Exodus 16:2-15 – God hears complaints

Exodus 16:2-15

2The whole congregation of the Israelites complained against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. 3The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the fleshpots and ate our fill of bread; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”

4Then the Lord said to Moses, “I am going to rain bread from heaven for you, and each day the people shall go out and gather enough for that day. In that way I will test them, whether they will follow my instruction or not. 5On the sixth day, when they prepare what they bring in, it will be twice as much as they gather on other days.“ 6So Moses and Aaron said to all the Israelites, “In the evening you shall know that it was the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt, 7and in the morning you shall see the glory of the Lord, because he has heard your complaining against the Lord. For what are we, that you complain against us?” 8And Moses said, “When the Lord gives you meat to eat in the evening and your fill of bread in the morning, because the Lord has heard the complaining that you utter against him — what are we? Your complaining is not against us but against the Lord.”

9Then Moses said to Aaron, “Say to the whole congregation of the Israelites, ‘Draw near to the Lord, for he has heard your complaining.’” 10And as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the Israelites, they looked toward the wilderness, and the glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud. 11The Lord spoke to Moses and said, 12“I have heard the complaining of the Israelites; say to them, ‘At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall have your fill of bread; then you shall know that I am the Lord your God.’”

13In the evening quails came up and covered the camp; and in the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp. 14When the layer of dew lifted, there on the surface of the wilderness was a fine flaky substance, as fine as frost on the ground. 15When the Israelites saw it, they said to one another, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was. Moses said to them, “It is the bread that the Lord has given you to eat.”

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silence bringing your attention to the Breath.
  • God leads us away from slavery into the wilderness.
  • The desert is dry and dead.
  • How are you hungry in the wilderness?
  • What do you desire from God that seem elusive?
  • Name it, describe it and hold it in front of you.
  • Let the desire deepen.
  • Share your deepest desire with God.
  • God send the Israelites quail and manna to fill their hunger.
  • Recognize the compassion God has for the Israelites.
  • What do you need God to send you?
  • Embrace the compassion God has for you.
  • 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, September 24, 2017, the Twenty-Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Exodus 16:2-15
Psalm 105:1-6,37-45
Philippians 1:21-30
Matthew 20:1-16

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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Posted in Exodus, Faith, Freedom, Hope, Lectionary, Moses, Revised Common Lectionary | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Matthew 18:21-35 – Should you not have had mercy on your fellow slave, as I had mercy on you?

 

Matthew 18:21-35

21Then Peter came and said to him, “Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?” 22Jesus said to him, “Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times.

23“For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. 24When he began the reckoning, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him. 25and, as he could not pay, his lord ordered him to be sold, together with his wife and children and all his possessions, and payment to be made. 26So the slave fell on his knees before him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ 27And out of pity for him, the lord of that slave released him and forgave him the debt. 28But that same slave, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and seizing him by the throat, he said, ‘Pay what you owe.’ 29Then his fellow slave fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ 30But he refused; then he went and threw him into prison until he would pay the debt. 31When his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place. 32Then his lord summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked slave! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. 33Should you not have had mercy on your fellow slave, as I had mercy on you?’ 34And in anger his lord handed him over to be tortured until he would pay his entire debt. 35So my heavenly Father will also do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silence bringing your attention to the Breath.
  • Remember someone who forgave your debt.  Perhaps it is monetary.  Perhaps it is ugliness.  Perhaps it is selfishness.  Whatever the debt, remember one time your debt was forgiven.
  • Notice the freedom that came with the forgiveness of debt.
  • Are you still holding onto any judgment, guilt or anxiety from this memory?
  • Where are you holding this pain?
  • How do you wish to release the pain and forgive yourself?
  • Lean into the strength of God who wants this new healing and peace for you.
  • Forgive yourself from your heart.
  • Remember a debt someone owes you.
  • Are you ready to let go of that debt today and forgive?
  • Forgive your brother, your sister from your heart.
  • Lean into the love of God who wants this new healing and peace for you.
  • 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, September 17, 2017, the Twenty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Exodus 14:19-31
Psalm 114:1-8
Romans 14:1-12
Matthew 18:21-35

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, Revised Common Lectionary | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Romans 14:1-12 – Who are you to pass judgment on your brother or sister?

Romans 14:1-12

1Welcome those who are weak in faith, but not for the purpose of quarreling over opinions. 2Some believe in eating anything, while the weak eat only vegetables. 3Those who eat must not despise those who abstain, and those who abstain must not pass judgment on those who eat; for God has welcomed them. 4Who are you to pass judgment on servants of another? It is before their own lord that they stand or fall. And they will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make them stand.

5Some judge one day to be better than another, while others judge all days to be alike. Let all be fully convinced in their own minds. 6Those who observe the day, observe it in honor of the Lord. Also those who eat, eat in honor of the Lord, since they give thanks to God; while those who abstain, abstain in honor of the Lord and give thanks to God.

7We do not live to ourselves, and we do not die to ourselves. 8If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. 9For to this end Christ died and lived again, so that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living.

10Why do you pass judgment on your brother or sister? Or you, why do you despise your brother or sister? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. 11For it is written,
“As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me,
and every tongue shall give praise to God.”
12So then, each of us will be accountable to God.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silence bringing your attention to the Breath.
  • Do a quick scan of your body and notice where you are holding judgment.
  • How is this judgment binding you to the world?  Describe the unfreedom.
  • Being gentle with yourself, look deeply within you.
  • How is this judgment about you?
  • Embrace the gentleness of the Holy Spirit.
  • What do you desire to let go?
  • What freedom comes as you let go?
  • 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, September 17, 2017, the Twenty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Exodus 14:19-31
Psalm 114:1-8
Romans 14:1-12
Matthew 18:21-35

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, Freedom, Hope, Judgment, Lectionary, Prayer, Revised Common Lectionary, Romans | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Psalm 114:1-8 – Why is it, O sea, that you flee?

Psalm 114:1-8

1   When Israel went out from Egypt,
the house of Jacob from a people of strange language,
2   Judah became God’s sanctuary,
Israel his dominion.

3   The sea looked and fled;
Jordan turned back.
4   The mountains skipped like rams,
the hills like lambs.

5   Why is it, O sea, that you flee?
O Jordan, that you turn back?
6   O mountains, that you skip like rams?
O hills, like lambs?

7   Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the LORD,
at the presence of the God of Jacob,
8   who turns the rock into a pool of water,
the flint into a spring of water.

  • 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 God provided for you when you faced an insurmountable challenge.
  • How did God part the sea for you?
  • What do you hold from that experience that is important to remember today?
  • Is there another challenge in your life today in which you desire God’s transforming love?
  • Look for the waters to part.  God is with you.
  • Step out onto the dry land.  Trust God.
  • Walk with God to a new place of healing and wholeness.
  • 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, September 17, 2017, the Twenty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Exodus 14:19-31
Psalm 114:1-8
Romans 14:1-12
Matthew 18:21-35

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, Hope, Lectionary, Praise, Prayer, Psalm, Revised Common Lectionary | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Exodus 14:19-31 – The Lord saved Israel that day from the Egyptians

Exodus 14:19-31

19The angel of God who was going before the Israelite army moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud moved from in front of them and took its place behind them. 20It came between the army of Egypt and the army of Israel. And so the cloud was there with the darkness, and it lit up the night; one did not come near the other all night.

21Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea. The LORD drove the sea back by a strong east wind all night, and turned the sea into dry land; and the waters were divided. 22The Israelites went into the sea on dry ground, the waters forming a wall for them on their right and on their left. 23The Egyptians pursued, and went into the sea after them, all of Pharaoh’s horses, chariots, and chariot drivers. 24At the morning watch the LORD in the pillar of fire and cloud looked down upon the Egyptian army, and threw the Egyptian army into panic. 25He clogged their chariot wheels so that they turned with difficulty. The Egyptians said, “Let us flee from the Israelites, for the LORD is fighting for them against Egypt.”

26Then the LORD said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea, so that the water may come back upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots and chariot drivers.“ 27So Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and at dawn the sea returned to its normal depth. As the Egyptians fled before it, the LORD tossed the Egyptians into the sea. 28The waters returned and covered the chariots and the chariot drivers, the entire army of Pharaoh that had followed them into the sea; not one of them remained. 29But the Israelites walked on dry ground through the sea, the waters forming a wall for them on their right and on their left.

30Thus the LORD saved Israel that day from the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore. 31Israel saw the great work that the LORD did against the Egyptians. So the people feared the LORD and believed in the LORD and in his servant Moses.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silence bringing your attention to the Breath.
  • As you sit with the text today, notice where you are in the story.  Are you a leader like Moses needing God to make a way for you?  Are you one of the Israelites seeking freedom from slavery and encountering insurmountable tasks in the wilderness?  Are you one of the Egyptians keeping people enslaved for your own profit?  Or are you disengaged just letting life slip by?
  • Sit and seek the pillar of fire and cloud  God is sending for you to follow.
  • Imagine what the pillar of fire and cloud might look like for you.
  • What provision does God have for you?
  • 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, September 17, 2017, the Twenty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Exodus 14:19-31
Psalm 114:1-8
Romans 14:1-12
Matthew 18:21-35

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 Exodus, Faith, Freedom, Hope, Lectionary, Moses, Pillar of clouds, Revised Common Lectionary | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Matthew 18:15-20 – Whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven

 

Matthew 18:15-20

15“If another member of the church sins against you, go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone. If the member listens to you, you have regained that one. 16But if you are not listened to, take one or two others along with you, so that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 17If the member refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if the offender refuses to listen even to the church, let such a one be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. 18Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. 19Again, truly I tell you, if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. 20For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.”

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silence bringing your attention to the Breath.
  • Words matter.
  • Actions matter.
  • Silence from the truth can be destructive.
  • What are you binding on earth (creating unfreedom) that will surely bind you in heaven (unfreedom).
  • What are you loosing on earth that will be freedom heaven.
  • How do you hold both of these at the same time?
  • Lean into the resistance you feel.
  • 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, September 10, 2017, the Twenty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Exodus 12:1-14
Psalm 149:1-9
Romans 13:8-14
Matthew 18:15-20

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, Matthew, Revised Common Lectionary | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Romans 13:8-14 – Love does no wrong to a neighbor

Romans 13:8-14

8Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not covet”; and any other commandment, are summed up in this word, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 10Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.

11Besides this, you know what time it is, how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we became believers; 12the night is far gone, the day is near. Let us then lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armor of light; 13let us live honorably as in the day, not in reveling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarreling and jealousy. 14Instead, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

  • 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 favorite sweater that is warm and comfortable and soothing.  The thought of it is warmth and love.
  • Imagine as you put on this favorite sweater that you are putting on Jesus.
  • Lay aside darkness as you put on the armor of light.
  • Notice how it feels to be cloaked in love.
  • Let this love permeate the fullness of your being.
  • Wear this love today.
  • Repel darkness as you respond cloaked in love to everything and everyone you encounter.
  • Take a long loving look at the way you are responding.
  • 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, September 10, 2017, the Twenty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Exodus 12:1-14
Psalm 149:1-9
Romans 13:8-14
Matthew 18:15-20

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, Hope, Lectionary, Prayer, Revised Common Lectionary, Romans | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Psalm 149:1-9 – Let them praise his name with dancing

149:1-9

1   Praise the Lord!
Sing to the Lord a new song,
his praise in the assembly of the faithful.
2   Let Israel be glad in its Maker;
let the children of Zion rejoice in their King.
3  Let them praise his name with dancing,
making melody to him with tambourine and lyre.
4   For the Lord takes pleasure in his people;
he adorns the humble with victory.
5   Let the faithful exult in glory;
let them sing for joy on their couches.
6   Let the high praises of God be in their throats
and two-edged swords in their hands,
7   to execute vengeance on the nations
and punishment on the peoples,
8   to bind their kings with fetters
and their nobles with chains of iron,
9   to execute on them the judgment decreed.
This is glory for all his faithful ones.
Praise the Lord!

