His Eyes Took Us In

Good Friday
April 2, 2021

 

Opening
Holy God, quiet us this day and deepen us that we may be present to you in it.

Reflection
Oh Lord, how do we begin to take in the day’s events? Make us like the women who journeyed with you to the cross and remained there with you.

Invitation
Read the scripture through slowly, pausing where you are drawn. Take as long as you need. Imagine you are there as one of the women who journey with Him there. As you read, keep your eyes on Jesus. Listen to His words. Imagine His face as He speaks. What do you see in His eyes? Watch His actions. How does He respond? Stay focused on Him as you read. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you in your prayerful reading.

Scripture: Read John 19:1-6, 14-19, 28-30
“Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. And the soldiers wove a crown of thorns and put it on his head, and they dressed him in a purple robe. They kept coming up to him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and striking him on the face. Pilate went out again and said to them, “Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no case against him.” So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Here is the man!” When the chief priests and the police saw him, they shouted, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and crucify him; I find no case against him…Now it was the day of Preparation for the Passover; and it was about noon. He said to the Jews, “Here is your King!” They cried out, “Away with him! Away with him! Crucify him!” Pilate asked them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but the emperor.” Then he handed him over to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus; and carrying the cross by himself, he went out to what is called The Place of the Skull, which in Hebrew is called Golgotha. There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, with Jesus between them. Pilate also had an inscription written and put on the cross. It read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews… After this, when Jesus knew that all was now finished, he said (in order to fulfill the scripture), “I am thirsty.” A jar full of sour wine was standing there. So they put a sponge full of the wine on a branch of hyssop and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the wine, he said, “It is finished.” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.”

Prayer of Response
Oh God to whom we belong,
our hearts are full and heavy within.
Your heart, your eyes were ever on us.
Even in your darkest hour
Your eyes, your love took us in.
Our tears were on your face.
Oh such love we cannot comprehend.
We sit in silence, and gratitude for all of it.

Rev. Eva Sullivan-Knoff
Founder and Executive Director

Love Without Limits

Holy Thursday/Maundy Thursday
April 1, 2021

Opening
Lord, as we accompany You in these last days, make us evermore present to you.

Reflection
As we walk through these Holiest of days, may we be drawn ever closer to the One who loves without limit.

Invitation
Read the scripture slowly. Through prayerful imagination, put yourself in the story as an observer or as one of the disciples. Stay close to watch Jesus, his actions, his words, his responses.

Scripture: John 13:1- 5, 12,-15, 34, 35
“It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him… When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you… “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Prayer of Response
Compassionate One, It is hard to fathom these words, “Having loved his own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.” Are there such moving words anywhere other than these?
You know us in our very depths, our innermost secrets, our deepest thoughts, the ways we fail You, ourselves, and others, and yet, You love us to the end. Beyond our fears, beyond our doubts, You love us to the end. These words heal and transform. They inspire and encourage. They instill in us the desire to be more. They free us because we know Your love is without limits. It forgives and restores. Your love holds us always on both our darker days and our brighter ones like a child tenderly held by his/her parent. So let us come freely to You knowing nothing can separate us from your love for us. Glory be to God, Amen.

Rev. Eva Sullivan-Knoff, Founder and Executive Director

Palm Sunday

March 28, 2021
Holy Invitation

Opening
Lord, as we enter Holy Week, slow our steps and quiet our minds. Help us to be more present to you as we journey with you through this week.

Reflection
As we walk through this Holiest of weeks, may we be drawn ever closer to the One who loves without limit. May our faith be deepened and our lives be changed.

Invitation Read the scripture through slowly. The second time, enter the story through prayerful imagination. Take in the scene through all of your senses. Hear the hustle and bustle of the crowd. Feel the dust on your feet. Notice the dynamic in the air. The third time you read it, notice who you are in the story. What do you notice about Jesus? How do you experience Him? Is there an invitation that you sense from Him? Stay there to converse with Him, or just to be with Him.

Scripture: John 12:12-16
“The next day, the news that Jesus was on the way to Jerusalem swept through the city. A large crowd of Passover visitors took palm branches and went down the road to meet him. They shouted, “Praise God! Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hail to the King of Israel!” Jesus found a young donkey and rode on it, fulfilling the prophecy that said: “Don’t be afraid, people of Jerusalem. Look, your King is coming, riding on a donkey’s colt.” His disciples didn’t understand at the time that this was a fulfillment of prophecy. But after Jesus entered into his glory, they remembered what had happened and realized that these things had been written about him.”

Prayer of Response
Holy One, Your entry signifies all is changing. Let not our eyes be closed or our ears be stopped. It is not always comfortable where you lead, but it is life changing. Deepen our awareness of You Open us to your invitation to join you on this journey. It is indeed life-giving beyond all that we can fathom. Thank you from the depth of our hearts for walking this journey for us. May we accompany You. Amen.

Rev. Eva Sullivan-Knoff, Founder and Executive Director

Divine Purpose

Fifth Week of Lent
March 21, 2021

Opening
Lord, as we draw close to you in these moments, quiet us within that we may hear You. Transform us through our time with you.

Reflection
As we continue on this Lenten journey, may we be drawn ever closer to the One who loves without limit.

Invitation
Read the scripture through slowly a few times. The second time, notice the word or phrase to which where you are drawn. The third time, reflect on how this word or phrase speaks to your life right now.

Scripture: John 12: 23-28, 32,33
Jesus replied, “Now the time has come for the Son of Man to enter into his glory. I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives. Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity. Anyone who wants to serve me must follow me, because my servants must be where I am. And the Father will honor anyone who serves me. “Now my soul is deeply troubled. Should I pray, ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But this is the very reason I came! Father, bring glory to your name.” Then a voice spoke from heaven, saying, “I have already brought glory to my name, and I will do so again… And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself.” He said this to indicate how he was going to die.

Prayer of Response
Compassionate One, You saw what we did not. You knew what would bring life to us even though it would cost You so much. You never lost sight of this You kept it ever before You. You showed us the way so we could follow in your footsteps, serving as we have been served by You, loving, as we have been loved by You. Your way is totally different than ours. Thank you for your sacrificial love which gave all so we could know the joy of life with and in You. Jesus, Divine Beloved One, keep us near to you, whispering in our ears, so that we follow you always. Amen.

Rev. Eva Sullivan-Knoff, Founder and Executive Director

Life-Giving Love

Fourth Week of Lent
March 14, 2021

Opening
Lord, as we draw close to you in these moments, quiet us within that we may hear You. Transform us through our time with you.

Reflection
As we continue on this Lenten journey, may we be drawn ever closer to the One who loves without limit.

Invitation
Read the scripture through slowly a few times. The second time, notice the word or phrase to which where you are drawn. The third time, reflect on how this word or phrase speaks to your life right now.

Scripture: John 3:16
“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.”

Prayer of Response
Compassionate One, Your love is unfathomable. Seeing us in all the ways in which we are broken, You desired for more for us. You longed for our wholeness and wellbeing. You yearned for us, You who have loved us from the very beginning. What can we say to such a gift as this? May we offer you all that we are. May we entrust ourselves wholly to You that we may live in loving communion with You and reflect that life-giving love to others, Amen.

Rev. Eva Sullivan-Knoff, Founder and Executive Director

Sweeter than Honey

Third Week of Lent
March 7, 2021

Opening
Lord, as we draw close to you in these moments, quiet us within that we may hear You and follow where you lead.

Reflection
As we continue on this Lenten journey, we are reminded abiding in the Word brings life.

Invitation
Read the scripture through slowly a few times. The second time, notice the word or phrase to which where you are drawn. The third time, reflect on how this word or phrase speaks to your life right now.

Scripture: Psalm 19:7-10, 14
The instructions of the Lord are perfect, reviving the soul. The decrees of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The commandments of the Lord are right, bringing joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are clear, giving insight for living. Reverence for the Lord is pure, lasting forever. The laws of the Lord are true; each one is fair. They are more desirable than gold, even the finest gold. They are sweeter than honey, even honey dripping from the comb… May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.

Prayer of Response
Divine One, You have shown us the way of life It is found in You and in Your Word When we abide there, it permeates throughout our life and relationships as yeast does with the whole loaf. Forgive us when we move away from you and stray from Your life giving Word Your Word centers us and fills us It changes us and blesses us. Help us to feast on it that we may be nurtured and sustained through it. Transform us through it Divine One, That we may be reflections of your love and grace. Praise to You our good and gracious God, Amen.

Rev. Eva Sullivan-Knoff, Founder and Executive Director

Our True North

Second Week of Lent
February 28, 2021

Opening
Lord, as we draw close to you in these moments, quiet us within that we may hear You and follow where you lead.

Reflection
As we we enter the Lenten journey again, we are reminded that Jesus offers us the Words of life, as He is the Word that gifts us with life.

Invitation
Read the scripture through slowly a few times. The second time, notice the word or phrase to which where you are drawn. The third time, reflect on how this word or phrase speaks to your life right now.

Scripture: Mark 9:2-9
“Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no one on earth could bleach them. And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, who were talking with Jesus. Then Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” He did not know what to say, for they were terrified. Then a cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud there came a voice, “This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!” Suddenly when they looked around, they saw no one with them any more, but only Jesus. As they were coming down the mountain, he ordered them to tell no one about what they had seen, until after the Son of Man had risen from the dead.”

Prayer of Response
Our True North, How many times gracious God are we so easily distracted, and heading in the wrong direction. You remind us to quiet ourselves and just to listen, to listen deep within to your voice which resides within. When we don’t know what to do or what to say, when we feel out of sorts and have lost our way, help us to turn within once again, listening and following You. You are our True North. We are at home in you as you have made your home within us. Bless You our True North, Amen.

Rev. Eva Sullivan-Knoff, Founder and Executive Director

Dearly Loved

First Week of Lent
February 21, 2021

Opening
Lord, as we draw close to you in these moments, quiet us from all the noise within and from without. Stir us with your presence. Quicken us to hear your voice. Deepen your words, your truth, your love within us.

Reflection
Because of the pandemic and the layers of suffering that this last year has brought, we may feel more scattered than we normally do. We may find we have less energy, and fewer inner resources to draw upon. We may feel enshrouded in grief because there has just been too much. So before continuing, I invite us to just to take a few deep breaths for a moment or two… As we continue to breathe deeply, we enter the Lenten journey once again, reminded of how very deeply we are loved. Jesus not only meets us where we are, but He enters into our human story, and into the very fabric of our lives. As we accompany Jesus on his way to the cross, and then to the empty tomb, may we remember our tears are on His face. So as we journey with the One who loves us beyond our understanding May we be deeply moved and changed by it. May God’s grace heal, restore, and transform us again and again.

Invitation
Read the scripture through slowly a few times. The second time, notice the word or phrase to which where you are drawn. The third time, reflect on how this word or phrase speaks to your life right now.

Scripture: Mark 1:9-15
One day Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee, and John baptized him in the Jordan River. As Jesus came up out of the water, he saw the heavens splitting apart and the Holy Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice from heaven said, “You are my dearly loved Son, and you bring me great joy.”
The Spirit then compelled Jesus to go into the wilderness, where he was tempted by Satan for forty days. He was out among the wild animals, and angels took care of him.
Later on, after John was arrested, Jesus went into Galilee, where he preached God’s Good News. “The time promised by God has come at last!” he announced. “The Kingdom of God is near! Repent of your sins and believe the Good News!”

Prayer of Response
Our Dearly Loved Parent,
Just as you named Jesus
as your dearly loved Son,
so you name us as your dearly loved
daughters and sons, because of Him.
Just as Jesus went through trying times,
so do we, and sometimes
they rock us to our very core.
Help us to remember always
that Jesus went before us,
that your Spirit lives within us,
And that you do name us
as your dearly loved.
May that unfathomable blessing
and the gift of
Your Triune companionship
remain within us in our very core,
from where we can draw strength and peace.
May we live from this identity
and reflect you in it,
as we seek to follow you
in all our ways.
Amen.

Rev. Eva Sullivan-Knoff,
Founder and Executive Director

Beginning Again

Ash Wednesday
February 17, 2021

Opening
Lord, as I sit here with you, please quiet my heart and mind. I come as I am, inwardly jumbled from too many things. Awaken me to your presence within and around me. May I rest in you as I listen and follow where you lead.


Reflection
Because of the pandemic and the layers of suffering that this last year has brought, we may feel more scattered than we normally do. We may find we have less energy, fewer inner resources to draw upon. We may feel enshrouded in grief because there has just been too much. So before continuing, I invite us to just to take a few deep breaths for a moment or two… As we continue to breathe deeply, we enter the Lenten journey once again, reminded of how very deeply we are loved. Jesus not only meets us where we are, but He enters into our human story, and into the very fabric of our lives. As we accompany Jesus on his way to the cross, and then to the empty tomb, may we remember our tears are on His face. So as we journey with the One who loves us beyond our understanding May we be deeply moved and changed by it. May God’s grace heal, restore, and transform us again and again.


Invitation
Read the scripture through slowly a couple of times. Pause where you are drawn.

Scripture: Psalm 51:1-2, 10-12
Have mercy on me, O God, because of your unfailing love. Because of your great compassion, blot out the stain of my sins. Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin. Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me. Do not banish me from your presence, and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and make me willing to obey you.

Prayer of Response
Gracious God, we are broken within from all that has been. Overwhelmed and wrapped up by our own cares, we lose sight and connection with you,
who is our “refuge and strength, a very present help in times of trouble.” Forgive us. Heal us. Reconnect us with you, that we may move beyond ourselves, hearing you not only from within, but also from without- through the people in need right in front of us. You come to us through them. Help us to love as You love, to care as You care, to reach out in all the ways that You do. Help us to be true living, loving reflections of you, in thought, word, and deed. Deepen our awareness of you and please keep us rooted there.

Amen.

Rev. Eva Sullivan-Knoff,
Founder and Executive Director

Mary Did You Know?

Mary Did You Know?

Mary, did you know that your baby boy would one day walk on water?
Mary, did you know that your baby boy would save our sons and daughters?
Did you know that your baby boy has come to make you new?
This child that you delivered, will soon deliver you

Mary, did you know that your baby boy would give sight to a blind man?
Mary, did you know that your baby boy would calm the storm with his hand?
Did you know that your baby boy has walked where angels trod?
When you kiss your little baby you kiss the face of God

Mary, did you know? Mary, did you know?
Mary, did you know? Did you know?
Mary, did you know? Mary, did you know?
Mary, did you know? Mary, did you know?
Mary, did you know? Mary, did you know?

The blind will see, the deaf will hear, The dead will live again
The lame will leap, the dumb will speak, The praises of the Lamb
Mary, did you know that your baby boy is Lord of all creation?
Mary, did you know that your baby boy would one day rule the nations?
Did you know that your baby boy is heaven’s perfect Lamb?
That sleeping child you’re holding is the great, I Am

Mary, did you know? (Mary, did you know?)
Mary, did you know? (Mary, did you know?)
Mary, did you know? Oh

Source: Musixmatch Songwriters: Greene Lee Rufus / Lowry Mark Alan
Mary, Did You Know? lyrics © Greensleeves Publishing Limited, Rufus Music, Word Music, Llc