1After this Jesus went to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, also called the Sea of Tiberias. 2A large crowd kept following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing for the sick. 3Jesus went up the mountain and sat down there with his disciples. 4Now the Passover, the festival of the Jews, was near. 5When he looked up and saw a large crowd coming towards him, Jesus said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread for these people to eat?” 6He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he was going to do. 7Philip answered him, “Six months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little.” 8One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, 9“There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish. But what are they among so many people?” 10Jesus said, “Make the people sit down.” Now there was a great deal of grass in the place; so they sat down, about five thousand in all. 11Then Jesus took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated; so also the fish, as much as they wanted. 12When they were satisfied, he told his disciples, “Gather up the fragments left over, so that nothing may be lost.” 13So they gathered them up, and from the fragments of the five barley loaves, left by those who had eaten, they filled twelve baskets. 14When the people saw the sign that he had done, they began to say, “This is indeed the prophet who is to come into the world.”
15When Jesus realized that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, he withdrew again to the mountain by himself.
16When evening came, his disciples went down to the lake, 17got into a boat, and started across the lake to Capernaum. It was now dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. 18The lake became rough because a strong wind was blowing. 19When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the lake and coming near the boat, and they were terrified. 20But he said to them, “It is I; do not be afraid.” 21Then they wanted to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the land towards which they were going.
- 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, allow the breath to fill you abundantly.
- Feel each part of your body become filled with the breath from head to toe.
- Become aware of the fresh oxygen awakening, nurturing, feeding your body.
- Imagine sitting with the five thousand. You see the boy with five barley loaves and two fish. You know this will not be enough.
- Yet you witness the abundance to feed five thousand with leftovers.
- How does it feel to be filled in abundance with holy food?
- What response in Christ arises in you?
- Imagine gathering the leftovers.
- Who is hungry and needs to be fed?
- Imagine getting in the boat to take the food to those who are hungry.
- Yet a strong wind spoils the plan and you are afraid.
- What fear arises in you?
- What fear(s) are you encountering in your life today?
- Jesus says, “It is I, do not be afraid.”
- Hear these words as you come back to your breath. Allow these words to be in the oxygen flowing throughout your body. Do not be afraid.
- Let go of your fear so you may be able to receive the abundance Christ has to give to you.
- What is Christ’s invitation for you today?
- 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 25, 2021, the Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B)
2 Samuel 11:1-15
If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings. (c) 2021 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 training, 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.