Epiphany: They Were Overwhelmed with Joy – Matthew 2:1-12

Matthew 2:1-12

1In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, 2asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.” 3When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; 4and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. 5They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet:
6   ‘And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
who is to shepherd my people Israel.’”

7Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. 8Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage.” 9When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. 11On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. 12And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.

  • 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 settle into your breath, visualize the star that led the wise men.
  • Notice the light that is cast on the path.
  • Visualize the journey to the Christ child, bathed in light.
  • God has called you to a journey, as well.
  • Where is the light that shows you the way?
  • Visualize this light.
  • Notice the light that is cast on the path.
  • Stay focused on the light that is leading you.
  • What do you need to let go to follow the light?
  • What false messages do you hear?
  • Ask God to show you the new path home.
  • What is the next step to follow the light?
  • What is God’s message for you?
  • Notice the joy that fills 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 Monday, January 6, 2020, the Epiphany of the Lord  (Year A)

Isaiah 60:1-6
Psalm 72:1-7, 10-14
Ephesians 3:1-12
Matthew 2:1-12

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.

Epiphany: The Magi Matter – Isaiah 60:1-6

Isaiah 60:1-6

1   Arise, shine; for your light has come,
and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you.
2   For darkness shall cover the earth,
and thick darkness the peoples;
but the LORD will arise upon you,
and his glory will appear over you.
3   Nations shall come to your light,
and kings to the brightness of your dawn.

4   Lift up your eyes and look around;
they all gather together, they come to you;
your sons shall come from far away,
and your daughters shall be carried on their nurses’ arms.
5   Then you shall see and be radiant;
your heart shall thrill and rejoice,
because the abundance of the sea shall be brought to you,
the wealth of the nations shall come to you.
6   A multitude of camels shall cover you,
the young camels of Midian and Ephah;
all those from Sheba shall come.
They shall bring gold and frankincense,
and shall proclaim the praise of the LORD.

  • Light a candle to remember the presence of Christ with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying close attention to the deep breath.
  • As you settle into your breath, consider your Advent experience this year.
  • What darkness did you identity?
  • What light does the coming of Christ again shine on the darkness?
  • Sit in this light.
  • Allow this light to be poured over you.
  • Allow this light to penetrate you and reach every inch of you.
  • Notice how the light beckons you to respond.
  • Allow this response to grow in you.
  • What gold and frankincense shall you bring to the Lord?
  • Look for the star to guide you to the Lord.
  • Listen for 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 Monday, January 6, 2020, the Epiphany of the Lord  (Year A)

Isaiah 60:1-6
Psalm 72:1-7, 10-14
Ephesians 3:1-12
Matthew 2:1-12

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.

Luke 6:17-26 – Woe to You Who Are Rich, Full, and Laughing

Luke 6:17-26

17He came down with them and stood on a level place, with a great crowd of his disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea, Jerusalem, and the coast of Tyre and Sidon. 18They had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases; and those who were troubled with unclean spirits were cured. 19And all in the crowd were trying to touch him, for power came out from him and healed all of them.

20Then he looked up at his disciples and said:

“Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.

21“Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you will be filled.

“Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.

22“Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude you, revile you, and defame you on account of the Son of Man.23Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, for surely your reward is great in heaven; for that is what their ancestors did to the prophets.

24“But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation.

25“Woe to you who are full now, for you will be hungry.

“Woe to you who are laughing now, for you will mourn and weep.

26“Woe to you when all speak well of you, for that is what their ancestors did to the false prophets.

  • 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 inhale, breathe in life
  • As you exhale, let go of things that suck the life out of you.
  • Continue this practice until you are at peace, feeling freedom.
  • Jesus reminds us that the Beatitudes are our guide to right living.
  • Turning away from the Beatitudes is false living.
  • We must look for God-centered moments in our lives.
  • It is a God-centered moment because God gives you new life.
  • Do a quick check-in with yourself and notice where a woe is keeping you from authentic life with Christ.
  • Name this woe and invite Christ into the woe.
  • Is there a Beatitude into which Christ invites you?
  • Dialogue with Christ to seek and embrace the new life Christ has for you.
  • How do you desire to seek freedom from the woe to be giving new life in Christ?
  • Name the new life Christ wants to give you.
  • Sit with new life and notice how this new life brings you Holy Love.
  • What is important about remembering this new life and Holy Love today?
  • 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, February 17, 2019, the Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)

Jeremiah 17:5-10
Psalm 1:1-6
1 Corinthians 15:12-20
Luke 6:17-26

(c) 2019 The Rev. Dr. Lil Smith, DASD.  Permission to use in not-for-profit settings.  Please give credit to author.

1 Corinthians 15:12-20 – Resurrection Matters

1 Corinthians 15:12-20

12Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say there is no resurrection of the dead? 13If there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised; 14and if Christ has not been raised, then our proclamation has been in vain and your faith has been in vain. 15We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified of God that he raised Christ-whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. 16For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised. 17If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. 18Then those also who have died in Christ have perished. 19If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.

20But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have died.

  • 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 inhale, breathe in life
  • As you exhale, let go of things that suck the life out of you.
  • Continue this practice until you are at peace, feeling freedom.
  • The Apostle Paul reminds us that Resurrection matters.
  • We must look for Resurrection moments in our lives.
  • It is a Resurrection moment because God gives you new life.
  • Recall a Resurrection moment you have experienced.
  • Name the life that was given to you.
  • Sit with the life and notice how this new life brings you Holy Love.
  • What is important about remembering this new life and Holy Love today?
  • Is there something in your life today that you need to let go so that God can give you new life?
  • 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, February 17, 2019, the Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)

Jeremiah 17:5-10
Psalm 1:1-6
1 Corinthians 15:12-20
Luke 6:17-26

(c) 2019 The Rev. Dr. Lil Smith, DASD.  Permission to use in not-for-profit settings.  Please give credit to author.