4For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, so that by steadfastness and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope. 5May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in harmony with one another, in accordance with Christ Jesus, 6so that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
7Welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. 8For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the circumcised on behalf of the truth of God in order that he might confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, 9and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written,
“Therefore I will confess you among the Gentiles,
and sing praises to your name”;
10and again he says,
“Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people”;
“Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles,
and let all the peoples praise him”;
12and again Isaiah says,
“The root of Jesse shall come,
the one who rises to rule the Gentiles;
in him the Gentiles shall hope.”
13May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
- 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.
- Bring your attention to a place where you feel welcome.
- Notice the compassion that accompanies welcome.
- What other words, feelings, senses emerge?
- Embrace welcome.
- Bring your attention to a place where you feel unwelcome.
- What is the obstacle to compassion?
- How is God inviting you to respond with hospitality?
- Embrace and welcome any feelings that come.
- Listen to them as a gentle and loving voice from beyond.
- What is God’s message for you?
- Give thanks to God for this time in prayer and any discoveries that have emerged.
- Share as you feel led in the reply box below.
Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, December 8, 2019, the Second Sunday of Advent (Year A)
Psalm 72:1-7, 18-19
If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings. (c) 2019 The Rev. Dr. Lil Smith, DASD
Rev. Dr. Lil Smith is a trained spiritual director, supervisor, and co-founder of Retreat House Spirituality Center in Richardson, TX. Upon completion of her spiritual direction certification, Lil began Praying the Lectionary in 2011 as a spiritual practice for her morning prayer time. Instead of reading about someone else’s experience of God, it was important for her to create a prayer practice that would encourage felt sense experience of the Holy emerging from within. It dawned on her others might enjoy the practice, as well. So she began to share them on this site.
As you experience the practice of Praying the Lectionary, adopt a loving, caring, and compassionate stance. If the end of your prayer and meditation time is not pointing to love and hope, there is more work to do. Keep wrestling. God is faithful to your journey. Love and hope will emerge. Be gentle with yourself and befriend any judgment that arises in you.