Holy Saturday: Mark 16:1-8 – A new hope

During Holy Saturday, Readings and Responses will be posted on the hour from  7 am to 6 pm

MARK 16:1-8

1When the sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. 2And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. 3They had been saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?” 4When they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back. 5As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man, dressed in a white robe, sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. 6But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Look, there is the place they laid him. 7But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you.” 8So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silence bringing your attention to the Breath.
  • Oh, this day of grief.  Can there really be joy?
  • How do you hold grief and joy together at the end of this Holy Saturday?
  • Is this a dream?  Or a vision?
  • Will I wake up tomorrow with the same good news?
  • It is a day to remember there is always hope.
  • Listen for hope today.
  • 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 Saturday, March 31, 2018 the Great Vigil of Easter (Year B)

Mark 16:1-8


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

Ash Wednesday: Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21: Do not be hypocrites

Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21

1“Beware of practicing your piety before others in order to be seen by them; for then you have no reward from your Father in heaven.

2“So whenever you give alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be praised by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. 3But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4so that your alms may be done in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

5“And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. 6But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

16“And whenever you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces so as to show others that they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. 17But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18so that your fasting may be seen not by others but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

19“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; 20but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes, bringing your attention to the Breath.
  • Notice how the space around you creates a safe a holy space for you.  How is God present in this space with you today?
  • In the privacy of this space set apart for your time of prayer today, how do you wish to recognize your relationship with God?  Do you want to sing and dance?  Do you want to write a love letter to God?  Do you want to paint your treasure?
  • In this safe space, thieves cannot come in and steal these holy treasures.
  • During Lent, you are invited to notice how you authentically desire to respond to God in relationship.
  • Savor these treasures.  Take mental pictures of them so that you may call upon the memories when you need to be reminded of your heavenly treasures.
  • Savor this time in prayer.
  • 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 Wednesday, February 14, 2018, Ash Wednesday Year B

Joel 2:1-2, 12-17
Isaiah 58:1-12
Psalm 51:1-17
2 Corinthians 5:20b-6:20
Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21

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

Matthew 25:31-46 – Are you feeding the hungry?

31“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. 32All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, 33and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. 34Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; 35for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ 37Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink?38And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? 39And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ 40And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’ 41Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; 42for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?’ 45Then he will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying attention to the deep breath.
  • How have you been blessed by God?
  • How have you been a blessing to others?
  • What new blessings are you called to give to others?
  • How is your hunger fed, your thirst quenched?
  • Who feeds you?
  • Who welcomes you?
  • Who are you to welcome?
  • What is the message from God?
  • What call to action do you hear?
  • Give thanks to God for this time to recognize blessings and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, November 26, 2017, Christ the King (Reign of Christ) Sunday (Year A)
Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24
Psalm 100: 1-5
Ephesians 1:15-23
Matthew 25:31-46

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author.
Permission to use in not-for-profit settings  (c) 2017 The Rev. Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD

Matthew 25:14-30 – To all those who have more will be given

GOSPEL MATTHEW 25:14-30

14“For it is as if a man, going on a journey, summoned his slaves and entrusted his property to them; 15to one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. 16The one who had received the five talents went off at once and traded with them, and made five more talents. 17In the same way, the one who had the two talents made two more talents. 18But the one who had received the one talent went off and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. 19After a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them. 20Then the one who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five more talents, saying ‘Master, you handed over to me five talents; see, I have made five more talents.’ 21His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’ 22And the one with the two talents also came forward, saying, ‘Master, you handed over to me two talents; see, I have made two more talents.’ 23His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’ 24Then the one who had received the one talent also came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew that you were a harsh man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter seed; 25so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ 26But his master replied, ‘You wicked and lazy slave! You knew, did you, that I reap where I did not sow, and gather where I did not scatter? 27Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and on my return I would have received what was my own with interest. 28So take the talent from him, and give it to the one with the ten talents. 29For to all those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. 30As for this worthless slave, throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’”

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Spend five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation, paying attention to the deep breath.
  • What account do you need to settle with your Master?
  • What is it that you have been given.
  • How have you grown this gift?
  • What abundance do you notice?
  • What freedom has grown with the gift?
  • What unfreedom have you discovered?
  • What new growth is your Master calling you to tend?
  • What do you need from your Master to move toward this new growth?
  •  Give thanks to God for this time to consider the gifts you have been given and the growth that has occurred with these gifts.  Give thanks for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, November 19, 2017, the Thirty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Judges 4:1-7
Psalm 123:1-4
1 Thessalonians 5:1-11
Matthew 25:14-30

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings (c) 2017 The Rev. Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD

Matthew 25:1-13 – Keep awake!

Matthew 25:1-13

1“Then the kingdom of heaven will be like this. Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. 2Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. 3When the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them; 4but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. 5As the bridegroom was delayed, all of them became drowsy and slept. 6But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Look! Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ 7Then all those bridesmaids got up and trimmed their lamps. 8The foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ 9But the wise replied, ‘No! there will not be enough for you and for us; you had better go to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’ 10And while they went to buy it, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went with him into the wedding banquet; and the door was shut. 11Later the other bridesmaids came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ 12But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I do not know you.’ 13Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.”

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silence bringing your attention to the Breath.
  • Remember a time you were foolish.
  • How were you unprepared?
  • Where was Christ in this time of unpreparation?
  • Remember a time when you were wise.
  • How were you prepared?
  • Where was Christ in this time of preparation?
  • In these two experiences, what similarities do you notice?  What differences do you notice?
  • What is the message from God for you?
  • Is there a call to respond?
  • 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, November 12, 2017, the Thirty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Joshua 24:1-3a, 14-25
Psalm 78:1-7
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
Matthew 25:1-13

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings (c) 2017 The Rev. Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD

Matthew 23:1-12 – All who exalt themselves will be humbled

Matthew 23:1-12

1Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, 2“The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat; 3therefore, do whatever they teach you and follow it; but do not do as they do, for they do not practice what they teach. 4They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on the shoulders of others; but they themselves are unwilling to lift a finger to move them. 5They do all their deeds to be seen by others; for they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long. 6They love to have the place of honor at banquets and the best seats in the synagogues, 7and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and to have people call them rabbi. 8But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all students. 9And call no one your father on earth, for you have one Father — the one in heaven. 10Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Messiah.11The greatest among you will be your servant. 12All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silence bringing your attention to the Breath.
  • As you feel freedom in the Breath, let your focus go to the burdens you are carrying.
  • Pay close attention to the burdens that others in authority have placed upon you to carry.
  • Which one of these burdens holds the most energy for you today?
  • Bring this burden to the surface and hold it lightly in front of you.
  • Invite Jesus to walk with you and carry the burden with you.
  • Hear the compassion and love of Jesus as Jesus invites you to let him carry more and more of the burden.
  • With genetleness for yourself and the others, hear the message(s) of forgiveness as you release the burden and the negative energy.  Let go of the heaviness.
  • As you humble yourself before God, be exalted in the love of Christ.  Embrace the light and lightness around you.  Breathe deeply.
  • 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, November 5, 2017, the Thirty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Joshua 3:7-17
Psalm 107:1-7, 33-37
1 Thessalonians 2:9-13
Matthew 23:1-12

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings (c) 2017 The Rev. Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD

Matthew 22:34-46 – Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?

Matthew 22:34-46

34When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, 35and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 36“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” 37He said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38This is the greatest and first commandment. 39and a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

41Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them this question: 42“What do you think of the Messiah? Whose son is he?” They said to him, “The son of David.” 43He said to them, “How is it then that David by the Spirit calls him Lord, saying,
44  ‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit at my right hand,
until I put your enemies under your feet”’?
45If David thus calls him Lord, how can he be his son?” 46No one was able to give him an answer, nor from that day did anyone dare to ask him any more questions.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silence bringing your attention to the Breath.
  • Inhale the greatest commandment.  Exhale anything any obstacles keeping you from embracing the greatest commandment and the one like it.
  • Love the Lord your God with all your heart.
  • Love the lord your God with all your soul.
  • Love the Lord your God with all your mind.
  • Love your neighbor.
  • Love yourself.
  • Hear Christ say these commandments before your enemies.
  • Pray that their hearts will be softened and that they will see and know why is was so important for God to walk side-by-side humanity again and teach them, again, the greatest commandment.
  • How is God walking side-by-side you today teaching you/us, again, the greatest commandment?
  • 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, October 29, 2017, the Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Deuteronomy 34:1-12
Psalm 90:1-6, 13-17
1 Thessalonians 2:1-8
Matthew 22:34-46

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings (c) 2017 The Rev. Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD

Matthew 22:15-22 – Why are you putting me to the test, you hypocrites?

Matthew 22:15-22

15Then the Pharisees went and plotted to entrap him in what he said. 16So they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are sincere, and teach the way of God in accordance with truth, and show deference to no one; for you do not regard people with partiality. 17Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, or not?“ 18But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, “Why are you putting me to the test, you hypocrites? 19Show me the coin used for the tax.” And they brought him a denarius. 20Then he said to them, “Whose head is this, and whose title?” 21They answered, “The emperor’s.” Then he said to them, “Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” 22When they heard this, they were amazed; and they left him and went away.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silence bringing your attention to the Breath.
  • In a place of freedom, let your focus move to a place where you are being tested by hypocrites.
  • Notice how you feel.
  • Describe the details.
  • Hold these in one hand.
  • Now consider how you are testing others as a hypocrite.
  • Notice how you feel.
  • Describe the details.
  • Hold these in the other hand.
  • Invite one hand to speak to the other hand.
  • What conversations need to take place?
  • What are you learning about yourself?
  • Give to the world what is the world’s.
  • Give to God what is God’s.
  • 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, October 22, 2017, the Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Exodus 33:12-23
Psalm 99:1-9
1 Thessalonians 1:1-10
Matthew 22:15-22

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings (c) 2017 The Rev. Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD

Matthew 22:1-14 – The wedding is ready

Matthew 22:1-14

1Once more Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying: 2“The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son. 3He sent his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding banquet, but they would not come. 4Again he sent other slaves, saying, ‘Tell those who have been invited: Look, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready; come to the wedding banquet.’ 5But they made light of it and went away, one to his farm, another to his business, 6while the rest seized his slaves, maltreated them, and killed them. 7The king was enraged. He sent his troops, destroyed those murderers, and burned their city. 8Then he said to his slaves, ‘The wedding is ready, but those invited were not worthy. 9Go therefore into the main streets, and invite everyone you find to the wedding banquet.’ 10Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered all whom they found, both good and bad; so the wedding hall was filled with guests.

11“But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing a wedding robe, 12and he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding robe?’ And he was speechless. 13Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 14For many are called, but few are chosen.”

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silence bringing your attention to the Breath.
  • Remember a time when you ran with a crowd who was closed to new ideas.
  • You were invited to the wedding banquet, but you and your friends did not come.
  • When did you notice this closed thinking was tearing down people instead of building them up?
  • Those invited to the wedding were not worthy.
  • Do you still hold on to brokenness or regret from this time?
  • Remember a time when you were the outsider invited to the wedding at the last minute, clothed in a new robe and celebrating new life.
  • When did you notice this open invitation was building people up instead of tearing them down?
  • Describe how you felt.
  • Why is it important for you to remember this feeling today?
  • 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, October 15, 2017, the Twenty-Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Exodus 32:1-14
Psalm 106:1-6, 19-23
Philippians 4:1-9
Matthew 22:1-14

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings (c) 2017 The Rev. Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD

Matthew 21:33-46 – Produce fruit for the kingdom

 

Matthew 21:33-46

33“Listen to another parable. There was a landowner who planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a wine press in it, and built a watchtower. Then he leased it to tenants and went to another country. 34When the harvest time had come, he sent his slaves to the tenants to collect his produce. 35But the tenants seized his slaves and beat one, killed another, and stoned another. 36Again he sent other slaves, more than the first; and they treated them in the same way. 37Finally he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ 38But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, ‘This is the heir; come, let us kill him and get his inheritance.’ 39So they seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him. 40Now when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?” 41They said to him, “He will put those wretches to a miserable death, and lease the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the produce at the harvest time.”

42Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the scriptures: ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is amazing in our eyes’? 43Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that produces the fruits of the kingdom. 44The one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and it will crush anyone on whom it falls.”

45When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they realized that he was speaking about them. 46They wanted to arrest him, but they feared the crowds, because they regarded him as a prophet.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silence bringing your attention to the Breath.
  • Place your hands before you in the receiving position.
  • In your left hand, hold the fruits of the world.
  • What is the authority of the world led to the fruit in your hand?
  • In your right hand, hold the fruits of the kingdom.
  • What authority of the kingdom led to the fruit in your hand?
  • Look at your hands.  Resist fear and allow the authorities to speak to one another, heart to heart.
  • Imaging the conversation.
  • 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, October 8, 2017, the Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Exodus 20:1-4, 7-9, 12-20
Psalm 19:1-14
Philippians 3:4b-14
Matthew 21:33-46

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings (c) 2017 The Rev. Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD