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Let’s Write Liturgy

Register for a Writing Workshop

Do you want to learn how to write prayers and liturgy? Psalms and Calls to Worship? Confessions and Personal Prayers? This Zoom Workshop is designed for all levels and experiences for people to engage in prayer writing–using the scripture as your guide.

Sunday November 20th 4pm-6pm (Eastern) $40

Thursday Dec 1st 12pm-2pm

Led by Katy Stenta, Pastor, Writer and Educator

For more information to sign up, email Katyandtheword at gmail.com. Titled “Liturgy”

Katy Stenta is a regular contributor to Sermonsuite, RevGalBlogPals, and is published in Enfleshed, Presbyterian’s Today and Outlook. She received her undergraduate in English and History and Minor on Philosophy at Oberlin, her M. Div. and MA in Christian Formation at Princeton Theological Seminary. She is currently pursuing her D. Min. in Creative Writing as a Public Theologian at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. She also writes personal prayers regularly at katyandtheword.com.

Limited to 10 spots

The Fight, a Prayer

God,
I’m so tired of fighting the same fight
Over and over

And yet here we are
Fighting…or is it trying
to find the solution together.

Sometimes, it feels the same
as words fail, time is on repeat
And hurt seems inevitable

It’s like a storm inside your heart rages
And it meets the hurricane of the other
And you are both striving, and beloved

God do you have teenagers?
Are you tired of repeating yourself to
Humanity, the Church, Powers and Principalities?

Do you speak so softly God,
That people get even more fiercely angry,
Because they think you sound condescending?

God what did you do, when after isolating us (Eden)
Punishing us (Babel, Noah’s Ark)
How did you realize the right way to be in relationship with us?

Was the moment when you said, You can cry and scream at me all you want
And I promise I will still love you

Well that’s something I can get behind

Grace in the the storms

God be with us in the fight
Amen

Image Source: https://i0.wp.com/www.michaelswerdloff.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/love-inner-child-burning-man-sculpture-4153316182.jpeg?fit=840%2C448&ssl=1

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

Top Ten of 2022

Top Ten Prayers of the Year

1. https://katyandtheword.com/…/31/god-of-pronouns-a-prayer/ A Prayer to Our God who IS the God of Pronouns (This was the clear winner this year)

2. https://katyandtheword.com/…/god-bless-the-church-a…/ Blessing all the KINDS of Churching we are and do. (This was a VERY strong second)

3. https://katyandtheword.com/2022/01/11/toddling-a-prayer/ A prayer about being tired of the Pivot!

4. https://katyandtheword.com/2022/02/25/empty-handed-prayer/ A Prayer for “Thoughts & Prayers”

5. https://katyandtheword.com/…/mothers-day-confession…/ Just a confession for mothers day, there’s not a lot of those written

6. https://katyandtheword.com/…/the-lord-is-our-shepherd…/ fun Psalm 23 Prayer, which Sheep are you?

7. https://katyandtheword.com/…/prayer-for-canceling…/ Prayers for all those who have to cancel in 2023 in blizzards, cold and sickness

8. https://katyandtheword.com/2021/12/31/betty-whites-timing/ Prayer Remembering and Honoring Betty White

9. Mara: A Bitter Prayer (about Gun Violence) https://katyandtheword.com/2022/05/25/mara-a-bitter-prayer/

9. https://katyandtheword.com/2022/04/09/palm-sunday-a-prayer/ Jesus’s very human moment to do Palm Sunday

10. https://katyandtheword.com/…/11/coming-out-day-a-prayer/ A Prayer for God Coming Out as Queer

10. https://katyandtheword.com/…/disability-glorified-a…/ Jesus and Disability, starting with “doubting” (I call him brave) Thomas

Top 10 Resources I’ve Written, from 2022

1. “This Here Flesh” Sermon Series https://katyandtheword.com/…/this-here-flesh-sermon…/ (again a clear winner this year)

2. Narrative Lectionary Advent Candles Liturgy https://katyandtheword.com/…/narrative-lectionary…/

3. Narrative Lectionary Fall 2022 https://katyandtheword.com/…/narrative-lectionary-fall…/

4. Christ the Lord is Risen Today Alternative Lyricshttps://katyandtheword.com/2022/04/14/christ-the-lord-is-risen-today-alt-lyrics/

5. Advent Extended Liturgy: Justice, Mercy & Light https://katyandtheword.com/…/justice-mercy-light…/

6. Gathering and Gospelling, Worship Series based on The Art of Gathering and Unbinding the Gospel: https://katyandtheword.com/…/gathering-gospelling-the…/

7. Blue Christmas, a Comfort Candle, Take home Liturgy https://katyandtheword.com/…/blue-christmas-comfort…/

8. Lent Narrative Lectionary: From Lament to Hope https://katyandtheword.com/…/lent-narrative-lectionary…/

9. Narrative Lectionary Fall 2022 Rainbow God/Queer Edition https://katyandtheword.com/…/narrative-lectionary-fall…/

10. Gun Violence Prevention Prayers https://katyandtheword.com/2022/05/26/gun-violence-prayers/

It’s nice to see everything in review–Happy 2023, may it be full of Blessings

Prayer for Canceling Christmas (again) Prayer

This is a prayer
For all those
in the middle
Of canceling Christmas

Because everyone is sick
Or the storm is raging-Mr. Freeze Miser or Elsa is Raging
Or the Hell has frozen over, and the weather is downright Disrespectful

This is a prayer, for the pastors
boards and and councils who have to figure out
If they are videoing, scrounging
or just calling the whole thing off
After years of hoping to finally be in the warmth of one another’s company again

We thought it would be Hallelujah chorus again
And we were looking forward to lighting the Christ candle again
And were happily scrapping and squabbling about service on Christmas day
When…it came to this…!

And even though, Pastoral Leadership Promises
That Christ will come anyway (every time)
This year is bitterly Hard
So I will not say these words to you

So I’m going to pray
And validate every curse word
Every Sigh
Every Grunt
Every Frustration
Every Headache
And remind you that Yelling at God is an Option

And the the “wise men” got lost
Joseph had no idea what he was doing
Elizabeth and Zechariah were clueless
The Shepherds were fairly uninvited
and pretty much no one knew what was going on but Mary

Prayers friends…I hope you get some support this Christmas
Some affirmation
And some kind of God moment in the mess
Because, truly is what Christmas is all about,
Amen

Feel free to share/adapt/use these words as they are helpful. Please give credit to Pastor Katy Stenta

Look at my broken cross cookie, seems appropriate

Longest Night Christmas Prayer

Nativity, 2022 (Ukraine) by Irenaeus Yurchuk.

Jesus,
Sweet Baby Jesus
Born in the midst of a collapsing empire
Hidden in plain sight from everything and everyone official


When different factions of the religion
were all claiming to be the “truer” one
Each saying if you don’t worship our way
You don’t belong to God.

You were born when a Messiah
Seemed to be around every corner
Lamps were left on at night and demagogues and dynamic cult leaders
Were followed at whim, because people needed hope

And the gulf between who was poor and who was rich
The distinction between who was citizen and who was not
The taste in one’s mouth when people called one another
Foreigner, Outsider, or Different was sour and full of hate

Violence was everywhere
Children, the Poor, The Elderly, The Lonely, the Sex Worker
were Ignored or Forgotten
Laws were passed against anyone deemed Unclean in any way (oh my Queer siblings!)

Jesus Christ, you were born in a time
When no one was receiving proper healthcare
So people banged down your door
for a bit of healing

And my heart aches
With the familiarity, you could be born today
Is this why you have to be born into today’s world?
Have we forgotten why we need you?

Sometimes I wonder if you haven’t returned
Because we haven’t learned enough?
Heretic thought I know
But I sit in the hate and terror and worry Jesus

Jesus Christ, we need you. A baby
A sneak king full of healing and mischevious teachings of Grace
Jesus we need someone who will sit in the dirt with the marginal
and embody the Peace so much that we will sit in the dirt with you.

Sweet baby Jesus, though I know we picture angels, shepherds, & magi
I think that a baby born in the war-torn dark
might be the truth
Help us to sit with that, in the shortest day and longest night I pray.

Amen.

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

Finding Christmas

Prophets Promised
Angels Appeared

Mary Upended
Joseph Recognized

Elizabeth Visited
Zechariah Hushed

Stars Illuminated
Magi Perceived

Herods Lied
Israel Trembled

Shepherds
Animals Snuggled

Jesus Appeared
God Incarnated


Christmas Accomplished

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

In addition to being read as a poem, this probably could be used as some kind of Pop Up Pageant with silly masks, puppets or the like. I would hand it out and then have the congregation read the verb when the character “appears”

Please Support my Writing, I am Funding some of my Doctorate in Creative Writing as a Public Theologian through donations https://gofund.me/554d36e3 Thank you to all those who have donated, I have successfully completed 2 years thanks to your support.

Full Advent Resources

Tender Christmas

God,
I’m praying
a tender prayer
for Christmas

For all those for whom
they have a tender and surrendered faith
because of all they have gone through.

Because you cannot surrender
until you’ve been through a battle
and so for all those who have felt like
Advent
Christmas
or just Living
has been a battle this year
I want to pray the prayer of thanksgiving

that you are still here
you are beloved
and God is with you–

And I hope you have found yourself in the Christmas story
whether it is in
Mary, not so meek,
Joseph conflicted but quietly obedient
Magi, shepherd, even if it is the donkey, the innkeeper or the star

I hope and pray that you find a corner to belong in
Because this is your story too

But if you do not, know, that’s ok
Maybe the space for you is in the silence
or the darkness of the night
or the wavering light of the candle

God I hope you know that
God is here
God is with you
God loves you
no matter what

And that is what makes Christmas
Especially when you feel tender
and like you have to give up
May God hold you in the Palm of God’s hand
Whenever and wherever that happens

Amen.

Feel free to use/share/adapt with credit to Pastor Katy Stenta and if you quote the tweet be sure to credit Traci Rhoades and Rev. Jes Last

Please Support my Writing, I am Funding some of my Doctorate in Creative Writing as a Public Theologian through donations https://gofund.me/554d36e3 Thank you to all those who have donated, I have successfully completed 2 years thanks to your support.

Full Advent Resources

With thanks to Jes Last and Traci Rhoades for their inspirational conversation

Traci Rhoades: I met with a mentor of mine yesterday. He said my faith was in a better spot, more tender and surrendered than ever before. Ya'll, tender and surrendered are not easily gained. They come out of hard seasons if we let them. 
Reverend Jes Kast: Oh I understand and resonate with this, tender and surrendered are not easily gained indeed purple heart.

Books, Books, Poetry, Books

Here it is, the Booklist (Remember this is TWO classes worth) One is Poetry and the other is Experimental Poetry

……so it can be seen as either intimidating or fun
Please peruse and find what you can at your local library! I’m told with ZONG its best to read it before Splay Anthem and to start with the end, which explains a lot of it!
Maggie Nelson, Bluets 
Sam Stephenson, Gene Smith’s Sink 
Aisha Sabatini Sloan, Borealis 
Nicole Rudick, What Is Now Known Was Only Once Imagined 
Terrance Hayes, To Float in the Space Between 
Aracelis Girmay, The Black Maria 
John Edgar Wideman, Writing to Save a Life 
Chris Kraus, After Kathy Acker 
Heather Christle, The Crying Book 
Muriel Rukeyser, The Book of the Dead 
Eileen Myles, Afterglow
M. NourbeSe Philip, Zong! (Wesleyan Poetry Series) by 
Nathaniel Mackey, Splay Anthem 

About 1/3rd I could acquire from the library (not bad) only one was an expensive new release and it was half off (whew originally $60). I, of course, bought a bunch used. So the total was $113.80. I admit I was like wow that’s a lot; ok not really for two classes of books. So if I could grab another $120 of fundraising that would be amazing.

https://gofund.me/47b40357

Joseph, A prayer

God,
Today, I’m imagining
Joseph as the squishy parent.

Mary was the one with the justice cries
And the mom look, that got Jesus into ministry
Maybe Joseph was the one with the physical play

And the squishy hugs–
Maybe Joseph was the one who reminded Jesus
Your only human, too

Maybe Joseph was the one who showed Jesus
mortality was ok,
because he was (probably) the parent who died first.

God, I’m thinking of that fierce encounter with an angel
where Joseph was already, heart in mouth, trying to figure out
how to react full of humanity and peace

God, I’m so thankful for Joseph
And today I’m hoping
he was the squishy parent.

Amen.

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

Please Support my Writing, I am Funding some of my Doctorate in Creative Writing as a Public Theologianthrough donations https://gofund.me/554d36e3 Thank you to all those who have donated, I have successfully completed 2 years thanks to your support.

Full Extended Advent Resource

Canva artwork of Joseph by Pastor Katy Stenta feel free to use with credit