John 11:1-45 – Unbind him and let him go

John 11:1-45

1Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2Mary was the one who anointed the Lord with perfume and wiped his feet with her hair; her brother Lazarus was ill. 3So the sisters sent a message to Jesus, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.” 4But when Jesus heard it, he said, “This illness does not lead to death; rather it is for God’s glory, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” 5Accordingly, though Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus, 6after having heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was.

7Then after this he said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.” 8The disciples said to him, “Rabbi, the Jews were just now trying to stone you, and are you going there again?” 9Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Those who walk during the day do not stumble, because they see the light of this world. 10But those who walk at night stumble, because the light is not in them.” 11After saying this, he told them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I am going there to awaken him.” 12The disciples said to him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will be all right.” 13Jesus, however, had been speaking about his death, but they thought that he was referring merely to sleep. 14Then Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead. 15For your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” 16Thomas, who was called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”

17When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. 18Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, some two miles away, 19and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them about their brother. 20When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, while Mary stayed at home. 21Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask of him.” 23Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” 24Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” 25Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, 26and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” 27She said to him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one coming into the world.”

28When she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary, and told her privately, “The Teacher is here and is calling for you.” 29And when she heard it, she got up quickly and went to him. 30Now Jesus had not yet come to the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. 31The Jews who were with her in the house, consoling her, saw Mary get up quickly and go out. They followed her because they thought that she was going to the tomb to weep there. 32When Mary came where Jesus was and saw him, she knelt at his feet and said to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, he was greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved. 34He said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” 35Jesus began to weep. 36So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” 37But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”

38Then Jesus, again greatly disturbed, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. 39Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, already there is a stench because he has been dead four days.” 40Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” 41So they took away the stone. And Jesus looked upward and said, “Father, I thank you for having heard me. 42I knew that you always hear me, but I have said this for the sake of the crowd standing here, so that they may believe that you sent me.” 43When he had said this, he cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with strips of cloth, and his face wrapped in a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”

45Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silence bringing your attention to the Breath.
  • Today, imagine you are Lazarus.
  • You are alone in the tomb.
  • You are bound by death.
  • You are alone and bound, but there is a shimmer of light that shines around the door of the tomb that is filled with the hope of the new life that is to come.
  • Notice where you are bound.
  • Begin to breathe into the place that you are bound.
  • Invite the Breath to breathe new life into this place.
  • Feel the pulse begin to be restored.
  • Notice how this new life wants to move and be freed.
  • Hear the crowd outside the tomb that is weeping for you.
  • See the light shine in the darkness as the door of the tomb is rolled away.
  • Let the light bring you energy.
  • Hear the words of Jesus, “Lazarus, come out!”
  • See yourself walking out of the tomb.  Inhale the life around you.  Exhale the death that bound you.
  • See the people who were weeping are now dancing with joy.
  • Jesus tells them to unbind you.
  • Who will be the ones in the crowd to unbind you and let you go.
  • Who will be the ones to free you from the funeral cloth?
  • Allow them to unbind you.
  • Embrace the freedom.
  • 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, April 2, 2017, the Fifth Sunday in Lent (Year A)

Ezekiel 37:1-14
Psalm 130
Romans 8:6-11
John 11:1-45

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

Romans 8:6-11 – To set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace

Romans 8:6-11

6To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7For this reason the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law — indeed it cannot, 8and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

9But you are not in the flesh; you are in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10But if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silence bringing your attention to the Breath.
  • Inhale Spirit.
  • Exhale flesh.
  • Inhale life.
  • Exhale hostility.
  • Inhale peace.
  • Exhale stubbornness.
  • As you inhale, feel Breath bring life to every part of you.
  • What is awakening in you?
  • How does the Christ in you desire to respond?
  • Become present to the peace within you.
  • Allow your attention to move to the world around you.
  • How does the Christ in you desire to respond to the world around you?
  • Where do you encounter Christ in the world around you?
  • As you examine the world around you, who needs to know the love of Christ today?
  • How will you connect with the Christ in the other today?
  • Invite the Spirit to accompany you and guide 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, April 2, 2017, the Fifth Sunday in Lent (Year A)

Ezekiel 37:1-14
Psalm 130
Romans 8:6-11
John 11:1-45

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

Psalm 130 – I wait for the Lord

Psalm 130

1   Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD.
2        Lord, hear my voice!
Let your ears be attentive
to the voice of my supplications!

3   If you, O LORD, should mark iniquities,
Lord, who could stand?
4   But there is forgiveness with you,
so that you may be revered.

5   I wait for the LORD, my soul waits,
and in his word I hope;
6   my soul waits for the Lord
more than those who watch for the morning,
more than those who watch for the morning.

7   O Israel, hope in the LORD!
For with the LORD there is steadfast love,
and with him is great power to redeem.
8   It is he who will redeem Israel
from all its iniquities.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silence bringing your attention to the Breath.
  • Allow the Breath to free you in this prayer time.
  • As you hold the freedom, notice how you are waiting for the Lord.
  • How is your soul waiting?
  • What is the word in which you hope?
  • Allow this word of hope to permeate you.
  • Let the word of hope reach places of doubt and despair.
  • Let the word of hope reach places of darkness and denial.
  • How does the Lord want to love you?
  • How does the Lord want to redeem you?
  • How does this Hope bring new life?
  • 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, April 2, 2017, the Fifth Sunday in Lent (Year A)

Ezekiel 37:1-14
Psalm 130
Romans 8:6-11
John 11:1-45

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

Ezekiel 37:1-14 – Prophesy to the Breath

Ezekiel 37:1-14

1The hand of the LORD came upon me, and he brought me out by the spirit of the LORD and set me down in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. 2He led me all around them; there were very many lying in the valley, and they were very dry. 3He said to me, “Mortal, can these bones live?” I answered, “O Lord GOD, you know.” 4Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them: O dry bones, hear the word of the LORD. 5Thus says the Lord GOD to these bones: I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. 6I will lay sinews on you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live; and you shall know that I am the LORD.”

7So I prophesied as I had been commanded; and as I prophesied, suddenly there was a noise, a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone. 8I looked, and there were sinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them; but there was no breath in them. 9Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, mortal, and say to the breath: Thus says the Lord GOD: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.” 10I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood on their feet, a vast multitude.

11Then he said to me, “Mortal, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are cut off completely.’ 12Therefore prophesy, and say to them, Thus says the Lord GOD: I am going to open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people; and I will bring you back to the land of Israel. 13And you shall know that I am the LORD, when I open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people. 14I will put my spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you on your own soil; then you shall know that I, the LORD, have spoken and will act,” says 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.
  • Let your attention settle on one dry bone in you that needs to live again.
  • Let the Breath reach that bone.
  • Inhale the Breath to that bone.
  • Invite the Breath to awaken that bone.
  • Feel that bone begin to stir.
  • Inhale the Breath to that bone.
  • Feel the sinews grow, then the flesh rise, and finally the skin cover the bone that desires to live again.
  • Prophesy to the Lord.
  • “Breathe upon this bone that it may live again.”
  • “Breathe upon this bone that it may move again.”
  • “Breathe upon this bone that it may dance again.”
  • Let go of anything holding you in the grave and let God bring you up and out into the light.
  • Feel the Holy Spirit, the Breath of Life within you.
  • Dance on the soil.
  • Breathe.
  • 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, April 2, 2017, the Fifth Sunday in Lent (Year A)

Ezekiel 37:1-14
Psalm 130
Romans 8:6-11
John 11:1-45

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