Liturgy of the Palms: Luke 19:28-40 – If These Were Silent The Stones Would Shout Out

Liturgy of the Palms Luke 19:28-40

28After he had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem.

29When he had come near Bethphage and Bethany, at the place called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of the disciples, 30saying, “Go into the village ahead of you, and as you enter it you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 31If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ just say this, ‘The Lord needs it'” 32So those who were sent departed and found it as he had told them. 33As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, “Why are you untying the colt?” 34They said, “The Lord needs it.” 35Then they brought it to Jesus; and after throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it. 36As he rode along, people kept spreading their cloaks on the road. 37As he was now approaching the path down from the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the deeds of power that they had seen, 38saying,

“Blessed is the king

who comes in the name of the Lord!

Peace in heaven,

and glory in the highest heaven!”

39Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, order your disciples to stop.” 40He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the stones would shout out.”

  • 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.
  • Bring your attention to your journey toward Jerusalem today.
  • Moving from the wilderness to the temple, how do you encounter Jesus on the road.
  • Imagine you are in the crowd.  Where are you standing?
  • Place your cloak on the road as Jesus passes by?
  • What are the words that emerges from you as the hope for the world passes by you?
  • Who is the Pharisee in the crowd that wants to silence this hope?
  • Share your hope for the world this those who doubt the reign of Peace will come.
  • Carry a stone in your pocket today to remind you of the words of hope that will continue to emerge from the Compassionate One in you.
  • 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 14, 2019, Palm Sunday (Passion Sunday) (Year C)

  • Liturgy of the Palms Luke 19:28-40
  • Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29
  • Liturgy of the Passion Isaiah 50:4-9a
  • Psalm 31:9-16
  • Philippians 2:5-11
  • Luke 22:14-23:56

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

John 12:1-8 – You Do Not Always Have Me

John 12:1-8

1Six days before the Passover Jesus came to Bethany, the home of Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. 2There they gave a dinner for him. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those at the table with him. 3Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. 4But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (the one who was about to betray him), said, 5“Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and the money given to the poor?” 6(He said this not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief; he kept the common purse and used to steal what was put into it.) 7Jesus said, “Leave her alone. She bought it so that she might keep it for the day of my burial. 8You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.”

  • 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.
  • Sit comfortably in a chair with your feet flat on the floor. 
  • Take off your shoes and socks if you wish. 
  • Let the chair hold you.
  • Let the ground support you.
  • Notice this feeling of being grounded.
  • Imagine you are at the table when Mary comes to anoint the feet of Jesus.
  • See the love in her face, the gentleness of her touch, the anticipated grief in her eyes.
  • See the love of Jesus giving praise for her act of abundant love. 
  • Hear the invitation spoken by Jesus to be with him.
  • Smell the sacred scent of incense that permeates the room.
  • Notice this feeling of being grounded in love.
  • Yet, there is a temptation for your possessions in the world to distract you.
  • What temptation tries to distract you?
  • Hear again the invitation from Jesus to be with him.
  • Notice how you desire to be freed from this distraction to be as fully present with Jesus as you can be.
  • Be with Jesus.
  • 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  7, 2019, the Fifth Sunday in Lent (Year C)

  • Isaiah 43:16-21
  • Psalm 126
  • Philippians 3:4b-14
  • John 12:1-8

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

Philippians 3:4b-14 – Straining Forward to What Lies Ahead

Philippians 3:4b-14

4bIf anyone else has reason to be confident in the flesh, I have more: 5circumcised on the eighth day, a member of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew born of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; 6as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless.

7Yet whatever gains I had, these I have come to regard as loss because of Christ. 8More than that, I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and I regard them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ9and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but one that comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God based on faith. 10I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death,11if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

12Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13Beloved, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.

  • 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.
  • Bring your attention to your faith.
  • As you come to know Christ more fully, you encounter losses, letting go old beliefs and old narratives, that don’t fit with the Gospel message. 
  • Forget what lies behind.  Let go of the old.
  • Listen to the light and life-giving faith that Christ has for you.
  • Love God.
  • Love neighbor.
  • Love self.
  • Strain forward and cut any strings that want to draw you back.
  • Focus on the Christ before you and follow.
  • What’s 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 7, 2019, the Fifth Sunday in Lent (Year C)

  • Isaiah 43:16-21
  • Psalm 126
  • Philippians 3:4b-14
  • John 12:1-8

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

Psalm 126 – Restoring Fortune

Psalm 126

1When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion,

we were like those who dream.

2Then our mouth was filled with laughter,

and our tongue with shouts of joy;

then it was said among the nations,

“The LORD has done great things for them.”

3The LORD has done great things for us,

and we rejoiced.


4Restore our fortunes, O LORD,

like the watercourses in the Negeb.

5May those who sow in tears

reap with shouts of joy.

6Those who go out weeping,

bearing the seed for sowing,

shall come home with shouts of joy,

carrying their sheaves.

  • 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.
  • Bring your attention to your interior space as the Breath fills you with life.
  • Remember that God restores fortunes.
  • No matter what you see on the exterior.
  • Remember that God restores fortunes.
  • God restores dreams.
  • God restores laughter.
  • God restores joy.
  • How do you desire for God to restore your fortune today?
  • 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, 2019, the Fifth Sunday in Lent (Year C)

  • Isaiah 43:16-21
  • Psalm 126
  • Philippians 3:4b-14
  • John 12:1-8

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

Isaiah 43:16-21 – I Give Water in the Wilderness

16Thus says the LORD,

who makes a way in the sea,

a path in the mighty waters,

17who brings out chariot and horse,

army and warrior;

they lie down, they cannot rise,

they are extinguished, quenched like a wick:

18Do not remember the former things,

or consider the things of old.

19I am about to do a new thing;

now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?

I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.

20The wild animals will honor me,

the jackals and the ostriches;

for I give water in the wilderness,

rivers in the desert,

to give drink to my chosen people,

21the people whom I formed for myself

so that they might declare my praise.

  • 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.
  • Bring your attention to your journey in the wilderness today.
  • It is a new day, and God is doing a new thing.
  • Look for what is new in the wilderness today.
  • What is significant about the newness?
  • How is god providing the water to sustain you?
  • 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, 2019, the Fifth Sunday in Lent (Year C)

  • Isaiah 43:16-21
  • Psalm 126
  • Philippians 3:4b-14
  • John 12:1-8

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

Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32 – This Fellow Welcomes Sinners and Eats with Them

Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32

1Now all the tax collectors and sinners were coming near to listen to him. 2And the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, “This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them.”

3So he told them this parable:

11b“There was a man who had two sons. 12The younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of the property that will belong to me.’ So he divided his property between them. 13A few days later the younger son gathered all he had and traveled to a distant country, and there he squandered his property in dissolute living. 14When he had spent everything, a severe famine took place throughout that country, and he began to be in need. 15So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed the pigs. 16He would gladly have filled himself with the pods that the pigs were eating; and no one gave him anything. 17But when he came to himself he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired hands have bread enough and to spare, but here I am dying of hunger! 18I will get up and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; 19I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me like one of your hired hands.”‘ 20So he set off and went to his father. But while he was still far off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion; he ran and put his arms around him and kissed him. 21Then the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22But the father said to his slaves, ‘Quickly, bring out a robe-the best one-and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23And get the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; 24for this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found!’ And they began to celebrate.

25“Now his elder son was in the field; and when he came and approached the house, he heard music and dancing. 26He called one of the slaves and asked what was going on. 27He replied, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fatted calf, because he has got him back safe and sound.’ 28Then he became angry and refused to go in. His father came out and began to plead with him. 29But he answered his father, ‘Listen! For all these years I have been working like a slave for you, and I have never disobeyed your command; yet you have never given me even a young goat so that I might celebrate with my friends. 30But when this son of yours came back, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fatted calf for him!’ 31Then the father said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. 32But we had to celebrate and rejoice, because this brother of yours was dead and has come to life; he was lost and has been found.'”

  • 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.
  • Bring your attention to a time you remember being embraced and welcomed home. 
  • Notice the love and compassion that blankets you as you are embraced.
  • I wonder what part of you desires to be welcomed home today?
  • Do a scan of your interior space, noticing tension or discomfort that desires to be welcomed home today.
  • Embrace this place in you with love and compassion.
  • Breathe deeply into this place and feel the Breath of God showering you with compassion.
  • Rest in compassion.
  • I wonder who you will encounter today with the desire to be welcomed home.
  • How might you embrace this brother or sister with love and compassion?
  • Will you sit and have a meal together?
  • 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, March 31, 2019, the Fourth Sunday in Lent (Year C)

  • Joshua 5:9-12
  • Psalm 32
  • 2 Corinthians 5:16-21
  • Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32

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

2 Corinthians 5:16-21 – Ambassadors for Christ

2 Corinthians 5:16-21

16From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way. 17So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! 18All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; 19that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. 20So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of 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.
  • Bring your focus to the compassionate, healing Christ.
  • In the last day or so, how has Christ accompanied you?
  • Embrace these moments and the feelings that arise.  
  • Take a deep breath and  feel the peace in Christ.
  • As you go into the world today, notice how you desire to respond in Christ.
  • Let Compassion lead you.
  • In Christ you are a new creation.
  • If the old tries to get your attention, re-focus on Christ.
  • In Christ, how are you a transforming vessel of love?
  • How are you an ambassador for Christ?
  • 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, March 31, 2019, the Fourth Sunday in Lent (Year C)

  • Joshua 5:9-12
  • Psalm 32
  • 2 Corinthians 5:16-21
  • Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32

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

Psalm 32 – Break the Silence

Psalm 32

1Happy are those whose transgression is forgiven,

whose sin is covered.

2Happy are those to whom the LORD imputes no iniquity,

and in whose spirit there is no deceit.


3While I kept silence, my body wasted away

through my groaning all day long.

4For day and night your hand was heavy upon me;

my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Selah


5Then I acknowledged my sin to you,

and I did not hide my iniquity;

I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,”

and you forgave the guilt of my sin. Selah


6Therefore let all who are faithful

offer prayer to you;

at a time of distress, the rush of mighty waters

shall not reach them.

7You are a hiding place for me;

you preserve me from trouble;

you surround me with glad cries of deliverance. Selah


8I will instruct you and teach you the way you should go;

I will counsel you with my eye upon you.

9Do not be like a horse or a mule, without understanding,

whose temper must be curbed with bit and bridle,

else it will not stay near you.


10Many are the torments of the wicked,

but steadfast love surrounds those who trust in the LORD.

11Be glad in the LORD and rejoice, O righteous,

and shout for joy, all you upright in heart.

  • 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.
  • Bring attention to the transgression in you that desires to be named out loud today.
  • Break the silence.  Describe the transgression.  Be released of the guilt.
  • Invite God dialogue to lead you and guide you to a new place.
  • Embrace the forgiveness God has for you.
  • Be open to the new ways God will lead you closer to God.
  • Resist torments of the wicked.
  • Be focused on the Compassionate One who loves you always.
  • Rejoice in God and notice how God rejoices in you.
  • 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, March 31, 2019, the Fourth Sunday in Lent (Year C)

  • Joshua 5:9-12
  • Psalm 32
  • 2 Corinthians 5:16-21
  • Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32

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

Joshua 5:9-12 – Eating the Crops of the Land

Joshua 5:9-12

9The LORD said to Joshua, “Today I have rolled away from you the disgrace of Egypt.” And so that place is called Gilgal to this day.

10While the Israelites were camped in Gilgal they kept the passover in the evening on the fourteenth day of the month in the plains of Jericho. 11On the day after the passover, on that very day, they ate the produce of the land, unleavened cakes and parched grain. 12The manna ceased on the day they ate the produce of the land, and the Israelites no longer had manna; they ate the crops of the land of Canaan that year.

  • 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.
  • Bring your attention to the awareness of God’s provision for you.
  • Embrace this awareness.  
  • Remember how God was feeding and nurturing you in a time of need.
  • Do you recall the moment, the shift, when the veil was lifted and you were able to “eat the produce of the land”?
  • Gilgal means “circle of stones.”
  • Look for the circle of stones God has placed around you to name and to glorify God and your relationship.
  • What do these stones represent for you?
  • Pick up a stone and carry it in your pocket today to remind you to be aware of God’s provision for you today.
  • 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, March 31, 2019, the Fourth Sunday in Lent (Year C)

  • Joshua 5:9-12
  • Psalm 32
  • 2 Corinthians 5:16-21
  • Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32

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

Luke 13:1-9 – Unless You Repent, You Will Perish

Luke 13:1-9

1At that very time there were some present who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 2He asked them, “Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were worse sinners than all other Galileans? 3No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish as they did. 4Or those eighteen who were killed when the tower of Siloam fell on them — do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others living in Jerusalem? 5No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish just as they did.”

6Then he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it and found none. 7So he said to the gardener, ‘See here! For three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree, and still I find none. Cut it down! Why should it be wasting the soil?’ 8He replied, ‘Sir, let it alone for one more year, until I dig around it and put manure on it. 9If it bears fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.'”

  • 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.
  • Bring your focus to a place in your life that is not bearing fruit.
  • How does this place in you desire your attention?
  • How do you desire God to dig a trough for it to hold water and fertilize it with nourishment?
  • Name and dialogue about these burdens with God as you tend the tree together?
  • How else may God nurture you as you tend this place that bears no fruit?
  • Are there others around you God may call to be gardeners for you?
  • 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, March 24, 2019, the Third Sunday in Lent (Year C)

  • Isaiah 55:1-9
  • Psalm 63:1-8
  • 1 Corinthians 10:1-13
  • Luke 13:1-9

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