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

Isaiah 6:1-8 (9-13) – Here I Am! Send Me!

Isaiah 6:1-8 (9-13)

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!” 9And he said, “Go and say to this people:

‘Keep listening, but do not comprehend;

keep looking, but do not understand.’

10Make the mind of this people dull,

and stop their ears,

and shut their eyes,

so that they may not look with their eyes,

and listen with their ears,

and comprehend with their minds,

and turn and be healed.”

11Then I said, “How long, O Lord?” And he said:

“Until cities lie waste

without inhabitant,

and houses without people,

and the land is utterly desolate;

12until the LORD sends everyone far away,

and vast is the emptiness in the midst of the land.

13Even if a tenth part remain in it,

it will be burned again,

like a terebinth or an oak

whose stump remains standing

when it is felled.”

The holy seed is its stump.

  • 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, February 10, 2019, the Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)

Isaiah 6:1-8 (8-13)
Psalm 138
1 Corinthians 15:1-11
Luke 5:1-11

(c) 2019 The Rev. Dr. Lil Smith, DASD.  Permission to use in not-for-profit settings.  Please give credit to author.

Luke 4:21-30 – Driven Out of Town

Luke 4:21-30

21Then he began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” 22All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. They said, “Is not this Joseph’s son?” 23He said to them, “Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, ‘Doctor, cure yourself!’ And you will say, ‘Do here also in your hometown the things that we have heard you did at Capernaum.'” 24And he said, “Truly I tell you, no prophet is accepted in the prophet’s hometown. 25But the truth is, there were many widows in Israel in the time of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, and there was a severe famine over all the land; 26yet Elijah was sent to none of them except to a widow at Zarephath in Sidon. 27There were also many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian.” 28When they heard this, all in the synagogue were filled with rage. 29They got up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they might hurl him off the cliff. 30But he passed through the midst of them and went on his way.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silence bringing your attention to the Breath.
  • Let you focus shift to a time you spoke the truth in love, yet you were “driven out of town.”
  • Where do you feel rejection/abandonment in you?
  • Let you focus go here and welcome these uncomfortable feelings.
  • What do these feelings need to say?
  • Imagine Jesus sitting next to you. Invite Jesus into dialogue.
  • Holy Love understands your pain.
  • Invite healing and forgiveness.
  • How do you respond with Holy Love?
  • 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, February 3, 2019, the Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)

Jeremiah 1:4-10
Psalm 71:1-6
1 Corinthians 13:1-13
Luke 4:21-30

(c) 2019 The Rev. Dr. Lil Smith, DASD.  Permission to use in not-for-profit settings.  Please give credit to author.

Baptism of the Lord – Luke 3 – You Are the Beloved in Whom I AM Well Pleased

Luke 3:15-17, 21-22

15As the people were filled with expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Messiah, 16John answered all of them by saying, “I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 17His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

21Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened, 22and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”

The holy day of lights, to which we have come and which we are celebrating today, has for its origin the baptism of my Christ, the true Light that lightens everyone coming into the world, and effects my purification…. It is a season of new birth: let us be born again! We duly celebrated at his birth – I, the one who presided at the feast, and you, and all that is in the world and above the world. With the star we ran, with the magi we worshiped, with the shepherds we were enlightened, with the angels we glorified him with Simeon we took him up in his arms, and with the chaste and aged Anna we made our responsive confession…. Now we come to another of Christ’s acts and another mystery…. The Spirit bears witness to his Godhead, for he descends upon one that is like him, as does the voice from heaven…. Let us venerate today the baptism of Christ.

– Gregory of Nazianzus c.329-389/390
(A Christmas Sourcebook, Liturgy Training Publications)

  • 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 sit, allow this artwork to become part of you.
  • Where are you in the art?
  • What element is surrounding you? (air or water)
  • Allow this element to hold you, giving you a sense of lightness.
  • Take on what you need from this element.
  • Give to this element anything you need to be washed away.
  • Savor the lightness.
  • Hear the words from above, “With you, I am well pleased.”
  • What is God’s message for you?
  • Stay in the element as long as you like.
  • Then give thanks to the element for holding you, and feel the element gently leave your surround.
  • Breathe.
  • Give thanks to God for this time in prayer and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below?

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, January 13, 2019, the Baptism of the Lord  (Year C)

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

(c) 2019 The Rev. Dr. Lil Smith, DASD.  Permission to use in not-for-profit settings.  Please give credit to author.

Christmas at Dawn: Joy to the World!

ISAIAH 62:6-12

6   Upon your walls, O Jerusalem,
I have posted sentinels;
all day and all night
they shall never be silent.
You who remind the Lord,
take no rest,
7   and give him no rest
until he establishes Jerusalem
and makes it renowned throughout the earth.
8   The Lord has sworn by his right hand
and by his mighty arm:
I will not again give your grain
to be food for your enemies,
and foreigners shall not drink the wine
for which you have labored;
9   but those who garner it shall eat it
and praise the Lord,
and those who gather it shall drink it
in my holy courts.

10  Go through, go through the gates,
prepare the way for the people;
build up, build up the highway,
clear it of stones,
lift up an ensign over the peoples.
11  The Lord has proclaimed
to the end of the earth:
Say to daughter Zion,
“See, your salvation comes;
his reward is with him,
and his recompense before him.”
12  They shall be called, “The Holy People,
The Redeemed of the Lord”;
and you shall be called, “Sought Out,
A City Not Forsaken.”

PSALM 97:1-12

1   The Lord is king! Let the earth rejoice;
let the many coastlands be glad!
2   Clouds and thick darkness are all around him;
righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne.
3   Fire goes before him,
and consumes his adversaries on every side.
4   His lightnings light up the world;
the earth sees and trembles.
5   The mountains melt like wax before the Lord,
before the Lord of all the earth.

6   The heavens proclaim his righteousness;
and all the peoples behold his glory.
7   All worshipers of images are put to shame,
those who make their boast in worthless idols;
all gods bow down before him.
8   Zion hears and is glad,
and the towns of Judah rejoice,
because of your judgements, O God.
9   For you, O Lord, are most high over all the earth;
you are exalted far above all gods.

10  The Lord loves those who hate evil;
he guards the lives of his faithful;
he rescues them from the hand of the wicked.
11  Light dawns for the righteous,
and joy for the upright in heart.
12  Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous,
and give thanks to his holy name!

TITUS 3:4-7 4But when the goodness and loving-kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5he saved us, not because of any works of righteousness that we had done, but according to his mercy, through the water of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit. 6This Spirit he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

GOSPEL LUKE 2:(1-7) 8-201In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3All went to their own towns to be registered. 4Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. 5He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. 6While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. 7And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.8 In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see — I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people:11to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. 12This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” 13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, 14  “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”15When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. 17When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; 18and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them.19But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. 20The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

  • 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 you are a shepherd keeping watch over the flock at night.
  • The angels appear and share the good news: 11to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. 12This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” 13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,14  “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”
  • What do you feel in your body when you hear this message?
  • What part of you is leading toward the manger?
  • What mercy does the Christ child extend to you as you move toward the manger?
  • Savor the mercy of the Christ child.
  • Know that you are loved.
  • What message does God have for you?
  • Give thanks to God for this time to move toward the manger, to share the good news, and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below. 

(c) 2019 The Rev. Dr. Lil Smith, DASD.  Permission to use in not-for-profit settings.  Please give credit to author.

Christmas Eve

Mary and Joseph kneel at the crib of the infant Christ in this detail of an icon from the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. The Dec. 25 Christmas feast commemorates the birth of Christ. The Christmas season begins with the Dec. 24 evening vigil and ends on the feast of the Baptism of the Lord, Jan. 13 in 2008. (CNS photo/Debbie Hill) (Nov. 27, 2007)

Gospel Luke 2:1-14 (15-20)

1In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3All went to their own towns to be registered. 4Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. 5He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. 6While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. 7And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

8In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see — I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: 11to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. 12This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” 13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,
14  “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”

15When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. 17When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; 18and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. 19But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. 20The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit in silence five to fifteen minutes inviting the light of the candle to guide you.
  • Treasure these words:
  • Do not be afraid.
  • I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people.
  • To you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.
  • This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.
  • Glory to God in the highest heaven,
    and on earth peace among those whom he favors!
  • Like Mary, ponder these words in your heart.
  • Jesus is born this day for you.
  • What is God’s message for you?
  • Give thanks to God for this time of new life and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Monday, December 24, 2018, Christmas Eve (Year C)
Isaiah 9:2-7
Psalm 96:1-13
Titus 2:11-14
Luke 2:1-14 (15-20)

(c) 2018 The Rev. Dr. Lil Smith, DASD.  Permission to use in not-for-profit settings.  Please give credit to author.

Advent – Luke 1: 39-55 – Blessed Is She Who Believed

Luke 1:39-45 (46-55)

39In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, 40where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. 41When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit 42and exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. 43And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? 44For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. 45And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.”

46And Mary said,

“My soul magnifies the LORD,

47and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,

48for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.

Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;

49for the Mighty One has done great things for me,

and holy is his name.

50His mercy is for those who fear him

from generation to generation.

51He has shown strength with his arm;

he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.

52He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,

and lifted up the lowly;

53he has filled the hungry with good things,

and sent the rich away empty.

54He has helped his servant Israel,

in remembrance of his mercy,

55according to the promise he made to our ancestors,

to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit is silent meditation five to fifteen minutes paying attention to the deep breath.
  • As you pay attention to your deep breath, lower or close your eyes as you feel led, focusing on your interior space.
  • Notice how you are blessed.
  • You are blessed to bless others.
  • Embrace and believe the good news of this blessing.
  • Are there any obstacles to embrace this blessing that need to be removed?
  • Let the obstacles go to make room for blessing.
  • Feel the warmth and light of this new blessing.
  • Does the blessing have a name?
  • Hear the good news of this Advent season.  Embrace the blessing and believe.
  • Give thanks to God for this gift of Blessing and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, December 23, 2018, the Third Sunday of Advent (Year C)
Micah 5:2-5a
Canticle Luke  1:46b-55
Psalm 80:1-7
Hebrews 10:5-10
Luke 1:39-45 (46-55)

(c) 2018 The Rev. Dr. Lil Smith, DASD.  Permission to use in not-for-profit settings.  Please give credit to author.

Advent – Canticle Luke 1:46b-55 – He Lifted Up the Lowly

Canticle Luke 1:46b-55

46bMy soul magnifies the LORD,

47and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,

48for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.

Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;

49for the Mighty One has done great things for me,

and holy is his name.

50His mercy is for those who fear him

from generation to generation.

51He has shown strength with his arm;

he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.

52He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,

and lifted up the lowly;

53he has filled the hungry with good things,

and sent the rich away empty.

54He has helped his servant Israel,

in remembrance of his mercy,

55according to the promise he made to our ancestors,

to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit is silent meditation five to fifteen minutes paying attention to the deep breath.
  • As you pay attention to your deep breath, lower or close your eyes as you feel led, focusing on your interior space.
  • Notice the pride in you.
  • How do you desire for the Shepherd to remove the pride in you and scatter it?
  • Embrace this freedom within you.
  • How do you desire for the Shepherd to remove your need to exert power over others?
  • Embrace this freedom within you.
  • How do you desire for the Shepherd to remove your greed for riches?
    Embrace this freedom within you.
  • Journey toward the manger with the lowly.
  • Hear the good news of this Advent season.  The Shepherd brings mercy to the lowly.
  • Give thanks to God for this gift of Mercy and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, December 23, 2018, the Third Sunday of Advent (Year C)
Micah 5:2-5a
Canticle Luke  1:46b-55
Psalm 80:1-7
Hebrews 10:5-10
Luke 1:39-45 (46-55)

(c) 2018 The Rev. Dr. Lil Smith, DASD.  Permission to use in not-for-profit settings.  Please give credit to author.

Advent – Luke 3: 7-18 – Bear Fruits Worthy of Repentance

Luke 3: 7-18

7John said to the crowds that came out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8Bear fruits worthy of repentance. Do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our ancestor’; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. 9Even now the ax is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”

10And the crowds asked him, “What then should we do?” 11In reply he said to them, “Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none; and whoever has food must do likewise.” 12Even tax collectors came to be baptized, and they asked him, “Teacher, what should we do?” 13He said to them, “Collect no more than the amount prescribed for you.” 14Soldiers also asked him, “And we, what should we do?” He said to them, “Do not extort money from anyone by threats or false accusation, and be satisfied with your wages.”

15As the people were filled with expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Messiah, 16John answered all of them by saying, “I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 17His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

18So, with many other exhortations, he proclaimed the good news to the people.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit is silent meditation five to fifteen minutes paying attention to the deep breath.
  • As you pay attention to your deep breath, lower or close your eyes as you feel led, focusing on your interior space.
  • Notice the tree within you.
  • Describe the tree.
  • What is the name of the tree?
  • Embrace this tree within you. 
  • Return your focus to your interior space.
  • Name any judgment you are experiencing.
  • Embrace this judgment in you.  Let it speak to you.
  • Love the places judgment has wounded.  Forgive yourself and forgive others.
  • Invite these wounded places to bear fruit in the name of the Lord.
  • Hear the good news of this Advent season.  The One who baptizes with unquenchable fire is coming again.
  • Give thanks to God for this time in seeking Fruit and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, December 16, 2018, the Third Sunday of Advent (Year C)
Zephaniah 3:14-20
Isaiah 12:2-6
Philippians 4:4-7
Luke 3:7-18

(c) 2018 The Rev. Dr. Lil Smith, DASD.  Permission to use in not-for-profit settings.  Please give credit to author.

Luke 24:36b-48 – Why do doubts arise in your heart?

LUKE 24:36B-48

“Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 37They were startled and terrified, and thought that they were seeing a ghost. 38He said to them, “Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39Look at my hands and my feet; see that it is I myself. Touch me and see; for a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” 40And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. 41While in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” 42They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43and he took it and ate in their presence.

44Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you — that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.” 45Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, 46and he said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, 47and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48You are witnesses of these things.”

  • 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, pay attention to any doubt arising in you that might keep you from Christ.
  • Instead of setting this aside,  identify where this doubt resides in your body.
  • Allow your breath to reach this place of doubt in your body.
  • Continue to breathe to this place, allowing the breath of God heal this place of doubt.
  • Be open to healing and possibility in this place.
  • Let go of any hatred or fear.
  • Are there other doubts in you that need to be addressed.
  • Continue this exercise until you are as free and open as you can be to listen to God.
  • As you rest in this place of openness and freedom, consider what words have been spoken that must be fulfilled.
  • The Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day.
  • Repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in the name of Jesus.
  • You are witnesses of these things.
  • How have you witnessed these things in the world around you?
  • How have you witnessed these things in your neighbor?
  • How have you witnessed these things in you?
  • What is God’s message for you in this witness that you have encountered?
  • 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 15, 2012, the Third Sunday of Easter (Year B)

Acts 3:12-19
Psalm 4:1-8
1 John 3:1-7
Luke 24:36b-48

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