Acts 8:14-17 – They received the Holy Spirit

bapstim in the riverActs 8:14-17

14Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them. 15The two went down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit 16(for as yet the Spirit had not come upon any of them; they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus). 17Then Peter and John laid their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.

  • 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.
  • As you settle into your breath, open yourself to the saints who have gone before you.
  • Remember the ways in which these saints touched you life, believing in you, sharing Christ with you, laying hands on you.
  • Open your imagination and open your mind and spirit to the days of the apostles.
  • Imagine hearing the Gospel for the very first time.
  • Notice the peace that surrounds you.
  • Hear someone praying for you to receive the Holy Spirit.
  • Hear someone praying for the crowd to receive the Holy Spirit.
  • Notice the peace that enters you.
  • Embrace the Holy Spirit that moves within you, among you, watching over you, holding you.
  • As you embrace the Holy Spirit, notice if there is someone you know who needs the peace of the Holy Spirit.
  • What is God’s message for you?
  • 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, January 13, 2013, the Baptism of the Lord  (Year C)

Isaiah 43:1-7
Psalm 29
Acts 8:14-17
Luke 3:15-17, 21-22

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

Psalm 29 – May the LORD bless his people with peace!

IMG_0802Psalm 29

1Ascribe to the LORD, O heavenly beings,

ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.

2Ascribe to the LORD the glory of his name;

worship the LORD in holy splendor.
3The voice of the LORD is over the waters;

the God of glory thunders,

the LORD, over mighty waters.

4The voice of the LORD is powerful;

the voice of the LORD is full of majesty.
5The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars;

the LORD breaks the cedars of Lebanon.

6He makes Lebanon skip like a calf,

and Sirion like a young wild ox.
7The voice of the LORD flashes forth flames of fire.

8The voice of the LORD shakes the wilderness;

the LORD shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.
9The voice of the LORD causes the oaks to whirl,

and strips the forest bare; and in his temple all say, “Glory!”
10The LORD sits enthroned over the flood;

the LORD sits enthroned as king for ever.

11May the LORD give strength to his people!

May the LORD bless his people with peace!

  • 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.
  • Relax into the breath.
  • Let go of any tension.
  • Open your heart, mind and body to God.
  • Consider how you hear the voice of God.
  • Select an image that represents how you hear the voice of God.
  • Stay with this image and let it grow in you.
  • How does this image give you strength?
  • How does this image bless you?
  • How will you share the voice of God with the world?
  • 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, January 13, 2013, the Baptism of the Lord  (Year C)

Isaiah 43:1-7
Psalm 29
Acts 8:14-17
Luke 3:15-17, 21-22

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

Isaiah 43: 1-7 – Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine…

IMG_0406Isaiah 43:1-7

1But now thus says the LORD, he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.

2When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.

3For I am the LORD your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
I give Egypt as your ransom,
Ethiopia and Seba in exchange for you.

4Because you are precious in my sight,
and honored, and I love you,
I give people in return for you,
nations in exchange for your life.

5Do not fear, for I am with you;
I will bring your offspring from the east,
and from the west I will gather you;
6I will say to the north, “Give them up,”
and to the south, “Do not withhold;
bring my sons from far away
and my daughters from the end of the earth —
7everyone who is called by my name,
whom I created for my glory,
whom I formed and made.”

  • 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.
  • As you settle into your breath, open to your Creator.
  • Breathe in the glory of Creator God.
  • Breathe out any negative thoughts.
  • Breathe in the creation of Creator God.
  • Breathe out any destructive thoughts.
  • Breathe in the touch of Creator God.
  • Breathe out anything else keeping you from being touched and formed by God.
  • Remain in this open place, a beloved, created one of God.
  • Remain in the arms of God, a precious one in God’s sight.
  • Notice how God is gathering God’s people together.
  • How does God call you by name?
  • How does God call your neighbor by name?
  • How does God call the world by name?
  • Who needs to hear Creator God call them by name?
  • How is God calling you by name today?
  • What is God’s message for you?
  • 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, January 13, 2013, the Baptism of the Lord  (Year C)

Isaiah 43:1-7
Psalm 29
Acts 8:14-17
Luke 3:15-17, 21-22

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

Matthew 2:1-12 When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy

mangerMatthew 2:1-12

1In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, 2asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.” 3When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; 4and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. 5They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet:
6   ‘And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
who is to shepherd my people Israel.’”

Gold-Frankincense-and-Myrrh7Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. 8Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage.” 9When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. 11On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. 12And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.

  • 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.
  • As you settle into your breath, visualize the star that led the wise men.
  • Notice the light that is cast on the path.
  • Visualize the journey to the Christ child, bathed in light.
  • God has called you to a journey, as well.
  • Where is the light that shows you the way?
  • Visualize this light.
  • Notice the light that is cast on the path.
  • Stay focused on the light that is leading you.
  • What do you need to let go to follow the light?
  • What false messages do you hear?
  • Ask God to show you the new path home.
  • What is the next step to follow the light?
  • What is God’s message for you?
  • Notice the joy that fills you.
  • 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, January 6, 2013, the Epiphany of the Lord  (Year C)

Isaiah 60:1-6
Psalm 72:1-7, 10-14
Ephesians 3:1-12
Matthew 2:1-12

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

Ephesians 3:1-12 – The boundless riches of Christ

Gold-Frankincense-and-MyrrhEphesians 3:1-12

1This is the reason that I Paul am a prisoner for Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles — 2for surely you have already heard of the commission of God’s grace that was given me for you, 3and how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I wrote above in a few words, 4a reading of which will enable you to perceive my understanding of the mystery of Christ. 5In former generations this mystery was not made known to humankind, as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit: 6that is, the Gentiles have become fellow heirs, members of the same body, and sharers in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.

