Matthew 17:1-9 – Listen to him!

“Transfiguration” by Jim Janknegt. Used with permission.

Matthew 17:1-9

1Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain, by themselves. 2And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white. 3Suddenly there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. 4Then Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three dwellings here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” 5While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud a voice said, “This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!” 6When the disciples heard this, they fell to the ground and were overcome by fear. 7But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Get up and do not be afraid.” 8And when they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus himself alone.

9As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus ordered them, “Tell no one about the vision until after the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes, bringing your attention to the Breath.
  • Remember a time of grace in your life, a time when you know you encountered the Holy One.
  • What details do you remember about that experience of being with the Holy One?  What did you see?  hear?  feel?  taste?  smell?
  • How was Jesus was transfigured before you?
  • What fear did you encounter?
  • How did Jesus speak to you to help you understand the experience and your relationship with him?
  • On this side of the resurrection we do not have to be afraid to tell.
  • What arises in you that desires to go and tell?
  • 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, February 26, 2017, the Transfiguration of the Lord (Year A)

Exodus 24:12-18
Psalm 2
2 Peter 1:16-21
Matthew 17:1-9

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

2 Peter 1:16-21 – As to a lamp shining in a dark place

2 Peter 1:16-21

16For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we had been eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17For he received honor and glory from God the Father when that voice was conveyed to him by the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, my Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.” 18We ourselves heard this voice come from heaven, while we were with him on the holy mountain.

19So we have the prophetic message more fully confirmed. You will do well to be attentive to this as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. 20First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, 21because no prophecy ever came by human will, but men and women moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes bringing your attention to the Breath.
  • Hear the prophetic message, “This is my Son, my Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.”
  • This is the Son who is born into the world for us, teaches us about real  life and real love, dies a horrific death for us, and is raised into new life to guide us to those who need to know his message of compassion and love.
  • These words of the prophet are the lamp shining in a dark place.
  • How do these words need to reach the dark places in you today?
  • How do these words need tor each the dark places in the world today?
  • The day is dawning.  How does your heart desire to respond?
  • 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, February 26, 2017, the Transfiguration of the Lord (Year A)

Exodus 24:12-18
Psalm 2
2 Peter 1:16-21
Matthew 17:1-9

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

Psalm 2: Happy are all who take refuge in God

Psalm 2

1   Why do the nations conspire,
and the peoples plot in vain?
2   The kings of the earth set themselves,
and the rulers take counsel together,
against the LORD and his anointed, saying,
3   “Let us burst their bonds asunder,
and cast their cords from us.”

4   He who sits in the heavens laughs;
the LORD has them in derision.
5   Then he will speak to them in his wrath,
and terrify them in his fury, saying,
6   “I have set my king on Zion, my holy hill.”

7   I will tell of the decree of the LORD:
He said to me, “You are my son;
today I have begotten you.
8   Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage,
and the ends of the earth your possession.
9   You shall break them with a rod of iron,
and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.”

10  Now therefore, O kings, be wise;
be warned, O rulers of the earth.
11  Serve the LORD with fear,
with trembling 12 kiss his feet,
or he will be angry, and you will perish in the way;
for his wrath is quickly kindled.

Happy are all who take refuge in him.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to ten minutes in stillness with the Breath.
  • What in the world is trying to capture your attention from God?
  • What strength do you need to return to God and take refuge?
  • Who in the world is trying to capture your attention from God?
  • What courage do you need to return to God and take refuge?
  • Happy are all who take refuge in God.
  • Return to the Breath.
  • How does God want you to take refuge in a new way?
  • 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, February 19, 2017, the Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, February 26, 2017, the Transfiguration of the Lord (Year A)

Exodus 24:12-18
Psalm 2
2 Peter 1:16-21
Matthew 17:1-9

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

Exodus 24:12-18 Moses was on the mountain for 40 days and 40 nights

Exodus 24:12-18

12The LORD said to Moses, “Come up to me on the mountain, and wait there; and I will give you the tablets of stone, with the law and the commandment, which I have written for their instruction.” 13So Moses set out with his assistant Joshua, and Moses went up into the mountain of God. 14To the elders he had said, “Wait here for us, until we come to you again; for Aaron and Hur are with you; whoever has a dispute may go to them.”

