Ash Wednesday: Now Is the Acceptable Time – 2 Corinthians 5:20b-6:10

YouTube Poster

 

2 Corinthians 5:20b-6:10

5:20bwe 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.

6:1As we work together with him, we urge you also not to accept the grace of God in vain. 2For he says,
“At an acceptable time I have listened to you,
and on a day of salvation I have helped you.”
See, now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation! 3We are putting no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, 4but as servants of God we have commended ourselves in every way: through great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, 5beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; 6by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, holiness of spirit, genuine love, 7truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; 8in honor and dishonor, in ill repute and good repute. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; 9as unknown, and yet are well known; as dying, and see — we are alive; as punished, and yet not killed; 10as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing everything

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes, bringing your attention to the Breath.
  • Remember a time of grace in your life, a time when you know you encountered the Holy One.
  • In the season of Lent, we are invited to bring our hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labor, sleepless nights and hunger.  We are invited to take them into the wilderness and examine them.
  • What is it in me that needs to respond to these hardships?
  • How are my deepest desires threatened in these hardships?
  • Seek God in these hardships.  knowing God is not causing these hardships, how is God present for you?
  • How does God desire for you to respond?
  • Where do you find the purity of God:  in knowledge, patience, kindness, holiness of spirit, genuine love, and truthful speech.  How does the fruit of the Spirit lead you to respond?
  • 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 Wednesday, March 2, 2022, Ash Wednesday (Year C)

Joel 2:1-2, 12-17
Isaiah 58:1-12
Psalm 51:1-17
2 Corinthians 5:20b-6:20
Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings.  (c) 2022 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.

The Presentation of the Lord

MALACHI 3:1-4

1See, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple. The messenger of the covenant in whom you delight — indeed, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts. 2But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap; 3he will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the descendants of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, until they present offerings to the Lord in righteousness. 4Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old and as in former years.

 PSALM 84:1-12

1   How lovely is your dwelling place,
O Lord of hosts!
2   My soul longs, indeed it faints
for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and my flesh sing for joy
to the living God.

3   Even the sparrow finds a home,
and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may lay her young,
at your altars, O Lord of hosts,
my King and my God.
4   Happy are those who live in your house,
ever singing your praise.                          Selah

5   Happy are those whose strength is in you,
in whose heart are the highways to Zion.
6   As they go through the valley of Baca
ithey make it a place of springs;
ithe early rain also covers it with pools.
7   They go from strength to strength;
ithe God of gods will be seen in Zion.

8   O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer;
give ear, O God of Jacob!                          Selah
9   Behold our shield, O God;
look on the face of your anointed.

10  For a day in your courts is better
than a thousand elsewhere.
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
than live in the tents of wickedness.
11  For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
he bestows favor and honor.
No good thing does the Lord withhold
from those who walk uprightly.
12  O Lord of hosts,
happy is everyone who trusts in you.

SECOND READING HEBREWS 2:14-18

14Since, therefore, the children share flesh and blood, he himself likewise shared the same things, so that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, 15and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by the fear of death. 16For it is clear that he did not come to help angels, but the descendants of Abraham. 17Therefore he had to become like his brothers and sisters in every respect, so that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make a sacrifice of atonement for the sins of the people. 18Because he himself was tested by what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested.

GOSPEL LUKE 2:22-40

22When the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23(as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male shall be designated as holy to the Lord”), 24and they offered a sacrifice according to what is stated in the law of the Lord, “a pair of turtle-doves or two young pigeons.” 25Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; this man was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him. 26It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27Guided by the Spirit, Simeon came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him what was customary under the law, 28Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying,
29  “Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace,
according to your word;
30  for my eyes have seen your salvation,
31       which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
32  a light for revelation to the Gentiles
and for glory to your people Israel.”

33And the child’s father and mother were amazed at what was being said about him. 34Then Simeon blessed them and said to his mother Mary, “This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed 35so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed — and a sword will pierce your own soul too.”

36There was also a prophet, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped there with fasting and prayer night and day. 38At that moment she came, and began to praise God and to speak about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem. 39When they had finished everything required by the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth.40The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit is silent meditation five to fifteen minutes paying attention to the deep breath.
  • As you pay attention to your deep breath, lower or close your eyes as you feel led, focusing on the inward voice.
  • Seek the truth of the Lord within you.
  • What word of Christ lives within you?
  • Savor this word of Christ.
  • What word of truth within you is Christ calling you to share?
  • Who will receive this word of truth?
  • What is Christ’s message for you?
  • Give thanks to God for this time in seeking the Truth and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Wednesday, February 2, 2022, the Presentation of the Lord Year C 
Malachi 3:1-4
Psalm 84:1-12
Hebrews 2:14-18
Luke 2:22-40

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author.
Permission to use in not-for-profit settings 
(c) 2022 The Rev. Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD

Pentecost: Let Anyone Who Is Thirsty Come to Me, John 7:37-39

John 7:37-39

37On the last day of the festival, the great day, while Jesus was standing there, he cried out, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, 38and let the one who believes in me drink. As the scripture has said, ‘Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water.’” 39Now he said this about the Spirit, which believers in him were to receive; for as yet there was no Spirit, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silence bringing your attention to the Breath.
  • Jesus has been glorified.
  • Yet we still thirst.
  • What part of you is thirsty today?
  • What do you desire from the One who gives living water?
  • Let the one who believes drink.
  • Drink.
  • Drink.
  • Drink.
  • Drink until the water is flowing rivers from your heart.
  • Encounter the world today with rivers flowing from your heart.
  • 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, May 23, 2021, the Day of Pentecost, Year B

Acts 2:1-21
Psalm 104:24-34,35b
Romans 8:22-27
John 7:37-39

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.

Anointed to Bring Good News: Luke 4:14-21

Luke 4:14-21

14Then Jesus, filled with the power of the Spirit, returned to Galilee, and a report about him spread through all the surrounding country. 15He began to teach in their synagogues and was praised by everyone.

16When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written: 18“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, 19to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” 20And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21Then he began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silence bringing your attention to the Breath.
  • Focus on each phrase of the scripture as Jesus reads it to you today. Listen deeply for an invitation in each message:
    • The Spirit of the Lord is upon me [pause and listen]
    • Because he has anointed me [pause and listen]
    • To bring good news to the poor [pause and listen]
    • He has sent me [pause and listen]
    • To proclaim release to the captives [pause and listen]
    • To proclaim recovery of sight to the blind [pause and listen]
    • To let the oppressed go free [pause and listen]
    • To proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor [pause and listen]
  • Which statement of good news captures your attention the most today?
  • What is your invitation 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.

As we embrace a new beginning in the United States of America today, may we be blessed to remain grounded in our faith and to respond to our neighbors with Good News as it is revealed in the Fruit of the Spirit.

Be the peace.

With a grateful heart,

Lil

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.

In Memory Martin Luther King, Jr: In Spite of Persecution You Received the Word with Joy: 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10

Matt Herron Selma-Montgomery, Alabama 3/21/1965: March leaders (wearing leis) prepare to leave Selma at the start of the third march. From left to right: John Lewis, a nun, Ralph Abernathy, Martin Luther King, Ralph Bunche, and Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel.

1 Thessalonians 1:1-10

1Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace.

2We always give thanks to God for all of you and mention you in our prayers, constantly 3remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. 4For we know, brothers and sisters beloved by God, that he has chosen you, 5because our message of the gospel came to you not in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of persons we proved to be among you for your sake. 6And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for in spite of persecution you received the word with joy inspired by the Holy Spirit, 7so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. 8For the word of the Lord has sounded forth from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but in every place your faith in God has become known, so that we have no need to speak about it. 9For the people of those regions report about us what kind of welcome we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols, to serve a living and true God, 10and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead — Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath that is coming.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silence bringing your attention to the Breath.
  • Today is a new beginning.
  • Today is a new beginning for the church.
  • Hear the good news proclaimed, the hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
  • Yet, there are those in your circles of influence who persecute in the name of God and tempt you to return to other idols.
  • Remember anew why you turn to God in Christ.
  • Remember anew the hope you carry.
  • Remember anew the vision of a world at peace.
  • Remember anew the love within.
  • 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.

As we remember Dr. King today, can you see the dream? 

Be the dream.

With a grateful heart,

Lil

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.

Christmas Eve: Jesus Is Born for You, for Us, for the World – Luke 2:1-14 (15-20)

Gospel Luke 2:1-14 (15-20)

1In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3All went to their own towns to be registered. 4Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. 5He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. 6While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. 7And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

8In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see — I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: 11to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. 12This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” 13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,
14  “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
          and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”

15When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. 17When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; 18and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. 19But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. 20The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit in silence five to fifteen minutes inviting the light of the candle to guide you.
  • Treasure these words:
  • Do not be afraid.
  • I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people.
  • To you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.
  • This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.
  • Glory to God in the highest heaven,
    and on earth peace among those whom he favors!
  • Like Mary, ponder these words in your heart.
  • Jesus is born this day for you.
  • What is God’s invitation for you?
  • Give thanks to God for this time of new life and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Thursday, December 24, 2020,  Christmas Eve Year B 

Isaiah 9:2-7
Psalm 96:1-13
Titus 2:11-14
Luke 2:1-14 (15-20)

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings.  (c) 2020 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.

Photo credit: Mary and Joseph kneel at the crib of the infant Christ in this detail of an icon from the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. The Dec. 25 Christmas feast commemorates the birth of Christ. The Christmas season begins with the Dec. 24 evening vigil and ends on the feast of the Baptism of the Lord, Jan. 13 in 2008. (CNS photo/Debbie Hill) (Nov. 27, 2007)

Share this: