Acts 8:26-40 Do you understand what you are reading?

ACTS 8:26-40

26Then an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Get up and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” (This is a wilderness road.) 27So he got up and went. Now there was an Ethiopian eunuch, a court official of the Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, in charge of her entire treasury. He had come to Jerusalem to worship 28and was returning home; seated in his chariot, he was reading the prophet Isaiah. 29Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go over to this chariot and join it.” 30So Philip ran up to it and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah. He asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” 31He replied, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he invited Philip to get in and sit beside him. 32Now the passage of the scripture that he was reading was this:
“Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter,
and like a lamb silent before its shearer,
so he does not open his mouth.
33  In his humiliation justice was denied him.
Who can describe his generation?
For his life is taken away from the earth.”
34The eunuch asked Philip, “About whom, may I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?” 35Then Philip began to speak, and starting with this scripture, he proclaimed to him the good news about Jesus. 36As they were going along the road, they came to some water; and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water! What is to prevent me from being baptized?” [37And Phillip said,“If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he replied, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”] 38He commanded the chariot to stop, and both of them, Philip and the eunuch, went down into the water, and Philip baptized him. 39When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away; the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing. 40But Philip found himself at Azotus, and as he was passing through the region, he proclaimed the good news to all the towns until he came to Caesarea.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silence paying attention to the deep breath.
  • Who has proclaimed to you the good news about Jesus?
  • How have the scriptures been opened for you?
  • What study has been most meaningful for you?
  • What led to your baptism in Christ?
  • Did anything prevent you from being baptized?
  • As you search your heart today, what is preventing you from living your baptism fully?
  • The Living Water is present.
  • What do you need to repent to turn back fully to Christ?
  • Feel the cleansing of the water as you let go of anything keeping you from Christ.
  • Savor this moment of peace.
  • As you go about your day living your baptism as fully a possible, tap into this place of peace and love.
  • 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, May 6, 2012, the Fifth Sunday of Easter Year B

Acts 8:26-40
Psalm 22:25-31
1 John 4:7-21
John 15:1-8

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.

Journaling with the Good Shepherd

The Good Shepherd

The Good Shepherd always walks in front
Gently leading the way,
Never behind driving or pushing,
But lovingly guiding each day;
And when a sheep wanders away
From the security of this place,
The Shepherd corrects the wayward one
In love, mercy, and grace.
He protects from harm and fear
All that follow His lead,
His rod and staff guard and comfort,
And His hand meets every need;
He provides beautiful green pastures –
Rest for the weary and weak,
Revival, strength and vigor…
Peace and joy to reap.
He sets a table in the wilderness
With manna from on high,
And leads beside the still waters
That refresh and satisfy.
Oh, what love and tender care,
Such blessings God bestows
Upon the sheep that closely follow
The way The Shepherd goes.

by Connie C Bratcher

Jesus said: “I am the good Shepherd, and know my sheep,
and am known of mine.”
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me”
(John 10:14, 27)

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying attention to the deep breath.
  • Today I invite you to journal with the Good Shepherd.
  • Journaling in prayer is an art that allows you to pray in a new way with your body.  It allows a stream of consciousness and prayer to be captured in your writing.
  • Use the photo or the poem to begin your prayer with the Good Shepherd.
  • Consider some of the following questions, or ask your own.
  • As you write, do not pick up the pen.  Allow the words to flow with no respect to grammar or spelling.  Allow yourself to be fully present to God in writing.
  • Come Holy Spirit, come.
  • Remember an experience when you know the Good Shepherd was leading you beside still waters.
  • What tempted you to leave the stillness?
  • How did the Good Shepherd protect you?
  • How did the Good Shepherd heal you?
  • How did the Good Shepherd feed you?
  • How did you respond to the Good Shepherd?
  • How do you need the Good Shepherd to lead you today?
  • As you finish your written thoughts and prayers, read back over them.
  • What theme or focus captures you?
  • What is God’s message for you?
  • Give thanks to God for the Good Shepherd, 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.

Praying with art: The Good Shepherd

  • 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.
  • Begin to open yourself to the painting of the Good Shepherd.
  • What captures your attention?
  • Focus on that which captures your attention.
  • Imagine now you are entering the painting.
  • Look around.  Notice the details.
  • Who are you as you become part of the painting?  A sheep?  A passerby?  A villager?
  • As you come closer to that which captures your attention, what do you notice?
  • What else to you see?
  • What do you hear?
  • Who else is with you?
  • How does Jesus call his sheep?
  • What do you recognize in Jesus’ voice?
  • What feelings arise?
  • Are there any surprises?
  • Hear Jesus call you.
  • What do you hear?
  • What do you feel?
  • How do you respond?
  • What is God’s message for you today?
  • Give thanks to God for the Good Shepherd, this time in prayer and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

John 10:11-18 – Celebrate the Good Shepherd

JOHN 10:11-18

11“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12The hired hand, who is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away — and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13The hired hand runs away because a hired hand does not care for the sheep. 14I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep. 16I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. 17For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. 18No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again. I have received this command from my Father.”

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying attention to the deep breath.
  • The Good Shepherd is calling the flock to follow.
  • What do you hear?
  • How do you follow?
  • How does Jesus know you?
  • How do you know Jesus’ voice?
  • What sheep not currently in the fold will Jesus bring in?
  • How will they know his voice?
  • What part of you needs to be brought into the fold?
  • What do you need to hear from your Good Shepherd?
  • Believe that Jesus has the power to help his sheep.
  • Jesus wants to help you.
  • Give thanks to God for the Good Shepherd, 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.