15Then Moses went up on the mountain, and the cloud covered the mountain. 16The glory of the LORD settled on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it for six days; on the seventh day he called to Moses out of the cloud. 17Now the appearance of the glory of the LORD was like a devouring fire on the top of the mountain in the sight of the people of Israel. 18Moses entered the cloud, and went up on the mountain. Moses was on the mountain for forty days and forty nights.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Bring your attention to the Breath.  Inhale freedom and exhale unfreedom.  Continue this exercise for 5 to 10 minutes.  With each breath, imagine you are ascending the mountain to be with God.
  • Notice the life that the freedom gives you.
  • Notice any resistance, tension, or obstacles that impede your ascent.  Allow the breath to reach these places and exhale the unfreedom.
  • When you reach the place on the top of the mountain, sit and wait for God.
  • What do you notice?
  • What do you need?
  • What do you anticipate?
  • What do you resist?
  • Return to the Breath.
  • Sit and wait.
  • 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, February 26, 2017, the Transfiguration of the Lord (Year A)

Exodus 24:12-18
Psalm 2
2 Peter 1:16-21
Matthew 17:1-9

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

Matthew 5:38-48 – Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.

Matthew 5:38-48

38“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; 40and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; 41and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. 42Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you.

43“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. 46For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Pay attention to the Breath for five to ten minutes.
  • In this place of freedom as you are one with the Breath, how do you desire to love your enemies today?
  • How do you desire to love those who persecute you?
  • What do you need from God to be freed from enemies and persecutors?
  • How does God want to give this peace to you?
  • How do you want to accept this peace to carry with you?
  • 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, February 19, 2017, the Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Leviticus 19:1-2, 9-18
Psalm 119:33-40
1 Corinthians 3:10-11, 16-23
Matthew 5:38-48

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

1 Corinthians 3:10-11, 16-23 – God’s temple is holy and you are that temple

1 Corinthians 3:10-11, 16-23

10According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building on it. Each builder must choose with care how to build on it. 11For no one can lay any foundation other than the one that has been laid; that foundation is Jesus Christ.

16Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? 17If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.

18Do not deceive yourselves. If you think that you are wise in this age, you should become fools so that you may become wise. 19For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written,
“He catches the wise in their craftiness,”
20and again,
“The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise,
that they are futile.”
21So let no one boast about human leaders. For all things are yours, 22whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future — all belong to you, 23and you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Bring your attention to the Breath.
  • Inhale God’s Wisdom.  Exhale the world’s wisdom.
  • Inhale God’s Wisdom.  Exhale the world’s wisdom.
  • Inhale God’s Wisdom.  Exhale the world’s wisdom.
  • What deception in the world do you need to bring to God today?
  • Name the healing you need from this deception.
  • Name the healing the world needs from this deception.
  • Name the healing God desires for this deception.
  • How do you desire to leave this deception with God today?
  • What peace does God have for you in its place?
  • 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, February 19, 2017, the Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Leviticus 19:1-2, 9-18
Psalm 119:33-40
1 Corinthians 3:10-11, 16-23
Matthew 5:38-48

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

Psalm 119:33-40 – In your righteousness, give me life

33  Teach me, O LORD, the way of your statutes,
and I will observe it to the end.
34  Give me understanding,
that I may keep your law and observe it with my whole heart.
35  Lead me in the path of your commandments,
for I delight in it.
36  Turn my heart to your decrees,
and not to selfish gain.
37  Turn my eyes from looking at vanities;
give me life in your ways.
38  Confirm to your servant your promise,
which is for those who fear you.
39  Turn away the disgrace that I dread,
for your ordinances are good.
40  See, I have longed for your precepts;
in your righteousness give me life.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Bring your attention to the Breath.
  • Which phrase(s) captures you today:
    • Teach me…
    • Give me…
    • Lead me…
    • Turn me…
    • Confirm me…
  • What do you long to hear from God?
  • Spend time sitting with the phrase(s) that captures you, inviting God to teach you something new about yourself, about the world, and about 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 Sunday, February 19, 2017, the Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Leviticus 19:1-2, 9-18
Psalm 119:33-40
1 Corinthians 3:10-11, 16-23
Matthew 5:38-48

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

Leviticus 19:1-2, 9-18 – You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy

Leviticus 19:1-2, 9-18

1The LORD spoke to Moses, saying: 2Speak to all the congregation of the people of Israel and say to them: You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy.

9When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very edges of your field, or gather the gleanings of your harvest. 10You shall not strip your vineyard bare, or gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the alien: I am the LORD your God.

11You shall not steal; you shall not deal falsely; and you shall not lie to one another. 12And you shall not swear falsely by my name, profaning the name of your God: I am the LORD.

13You shall not defraud your neighbor; you shall not steal; and you shall not keep for yourself the wages of a laborer until morning. 14You shall not revile the deaf or put a stumbling block before the blind; you shall fear your God: I am the LORD.

15You shall not render an unjust judgment; you shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great: with justice you shall judge your neighbor. 16You shall not go around as a slanderer among your people, and you shall not profit by the blood of your neighbor: I am the LORD.

17You shall not hate in your heart anyone of your kin; you shall reprove your neighbor, or you will incur guilt yourself. 18You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Pay attention to the Breath.  Inhale holiness.  Exhale all that is keeping you from the Holy One.  Continue this breathing exercise as you find freedom in your meditation time today.
  • As you are created in the image of God, how are you holy, with God?
  • As you live on this side of the garden, how are you unholy, without God?
  • Inhale holiness.  Exhale greed.
  • Inhale holiness.  Exhale idolatry.
  • Inhale holiness.  Exhale selfishness.
  • Inhale holiness.  Exhale hatred.
  • Inhale love for your neighbor.  Exhale jealousy.
  • Inhale love for yourself.  Exhale doubt and judgment.
  • Be still and breath deeply the love of God in this place of freedom and love that surrounds you 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, February 19, 2017, the Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Leviticus 19:1-2, 9-18
Psalm 119:33-40
1 Corinthians 3:10-11, 16-23
Matthew 5:38-48

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

Matthew 5:21-37 – First be reconciled to your brother or sister

Matthew 5:21-37

21“You have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, ‘You shall not murder’; and ‘whoever murders shall be liable to judgment.’ 22But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgment; and if you insult a brother or sister, you will be liable to the council; and if you say, ‘You fool,’ you will be liable to the hell of fire. 23So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift. 25Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are on the way to court with him, or your accuser may hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison. 26Truly I tell you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.

27“You have heard that it was said, ‘you shall not commit adultery.’ 28But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one of your members than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one of your members than for your whole body to go into hell.

31“It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ 32But I say to you that anyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of unchastity, causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

33“Again, you have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but carry out the vows you have made to the Lord.’ 34But I say to you, Do not swear at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, 35or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. 36And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. 37Let your word be ‘Yes, Yes’ or ‘No, No’; anything more than this comes from the evil one.”

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Bring your attention to the Breath.
  • How do you carry out the vows you have made to the Lord?
  • Hod do you want to savor this at the altar today?
  • Where do you stumble and swear falsely?
  • How do you want to leave this at the altar today?
  • Embrace the reconciliation God has for you.  Leave the judgment at the altar.
  • Notice the peace that God has for you.
  • Embrace the peace.
  • 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, February 12, 2017, the Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Deuteronomy 30:15-20
Psalm 119:1-8
1 Corinthians 3:1-9
Matthew 5:21-37

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

1 Corinthians 3:1-9 – Only God gives the growth

1 Corinthians 3:1-9

3And so, brothers and sisters, I could not speak to you as spiritual people, but rather as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. 2I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for solid food. Even now you are still not ready, 3for you are still of the flesh. For as long as there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not of the flesh, and behaving according to human inclinations? 4For when one says, “I belong to Paul,” and another, “I belong to Apollos,” are you not merely human?

5What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you came to believe, as the Lord assigned to each. 6I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. 7So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. 8The one who plants and the one who waters have a common purpose, and each will receive wages according to the labor of each. 9For we are God’s servants, working together; you are God’s field, God’s building.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Breathe deeply as you remember a time working together with God’s servants, building up the kingdom of God.
  • What did you plant?  What did you water?
  • How did God grow this community together.
  • Return to the breath.
  • Breathe deeply as you remember a time of division working with God’s servants, tearing down the kingdom of God.
  • How did you ignore the seeds to be planted and withhold the water needed for the plant to survive?
  • As you hold both of these experiences before you, notice God in each of them.
  • How were you transformed in each experience?
  • What new transformation does God have for you 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, February 12, 2017, the Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Deuteronomy 30:15-20
Psalm 119:1-8
1 Corinthians 3:1-9
Matthew 5:21-37

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