manger7Of this gospel I have become a servant according to the gift of God’s grace that was given me by the working of his power. 8Although I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given to me to bring to the Gentiles the news of the boundless riches of Christ, 9and to make everyone see what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things; 10so that through the church the wisdom of God in its rich variety might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. 11This was in accordance with the eternal purpose that he has carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord, 12in whom we have access to God in boldness and confidence through faith in him.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent mediation paying close attention to the deep breath.
  • As you settle into your breath, consider the boundless riches of Christ.
  • Name the way these boundless riches touch you.
  • Allow these boundless riches to emanate from you and sit before you.
  • Notice the faith of God that is represented in these gifts.
  • How do you embrace this faith?
  • How do you respond to this faith?
  • How will you share this faith?
  • What is God’s message for you?
  • 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, January 6, 2013, the Epiphany of the Lord  (Year C)

Isaiah 60:1-6
Psalm 72:1-7, 10-14
Ephesians 3:1-12
Matthew 2:1-12

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

Psalm 72 – From oppression and violence he redeems their life

Gold-Frankincense-and-MyrrhPsalm 72:1-7, 10-14

1   Give the king your justice, O God,
and your righteousness to a king’s son.
2   May he judge your people with righteousness,
and your poor with justice.
3   May the mountains yield prosperity for the people,
and the hills, in righteousness.
4   May he defend the cause of the poor of the people,
give deliverance to the needy,
and crush the oppressor.
5   May he live while the sun endures,
and as long as the moon, throughout all generations.
6   May he be like rain that falls on the mown grass,
like showers that water the earth.
7   In his days may righteousness flourish
and peace abound, until the moon is no more.

10  May the kings of Tarshish and of the isles
render him tribute,
may the kings of Sheba and Seba
bring gifts.
11  May all kings fall down before him,
all nations give him service.

12  For he delivers the needy when they call,
the poor and those who have no helper.
13  He has pity on the weak and the needy,
and saves the lives of the needy.
14  From oppression and violence he redeems their life;
and precious is their blood in his sight.

  • 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.
  • As you settle into your breath, bring your gifts before the Holy King.
  • Free yourself of stumbling blocks, to-do lists, future plans.
  • Put all of yourself into the gifts you bring to offer the Holy King.
  • Keep these gifts before you as you notice the response of Jesus.
  • How shall these gifts be used to glorify Jesus the Christ?
  • How shall these gifts be used to help those who are oppressed and who are victims of violence?
  • Listen for the response.
  • Notice a place of lightening within you, a heightened sense of hearing or an aura of light that might capture your attention.
  • Listen for the response.
  • Hold these gifts before you throughout the day, listening and watching for direction.
  • Be open to all you encounter.
  • Visit these gifts again at the end of the day.
  • What is God’s message for you?
  • 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, January 6, 2013, the Epiphany of the Lord  (Year C)

Isaiah 60:1-6
Psalm 72:1-7, 10-14
Ephesians 3:1-12
Matthew 2:1-12

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

Happy New Year: See, I am making all things new…

DSCN0342Ecclesiastes 3:1-13

1   For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
2   a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
3   a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4   a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5   a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6   a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to throw away;
7   a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8   a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.

9What gain have the workers from their toil? 10I have seen the business that God has given to everyone to be busy with. 11He has made everything suitable for its time; moreover he has put a sense of past and future into their minds, yet they cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. 12I know that there is nothing better for them than to be happy and enjoy themselves as long as they live; 13moreover, it is God’s gift that all should eat and drink and take pleasure in all their toil.

IMG_0837Psalm 8

1   O LORD, our Sovereign,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!

You have set your glory above the heavens.
2        Out of the mouths of babes and infants
you have founded a bulwark because of your foes,
to silence the enemy and the avenger.

3   When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars that you have established;
4   what are human beings that you are mindful of them,
mortals that you care for them?

5   Yet you have made them a little lower than God,
and crowned them with glory and honor.
6   You have given them dominion over the works of your hands;
you have put all things under their feet,
7   all sheep and oxen,
and also the beasts of the field,
8    the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea,
whatever passes along the paths of the seas.

9   O Lord, our Sovereign,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!

IMG_0795Revelation 21:1-6a

1Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,
“See, the home of God is among mortals.
He will dwell with them;
they will be his peoples,
and God himself will be with them;
4   he will wipe every tear from their eyes.
Death will be no more;
mourning and crying and pain will be no more,
for the first things have passed away.”

5And the one who was seated on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.” 6Then he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.”

lotsa breadGospel Matthew 25:31-46

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 close attention to the deep breath.
  • Breathe in new.
  • As you exhale, turn closer to God.
  • Breathe in possibility.
  • As you exhale, lift your face to God.
  • Breathe in opportunity.
  • As you exhale, imagine yourself before God.
  • Open yourself to hear God.
  • What new thing is God creating in you this year?
  • What do you need to leave behind to accept this new thing?
  • What promise is revealed to you in this new thing?
  • What fingerprints of Christ do you see?
  • How are you to share this new thing with others?
  • How does this bring glory to God?
  • What is God’s message for you?
  • 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 Tuesday, January 1, 2013, New Year’s Day (Year C)

Ecclesiastes 3:1-13
Psalm 8
Revelation 21:1-6a
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 The Rev. Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD