Psalm 19:1-14 – Sweeter than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb

 Psalm 19:1-14

1   The heavens are telling the glory of God;
and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.
2   Day to day pours forth speech,
and night to night declares knowledge.
3   There is no speech, nor are there words;
their voice is not heard;
4   yet their voice goes out through all the earth,
and their words to the end of the world.

In the heavens he has set a tent for the sun,
5   which comes out like a bridegroom from his wedding canopy,
and like a strong man runs its course with joy.
6   Its rising is from the end of the heavens,
and its circuit to the end of them;
and nothing is hidden from its heat.

7   The law of the LORD is perfect,
reviving the soul;
the decrees of the LORD are sure,
making wise the simple;
8   the precepts of the LORD are right,
rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the LORD is clear,
enlightening the eyes;
9   the fear of the LORD is pure,
enduring for ever;
the ordinances of the LORD are true
and righteous altogether.
10  More to be desired are they than gold,
even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey,
and drippings of the honeycomb.

11  Moreover by them is your servant warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.
12  But who can detect their errors?
Clear me from hidden faults.
13  Keep back your servant also from the insolent;
do not let them have dominion over me.
Then I shall be blameless,
and innocent of great transgression.

14  Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable to you,
O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silence bringing your attention to the Breath.
  • Hear the words of the Psalmist, “Clear me from hidden thoughts.”
  • Listen to what you know in your head.  What hidden thoughts are living there?  How do you desire to live the way of the Lord today?
  • Listen to what you know in your heart.  What hidden feelings are living there?  How do you desire to live the way of the Lord today?
  • Listen to what you know in your gut.  What hidden intuitions are living there?  How do you desire to live the way of the Lord today?
  • Notice any consonance or dissonance.
  • What new thoughts/feelings/intuitions does this reveal in you?
  • 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

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Posted in Faith, Hope, Lectionary, Praise, Prayer, Psalm, Revised Common Lectionary | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Exodus 20:1-4, 7-9, 12-20 – Ten commandments of compassion and caring

Exodus 20:1-4, 7-9, 12-20

1Then God spoke all these words: 2I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery; 3you shall have no other gods before me.

4You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.

7You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not acquit anyone who misuses his name.

8Remember the sabbath day, and keep it holy. 9Six days you shall labor and do all your work.

12Honor your father and your mother, so that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.

13You shall not murder.

14You shall not commit adultery.

15You shall not steal.

16You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

17You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.

18When all the people witnessed the thunder and lightning, the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking, they were afraid and trembled and stood at a distance, 19and said to Moses, “;You speak to us, and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, or we will die.” 20Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid; for God has come only to test you and to put the fear of him upon you so that you do not sin.”

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silence bringing your attention to the Breath.
  • Read the text aloud today.
  • Notice the foundation Ten Commandments are the caring and compassionate nature of God.
  • Which commandment gives you the most freedom today?
  • Why?
  • Give thanks to God for freedom.
  • Which commandment gives you the most unfreedom today?
  • Why?
  • How do you wish to invite God into this unfreedom?
  • Give thanks to God for being present with you in unfreedom.
  • 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

Posted in Exodus, Faith, Freedom, Hope, Lectionary, Moses, Revised Common Lectionary, Ten Commandments | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Matthew 21:23-32 – Even after you saw it, you did not change your minds and believe him

Matthew 21:23-32

23When he entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him as he was teaching, and said, “By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?” 24Jesus said to them, “I will also ask you one question; if you tell me the answer, then I will also tell you by what authority I do these things. 25Did the baptism of John come from heaven, or was it of human origin?” And they argued with one another, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say to us, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ 26But if we say, ‘Of human origin,’ we are afraid of the crowd; for all regard John as a prophet.” 27So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.” And he said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silence bringing your attention to the Breath.
  • What do you know?
  • What don’t you know?
  • Remember a time when the words that came from your mouth opposed the feeling that came from your gut.
  • What transformation in you came from that wrestling match?
  • Are there knowings in you today that do not match?
  • Spend some time listening deep within you.
  • 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 1, 2017, the Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) and World Communion Sunday

Exodus 17:1-7
Psalm 78:1-4, 12-16
Philippians 2:1-13
Matthew 21:23-32

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

Posted in Blessing, Faith, Forgiveness, Hope, Lectionary, Matthew, Parable, Revised Common Lectionary | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Philippians 2:1-13 – Enabling you both to will and to work for his good pleasure

Philippians 2:1-13

1If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, 2make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. 4Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. 5Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,
6   who, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God
as something to be exploited,
7   but emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
being born in human likeness.
And being found in human form,
8        he humbled himself
and became obedient to the point of death —
even death on a cross.

9   Therefore God also highly exalted him
and gave him the name
that is above every name,
10  so that at the name of Jesus
every knee should bend,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11  and every tongue should confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

12Therefore, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed me, not only in my presence, but much more now in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13for it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

  • 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 world filled with recent natural disaster, how do you desire to look to the interests of others?
  • Stop and listen to the desire that arises from the divine spark within you.
  • What life within you desires to give life to others?
  • 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 1, 2017, the Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) and World Communion Sunday

Exodus 17:1-7
Psalm 78:1-4, 12-16
Philippians 2:1-13
Matthew 21:23-32

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

Posted in Faith, Freedom, Hope, Judgment, Lectionary, Philippians, Prayer, Revised Common Lectionary, Suffering, Witness | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Psalm 78:1-4, 12-16 – We will tell to the coming generation

Psalm 78:1-4, 12-16

1   Give ear, O my people, to my teaching;
incline your ears to the words of my mouth.
2   I will open my mouth in a parable;
I will utter dark sayings from of old,
3   things that we have heard and known,
that our ancestors have told us.
4   We will not hide them from their children;
we will tell to the coming generation
the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might,
and the wonders that he has done.

12  In the sight of their ancestors he worked marvels
in the land of Egypt, in the fields of Zoan.
13  He divided the sea and let them pass through it,
and made the waters stand like a heap.
14  In the daytime he led them with a cloud,
and all night long with a fiery light.
15  He split rocks open in the wilderness,
and gave them drink abundantly as from the deep.
16  He made streams come out of the rock,
and caused waters to flow down like rivers.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silence bringing your attention to the Breath.
  • In times of darkness and despair, God has compassion for God’s people and works marvels.
  • How are you torn between the message of the world and the teaching of God?
  • Notice the tension and pain in your body.
  • Where do you need the gift of God’s freedom?
  • Breathe deeply into this space.
  • How do you desire for God to bring you/us out of slavery today?
  • Imagine how God will part the waters, lead you with a pillar of fire, quench your thirst as you kneel by the stream of water God makes for you.
  • 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 1, 2017, the Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) and World Communion Sunday

Exodus 17:1-7
Psalm 78:1-4, 12-16
Philippians 2:1-13
Matthew 21:23-32

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

Posted in Faith, Hope, Lectionary, Praise, Prayer, Psalm, Revised Common Lectionary | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Exodus 17:1-7 From the wilderness of Sin

Exodus 17:1-7

1From the wilderness of Sin the whole congregation of the Israelites journeyed by stages, as the LORD commanded. They camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink. 2The people quarreled with Moses, and said, “Give us water to drink.” Moses said to them, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test the LORD?” 3But the people thirsted there for water; and the people complained against Moses and said, “Why did you bring us out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and livestock with thirst?” 4So Moses cried out to the LORD, “What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me.” 5The LORD said to Moses, “Go on ahead of the people, and take some of the elders of Israel with you; take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. 6I will be standing there in front of you on the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it, so that the people may drink.” Moses did so, in the sight of the elders of Israel. 7He called the place Massah and Meribah, because the Israelites quarreled and tested the LORD, saying, “Is the LORD among us or not?”

  • Light a candle to remember God’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silence bringing your attention to the Breath.
  • Notice where you are in the wilderness.
  • Why do you quarrel?  Why do you test?
  • Name these things and hold them in front of you.
  • What provision do you need from God?
  • Imagine how God will use a faithful leader like Moses to accompany you, be present with you, and act to bring about the provision of God.
  • Breathe deeply and let go of the tension in your body.
  • Be open to see God’s provision 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 1, 2017, the Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) and World Communion Sunday

Exodus 17:1-7
Psalm 78:1-4, 12-16
Philippians 2:1-13
Matthew 21:23-32

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

Posted in Exodus, Faith, Freedom, Hope, Lectionary, Massah, Meribah, Moses, Rephidim, Revised Common Lectionary, Sin, Wilderness | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Matthew 20:1-16 – I choose to give to this last the same as I give to you

 

A group of immigrant day laborers stand near a street corner waiting for work in the Staten Island borough of New York August 3, 2010. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Matthew 20:1-16

1“For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. 2After agreeing with the laborers for the usual daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard. 3When he went out about nine o’clock, he saw others standing idle in the marketplace; 4and he said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ So they went. 5When he went out again about noon and about three o’clock, he did the same. 6And about five o’clock he went out and found others standing around; and he said to them, ‘Why are you standing here idle all day?’ 7They said to him, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard.’ 8When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his manager, ‘Call the laborers and give them their pay, beginning with the last and then going to the first.’ 9When those hired about five o’clock came, each of them received the usual daily wage. 10Now when the first came, they thought they would receive more; but each of them also received the usual daily wage. 11And when they received it, they grumbled against the landowner, 12saying, ‘These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.’ 13But he replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? 14Take what belongs to you and go; I choose to give to this last the same as I give to you. 15Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or are you envious because I am generous?’ 16So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silence bringing your attention to the Breath.
  • Imagine you are a laborer who works all day long.
  • How do you receive the news in the parable?
  • Imagine you are a laborer who works only part of the day.
  • How do you receive the news in the parable?
  • Hear these words of the landowner:  “I choose to give to this last the same as I give to you.”
  • Notice what arises in you
  • Hear these words of the landowner: “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”
  • Notice what arises in you.
  • 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, September 24, 2017, the Twenty-Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Exodus 16:2-15
Psalm 105:1-6,37-45
Philippians 1:21-30
Matthew 20:1-16

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

Posted in Blessing, Faith, Forgiveness, Hope, Lectionary, Matthew, Parable, Revised Common Lectionary | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Philippians 1:21-30 – Striving side by side with one mind for the faith of the gospel

Philippians 1:21-30

21For to me, living is Christ and dying is gain. 22If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which I prefer. 23I am hard pressed between the two: my desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better; 24but to remain in the flesh is more necessary for you. 25Since I am convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with all of you for your progress and joy in faith, 26so that I may share abundantly in your boasting in Christ Jesus when I come to you again.

27Only, live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that, whether I come and see you or am absent and hear about you, I will know that you are standing firm in one spirit, striving side by side with one mind for the faith of the gospel, 28and are in no way intimidated by your opponents. For them this is evidence of their destruction, but of your salvation. And this is God’s doing. 29For he has graciously granted you the privilege not only of believing in Christ, but of suffering for him as well — 30since you are having the same struggle that you saw I had and now hear that I still have.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silence bringing your attention to the Breath.
  • Notice how you live both in the world and in Christ.
  • Place your hands on your lap with palms up in a receiving posture.  Hold your life in the world in one hand and your life in Christ in the other hand.
  • Invite a conversation between both hands.
  • What do you notice about the conversation?
  • Now bring both hands together and hold the two worlds together.
  • Consider your life in Christ with the world.
  • How is the conversation transformed?
  • 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, September 24, 2017, the Twenty-Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Exodus 16:2-15
Psalm 105:1-6,37-45
Philippians 1:21-30
Matthew 20:1-16

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

Posted in Faith, Freedom, Hope, Judgment, Lectionary, Philippians, Prayer, Revised Common Lectionary, Suffering, Witness | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Psalm 105:1-6, 37-45 – With joy

Psalm 105:1-6, 37-45

1   O give thanks to the LORD, call on his name,
make known his deeds among the peoples.
2   Sing to him, sing praises to him;
tell of all his wonderful works.
3   Glory in his holy name;
let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice.
4   Seek the LORD and his strength;
seek his presence continually.
5   Remember the wonderful works he has done,
his miracles, and the judgments he has uttered,
6   O offspring of his servant Abraham,
children of Jacob, his chosen ones.

37  Then he brought Israel out with silver and gold,
and there was no one among their tribes who stumbled.
38  Egypt was glad when they departed,
for dread of them had fallen upon it.
39  He spread a cloud for a covering,
and fire to give light by night.
40  They asked, and he brought quails,
and gave them food from heaven in abundance.
41  He opened the rock, and water gushed out;
it flowed through the desert like a river.
42  For he remembered his holy promise,
and Abraham, his servant.

43  So he brought his people out with joy,
his chosen ones with singing.
44  He gave them the lands of the nations,
and they took possession of the wealth of the peoples,
45  that they might keep his statutes
and observe his laws.
Praise the LORD!

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silence bringing your attention to the Breath.
  • God brought God’s people out with joy.
  • Where does joy live in you?
  • What obstacles keep joy from arising in you?
  • What places and people need to be liberated with joy?
  • How might you share joy 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, September 24, 2017, the Twenty-Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Exodus 16:2-15
Psalm 105:1-6,37-45
Philippians 1:21-30
Matthew 20:1-16

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

Posted in Faith, Hope, Lectionary, Praise, Prayer, Psalm, Revised Common Lectionary | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Exodus 16:2-15 – God hears complaints

Exodus 16:2-15

2The whole congregation of the Israelites complained against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. 3The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the fleshpots and ate our fill of bread; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”

4Then the Lord said to Moses, “I am going to rain bread from heaven for you, and each day the people shall go out and gather enough for that day. In that way I will test them, whether they will follow my instruction or not. 5On the sixth day, when they prepare what they bring in, it will be twice as much as they gather on other days.“ 6So Moses and Aaron said to all the Israelites, “In the evening you shall know that it was the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt, 7and in the morning you shall see the glory of the Lord, because he has heard your complaining against the Lord. For what are we, that you complain against us?” 8And Moses said, “When the Lord gives you meat to eat in the evening and your fill of bread in the morning, because the Lord has heard the complaining that you utter against him — what are we? Your complaining is not against us but against the Lord.”

9Then Moses said to Aaron, “Say to the whole congregation of the Israelites, ‘Draw near to the Lord, for he has heard your complaining.’” 10And as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the Israelites, they looked toward the wilderness, and the glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud. 11The Lord spoke to Moses and said, 12“I have heard the complaining of the Israelites; say to them, ‘At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall have your fill of bread; then you shall know that I am the Lord your God.’”

13In the evening quails came up and covered the camp; and in the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp. 14When the layer of dew lifted, there on the surface of the wilderness was a fine flaky substance, as fine as frost on the ground. 15When the Israelites saw it, they said to one another, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was. Moses said to them, “It is the bread that the Lord has given you to eat.”

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silence bringing your attention to the Breath.
  • God leads us away from slavery into the wilderness.
  • The desert is dry and dead.
  • How are you hungry in the wilderness?
  • What do you desire from God that seem elusive?
  • Name it, describe it and hold it in front of you.
  • Let the desire deepen.
  • Share your deepest desire with God.
  • God send the Israelites quail and manna to fill their hunger.
  • Recognize the compassion God has for the Israelites.
  • What do you need God to send you?
  • Embrace the compassion God has for you.
  • 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, September 24, 2017, the Twenty-Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Exodus 16:2-15
Psalm 105:1-6,37-45
Philippians 1:21-30
Matthew 20:1-16

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

Posted in Exodus, Faith, Freedom, Hope, Lectionary, Moses, Revised Common Lectionary | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment