Mark 7:1-8 Things that come out are what defile

Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23

1Now when the Pharisees and some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered around him, 2they noticed that some of his disciples were eating with defiled hands, that is, without washing them. 3(For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, do not eat unless they thoroughly wash their hands, thus observing the tradition of the elders; 4and they do not eat anything from the market unless they wash it; and there are also many other traditions that they observe, the washing of cups, pots, and bronze kettles.) 5So the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, “Why do your disciples not live according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?” 6He said to them, “Isaiah prophesied rightly about you hypocrites, as it is written, ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; 7in vain do they worship me, teaching human precepts as doctrines.’ 8You abandon the commandment of God and hold to human tradition.”

14Then he called the crowd again and said to them, “Listen to me, all of you, and understand: 15there is nothing outside a person that by going in can defile, but the things that come out are what defile.”

21“For it is from within, from the human heart, that evil intentions come: fornication, theft, murder, 22adultery, avarice, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, folly. 23All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”

  • 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 pay attention to the breath, consider the things in the world has ingested that defile God.
  • What does humanity need to do to turn toward God?
  • Return to the breath.
  • Consider the things you have ingested which have defiled God.
  • How might you turn back toward God?
  • God is waiting for you with open arms.
  • Let go of words and actions that defile God.
  • Embrace words and actions that glorify God.
  • Allow these glorious words to define you as a child of God.
  • Allow God’s goodness and glory to arise from within you.
  • Be forgiven in your repentance and go forth in peace to serve God and God’s people with love.
  • 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 2, 2018, the Twenty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

Song of Solomon 2:8-13
Psalm 45:1-2, 6-9
James 1:17-27
Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23

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

James 1:17-27 – Let everyone be quick to listen, slow to anger

James 1:17-27

17Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. 18In fulfillment of his own purpose he gave us birth by the word of truth, so that we would become a kind of first fruits of his creatures.

19You must understand this, my beloved: let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger; 20for your anger does not produce God’s righteousness. 21Therefore rid yourselves of all sordidness and rank growth of wickedness, and welcome with meekness the implanted word that has the power to save your souls.

22But be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves. 23For if any are hearers of the word and not doers, they are like those who look at themselves in a mirror; 24for they look at themselves and, on going away, immediately forget what they were like. 25But those who look into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and persevere, being not hearers who forget but doers who act-they will be blessed in their doing.

26If any think they are religious, and do not bridle their tongues but deceive their hearts, their religion is worthless. 27Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.

  • 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 pay attention to the breath, consider the breath as a gift from God.
  • Every generous act of giving is from above.
  • What generous acts of giving has God worked through you?
  • Give thanks to God for being a vessel of grace.
  • Return to the breath.
  • Be open to God to hear the next act of giving God has for you.
  • Let go of any anger or toxic thought keeping you from God.
  • Notice, then let go of any tension you encounter.
  • Be as free as possible to hear 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, September 2, 2018, the Twenty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

Song of Solomon 2:8-13
Psalm 45:1-2, 6-9
James 1:17-27
Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23

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 45 – Like the pen of a ready scribe

Psalm 45:1-2, 6-9

My heart overflows with a goodly theme;
I address my verses to the king;
my tongue is like the pen of a ready scribe.
2You are the most handsome of men;
grace is poured upon your lips;
therefore God has blessed you forever.
6Your throne, O God, endures forever and ever.
Your royal scepter is a scepter of equity;
7you love righteousness and hate wickedness.
Therefore God, your God, has anointed you
with the oil of gladness beyond your companions;
8your robes are all fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia.
From ivory palaces stringed instruments make you glad;
9daughters of kings are among your ladies of honor;
at your right hand stands the queen in gold of Ophir.

  • 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 breathe, let the goodness of God’s breath flow through you.
  • Inhale God’s goodness.  Exhale anything toxic within you.
  • Continue to inhale goodness and exhale anything keeping you from embracing goodness.
  • Imagine your pen is ready, poised to capture all the goodness that rolls from your tongue.
  • How has God blessed you?
  • How has God graced you?
  • How has God anointed you?
  •  Describe the goodness that surrounds you:  what do you see? hear? taste? feel?
  • Is there anyone standing with you?
  • If you feel led, write what you experience.  Savor the time and the space of God’s goodness.
  • 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 2, 2018, the Twenty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

Song of Solomon 2:8-13
Psalm 45:1-2, 6-9
James 1:17-27
Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23

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

Song of Solomon 2:8-13: Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away

8The voice of my beloved! Look, he comes, leaping upon the mountains, bounding over the hills. 9My beloved is like a gazelle or a young stag. Look, there he stands behind our wall, gazing in at the windows, looking through the lattice. 10My beloved speaks and says to me: “Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away; 11for now the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. 12The flowers appear on the earth; the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land. 13The fig tree puts forth its figs, and the vines are in blossom; they give forth fragrance. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.”

  • 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 pay attention to your breath, allow your hearing to become heightened.
  • Gently silence anything keeping you from hearing.
  • What does your beloved God say to you?
  • How does God woo you to follow?
  • Notice any resistance in you to follow.
  • What do you need for the resistance to disappear?
  • Hear God wooing you to follow.
  • Notice the path God has placed before you.
  • What peace do you notice on the path?
  • Take  mental picture of the path, noticing details of flowers, landscape, color, smell.
  • Carry this picture with you in case you lose your way.
  • 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 2, 2018, the Twenty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

Song of Solomon 2:8-13
Psalm 45:1-2, 6-9
James 1:17-27
Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23

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 6:56-69 – We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God

John 6:56-69

56“Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. 57Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. 58This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live forever.” 59He said these things while he was teaching in the synagogue at Capernaum.

60When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This teaching is difficult; who can accept it?” 61But Jesus, being aware that his disciples were complaining about it, said to them, “Does this offend you? 62Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? 63It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. 64But among you there are some who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the first who were the ones that did not believe, and who was the one that would betray him. 65And he said, “For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted by the Father.”

66Because of this many of his disciples turned back and no longer went about with him. 67So Jesus asked the twelve, “Do you also wish to go away?” 68Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One 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.
  • Many of his disciples turned back and no longer went about with Jesus.
  • Remember a time you turned away from Jesus.
  • What was it that made you repent and return to him?
  • How did the Bread of Life capture your attention and nourish you?
  • How are you turned today?
  • How will the Holy One of God give you life?
  • Is there something you need to let go to be fully turned toward Christ?
  • 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, August 26, 2018, the Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

1 Kings 8:(1,6,10-11) 22-30, 41-43
Psalm 84:1-12
Ephesians 6:10-20
John 6: 56-69

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

Ephesians 6: 10-20 Put on the whole armor of God

Ephesians 6:10-20

10Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. 11Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13Therefore take up the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. 14Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness. 15As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace. 16With all of these, take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert and always persevere in supplication for all the saints. 19Pray also for me, so that when I speak, a message may be given to me to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, 20for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it boldly, as I must speak.

  • 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 breathe, begin to put on the armor of God.
  • First, discern what God will help you stand against.
  • Second, discern what God will help you stand for.
  • Imagine yourself putting on each piece of the armor.
  • Begin with the belt of truth.
  • Name truth.
  • Add the breastplate of righteousness.
  • Name righteousness.
  • Add the shoes that will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace.
  • Name the peace.
  • Take up the shield of faith.
  • Name faith.
  • Put on the helmet of salvation.
  • Name salvation.
  • Hold the sword of the Spirit.
  • Name the word of God that comes to mind.
  • Spend several minutes paying close attention to the close breath as you feel God’s armor
  • What message is God preparing you to speak boldly?
  • 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, August 26, 2018, the Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

1 Kings 8:(1,6,10-11) 22-30, 41-43
Psalm 84:1-12
Ephesians 6:10-20
John 6: 56-69

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 84 – How lovely is your dwelling place

Psalm 84:1-12

1How lovely is your dwelling place,
O LORD of hosts!
2My soul longs, indeed it faints
for the courts of the LORD;
my heart and my flesh sing for joy
to the living God.
3Even the sparrow finds a home,
and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may lay her young,at your altars, O LORD of hosts,
my King and my God.
4Happy are those who live in your house,
ever singing your praise.
Selah
5Happy are those whose strength is in you,
in whose heart are the highways to Zion.
6As they go through the valley of Baca
they make it a place of springs;
the early rain also covers it with pools.
7They go from strength to strength;
the God of gods will be seen in Zion.
8O LORD God of hosts, hear my prayer;
give ear, O God of Jacob!
Selah
9Behold our shield, O God;
look on the face of your anointed.
10For a day in your courts is better
than a thousand elsewhere.
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
than live in the tents of wickedness.
11For the LORD God is a sun and shield;
he bestows favor and honor.
No good thing does the LORD withhold
from those who walk uprightly.
12O LORD of hosts,
happy is everyone who trusts in 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.
  • Better is one day in the house of the Lord than thousands elsewhere.
  • Imagine one day in the house of the Lord.
  • Where are you?
  • Who is with you?
  • What do you see?
  • What do you hear?
  • What do you smell?
  • What do you feel?
  • Stay as long as you desire and be filled with the goodness of God.
  • How will you carry the house of the Lord 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, August 26, 2018, the Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

1 Kings 8:(1,6,10-11) 22-30, 41-43
Psalm 84:1-12
Ephesians 6:10-20
John 6: 56-69

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 Kings 8 – There is no God like you

1 Kings 8:(1, 6, 10-11) 22-30, 41-43

1Then Solomon assembled the elders of Israel and all the heads of the tribes, the leaders of the ancestral houses of the Israelites, before King Solomon in Jerusalem, to bring up the ark of the covenant of the LORD out of the city of David, which is Zion.

6Then the priests brought the ark of the covenant of the LORD to its place, in the inner sanctuary of the house, in the most holy place, underneath the wings of the cherubim.

10And when the priests came out of the holy place, a cloud filled the house of the LORD, 11so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud; for the glory of the LORD filled the house of the LORD.

22Then Solomon stood before the altar of the LORD in the presence of all the assembly of Israel, and spread out his hands to heaven. 23He said, “O LORD, God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven above or on earth beneath, keeping covenant and steadfast love for your servants who walk before you with all their heart, 24the covenant that you kept for your servant my father David as you declared to him; you promised with your mouth and have this day fulfilled with your hand. 25Therefore, O LORD, God of Israel, keep for your servant my father David that which you promised him, saying, ‘There shall never fail you a successor before me to sit on the throne of Israel, if only your children look to their way, to walk before me as you have walked before me.’ 26Therefore, O God of Israel, let your word be confirmed, which you promised to your servant my father David.

27“But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Even heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you, much less this house that I have built! 28Regard your servant’s prayer and his plea, O LORD my God, heeding the cry and the prayer that your servant prays to you today; 29that your eyes may be open night and day toward this house, the place of which you said, ‘My name shall be there,’ that you may heed the prayer that your servant prays toward this place. 30Hear the plea of your servant and of your people Israel when they pray toward this place; O hear in heaven your dwelling place; heed and forgive.”

41“Likewise when a foreigner, who is not of your people Israel, comes from a distant land because of your name 42 — for they shall hear of your great name, your mighty hand, and your outstretched arm — when a foreigner comes and prays toward this house, 43then hear in heaven your dwelling place, and do according to all that the foreigner calls to you, so that all the peoples of the earth may know your name and fear you, as do your people Israel, and so that they may know that your name has been invoked on this house that I have built.”

  • 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 turn toward Christ, feel the mighty hand and outstretched arm of God enfold you.
  • Remain here in the arms of  God, and gain strength from God.
  • Offer your pleas, let go of your burdens, and drink in the forgiveness God has for you.
  • Invite God into places that need healing and wholeness.
  • Be bathed in the light of forgiveness.  Feel the warmth penetrate you.
  • Who else needs to be bathed in the light of love?
  • 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, August 26, 2018, the Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

1 Kings 8:(1,6,10-11) 22-30, 41-43
Psalm 84:1-12
Ephesians 6:10-20
John 6: 56-69

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 6:51-58 – The Bread that came down from heaven

John 6:51-58

51“I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”

52The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” 53So Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day; 55for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. 56Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. 57Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. 58This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live forever.”

  • 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.
  • The bread of life came down from heaven for you.
  • What bread have you received recently?
  • How does this bread give you life?
  • How does this bread give life to the world?
  • What bread do you need today?
  • What bread does the world need today?
  • Give thanks to God for God’s abiding love and for any  new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, August 19, 2018, the Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

1 Kings 2:10-12, 3:3-14
Psalm 111:1-10
Ephesians 5:15-20
John 6:35, 51-58

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

Ephesians 5:15-20 Giving thanks to God at all times

Ephesians 5:15-20

15Be careful then how you live, not as unwise people but as wise, 16making the most of the time, because the days are evil. 17So do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18Do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but be filled with the Spirit, 19as you sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, singing and making melody to the Lord in your hearts, 20giving thanks to God the Father at all times and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

  • 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 breathe, consider your day yesterday.
  • Which parts of the day were filled with God’s wisdom?
  • Which parts of the day did you control?
  • What do you need to let go for the entire day to be filled with God’s wisdom?
  • Consider the day ahead of you today.
  • Where do you need help letting go of control so that God’s wisdom will shine through?
  • Invite the Holy Spirit into these places.
  • Invoke the Holy Spirit before you speak and act.
  • Listen for God’s wisdom to shine through.
  • 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, August 19, 2018, the Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

1 Kings 2:10-12, 3:3-14
Psalm 111:1-10
Ephesians 5:15-20
John 6:35, 51-58

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