joy,
13  the meadows clothe themselves with flocks,
the valleys deck themselves with grain,
they shout and sing together for joy.

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 Christian, Faith, Rejoice, Revised Common Lectionary, Thanksgiving | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Ephesians 1 – Christ head over all things for the church…

“The Return” by Jim Janknegt

EPHESIANS 1:15-23

15I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, and for this reason 16I do not cease to give thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers. 17I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, 18so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints, 19and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe, according to the working of his great power. 20God put this power to work in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the age to come.22And he has put all things under his feet and has made him the head over all things for the church, 23which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Spend five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying close attention to the deep breath.
  • Find the eyes of your heart within you.
  • What enlightenment is waiting to be revealed to you?
  • To which hope is Christ calling you?
  • Allow these visions of your heart to rise up within you.
  • How do these visions shine forth from you?
  • What is God’s message for you?
  • Give thanks to God for the eyes of your heart, the visions you see, the light that shines forth, and all new things revealed to you.
  • 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, Ephesians, Faith, Hope, Lectionary, Light, Love, Revised Common Lectionary, Surrender | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Psalm 100 – Listen for a joyful noise…

PSALM 100:1-5

1   Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth.
2        Worship the LORD with gladness;
come into his presence with singing.

3   Know that the LORD is God.
It is he that made us, and we are his;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

4   Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise.
Give thanks to him, bless his name.

5   For the LORD is good;
his steadfast love endures for ever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Spend five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying attention to the deep breath.
  • Listen for a joyful noise.
  • What joyful noise do you hear?
  • How does this joyful noise resonate in you?
  • What joyful noise will you make in response?
  • What freedom does this create in you?
  • Notice your breath.
  • How do the joyful noise and your breath intertwine?
  • Does this bring to mind an image?
  • What is your message from God?
  • Give thanks to God for this time making joyful noise.  Give thanks for any new insights you have received.

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 Blessing, Faith, Hope, Lectionary, Love, Peace, Praise, Prayer, Psalm, Rejoice, Revised Common Lectionary, Thanksgiving | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24 I will seek the lost…

EZEKIEL 34:11-16, 20-24

11For thus says the Lord GOD: I myself will search for my sheep, and will seek them out. 12As shepherds seek out their flocks when they are among their scattered sheep, so I will seek out my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places to which they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness. 13I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land; and I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the watercourses, and in all the inhabited parts of the land. 14I will feed them with good pasture, and the mountain heights of Israel shall be their pasture; there they shall lie down in good grazing land, and they shall feed on rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. 15I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I will make them lie down, says the Lord GOD.16I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, but the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them with justice.

20Therefore, thus says the Lord GOD to them: I myself will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep.21Because you pushed with flank and shoulder, and butted at all the weak animals with your horns until you scattered them far and wide, 22I will save my flock, and they shall no longer be ravaged; and I will judge between sheep and sheep.

23I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their shepherd. 24And I, the LORD, will be their God, and my servant David shall be prince among them; I, the LORD, have spoken.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying attention to the deep breath.
  • The Lord GOD is looking for you.
  • Are you hiding?
  • Do you want to be found?
  • Where will God find you?
  • What injuries to you need God to bind?
  • What needs to be strengthened within you?
  • Imagine God places you in a pasture with food and nourishment.
  • What do you experience there?
  • Who do you encounter there?
  • What is God’s message for you?
  • Give thanks to God for this time to be found, to be healed, and to be fed.  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, 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 Adoption, Blessing, Ezekiel, Faith, Forgiveness, Prayer, Reconciliation, Revised Common Lectionary | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Matthew 25:14-30 – To all those who have more will be given

GOSPEL MATTHEW 25:14-30

14“For it is as if a man, going on a journey, summoned his slaves and entrusted his property to them; 15to one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. 16The one who had received the five talents went off at once and traded with them, and made five more talents. 17In the same way, the one who had the two talents made two more talents. 18But the one who had received the one talent went off and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. 19After a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them. 20Then the one who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five more talents, saying ‘Master, you handed over to me five talents; see, I have made five more talents.’ 21His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’ 22And the one with the two talents also came forward, saying, ‘Master, you handed over to me two talents; see, I have made two more talents.’ 23His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’ 24Then the one who had received the one talent also came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew that you were a harsh man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter seed; 25so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ 26But his master replied, ‘You wicked and lazy slave! You knew, did you, that I reap where I did not sow, and gather where I did not scatter? 27Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and on my return I would have received what was my own with interest. 28So take the talent from him, and give it to the one with the ten talents. 29For to all those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. 30As for this worthless slave, throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’”

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Spend five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation, paying attention to the deep breath.
  • What account do you need to settle with your Master?
  • What is it that you have been given.
  • How have you grown this gift?
  • What abundance do you notice?
  • What freedom has grown with the gift?
  • What unfreedom have you discovered?
  • What new growth is your Master calling you to tend?
  • What do you need from your Master to move toward this new growth?
  •  Give thanks to God for this time to consider the gifts you have been given and the growth that has occurred with these gifts.  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, November 19, 2017, the Thirty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Judges 4:1-7
Psalm 123:1-4
1 Thessalonians 5:1-11
Matthew 25:14-30

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 Abundance, Devotion, Humility, Lectionary, Light, Matthew, Peace, Prayer, Revised Common Lectionary, Sacrifice, Surrender, Talents | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

1 Thessalonians 5:1-11 Put on the breastplate of faith and love and the helmet of hope

1 THESSALONIANS 5:1-11

1Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers and sisters, you do not need to have anything written to you. 2For you yourselves know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 3When they say, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them, as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and there will be no escape! 4But you, beloved, are not in darkness, for that day to surprise you like a thief; 5for you are all children of light and children of the day; we are not of the night or of darkness. 6So then let us not fall asleep as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober; 7for those who sleep sleep at night, and those who are drunk get drunk at night. 8But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, and put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. 9For God has destined us not for wrath but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep we may live with him. 11Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, as indeed you are doing.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying attention to the deep breath.
  • Today, what does your breastplate of faith and love look like?
  • Describe the details.
  • Put it on.
  • How does it feel?
  • What does the breastplate hold in?
  • What does the breastplate keep out?
  • Today, what does your helmet of hope look like?
  • Describe the details.
  • Put it on.
  • How does it feel?
  • What does the helmet hold in?
  • What does the helmet keep out?
  • How will you share what you have received to encourage others to wear a breastplate of faith and love and a helmet of hope?
  • 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, November 19, 2017, the Thirty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Judges 4:1-7
Psalm 123:1-4
1 Thessalonians 5:1-11
Matthew 25:14-30

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 1 Thessalonions, Breastplate of Hope and Love, Faith, Helmet of Hope, Love, Peace, Praise, Prayer, Revised Common Lectionary | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Psalm 123 – To you I lift up my eyes

PSALM 123:1-4

1   To you I lift up my eyes,
O you who are enthroned in the heavens!
2   As the eyes of servants
look to the hand of their master,
as the eyes of a maid
to the hand of her mistress,
so our eyes look to the LORD our God,
until he has mercy upon us.

3   Have mercy upon us, O LORD, have mercy upon us,
for we have had more than enough of contempt.
4   Our soul has had more than its fill
of the scorn of those who are at ease,
of the contempt of the proud.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Spend five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying attention to the breath.
  • Imagine yourself lifting up your eyes to see God in heaven.
  • What curtains of contempt and scorn must be pushed aside for you to see God?
  • Name these curtains as you push them aside.
  • Continue naming the curtains and moving them until you can see God as fully as possible.
  • Rest in the Lord.  Savor this time.
  • What characteristics of God do you encounter this day?
  • Allow these characteristics to fully embrace you as a gift from God.
  • Rest in the Lord.  Savor this time.
  • Is there a message for you from God?
  • Is there a call to action?
  • Give thanks to God for this time of prayer and presence.  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, November 19, 2017, the Thirty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Judges 4:1-7
Psalm 123:1-4
1 Thessalonians 5:1-11
Matthew 25:14-30

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author.
Permission to use in not-for-profit settings The Rev. Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD
Posted in Contempt, Faith, Lectionary, Prayer, Psalm, Rest, Revised Common Lectionary, Scorn | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Judges 4:1-7 The Last Judgment

The Last Judgment, by Fra Angelico

JUDGES 4:1-7

1The Israelites again did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, after Ehud died. 2So the LORD sold them into the hand of King Jabin of Canaan, who reigned in Hazor; the commander of his army was Sisera, who lived in Harosheth-ha-goiim. 3Then the Israelites cried out to the LORD for help; for he had nine hundred chariots of iron, and had oppressed the Israelites cruelly twenty years.

4At that time Deborah, a prophetess, wife of Lappidoth, was judging Israel. 5She used to sit under the palm of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim; and the Israelites came up to her for judgment. 6She sent and summoned Barak son of Abinoam from Kedesh in Naphtali, and said to him, “The LORD, the God of Israel, commands you, ‘Go, take position at Mount Tabor, bringing ten thousand from the tribe of Naphtali and the tribe of Zebulun. 7I will draw out Sisera, the general of Jabin’s army, to meet you by the Wadi Kishon with his chariots and his troops; and I will give him into your hand.’”

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation, paying attention to the breath.
  • What judgment has hold of you?
  • From whom is this judgment coming?
  • How is this judgment a reflection of God’s people?
  • What forgiveness do you need to give?
  • What forgiveness do you need to receive?
  • As God’s people, what forgiveness to we need to give?
  • As God’s people, what forgiveness do we need to receive?
  • Is there a message for you from God?
  • Is there a call to action?
  • Give thanks to God for this time in prayer to consider the judgment that takes hold of us, the forgiveness we give and receive, and any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, November 19, 2017, the Thirty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Judges 4:1-7
Psalm 123:1-4
1 Thessalonians 5:1-11
Matthew 25:14-30

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, Faith, Hope, Humble, Judges, Judgment, Prayer | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Matthew 25:1-13 – Keep awake!

Matthew 25:1-13

1“Then the kingdom of heaven will be like this. Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. 2Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. 3When the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them; 4but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. 5As the bridegroom was delayed, all of them became drowsy and slept. 6But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Look! Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ 7Then all those bridesmaids got up and trimmed their lamps. 8The foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ 9But the wise replied, ‘No! there will not be enough for you and for us; you had better go to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’ 10And while they went to buy it, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went with him into the wedding banquet; and the door was shut. 11Later the other bridesmaids came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ 12But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I do not know you.’ 13Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.”

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silence bringing your attention to the Breath.
  • Remember a time you were foolish.
  • How were you unprepared?
  • Where was Christ in this time of unpreparation?
  • Remember a time when you were wise.
  • How were you prepared?
  • Where was Christ in this time of preparation?
  • In these two experiences, what similarities do you notice?  What differences do you notice?
  • What is the message from God for you?
  • Is there a call to respond?
  • What is your message from God?
  • 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, November 12, 2017, the Thirty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Joshua 24:1-3a, 14-25
Psalm 78:1-7
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
Matthew 25:1-13

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 Blessing, Faith, Forgiveness, Hope, Lectionary, Matthew, Parable, Revised Common Lectionary | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment