Beth Miller, using the spiritual practice of the Examen, helps us to prayerfully look back over our time in quarantine.
Beth Miller, MA, is a trained spiritual director.
Christ and St Mary Magdalene at the Tomb. 1638. Rembrandt.
Let the light and hope of this day
Seep into every part of us.
We are longing
for the hope we know in You.
The events of this week,
and if we are honest,
the events of so many weeks
have taken their toll on us.
Make us aware of your presence
with us right where we are.
Shine your light on us
and renew us
through your Living Word.
As you read the scripture,
observe how Jesus is present to Mary.
What do you notice about their interchange?
If you wish, prayerfully imagine you are there
and Jesus meets you in the garden
calling you by name.
How does your conversation go
on this Resurrection morning?
Scripture: John 20:11-18
11 But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look[a] into the tomb; 12 and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. 13 They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” 14 When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew,[b] “Rabbouni!” (which means Teacher). 17 Jesus said to her, “Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” 18 Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”; and she told them that he had said these things to her.
Thank you for the way
You see us and know us.
Nothing is hidden from you.
You know our doubts and fears
our griefs and sorrows.
You meet us right in the midst of them
just as you met the disciples
in the midst of theirs
on resurrection morning.
What good news this is for us,
Giver of Life.
May the truth of this
fill us with your deep abiding peace.
As we each hear you call our own name
may light break forth like a brilliant sunrise
May joy arise as a fountain deep within
as hope becomes reality.
Yes, shadows and death are still to be found
but they do not have the last word.
We don’t go it alone,
we have You!
Because of You we know true life..
Because of You
everything is different.
Make us ever mindful
of the hope, joy, strength,
love and life within
because You live there with us.
Christ is Risen, Hallelujah!
Copyright © 2020, Rev. Eva Sullivan-Knoff
Today I remain quiet. Grief is ever present. I meditate on all that has been.
Holy Saturday, often overlooked, is a holy day, it is when Jesus lies in the tomb. Darkness and grief, doubts and questions, wailing and morning fill this day for Jesus’ followers. Look at the depths Jesus goes to, to enter the darkness for us, even a tomb. There is nothing He does not know. There is no place his love does not reach.
Read the scripture through a few times. Imagine yourself in this story as an observer. What would it be like to watch all this unfold? How deep is the grief of all. Allow yourself to pause where you are drawn.
“After these things, Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, though a secret one because of his fear of the Jews, asked Pilate to let him take away the body of Jesus. Pilate gave him permission; so he came and removed his body. Nicodemus, who had at first come to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, weighing about a hundred pounds. They took the body of Jesus and wrapped it with the spices in linen cloths, according to the burial custom of the Jews. Now there was a garden in the place where he was crucified, and in the garden there was a new tomb in which no one had ever been laid. And so, because it was the Jewish day of Preparation, and the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.”
Oh Lord, this day…
This day is filled
with gut wrenching grief
And heart shattering silence.
Your followers mourn
Lost and despairing.
It is confusing and scary
And they wonder what to hold onto,
not yet realizing the magnitude of this day.
For look at what you have done.
Every death we have mourned
Each tear we have shed
Every time our hearts have been broken
by the absence of those we love
Is affected by this day.
Because on this day
You entered that mournful space.
You lied in an empty tomb.
Look how far your love goes
It reaches every corner of our hearts
Every breath of our experience.
How deeply you understand us.
So as we sit in silence today,
honoring all you have done
and all you have given.
Our hearts are comforted
because your love did not stop.
It entered the tomb.
From the depths of our being
We thank you.
Copyright © 2020, Rev. Eva Sullivan-Knoff
Lord, help us to journey with you throughout this day, ever so mindful of you.
This is a day that is hard to take in, the extent of God’s love for us. We pray oh Lord, please stir our hearts and change us as we humbly, enter the story again.
Read the scripture through slowly, pausing where you are drawn. Take as long as you need. Imagine you are 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
(To read the whole account, read from John 18:1-19:42)
Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. 2 And the soldiers wove a crown of thorns and put it on his head, and they dressed him in a purple robe. 3 They kept coming up to him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and striking him on the face. 4 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.” 5 So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Here is the man!” 6 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…14 Now it was the day of Preparation for the Passover; and it was about noon. He said to the Jews, “Here is your King!” 15 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.” 16 Then he handed him over to them to be crucified.
So they took Jesus; 17 and carrying the cross by himself, he went out to what is called The Place of the Skull, which in Hebrew[d] is called Golgotha. 18 There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, with Jesus between them. 19 Pilate also had an inscription written and put on the cross. It read, “Jesus of Nazareth,[e] the King of the Jews… 28 After this, when Jesus knew that all was now finished, he said (in order to fulfill the scripture), “I am thirsty.” 29 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. 30 When Jesus had received the wine, he said, “It is finished.” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
Prayer of Response
On this day, words are hard to find.
Moved by all that has been given,
By all that has been done,
I sit in silence with Jesus.
I remain with Him.
I offer my heart in quiet
just as He offers Himself
completely to me.
Lord, as we journey with you in these last days, make us ever present to you on your way to the cross and the empty tomb.
These days are filled with wonder, questions, amazement, at how we can be so deeply loved. Humbly, we enter the story again. Change us through this week as the story unfolds day by day.
Read the scripture slowly. If you are comfortable put yourself in the story as an observer. 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. 2 The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. 3 Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; 4 so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5 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. 13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 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. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
Prayer of Response
Having loved your own who were in the world,
You loved them to the end.
Loving your own who are in the world,
You love us to the end.
What could mean more than these words?
You love us to the end.
How can we begin to grasp this even a little bit?
When we doubt your love,
when we question,
when we fail You, others, and ourselves,
may the truth of these words
echo deep within us.
“You love us to the end.”
You have shown us the healing
affirming, transforming power of your love,
that says Yes to us,
that says, I love you no matter what.
May this truth sink deep within us,
heal us and ground us
and so much so
that we love each other like you do.
May it be healing, affirming and transforming
to all whom it touches.
May it be said of us,
having loved you,
we who are in the world,
we loved you to the end-
In all the hungry, hurting faces
in which we see you
each and every day.
May we the loved, so love.
Copyright 2020 Rev. Eva Sullivan-Knoff
Here is a guided meditation of Welcoming Prayer is for anyone needing or desiring a meditation or prayer practice to help become more aware of your inner world and find a way to welcome and accept what is in the present time. Grace, peace, and love to all.
This guided prayer was created by Journey Center of Chicago’s intern, Jess Hansen.
A psalm of David. When he was in the Desert of Judah.
1 You, God, are my God,
earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you,
my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land
where there is no water.
2 I have seen you in the sanctuary
and beheld your power and your glory.
3 Because your love is better than life,
my lips will glorify you.
4 I will praise you as long as I live,
and in your name I will lift up my hands.
5 I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods;
with singing lips my mouth will praise you.
6 On my bed I remember you;
I think of you through the watches of the night.
7 Because you are my help,
I sing in the shadow of your wings.
8 I cling to you;
your right hand upholds me.
9 Those who want to kill me will be destroyed;
they will go down to the depths of the earth.
10 They will be given over to the sword
and become food for jackals.
11 But the king will rejoice in God;
all who swear by God will glory in him,
while the mouths of liars will be silenced.