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silence bringing your attention to the Breath.
  • Any interpretation of scripture that leads to violence and the tearing down of people invites us to look again.
  • God’s command is love God, love neighbor, love self.
  • Hold onto the word of God.
  • Sing and dance with praise as you fully embrace the love of God.
  • How do you respond to your enemy today, the one who wants to execute you and judge you?
  • How do you desire to let the accusations and judgments bounce off of the armor of love that surrounds you in the dance?
  • How do you desire to respond as a faithful one to the Faithful One?
  • 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, September 10, 2017, the Twenty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Exodus 12:1-14
Psalm 149:1-9
Romans 13:8-14
Matthew 18:15-20

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, Hope, Lectionary, Praise, Prayer, Psalm, Revised Common Lectionary | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Exodus 12:1-14 – The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live

Exodus 12:1-14

1The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt: 2This month shall mark for you the beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year for you. 3Tell the whole congregation of Israel that on the tenth of this month they are to take a lamb for each family, a lamb for each household. 4If a household is too small for a whole lamb, it shall join its closest neighbor in obtaining one; the lamb shall be divided in proportion to the number of people who eat of it. 5Your lamb shall be without blemish, a year-old male; you may take it from the sheep or from the goats. 6You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month; then the whole assembled congregation of Israel shall slaughter it at twilight. 7They shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat it. 8They shall eat the lamb that same night; they shall eat it roasted over the fire with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. 9Do not eat any of it raw or boiled in water, but roasted over the fire, with its head, legs, and inner organs. 10You shall let none of it remain until the morning; anything that remains until the morning you shall burn. 11This is how you shall eat it: your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it hurriedly. It is the passover of the LORD. 12For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike down every firstborn in the land of Egypt, both human beings and animals; on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the LORD. 13The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live: when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague shall destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.

14This day shall be a day of remembrance for you. You shall celebrate it as a festival to the LORD; throughout your generations you shall observe it as a perpetual ordinance.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silence bringing your attention to the Breath.
  • Freedom is a gift from God.
  • How are you enslaved to the world today?
  • God desires for you to be freed from slavery.
  • How do you imagine God will provide for you?
  • Freedom is a gift from God.
  • How are others enslaved to the world today?
  • God desires for your neighbor to be freed from slavery.
  • How do you imagine God will provide for the world?
  • 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, September 10, 2017, the Twenty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Exodus 12:1-14
Psalm 149:1-9
Romans 13:8-14
Matthew 18:15-20

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 Exodus, Faith, Freedom, Hope, Lectionary, Moses, Passover, Promise, Prophecy, Revised Common Lectionary, Slavery | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Matthew 16:21-28 – Those who want to save their life will lose it

Matthew 16:21-28

21From that time on, Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and undergo great suffering at the hands of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. 22And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “God forbid it, Lord! This must never happen to you.” 23But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; for you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.”

24Then Jesus told his disciples, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. 26For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life?

27“For the Son of Man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay everyone for what has been done. 28Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silence bringing your attention to the Breath.
  • Reflect on something that has become more important in your life than God.
  • Reflect on something in the world that defines who you are.
  • Reflect on a human thing that is keeping you from a divine thing.
  • What part of you do you need to lose to that you may return to God?
  • What new life does God desire to give you in it’s place?
  • Listen for this new life God has for you.
  • Listen.
  • 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, September 3, 2017, the Twenty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Exodus 3:1-15
Psalm 105:1-6, 23-26, 45c
Romans 12:9-21
Matthew 16:21-28

 

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, Matthew, Peter, Revised Common Lectionary | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment