Women at the Well Story

Content Warning: Abortion

On June 25th, 2022

The Supreme Court of the USA

Decided things, for women;

Abortion could be made illegal,

by any state that wished it.

***

It was then the stories spilled out

Unstoppered from the soul;

They were told because

someone had to hear them,

We were like Hagar,

naming the truth of the anguish

Telling the tales that some will deny

after we screamed by a the tree

from rage and anguish and lament.

***

The stories, bled out under the tree,

as we hugged one another;

Of illegal abortions at college,

When the friend almost bled out…

and these stories are not as my youngest says

from “Ancient times”–

of the sister whose ectopic pregnancy;

after she finally convinced the dr that she was indeed pregnant,

…that this life saving surgery that was administered mere weeks ago

was as of THIS moment illegal in some states.

Of the horrific and hard late term abortions,

that were tragic and still open wounds.

Of abortions that eased and affirmed lives,

because the individual had no means

to care for a a child at that moment.

Of friends and sisters and trans individuals who died

from lack of proper care.

***

We named how racism will kill so many women now.

Of the horrors of foster care and adoption,

and how that is a different conversation

to convolute with abortion.

Because White Supremacists want to control the wombs of all women, of all childbearing people though they deny they exist.

The grandmothers of our community, recalled the fight as it happened before.

Of moms who wanted to work, but were stuck with children instead.

Of no credit cards, no freedom, no divorce, no control.

***

We raged and we mourned and

like a miracle, we found ourselves by the well—women and childbearing people of all genders

and we were telling stories to you Jesus–

Not our husbands, because we said,

“Today Jesus, I have no husband”

and we said, we have no husband–

and Jesus you answered and said, that’s right.

You are your own self, dignified, in your own right.

Defined not by your husband, or your children,

with rights over your God-created, God-imagined, Godly and beautiful body.

Go and be blessed.

And so we will go, full of pain

And hope

and stories.

Feel free to use/share/adapt with credit to Pastor Katy Stenta

Don’t Give up, A Prayer

God

I am pretty mad at humans today

and Old White Men

and the powers that be

And the manipulators

Who thought one dollar more

was more important

than getting justice done

and the church

who put off

flipping tables

for another time and place

And I want to rage

and scream

and find the right punishment

for all of my enemies

except I don’t really know who my enemies are

just they they are out there

whispering nonsense about

pro-life and family first and great america

as they grind these things into dust

as they deal death

with additive drugs like “safety” “religion” and “whiteness”

And I feel like I’m going to throw up or pass out,

and my soul hurts with the magnitude of it all.

Is this when you run away into the desert? Jesus?

Or hop a boat into the ocean?

Or feed 5,000 people just for the hell of it?

Or invite yourself over to the tax collector’s house to dinner, just to piss everyone off?

Because at times like these I feel like if I don’t enact justice viscerally, I’m going to implode.

And then I have to remind myself I’m not Jesus, I cannot save the world.

So I beat my chest, scream a tree, write an angsty psalm, cry.

And maybe I retreat for one day instead of forty,

maybe I feed one person instead of 5,000

maybe I invite someone I’ve been meaning to over to dinner instead of a tax collector.

And I remind myself, it all counts.

Because all justice counts,

Because I’m not a Jesus or a superhero,

but at least I can do something,

and I’m not giving up.

Thanks for reminding us not to give up God.

Amen.

Feel free to adapt/use/share with credit to Pastor Katy Stenta

Abortion, A prayer

When the red blood stops

And your heart catches in my throat God,

because you know its not the Son of God

In my Womb,

and its not a permissible time.

Be with me–

The Woman who

Makes the Life Giving Choice

Not to be a Mother

At Such a Time as this.

Organize us in all the ways needed

To support that choice

So my blood may flow again

Because you know Jesus–

That I am fertile is in other ways

and called to other things.

And you affirm that authenticity

and bless that.

Amen.

Feel free to use/adapt/share with credit to Pastor Katy Stenta

Brim Full, A Prayer

God,

I have cried

every

single

day

this week.

Overcome with the emotionality that it takes to exist and breathe and be.

Because, did you know God that we humans frown on sitting still and being emotional.

It’s pretty embarrassing when we are this way.

But I am here.

Crying for love.

Crying out of hope.

Crying for the stories

Crying in lament.

Crying because I’m breathing.

Because every timeI am still

I am keenly aware that I am human

oh yeah, and that you are still God

It makes me wonder? Is this what it means to be fully human Jesus?

I want to know?

Sit with me while I figure it out?

Amen.

Feel Free to use/adapt/share with Credit to Pastor Katy Stenta

Belonging, A Prayer

God,

Sometimes, I confess,

I look at humans and say

REALLY?

Seriously.

And sometimes I keep my sense of humor

and say only humans…

Only humans can think up silly things like money and paperwork and Time and Countries,

(I mean how do those concepts even have meaning? They are very silly when you think about them too long)

And sometimes I think I don’t belong to humanity, or maybe humanity doesn’t belong to me.

And it makes me sad. And I don’t know where to turn.

And so here I am God, turning to you, because you promise I belong to you.

And maybe to the grass and the stars and the sea–even though I’m not really a nature child.

And secretly I think maybe I belong more to books and words and imaginary worlds that don’t even exist.

But either way, God. I guess we are figuring it out.

You, me, and this silly thing called humanity,

on this place called earth.

Good thing you made us with these things called jokes–

That I admit was a good idea on your part God.

My youngest made a good one yesterday.

Want to hear it? What do you call a bee that explodes in laughter?

Bee End.

Bee End, God,

Amen.

Please feel free to use/adapt/share with credit to Pastor Katy Stenta

Full This Here Flesh Liturgy

This Here Flesh Notes Week 9 Justice and Liberation

Ch 10 Justice

“Justice is different from violence and retributions; it requires complex accounting” p. 122

“Justice doesn’t choose choses dignity is superior. It upholds the dignity of all those involved, no matter whom it offers or what it costs.—there is no liberation without justice.” p. 123

“The freedom of God’s people did not occur in a vacuum. There were consequences. There was truth-telling. And there was a disturbingly costly justice.” p. 124

“Activism is the body of justice” p. 125

Habakkuk” In weariness and frustration, demanded God do something..the Christian story is the tensions between the promise of justice and liberation and the unjust and oppressive patterns in our daily lived experiences. “ p. 128-129

“Assata Shakur ‘Nobody in the world, nobody in history, has ever gotten their freedom by appealing to the moral sense of the people who were oppressing them’…They are parched and delirious, their memory of themselves tainted. Their only hope is the hear the voices of the marginalized hiding them back to the water—a mercy they will not immediately understand. It is not until they drink from the streams that the prophet Amos calls on to roll down like justice and righteousness that their withering sons regenerate, and they recognize that all this time, the problem was not that they were thirsty; it was that they were were cursed.” p. 129

Land and Justice are the same p. 132, 133 bc we all live here 

Ch. 15 Liberation: Summation You deserve more than the despair that stalks your days. You don’t have to make a sound; just let the peace pass through your belly and be what you need it to be. p. 169

No notes, plan to reread

Full Liturgy Here

This Here Flesh Notes Week 7 Repair and Joy

Ch 11 Repair

“I think confession is liberation” p. 137

“dismantle their delusion of heroism or victimhood and begin to tell the truth of their offense, a sacred rest becomes available to them. You are no longer fighting suspend the delusion of self. You can just lie down and be in your own sling. And as you rest, the conscience you were born with solely begins to regenerate. “ p. 137

“confession alone…serves the confessor more than the oppressed.” p. 137

“Reparations are required…what has been stolen must be returned.” p. 138

even God themself is not too bold to undo the way things were meant to be, to show the most tragic and noble reparation” p. 138

“Sincere remorse” “apologize with grave specificity…look at me…describe what in you made you do it…I want your soul to write lie it was the back of God that was cut” AND “ask to be forged” p. 140 

Forgiveness can grow slowly and unity/reconciliation can be slow and painful p. 141  (Black woman’s answer)
“I don’t know if liberation depends on our reconciliation with others, but I am certain it at least depends on our reconciliation with ourselves” peace with her body, protected her inflamed legs instead of enemies  p. 144 

Touch Christ’s Wounds?

Father’s recovery did not feel like triumph “you feel ashamed. It’s once you’re clean that you remember.” p. 145

“As we heal, the need for more healing becomes apparent to us. It is painful, but healing makes us better perceivers of what is still hurting.” pp. 145

Father has 1,000 scars that “welded his selfhood back down and delivered back to me. I am indebted to every mark.” p. 146

Ch. 13 Joy

“When your child chooses you…” p. 159

I think we were made to e delighted in. And I think it takes just as much strength to believe someone’s joy about you as it does to muster it all on your own.” p. 159 

“I think when we give ourselves to play, the scope of ours lives expands.” p. 160

“After all, it is only in anticipation of sorrow that joy seems frivolous.” p. 161

“We become so used to bracing for the next devastation we don’t have time or emotional energy to rejoice. “ p. 161 “Some of us even begin to believe we are not worthy of pleasure or play.” 

“You know it’s joy when you feel it in your entire body” p. 163 Great Grandma Hedges “built for fun”

“My gramma’s deepest experiences of joy come in moments when if feels as if something has been restored or renews. When repair happens, we must bear witness to it. Joy does that. IT trains us toward a spirituality that isn’t rife with toxic positivity but is capable of telling the truth and celebrations when restoration has indeed happened.” p. 165

Depressed, “it was not that my family wanted me happy; it was that they wanted me close. They didn’t wan for me the kind of sadness that alienates you.” p. 168

“Mine is a joy born not of laughter but of peace. That is okay. p. 169

Ezra 3:13 

Full Liturgy Link

Promises & Prayers

Someday

I hope

We will raise prayers

No longer wet

With the sacrificial blood

Of children killed by guns

And violence

And hunger

And neglect

And hate.

Some day

We will care

More for health

Than test scores

More for housing

Than lawns

More for queer families

Than breaking hearts

More for disabled people

Than helping porn and “self-advocacy”

More for people of color

Than trumped up blame, hushed up histories, and subjugation.

Some day God,

The kin(g)dom

Will sneak up

On us

Like a cool breeze

On a hot day.

Like dew

On the lawn

Like a rainbow

Coming into focus

And we will all be Beloved neighbors there!

I’m standing in you

And your promise Jesus.

Because at the end

Of the day

Isn’t that what prayer is?

So I’m standing here

Breathing another one

Another prayer

For your collection

Put it on your heart please.

Amen.

Feel Free to use/adapt/share with credit to Pastor Katy Stenta

Preparing to Be Away, a Prayer

God

I’m trying to look forward to all the things

But the list to get there is interminably long

And I find that I don’t have the energy to even look at the list much les complete it.

Yet the laundry, house, packing, paperwork and people all await my presence.

Is this when you took a nap Jesus? I love a Savior who knows the value of a good nap.

Am I tired because I need the energy to face things

Or

Am I tired because the things facing me need to get done before I can feel energized again?

Sometimes human existence is such a mystery God, you have to admit, you did not make us simple beings.

Anyway here’s praying what needs to get done will, and can wait will

And that you’ll give me the patience to know the difference.

Amen.

Feel free to use/adapt/share with credit to Pastor Katy Stenta

Week 6 Rage Notes

“fig tree was the private preface to the very public force of anger in the temple the face of injustice and exclusion, we meet a God of holy, premeditated, bodily, unapologetic rage.”  p. 109

“What does it mean that Christ doesn’t just scream but also physically overturns tables? What does it mean that Christ doesn’t just lament the bare fig tree but damns it, leaving his followers with gaping mouth and no immediate resolution?” p. 109

“I like that GOd doesn’t play or talk nice to the hands of injustice.” “I can name very few instances (none, arguable) of a niceness in God, and yet this is the demand of the oppressor will always make of us. p. 110

“I’ve determined I will no longer settle for mere articulation of anger. I want to feel my voice shake and the warmth cree up up my spine.” p. 111

“I remember when I first read the psalmist begin God to break the teeth of his enemies…Anger expressed in the interior life is permitted to exist in its rawest and most honest form.” p. 113

“If you read the psalms, you’ll find no small number of them committed to rage. Calling for a creditor to seize money from the oppressors, begging for bones to broken, enemies to be wiped out, their descendants punished. These imprecatory psalms were a liberation to me because they finally told me the truth—that is, I belong to a God capable of holding the ugliest parts of my anger.” p. 113

Private anger doesn’t have to be public, but our wounds can be seen, and some anger, on behalf of the dignity of others can be justified p. 114 

Justifiable Anger is amazing, but you have to have a care that it doesn’t turn to hate. Hatred should only be directed towards evil and not creation, very fragile and difficult to contain towards where its meant to be p. 114

Scream when you need to 

Shannon A Thompson

Author. Speaker. Librarian.

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