Ascension of the Lord – Acts 1:1-11 – Come Holy Spirit

ACTS 1:1-11

1In the first book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus did and taught from the beginning 2until the day when he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. 3After his suffering he presented himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. 4While staying with them, he ordered them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for the promise of the Father. “This,” he said, “is what you have heard from me; 5for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

6So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7He replied, “It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. 8But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” 9When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10While he was going and they were gazing up toward heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. 11They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”

  • 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 you inhale, hear the words, “Come Holy Spirit.”
  • As you exhale, let go of anything that is keeping you from God.  Hear the words, “See me.”
  • Continue as you inhale:  “Come Holy Spirit.”
  • As you exhale (choose one per exhale):  “Hear me”, “Be near me”, “Open me”, “Free me” (or choose your own).
  • When you feel as much freedom as you can, allow Christ to rise above you.
  • See Christ ascending to the Father.
  • Notice the Holy Spirit grounding you, filling you, holding you in this place of freedom.
  • Do you notice any tension?  How can you let go of that tension?
  • What do you need from Christ?
  • How may this be fulfilled in the Holy Spirit?
  • See no separation.  See the fullness and expanse of space.
  • Be held in this space.
  • Is there a message for you from Christ?
  • 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 Thursday, May 5, 2019, the Ascension of the Lord Year C

Acts 1:1-11
Psalm 47:1-9
Ephesians 1:15-23
Luke 24:44-53

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings (c) 2019 The Rev. Dr. Lil Smith, DASD.

John 20:19-31 – Through Believing May You Have Life

JOHN 20:19-31

19When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.”20After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.21Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” 22When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

24But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 25So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.”

26A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.” 28Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.”

30Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. 31But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.

  • 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.
  • Remember a time when you have seen the footprints of Christ that have led you on a particular path.
  • What details do you remember from this experience?
  • What was your prayer?
  • How did Christ lead you in answer to your prayer?
  • Remember a time when you saw the footprints of Christ only AFTER a Christ-led experience.
  • What details do you remember from this experience?
  • What was your prayer?
  • How did Christ lead you in answer to your prayer?
  • Hold these two experiences before you.  What similarities do you see?  What differences?
  • What does God want to reveal to you about your faith?
  • What is  your prayer today?
  • How might you open yourself to be ready to encounter the risen Christ?
  • Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe!
  • 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, April 28, 2019, the Second Sunday of Easter (Year C)

Acts 5:27-32
Psalm 118:14-29
Revelation 1:4-8
John 20:19-31

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings (c) 2019 The Rev. Dr. Lil Smith, DASD

Revelation 1:4-8 – The Alpha and the Omega

Revelation 1:4-8

4John to the seven churches that are in Asia:

Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, 5and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.

To him who loves us and freed us from our sins by his blood, 6and made us to be a kingdom, priests serving his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

7Look! He is coming with the clouds;

every eye will see him,

even those who pierced him;

and on his account all the tribes of the earth will wail.

So it is to be. Amen.

8“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silence bringing your attention to the Breath.
  • Focus on wholeness of the Biblical story.
  • From creation to death to resurrection.
  • From beginning to end to new beginning.
  • From Eden to Jerusalem to New Jerusalem.
  • Jesus made us priests to serve and glorify God in the fullness of the story…with hope.
  • How does the Biblical story inform your own story?
  • Where is life?
  • Where is death?
  • Where is resurrection?
  • Name the hope.
  • What is your message from God?
  • Give thanks to God for this time in prayer and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, April 28, 2019, the Second Sunday of Easter (Year C)

Acts 5:27-32
Psalm 118:14-29
Revelation 1:4-8
John 20:19-31

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings (c) 2019 The Rev. Dr. Lil Smith, DASD

Psalm 118:14-29 – Glad Songs of Victory

Psalm 118:14-29

14The LORD is my strength and my might;

he has become my salvation.

15There are glad songs of victory in the tents of the righteous:

“The right hand of the LORD does valiantly;

16the right hand of the LORD is exalted;

the right hand of the LORD does valiantly.”

17I shall not die, but I shall live,

and recount the deeds of the LORD.

18The LORD has punished me severely,

but he did not give me over to death.

19Open to me the gates of righteousness,

that I may enter through them

and give thanks to the LORD.

20This is the gate of the LORD;

the righteous shall enter through it.

21I thank you that you have answered me

and have become my salvation.

22The stone that the builders rejected

has become the chief cornerstone.

23This is the LORD’s doing;

it is marvelous in our eyes.

24This is the day that the LORD has made;

let us rejoice and be glad in it.

25Save us, we beseech you, O LORD!

O LORD, we beseech you, give us success!

26Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the LORD.

We bless you from the house of the LORD.

27The LORD is God,

and he has given us light.

Bind the festal procession with branches,

up to the horns of the altar.

28You are my God, and I will give thanks to you;

you are my God, I will extol you.

29O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,

for his steadfast love endures for ever.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silence bringing your attention to the Breath.
  • Focus on your glad song of victory.
  • Notice how you are not dying but living.
  • Notice how you both sinner and saint.
  • Notice what you know and name what you still don’t know.
  • Notice how choosing Love is your salvation.
  • Notice how you desire to rejoice.
  • What is your message from God?
  • Give thanks to God for this time in prayer and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, April 28, 2019, the Second Sunday of Easter (Year C)

Acts 5:27-32
Psalm 118:14-29
Revelation 1:4-8
John 20:19-31

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings (c) 2019 The Rev. Dr. Lil Smith, DASD

Acts 5:27-32 – We Are Witnesses to These Things

Acts 5:27-32

27When they had brought them, they had them stand before the council. The high priest questioned them, 28saying, “We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and you are determined to bring this man’s blood on us.” 29But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than any human authority. 30The God of our ancestors raised up Jesus, whom you had killed by hanging him on a tree. 31God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior that he might give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. 32And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him.”

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silence bringing your attention to the Breath.
  • Scan the past few days of your life.
  • How has you experienced the resurrection of Christ in the world today?
  • Linger with this/these experiences.
  • Notice the life and light that emanates.
  • Which high council or authority is telling you that you may not teach in the name of Jesus?
  • How is this tearing you down and down your neighbor and God’s kingdom?
  • How will you speak boldly in His name?
  • What is your message from God?
  • Give thanks to God for this time in prayer and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, April 28, 2019, the Second Sunday of Easter (Year C)

Acts 5:27-32
Psalm 118:14-29
Revelation 1:4-8
John 20:19-31

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings (c) 2019 The Rev. Dr. Lil Smith, DASD

Easter Sunday – Luke 24:13-35 – The Lord Has Risen Indeed, and He Has Appeared to Simon

The Disciples of Emmaus by Jesus Mafa

Luke 24:13-35

13Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, 14and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. 15While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, 16but their eyes were kept from recognizing him. 17And he said to them, “What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?” They stood still, looking sad. 18Then one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?” 19He asked them, “What things?” They replied, “The things about Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him. 21But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things took place. 22Moreover, some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning, 23and when they did not find his body there, they came back and told us that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who said that he was alive. 24Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but they did not see him.” 25Then he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! 26Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?” 27Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures.

28As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on. 29But they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.” So he went in to stay with them. 30When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. 31Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight. 32They said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?” 33That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. 34They were saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!” 35Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silence bringing your attention to the Breath.
  • Scan the past few days of your life.
  • What grief do you desire to bring with you as you walk with a friend and Christ today?
  • Let the grief flow as you cry with your companions.
  • Let the questions flow as you wonder with your companions.
  • Let the laments flow as you share with your companions.
  • Let the memories flood back as you remember with your companions.
  • Hear the words of a trusted friend as Christ teaches you again all that has transpired in his life as a gift for you.
  • Invite your companions for a meal.
  • What is it that Jesus reveals to you in the breaking of the bread?
  • What is your message from God?
  • Give thanks to God for this time in prayer and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, April 21, 2019, the Resurrection of the Lord (Easter Day) (Year C)

Acts 10:34-43
Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24
1 Corinthians 15:19-26
Luke 24:13-49

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings (c) 2019 The Rev. Dr. Lil Smith, DASD

Good Friday – Empty

Ad Reinhardt, Abstract Painting no. 4, 1961, oil on linen, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of S.C. Johnson & Son, Inc., 1969.47.71

42And so, because it was the Jewish day of Preparation, and the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying attention to the deep breath.
  • The Light of the World was extinguished.
  • How to you experience the unbelief?
  • How do you embrace the emptiness?
  • Where has Love gone?
  • What does death have to teach you today?
  • Be filled with hope and hear the good news of forgiveness and reconciliation.
  • It is GOOD Friday.
  • 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 Friday, April 19, 2019, Good Friday (Year C)

Isaiah 52:13-53:12
Psalm 22:1-31
Hebrews 10:16-25
John 18:1-19:42


If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings (c) 2019 The Rev. Dr. Lil Smith, DASD

Good Friday – Entombed

JOHN 19:31-42

31Since it was the day of Preparation, the Jews did not want the bodies left on the cross during the sabbath, especially because that sabbath was a day of great solemnity. So they asked Pilate to have the legs of the crucified men broken and the bodies removed. 32Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who had been crucified with him. 33But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. 34Instead, one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once blood and water came out.35(He who saw this has testified so that you also may believe. His testimony is true, and he knows that he tells the truth.) 36These things occurred so that the scripture might be fulfilled, “None of his bones shall be broken.”37And again another passage of scripture says, “They will look on the one whom they have pierced.”

38After these things, Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, though a secret one because of his fear of the Jews, asked Pilate to let him take away the body of Jesus. Pilate gave him permission; so he came and removed his body. 39Nicodemus, who had at first come to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, weighing about a hundred pounds. 40They took the body of Jesus and wrapped it with the spices in linen cloths, according to the burial custom of the Jews. 41Now there was a garden in the place where he was crucified, and in the garden there was a new tomb in which no one had ever been laid. 42And so, because it was the Jewish day of Preparation, and the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying attention to the deep breath.
  • After it’s all been said and done,  grace and mercy remains.
  • What tears do you shed for Jesus?
  • Imagine you are one of the few who come to claim his body from the cross.
  • How do you handle his flesh?
  • What smell do you encounter?
  • What do you hear?
  • Who is with you?
  • What cloth do you bring in which to wrap him?
  • Where do you place him?
  • What feelings are most heightened?
  • Sit at the tomb as long as you desire.
  • Grace and mercy remain.
  • Be cleansed and hear the good news of forgiveness and reconciliation.
  • It is GOOD Friday.
  • 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 Friday, April 19, 2019, Good Friday (Year C)

Isaiah 52:13-53:12
Psalm 22:1-31
Hebrews 10:16-25
John 18:1-19:42


If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings (c) 2019 The Rev. Dr. Lil Smith, DASD

Good Friday – Crucified – It is finished…

JOHN 19:25-30

Meanwhile, standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, “Woman, here is your son.”27Then he said to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home.

28After this, when Jesus knew that all was now finished, he said (in order to fulfill the scripture), “I am thirsty.” 29A jar full of sour wine was standing there. So they put a sponge full of the wine on a branch of hyssop and held it to his mouth. 30 When Jesus had received the wine, he said, “It is finished.” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying attention to the deep breath.
  • What grace has Jesus shown you in the midst of his being condemned?
  • You did not deserve this grace.
  • It is a gift from the Holy Redeemer.
  • How has this gift of grace changed your life?
  • What did you surrender to accept this gift?
  • Is there anything more that you need to surrender?
  • Let go of this today.
  • Drink from the living water in Jesus Christ.
  • Be cleansed and hear the good news of forgiveness and reconciliation.
  • It is GOOD Friday.
  • 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 Friday, April 19, 2019, Good Friday (Year C)

Isaiah 52:13-53:12
Psalm 22:1-31
Hebrews 10:16-25
John 18:1-19:42


If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings (c) 2019 The Rev. Dr. Lil Smith, DASD

Good Friday – Humiliated

 

Carrying the Cross by Jim Janknegt. Used with permission.

JOHN 19:17-24

 

So they took Jesus; 17and carrying the cross by himself, he went out to what is called The Place of the Skull, which in Hebrew is called Golgotha. 18There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, with Jesus between them. 19Pilate also had an inscription written and put on the cross. It read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” 20Many of the Jews read this inscription, because the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, in Latin, and in Greek. 21Then the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but, ‘This man said, I am King of the Jews.’” 22Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written.” 23When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his clothes and divided them into four parts, one for each soldier. They also took his tunic; now the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from the top. 24So they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see who will get it.” This was to fulfill what the scripture says,
“They divided my clothes among themselves,
and for my clothing they cast lots.”
25And that is what the soldiers did.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying attention to the deep breath.
  • Imagine being in the crowd when Jesus is carrying his cross in the street.
  • You see him stumble and fall.
  • Do you stop to help him?
  • Do you stay in the crowd?
  • What feelings do you notice?
  • What oppression do you feel?
  • How do you want to respond but cannot?
  • Reach out to Christ now, Christ who now carries your sins.  Carry the cross with Jesus.
  • What oppression is lifted?  How do you interact with Jesus along the path as you carry the cross together?
  • Be cleansed and hear the good news of forgiveness and reconciliation.
  • It is GOOD Friday.
  • 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 Friday, April 19, 2019, Good Friday (Year C)

Isaiah 52:13-53:12
Psalm 22:1-31
Hebrews 10:16-25
John 18:1-19:42


If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings (c) 2019 The Rev. Dr. Lil Smith, DASD