Ephesians 2:11-22 – Jesus Christ himself as the cornerstone is our peace

EPHESIANS 2:11-22
11 So then, remember that at one time you Gentiles by birth, called “the uncircumcision” by those who are called “the circumcision” — a physical circumcision made in the flesh by human hands — 12 remember that you were at that time without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us. 15 He has abolished the law with its commandments and ordinances, so that he might create in himself one new humanity in place of the two, thus making peace, 16 and might reconcile both groups to God in one body through the cross, thus putting to death that hostility through it. 17 So he came and proclaimed peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near; 18 for through him both of us have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God, 20 built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone. 21  In him the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; 22 in whom you also are built together spiritually into a dwelling-place for God.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying close attention to the deep breath.
  • As you breathe, name the ways you are a citizen of the household of God.
  • Consider how these ways are like the apostles and prophets.
  • Visualize Christ as the cornerstone.
  • Visualize how you are connected to Christ the cornerstone.
  • Visualize how you are connected to the apostles, the saints, the children of God, creation.
  • Describe the household of God.
  • Describe your place in the household.
  • Where in your body to you feel this peace Jesus comes to share?
  • Do you notice any tension in your body?
  • What does this tension represent?
  • What peace does Jesus have to give to you today?
  • Accept this peace, breathe into this place of tension, let go of anything keeping you from this peace.
  • What is God’s message for you?
  • Give thanks to God for this time in prayer and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, July 22, 2018, the Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

2 Samuel 7:1-14a
Psalm 89:20-37
Ephesians 2:11-22
Mark 6:30-34, 53-56

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings. (c) 2018 The Rev. Dr. Lil Smith, DASD

Acts 4:5-12 – The stone rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone

ACTS 4:5-12

5The next day their rulers, elders, and scribes assembled in Jerusalem, 6with Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, and Alexander, and all who were of the high-priestly family. 7When they had made the prisoners stand in their midst, they inquired, “By what power or by what name did you do this?” 8Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders, 9if we are questioned today because of a good deed done to someone who was sick and are asked how this man has been healed, 10let it be known to all of you, and to all the people of Israel, that this man is standing before you in good health by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead. 11This Jesus is 
     ‘the stone that was rejected by you, the builders; 
          it has become the cornerstone.’ 
12There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we must be saved.”

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying attention to the deep breath.
  • Who is holding you prisoner today for something you have done in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth?
  • How long have you been imprisoned?
  • Do you need to spend more time there?  Or are you ready to be released?
  • To be released you must face the local rulers.
  • During an inquiry of local rulers, what will your response be?
  • What cornerstone will you draw upon?
  • What truth do you need to share with the local rulers?
  • What risk do you perceive?
  • What strength do you need to take this risk?
  • What is the consequence?
  • What is the reward?
  • What is God’s message for you?
  • Give thanks to God for this time in prayer and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, April 22, 2012, the Fourth Sunday of Easter (Year B)

Acts 4:5-12
Psalm 23:1-6
1 John 3:16-24
John 10:11-18

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

1 Peter 2:2-10 – Like living stones let yourself be built into a spiritual house

1 Peter 2:2-10

2Like newborn infants, long for the pure, spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow into salvation — 3if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.

4Come to him, a living stone, though rejected by mortals yet chosen and precious in God’s sight, and 5like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6For it stands in scripture:
“See, I am laying in Zion a stone,
a cornerstone chosen and precious;
and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”
7To you then who believe, he is precious; but for those who do not believe,
“The stone that the builders rejected
has become the very head of the corner,”
8and
“A stone that makes them stumble,
and a rock that makes them fall.”
They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.

9But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
10  Once you were not a people,
but now you are God’s people;
once you had not received mercy,
but now you have received mercy.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silence bringing your attention to the Breath.
  • What spiritual milk do you desire?
  • Spiritual milk is needed for growth.
  • Drinking spiritual milk will grow us into living stones.
  • Living stones proclaim the mighty acts of God.
  • Living stones witness to the life-giving acts of our experiences in God.
  • Living stones desire to be pulled out of darkness into the marvelous light.
  • Living stones once were dead but now live again.
  • Living stones once were merciless but now have mercy.
  • As a living stone, how do you desire to be built into a spiritual house?
  • 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, May 14, 2017, the Fifth Sunday of Easter (Year A)

Acts 7:55-60
Psalm 31:1-5, 15-16
1 Peter 2:2-10
John 14:1-14

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

Ephesians 2:11-22 – Jesus Christ himself as the cornerstone is our peace

EPHESIANS 2:11-22
11 So then, remember that at one time you Gentiles by birth, called “the uncircumcision” by those who are called “the circumcision” — a physical circumcision made in the flesh by human hands — 12 remember that you were at that time without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us. 15 He has abolished the law with its commandments and ordinances, so that he might create in himself one new humanity in place of the two, thus making peace, 16 and might reconcile both groups to God in one body through the cross, thus putting to death that hostility through it. 17 So he came and proclaimed peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near; 18 for through him both of us have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God, 20 built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone. 21  In him the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; 22 in whom you also are built together spiritually into a dwelling-place for God.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying close attention to the deep breath.
  • As you breathe, name the ways you are a citizen of the household of God.
  • Consider how these ways are like the apostles and prophets.
  • Visualize Christ as the cornerstone.
  • Visualize how you are connected to Christ the cornerstone.
  • Visualize how you are connected to the apostles, the saints, the children of God, creation.
  • Describe the household of God.
  • Describe your place in the household.
  • Where in your body to you feel this peace Jesus comes to share?
  • Do you notice any tension in your body?
  • What does this tension represent?
  • What peace does Jesus have to give to you today?
  • Accept this peace, breathe into this place of tension, let go of anything keeping you from this peace.
  • What is God’s message for you?
  • Give thanks to God for this time in prayer and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, July 22, 2012, the Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

2 Samuel 7:1-14a
Psalm 89:20-37
Ephesians 2:11-22
Mark 6:30-34, 53-56

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

Acts 4:5-12 – The stone rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone

ACTS 4:5-12

5The next day their rulers, elders, and scribes assembled in Jerusalem, 6with Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, and Alexander, and all who were of the high-priestly family. 7When they had made the prisoners stand in their midst, they inquired, “By what power or by what name did you do this?” 8Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders, 9if we are questioned today because of a good deed done to someone who was sick and are asked how this man has been healed, 10let it be known to all of you, and to all the people of Israel, that this man is standing before you in good health by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead. 11This Jesus is 
     ‘the stone that was rejected by you, the builders; 
          it has become the cornerstone.’ 
12There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we must be saved.”

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying attention to the deep breath.
  • Who is holding you prisoner today for something you have done in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth?
  • How long have you been imprisoned?
  • Do you need to spend more time there?  Or are you ready to be released?
  • To be released you must face the local rulers.
  • During an inquiry of local rulers, what will your response be?
  • What cornerstone will you draw upon?
  • What truth do you need to share with the local rulers?
  • What risk do you perceive?
  • What strength do you need to take this risk?
  • What is the consequence?
  • What is the reward?
  • What is God’s message for you?
  • Give thanks to God for this time in prayer and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, April 29, 2012, the Fourth Sunday of Easter Year B

Acts 4:5-12
Psalm 23:1-6
1 John 3:16-24
John 10:11-18

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

Matthew 21:33-46 The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone

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. 34 When the harvest time had come, he sent his slaves to the tenants to collect his produce. 35 But the tenants seized his slaves and beat one, killed another, and stoned another. 36 Again he sent other slaves, more than the first; and they treated them in the same way. 37 Finally he sent his son to them, saying, “They will respect my son.’ 38 But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, “This is the heir; come, let us kill him and get his inheritance.’ 39 So they seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him. 40 Now when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?” 41 They 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.” 42 Jesus 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’? 43 Therefore 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. 44 The one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and it will crush anyone on whom it falls.” 45 When 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.
  • Spend 5 to 15 minutes in silent meditation using your deep breathing to guide you.
  • What image captures you in this parable?
  • Focus on this image.  Where are you in the image?  in/out? active/passive?
  • Where in this image do you see your inheritance?
  • Do you feel freedom or bondage around this inheritance?
  • Do you need to invite someone or something into the image?  or out of the image?
  • What is God’s message for you in this image?
  • Give thanks to God for grace your inheritance through Jesus Christ and for any new insights you have received today.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.
Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, October 2, 2011,  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 Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD