Mark 2:23-3:6 – The Sabbath Was Made for Humankind

MARK 2:23-3:6

2:23One sabbath he was going through the grainfields; and as they made their way his disciples began to pluck heads of grain. 24The Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the sabbath?” 25And he said to them, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need of food? 26He entered the house of God, when Abiathar was high priest, and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and he gave some to his companions.” 27Then he said to them, “The sabbath was made for humankind, and not humankind for the sabbath; 28so the Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath.”

3:1Again he entered the synagogue, and a man was there who had a withered hand. 2They watched him to see whether he would cure him on the sabbath, so that they might accuse him. 3And he said to the man who had the withered hand, “Come forward.” 4Then he said to them, “Is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the sabbath, to save life or to kill?” But they were silent. 5He looked around at them with anger; he was grieved at their hardness of heart and said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was restored. 6The Pharisees went out and immediately conspired with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying attention to the deep breath.
  • As Jesus walked through the grain field and ate the bread of Presence, Jesus was responding to religious laws of his day that were no longer glorifying God.
  • Walk in the grain field with Jesus and wonder with him which religious laws we idolize today that no longer glorify God.
  • Where have you been denied the sacred bread of life?
  • Notice how you desire to seek freedom from these things we idolize.
  • Give glory to God for the walk with Jesus, for 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, June 3, 2018, the Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) 

1 Samuel 3:1-10 (11-20)
Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18
2 Corinthians 4:5-12
Mark 2:23-3:6

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author.
Permission to use in not-for-profit settings 
(c) 2018 The Rev. Dr. Lil Smith, DASD

2 Corinthians 4:3-6 – Treasure in Clay Jars

2 CORINTHIANS 4:5-12

5For we do not proclaim ourselves; we proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and ourselves as your slaves for Jesus’ sake. 6For it is the God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

7But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us. 8We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; 9persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our bodies. 11For while we live, we are always being given up to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus may be made visible in our mortal flesh. 12So death is at work in us, but life in you.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying attention to the deep breath.
  • Allow your heart and mind to settle the ways you proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord.
  • Invite each breath to be a proclamation that Jesus Christ is Lord.
  • As you notice your breath, is there a veil God is lifting to reveal something new to you?
  • What light is uncovered to shine in the darkness?
  • Let go of anything keeping you from this light.
  • Notice how this light, this treasure is stored in clay jars.
  • Give glory to God for the light, for 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, June 3, 2018, the Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) 

1 Samuel 3:1-10 (11-20)
Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18
2 Corinthians 4:5-12
Mark 2:23-3:6

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author.
Permission to use in not-for-profit settings 
(c) 2018 The Rev. Dr. Lil Smith, DASD

Psalm 139 – You knit me together

PSALM

139:

1-6,

13-18

1   O LORD, you have searched me and known me.
2   You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from far away.
3   You search out my path and my lying down,
and are acquainted with all my ways.
4   Even before a word is on my tongue,
O LORD, you know it completely.
5   You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
6   Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is so high that I cannot attain it.

13  For it was you who formed my inward parts;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14  I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
that I know very well.
15       My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16  Your eyes beheld my unformed substance.
In your book were written
all the days that were formed for me,
when none of them as yet existed.
17  How weighty to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18  I try to count them — they are more than the sand;
I come to the end — I am still with you.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying close attention to the deep breath.
  • What word or phrase captures your attention?
  • In your life how does this word or phrase reflect God’s creation of you?
  • What is God’s message for you?
  • Reflect upon this message as you consider the word of phrase that captures you.
  • Read the Psalm one more time.
  • Is there a call to action?
  • Give thanks to God for this time in prayer and for any new insights you have gained.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, June 3, 2018, the Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) 

1 Samuel 3:1-10 (11-20)
Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18
2 Corinthians 4:5-12
Mark 2:23-3:6

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author.
Permission to use in not-for-profit settings 
(c) 2018 The Rev. Dr. Lil Smith, DASD

1 Samuel 3 – Your Servant Is Listening

1 SAMUEL 3:1-10 (11-20)

1Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the Lord under Eli. The word of the Lord was rare in those days; visions were not widespread.

2At that time Eli, whose eyesight had begun to grow dim so that he could not see, was lying down in his room; 3the lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the Lord, where the ark of God was. 4Then the Lord called, “Samuel! Samuel!” and he said, “Here I am!” 5and ran to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call; lie down again.” So he went and lay down. 6The Lord called again, “Samuel!” Samuel got up and went to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call, my son; lie down again.” 7Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, and the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him. 8The Lord called Samuel again, a third time. And he got up and went to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” Then Eli perceived that the Lord was calling the boy. 9Therefore Eli said to Samuel, “Go, lie down; and if he calls you, you shall say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.

10Now the Lord came and stood there, calling as before, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.” 11Then the Lord said to Samuel, “See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make both ears of anyone who hears of it tingle. 12On that day I will fulfill against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end. 13For I have told him that I am about to punish his house forever, for the iniquity that he knew, because his sons were blaspheming God, and he did not restrain them. 14Therefore I swear to the house of Eli that the iniquity of Eli’s house shall not be expiated by sacrifice or offering forever.”

15Samuel lay there until morning; then he opened the doors of the house of the Lord. Samuel was afraid to tell the vision to Eli. 16But Eli called Samuel and said, “Samuel, my son.” He said, “Here I am.” 17Eli said, “What was it that he told you? Do not hide it from me. May God do so to you and more also, if you hide anything from me of all that he told you.” 18So Samuel told him everything and hid nothing from him. Then he said, “It is the Lord; let him do what seems good to him.”

19As Samuel grew up, the Lord was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground. 20And all Israel from Dan to Beer-sheba knew that Samuel was a trustworthy prophet of the Lord.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying attention to the deep breath.
  • God is calling your name.  What name do you hear?
  • When you hear God call your name, what feelings arise?  What senses do you notice?
  • How do you respond?
  • Pray that you are hearing God’s call correctly.
  • Do your desires match God’s desires for you?
  • Hear yourself say, “Here I am, LORD!”
  • How are you ready to respond to God’s call?
  • 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, June 3, 2018, the Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) 

1 Samuel 3:1-10 (11-20)
Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18
2 Corinthians 4:5-12
Mark 2:23-3:6

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author.
Permission to use in not-for-profit settings 
(c) 2018 The Rev. Dr. Lil Smith, DASD

Trinity Sunday – John 3:1-17 Born of water and of spirit

JOHN 3:1-17

1Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. 2He came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God.” 3Jesus answered him, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.” 4Nicodemus said to him, “How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother’s womb and be born?” 5Jesus answered, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. 6What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7Do not be astonished that I said to you, ‘You must be born from above.’ 8The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” 9Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?”10Jesus answered him, “Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things?

11“Very truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know and testify to what we have seen; yet you do not receive our testimony. 12If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? 13No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. 14And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.

16“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.

17“Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”

  • 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 inhale focus on “born of water”.
  • As you exhale focus on “born of spirit”.
  • Today all of it belongs just where you are, born of water, born of spirit.
  • Allow the water and the spirit to open you as you sit with water and spirit.
  • Allow the fullness of God to fill you.
  • Consider the ways you know God fully:
    • Father, Son, Holy Spirit
    • Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer
    • Lover, Beloved, Loving
    • Love, Grace, Comfort
    • Transformer, Transformed, Transforming
    • Consider your own words for knowing God fully
  • On this Trinity Sunday, consider how you have experienced God in these ways.
  • What truth do you know?
  • Where is God growing you and leading you?
  • Where is there an opening to know God more fully?
  • 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, May 27, 2018, Trinity Sunday, Year B

Isaiah 6:1-8
Psalm 29:1-11
Romans 8:12-17
John 3:1-17

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings (c) 2018 The Rev. Dr. Lil Smith, DASD.

Romans 8:12-17 Live by the Spirit

ROMANS 8:12-17

12So then, brothers and sisters, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh — 13for if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.14For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. 15For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ — if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.

  • 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 inhale, embrace the spirit of adoption.
  • As you exhale, let go of the spirit of slavery.
  • Continue to breathe deeply as you become open and free.
  • As you become free, rest in the arms of Abba! Father!
  • Share any of your suffering with the one who suffered for you.
  • Share any of your joy with the one who made you with joy.
  • Ask Abba how the Spirit will lead you today.
  • Sit and listen.
  • Listen for 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, May 27, 2018, Trinity Sunday, Year B

Isaiah 6:1-8
Psalm 29:1-11
Romans 8:12-17
John 3:1-17

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings (c) 2018 The Rev. Dr. Lil Smith, DASD.

Psalm 29 The God of Glory Thunders

PSALM 29:1-11

1   Ascribe to the LORD, O heavenly beings,
ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.
2   Ascribe to the LORD the glory of his name;
worship the LORD in holy splendor.

3   The voice of the LORD is over the waters;
the God of glory thunders,
the LORD, over mighty waters.
4   The voice of the LORD is powerful;
the voice of the LORD is full of majesty.

5   The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars;
the LORD breaks the cedars of Lebanon.
6   He makes Lebanon skip like a calf,
and Sirion like a young wild ox.

7   The voice of the LORD flashes forth flames of fire.
8   The voice of the LORD shakes the wilderness;
the LORD shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.

9   The voice of the LORD causes the oaks to whirl,
and strips the forest bare;
and in his temple all say, “Glory!”

10  The LORD sits enthroned over the flood;
the LORD sits enthroned as king for ever.
11  May 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.
  • As you sit in silence today, bring your attention to the glory of God.
  • How do you experience God’s glory?
  • What voice do you hear?
  • What metaphor do you proclaim with that voice?
  • How does the voice of glory help you hear 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, May 27, 2018, Trinity Sunday, Year B

Isaiah 6:1-8
Psalm 29:1-11
Romans 8:12-17
John 3:1-17

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings (c) 2018 The Rev. Dr. Lil Smith, DASD.

Isaiah 6:1-8- Here I am; send me!

ISAIAH 6:1-8

1In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lofty; and the hem of his robe filled the temple. 2Seraphs were in attendance above him; each had six wings: with two they covered their faces, and with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew. 3And one called to another and said:
“Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory.”
4The pivots on the thresholds shook at the voices of those who called, and the house filled with smoke. 5And I said: “Woe is me! I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; yet my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!”

6Then one of the seraphs flew to me, holding a live coal that had been taken from the altar with a pair of tongs. 7The seraph touched my mouth with it and said: “Now that this has touched your lips, your guilt has departed and your sin is blotted out.” 8Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I; send me!”

  • 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 inhale, breathe in the holiness of God.
  • As you exhale, let out anything unclean.
  • Continue this practice until you are at peace, feeling freedom.
  • Hear the Lord say, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?”
  • What do you feel?
  • What part of you is like the child who wants to raise your hand immediately?
  • What part of you wants to hide?
  • How do you feel worthy?
  • What unworthiness to you encounter?
  • Share all of this with God.
  • See the seraph fly to you, touch your mouth, take your guilt and blot out your sin.
  • Hear the Lord say, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?”
  • Where is God calling you to go?
  • Hear yourself say, “Here I am; send me!”
  • 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, May 27, 2018, Trinity Sunday, Year B

Isaiah 6:1-8
Psalm 29:1-11
Romans 8:12-17
John 3:1-17

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings (c) 2018 The Rev. Dr. Lil Smith, DASD.

John 15:26-27, 16:4B-15 – When he comes he will guide you into all the truth

JOHN 15:26-27, 16:4B-15

26“When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who comes from the Father, he will testify on my behalf. 27You also are to testify because you have been with me from the beginning.

16:4b”I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you. 5But now I am going to him who sent me; yet none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ 6But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your hearts. 7Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. 8And when he comes, he will prove the world wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: 9about sin, because they do not believe in me;10about righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will see me no longer; 11about judgment, because the ruler of this world has been condemned.

12“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.”

  • 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.
  • How do you experience the Holy Spirit today: The breath of life? The water of baptism?  The fire of Pentecost?  The greening of new growth?
  • Focus on the way you experience the Holy Spirit today.
  • Allow the breath to fill you or the water to shower you or the fire to open you or the new growth to stretch you.
  • Why are you in this place?
  • What does God want to show you?
  • How is the Holy Spirit been guiding you?
  • What truth is being revealed to you?
  • Remain open to the truth today.
  • 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, May 20, 2018, the Day of Pentecost Year B

Acts 2:1-21
Ezekiel 37:1-14
Psalm 104:24-34,35b
Romans 8:22-27
John 15:26-27, 16:4b-15

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings (c) 2018  The Rev. Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD.

Romans 8:22-27 – The Spirit helps us in our weakness

ROMANS 8:22-27

22We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; 23and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. 24For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? 25But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

26Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. 27And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

  • 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.
  • Consider how creation groans with labor pains today.
  • What do you see around you?
  • What hope is there in what is not seen?
  • How might the Holy Spirit intercede for the world?
  • Do you hear a message for you?
  • Is there a call to action for you?
  • Consider how you groan with labor pains today.
  • What do you see around you?
  • What hope is there in what is not seen?
  • How might the Holy Spirt intercede for you today?
  • Do you hear a message for you?
  • Is there a call to action 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, May 20, 2018, the Day of Pentecost Year B

Acts 2:1-21
Ezekiel 37:1-14
Psalm 104:24-34,35b
Romans 8:22-27
John 15:26-27, 16:4b-15

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings (c) 2018  The Rev. Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD.