Advent: Abound in Hope- Romans 15:4-13

Romans 15:4-13

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”;
11and again,
     “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)

Isaiah 11:1-10
Psalm 72:1-7, 18-19
Romans 15:4-13
Matthew 3:1-12

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.

Matthew 25:31-46 – Are you feeding the hungry?

31“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. 32All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, 33and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. 34Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; 35for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ 37Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink?38And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? 39And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ 40And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’ 41Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; 42for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?’ 45Then he will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying attention to the deep breath.
  • How have you been blessed by God?
  • How have you been a blessing to others?
  • What new blessings are you called to give to others?
  • How is your hunger fed, your thirst quenched?
  • Who feeds you?
  • Who welcomes you?
  • Who are you to welcome?
  • What is the message from God?
  • What call to action do you hear?
  • Give thanks to God for this time to recognize blessings and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, November 26, 2017, Christ the King (Reign of Christ) Sunday (Year A)
Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24
Psalm 100: 1-5
Ephesians 1:15-23
Matthew 25:31-46

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author.
Permission to use in not-for-profit settings  (c) 2017 The Rev. Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD

Matthew 25:31-46 Sheep and Goats

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying close attention to the breath.
  • Consider sheep and goats living together in community.
  • What word or image captures your attention in this photo?
  • What does this word or image say about God?
  • What does this word or image say about you, a human being?
  • What does this word or image say about your responsibility to your neighbor?
  • Consider this photo again as it contains a message for you from God.  What is God’s message for you?
  • Beyond you, how does this message relate to your community?
  • Is there a call to action?
  • Give thanks for this time in prayer to listen to God’s message and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, November 30, 2011, Christ the King Sunday Year A
Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24
Psalm 100: 1-5
Ephesians 1:15-23
Matthew 25:31-46
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

Matthew 25:31-46 Are you feeding the hungry?

31“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. 32All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, 33and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. 34Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; 35for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ 37Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink?38And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? 39And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ 40And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’ 41Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; 42for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?’ 45Then he will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying attention to the deep breath.
  • How have you been blessed by God?
  • How have you been a blessing to others?
  • What new blessings are you called to give to others?
  • How is your hunger fed, your thirst quenched?
  • Who feeds you?
  • Who welcomes you?
  • Who are you to welcome?
  • What is the message from God?
  • What call to action do you hear?
  • Give thanks to God for this time to recognize blessings and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, November 30, 2011, Christ the King Sunday Year A
Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24
Psalm 100: 1-5
Ephesians 1:15-23
Matthew 25:31-46
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