We Played the Flute for You and You Did Not Dance: Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30

Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30

16“But to what will I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to one another,
17  ‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance;
we wailed, and you did not mourn.’
18For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon’; 19the Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.”

25At that time Jesus said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; 26yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. 27All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.

28“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silence bringing your attention to the Breath.
  • Do a scan of your body to reveal a heavy burden you are carrying.
  • Notice how you carry this burden with you.
  • Notice the energy this burden consumes.
  • Notice how this burden is harsh and heavy and judging.
  • Notice how this burden keeps you from dancing and mourning.
  • Notice how this burden numbs you.
  • Now, take on the yoke of Jesus.
  • Invite gentle and humble and rest.
  • Breathe deeply and rest.
  • Let go of your burden as you lean into the burden of Jesus the Christ.
  • Lean into the burden until you find freedom there.
  • How do you want to dance?
  • 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, July 5, 2020, the Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Genesis 24:34-38, 42-49, 58-67
Psalm 45:10-17
Song of Solomon 2:8-13
Romans 7:15-25a
Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30

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.

Wednesday of Holy Week – Let us lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely

HEBREWS 12:1-3

1Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, 2looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.

3Consider him who endured such hostility against himself from sinners, so that you may not grow weary or lose heart.

  • 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 breath, begin to recall the great cloud of witnesses surrounding you.
  • Who comes to mind?
  • What race did they run?
  • What perseverance was given to them?
  • How was Christ glorified in their race?
  • Allow yourself to be held by the great cloud of witnesses.
  • Feel the warmth of their breath and the gentle strength of their hands.
  • Consider the race that God has set before you.
  • What strength do you need to persevere?
  • What weight do you need to be lifted from you?
  • What sin do you need to be set away from you?
  • Draw strength from the witnesses holding you.  Draw strength from Christ.
  • Where do you notice this new strength in your body?
  • Remember the path to this strength so you may draw upon it when you are in need of strength for perseverance.
  • Give thanks to God for this time in prayer, for the great cloud of witnesses and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

ISAIAH 50:4-9A

4   The Lord GOD has given me
the tongue of a teacher,
that I may know how to sustain
the weary with a word.
Morning by morning he wakens —
wakens my ear
to listen as those who are taught.
5   The Lord GOD has opened my ear,
and I was not rebellious,
I did not turn backward.
6   I gave my back to those who struck me,
and my cheeks to those who pulled out the beard;
I did not hide my face
from insult and spitting.

7   The Lord GOD helps me;
therefore I have not been disgraced;
therefore I have set my face like flint,
and I know that I shall not be put to shame;
8        he who vindicates me is near.
Who will contend with me?
Let us stand up together.
Who are my adversaries?
Let them confront me.
9a  It is the Lord GOD who helps me;
who will declare me guilty?

PSALM 70:1-5

1   Be pleased, O God, to deliver me.
O LORD, make haste to help me!
2   Let those be put to shame and confusion
who seek my life.
Let those be turned back and brought to dishonor
who desire to hurt me.
3   Let those who say, “Aha, Aha!”
turn back because of their shame.

4   Let all who seek you
rejoice and be glad in you.
Let those who love your salvation
say evermore, “God is great!”
5   But I am poor and needy;
hasten to me, O God!
You are my help and my deliverer;
O LORD, do not delay!

GOSPEL JOHN 13:21-32

21After saying this Jesus was troubled in spirit, and declared, “Very truly, I tell you, one of you will betray me.” 22The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he was speaking. 23One of his disciples — the one whom Jesus loved — was reclining next to him; 24Simon Peter therefore motioned to him to ask Jesus of whom he was speaking. 25So while reclining next to Jesus, he asked him, “Lord, who is it?” 26Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.” So when he had dipped the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas son of Simon Iscariot. 27After he received the piece of bread, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, “Do quickly what you are going to do.” 28Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him.29Some thought that, because Judas had the common purse, Jesus was telling him, “Buy what we need for the festival”; or, that he should give something to the poor. 30So, after receiving the piece of bread, he immediately went out. And it was night.

31When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. 32 If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once.”

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Wednesday, April 4, 2012, the Wednesday of Holy Week Year B
Isaiah 50:4-9a
Psalm70:1-5
Hebrews 12:1-3
John 13:21-32

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