To do Lists: a prayer

Dear God, here I am obsessing over the stuff that isn’t getting done again.

I woke up late and left the bulletins on the printer at home (because we took our printers home) to photocopy at church, and a letter, and a million other things.

All week it’s been forgotten lunches and badly timed doctor’s appointments (first I have to drop kid number 1 at church and bc its closer to the dr and he can still do class then run to mine then pick up kid number 2 from school then repick kid number 3 to take them to the dr). This is a hard day off, Lord.

And I can’t reschedule anything because it will harder later.

So I’m checking in with people as best I can, even tho my phone is broken, and finally taking down the church Christmas decorations.

And tho I am getting just enough done this week, all week, I am haunted by all the things I still need to do.

God, you know that I thought it was Friday on Wednesday, when I turned in the workshopped, filled out and returned in a day paperwork for the grant we need so, so badly.

My brain is fuzzy. My brain is fuzzy, and its hard to put anything off, because it will make it harder to catch up on it later.

So here I am. Knowing I kept the eldest home on the one day this week that was supposed to be in person, knowing that I threw a little fit this week from sheer overwhelmedness

and knowing that you are there God.

Thank God your there God. Because, I am hanging on only by your strength. I am doing and grasping and loving and surviving, only by your will.

I have no extra oomf, but by the grace of God I am still here.

Hang to me God, because I might lose my grip for just a second. Hang onto me I pray.

Amen.

Lent Ideas with Children: Narrative Lectionary Luke

February 17th  

Ash Wednesday:

Children Ideas: Meditate on Dirt together (Ideally with dirt): What is dirt? 

Discuss God as creator and make clay/playdo people together, Bury the Alleluias: http://worshipingwithchildren.blogspot.com/2014/01/burying-alleluia-for-lent.html

“Don’t think of it as dust. Just think of it as the dirt and dust of far-off lands blowing over here and settling on “Pig-Pen!” It staggers the imagination! He may be carrying the soil that was trod upon by Solomon or Nebuchadnezzar or Genghis Khan!”

February 21st: Journeying Past Our Neighbors

Children Ideas: Make Cards (maybe belated valentines) for the kid’s actual neighbors, Prayer for the neighborhood: Look at local news articles and practice praying for local people in the stories, Ask children to share stories of Good Samaritans they have seen/knows, Talk about Mr. Rogers: Look for the helpers (gather helper news stories to share), Read Little Chicken making the bread. 

February 28th Sustenance for the Journey

Children Ideas: Plant a Seed, talk about nourishment the seed needs, and talk about what we need spiritually to survive. Pack for a trip together (with pictures or a real suitcase or just talk through and make a list of what you need), Read The Carrot Seed or The Very Hungry Caterpillar

March 7th: The Possibility of Journeying Home

Children Ideas: Count 100 coins together and/or Hid a Coin and then find it. Play I Spy with My Little Eye: Talk about the importance of beings Seen. Read The Empty Chair, Read Where the Wild Things Are

March 14th Journeying with Ghosts

Children Ideas: Read a short version or act out a version of The Christmas Carol (3 ghosts + Ebenezer), Read But Not the Hippopotamus, Play Duck-Duck Goose/Talk about the importance of being included, Celebrate Communion Together: Talk about how the invisible church and we are celebrating with all of the saints that were and will be. Discuss Death/Funerals talk about why we mourn & celebrate both: Tell the Waterbugs & Dragonfly Story: https://www.archhospice.ca/dragonfly-story- 

March 21st: Journeying to Redemption

Children Ideas: Talk about Erasure of Sins with a Chalkboard, Read The Runaway Bunny, Sing Zaccheus was a wee little man, Talk about hospitality brainstorm how to be hospitable, Act out the Zaccheus story

March 28th: Journeying to JerusalemChildren Ideas: Color Palms, have a Parade, Make Hosanna Posters: Ask Jesus to save us (brainstorm what we need saving from), Make a Palm cross, Tell the Warm Fuzzy Story (with props if you can find cotton balls and prickly plants): https://reenchantements.files.wordpress.com/2018/08/warm-fuzzy-tale.pdf talk about how the crowds could be for Jesus and then against him on Friday

Mandy Thursday: 

Children Ideas: Celebrate Communion Together, Wash Each Other’s Feet, Read Bear Feels Sick or How Do Dinosaurs Play with Their Friends, and Do Unto Otters

Good Friday

Children Ideas: Write sins out/Draw them and nail them to a cross, Read Alexander and the Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.  

Holy Saturday

Talk about waiting, Read The Napping House, Waiting by Henke, Practice a breath prayer (breathing in and out slowly In: Jesus Christ out: loves me) for 12 breaths

Easter Sunday

Tell a short version of The Velveteen Rabbit, God Gave Us Easter, or a picture book of the Easter Story, Have an Alleluia Parade. Tell the Easter Joke: What did Jesus say when he came out of the Tomb? Ta-Da!!! Discuss why the joke is funny. Display a cross that had sins nailed into it empty of the nails: discuss,

More Lent Resources https://katyandtheword.com/2021/01/05/narrative-lectionary-lent-luke/

Without Ceasing, I Can’t Catch My Breath

God, I know that I am supposed to pray without ceasing.

Prayer is like oxygen. Prayer like breathing. Thrusting all that I am and have and do upon your mercy. Over and over again.

Sometimes it looks more like a raging Psalm, and sometimes it is the endless search for how to pray today.

But God, I have asthma, like most of my family, and breathing is severely underrated.

Too often, I can’t catch my breath. Too often I am trying to hiss a prayer out between my teeth. Feeling like no oxygen is going in…making it hard to breathe or speak or pray.

Stress, might I add, doesn’t help.

And sleep is shaky at best. We joke that everyone has insomnia, and try not to be awkward with one another over our devices, all alone, on little sleep and little breath.

I’ve been angry, I’ve been sad. I’ve dealt with loneliness, depression and hopelessness.

And I keep trying to catch my breath to pray. I know I do not need to speak to pray God, but you understand what I mean.

Here I am. Praying the “I don’t know” prayer, surviving.

I love to pray until the Holy Spirit prays you. Meditating deep enough that your soul find equanimity and respite in prayer.

That’s not the kind of prayers that are going on these days. Its more gasps and sighs, gutterals and selahs. With shoulders hunched over computers, or a quick plea as we rush through the day, or the pondering that keep you awake at night.

Lord, hear my prayers, all of them. Connect the dotted lines of prayers in my life–so like my asthma, even when I struggle there is enough there.

And if I need an inhaler for praying, please provide it to me as soon as possible.

For I am weak and you are mighty.

Amen. Amen.

Sermon at Nazareth

GATHERING AROUND THE WORD

Welcome & Announcements
Call to Worship
(based on Psalm 146)

Praise the Lord, O my soul. 

I will praise the Lord as long as I live. I will sing praises to my God all my life long.

Do not put your trust in princes, in mortals, there is no help.

Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the oLd their God. 

God made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them, God who keeps faith forever . 

The Lord will reign forever, for all generations, praise the Lord!

*Hymn #288                         “I Sing the Might Power of God”

I sing the mighty power of God that made the mountains rise;

that spread the flowing seas abroad and built the lofty skies

I sing the wisdom that ordained The sun to rule the day;

The moon shines full at God’s command, And all the stars obey.

I sing the goodness of the Lord That filled the earth with food;

God formed the creatures with a word, And then pronounced them good,

Lord, how Thy wonders are displayed, Where’er I turn my eyes;

If I survey the ground I tread, Or gaze upon the skies!

There’s not a plant or flower below, But makes Thy glories known;

And clouds arise and tempests blow, By order from Thy throne;

While all that borrows life from Thee is ever in Thy care,

And everywhere that we can be, Thou, God, art present there. 

Prayer of Confession: (unison): God, I confess that sometimes I do not want to see your blessings spread afar. At times, I am selfish and think that blessings are like pie and may run out. I think that I must hoard my blessings, or earn them or somehow win them by being a better person. Remind us that this is not how God works, Jesus comes to the ones most in need, first. God calls us to help those the most in need first. Teach us the true nature of blessings, we pray. Amen.  

Assurance of Pardon: Happy are those who put their trust in the God of Jacob, for he sends us the power of the resurrection and the life, hear the good news:  In Jesus Christ we are forgiven.

  HEARING THE WORD

                         Children’s Time : Telling God’s Story

                               (All children are invited to the front)

Prayer for Illumination

1st Scripture Reading Psalm 146

2nd Scripture Reading                                     Luke 4:14-30

“Blessed to be a Blessing” Pastor Katy Stenta

Reflection Roger Held 

Joys & Concerns  & The Lord’s Prayer (p. 16 in the blue hymnal)

RESPONDING TO THE WORD

Offering

*Doxology (#592 in Blue Hymnal) Praise God from whom all blessings flow. Praise God all creatures here below. Praise God above ye heavenly host. Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost! Amen. 

SENDING THE WORD

Prayer of Dedication: God, help us to do the work of Jesus! Let go forth proclaiming the good news to the poor. Help us to release the captives and let the oppressed go free! Let us go forward working to recover the sight of the blind, and to proclaim the year of God’s favor. Anoint us to tell the good news we pray. Amen. 

Hymn # 525             “Here I am Lord” 

I, the Lord of sea and sky, I have hear My people cry, 

All who dwell in deepest sin, My hand will save.

I who made the stars of night, I will make their darkness bright. 

Who will bear My light to them? Whom shall I send?

Here I am Lord, Is it I, Lord? I have heard you calling in the night.

I will go Lord, if you lead me. I will hold Your people in my heart. 

I, the Lord of snow and rain, I have borne my people’s pain.

I have wept for love of them, They turn away.

I will break their hearts of stone. Give them hearts for love alone.

I will speak My word to them. Whom shall I send? 

I, the Lord of wind and flame, I will tend the poor and lame.

I will set a feast for them, My hand will save.

Finest bread I will provide, Till their hearts be satisfied,

I will give My life to them. Whom shall I send? 

*Charge & Benediction

The peace of Christ be with you. 

And also with you.   (Invitation to share Peace)

Fish for People/Fisher’s of Men

GATHERING AROUND THE WORD

Welcome & Announcements
Call to Worship
(based on Psalm 90)

God, be a dwelling place for us, we pray. 

Lord you have been a dwelling place for all generations

Before the mountains were brought forth, or even you had formed the earth, you are present

From everlasting to everlasting you are are God

For a thousand years in your sight, are like yesterday when it is past.

So let us praise God from yesterday to tomorrow. 

*Hymn #343                          “Called as Partners in Christ’s Service”

Called as partners in Christ’s service, Called to ministries of grace

We respond with eep commitment Fresh new lines of faith to trace

May we learn the art of sharing, Side by side and friend with friend,

Equal partners in our caring To fulfill God’s chosen end.

Christ’s example, Christ’s inspiring, Christ’s clear call to work and worth,

Let us follow, never faltering, Reconciling folk on earth.

Men and women, richer, poorer, All God’s people, young and old.

Blending human skills together Gracious gifts from God unfold.

Thus new patterns for Christ’s mission, In a small or global sense,

Help us bear each other’s burdens, Breaking down each wall or fence.
Words of comfort, words of vision, Words of challenge, said with care,

Bring new power and strength for action, are us colleagues, free and fair. 

Prayer of Confession: (unison): God, I confess that sometimes I am like Simon Peter, and all I have to say is “Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful person.” We have seen evil, yet you are good all the time. All the time God is good. So you teach me to count my days and my blessings. Let your work manifest in your servants, we pray. Amen. 

Assurance of Pardon: God satisfies us in the morning with God’s steadfast ove, so that we may rejoice and be glad all of our days in the good news:  In Jesus Christ we are forgiven.

  HEARING THE WORD

                         Children’s Time : Telling God’s Story

                               (All children are invited to the front)

Prayer for Illumination

1st Scripture Reading Psalm 90:14-17

2nd Scripture Reading                                     Luke 5:1-11

“Feed My Sheep” Pastor Katy Stenta

Reflection Roger Held 

Joys & Concerns  & The Lord’s Prayer (p. 16 in the blue hymnal)

RESPONDING TO THE WORD

Offering

*Doxology (#592 in Blue Hymnal) Praise God from whom all blessings flow. Praise God all creatures here below. Praise God above ye heavenly host. Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost! Amen. 

SENDING THE WORD

Prayer of Dedication: God, let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us. Give us the gifts we need to let your work be manifest to your servants, and your glorious power to their children. Prosper for us the work of our hands we pray in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen. 

Hymn # 370             “Just as I am, Without One Plea” 

Just as I am, without one plea, But that Thy blood was shed for me, 

And that Thou baddest me come to Thee 

O Lamb of God, I come, I come!

Just as I am though tossed about, With many a conflict, Many a doubt

Fightings and fears within, without.

Just as I am Thou wilt receive, Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse relieve

Because Thy promise I believe, 

*Charge & Benediction

The peace of Christ be with you. 

And also with you.   (Invitation to share Peace)

Elections and Infections and Insurrections Prayer

Lord, it’s been quite a week: Elections and Infections and Insurrections. To say we are tired is an understatement. We are stuck, numb.

The prayers that fall from our lips are entreating. Please God make a way for us. Clearly we are lost, squabbling in the desert.

Please. Let us not freeze in this moment. Help us to do justice, and remind us the the doing will take a while and a lot of work. Help us go love mercy—not cheap forgiveness carelessly given, but the deep mercy given to marginalized communities who need the mercy of equity.

And the mercy given to the oppressors after the truth is told.

And Lord if these lessons are what we need to learn to walk humbly, where we do the needful work of God’s without quid pro quo or expectations of reward.

Let us not freeze up—as we have done in crises time and time before, set our hands and minds and feet to do the work. Encourage and en-courage us to try. To move forward inch by inch. Help us not to be alone in the work but to find others, partners in Christ’s service, who are inching with us we pray.

Remind us that God knows we can only see a dim reflection of ourselves, and that we only see in part and know in part. His knows this, and still tells us to do the work.

Sing us to sleep at night, grant us some Sabbath and sanctuary so we can nourished and empowered for the work we pray.

In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.

Feel free to use/adapt with credit to Pastor Katy

With credit to Margaret Aymer Ogrt for her poignant call.

How do we feel? (a prayer)

God, my sister says she is tapped out of feelings to day. No rage, no sorrow, just empty.

I’m praying for her today.

My black colleague says she’s been here before, working when you should be able to rest and restore. Grieving with now where to put it. She has experience, and she doesn’t know how it’s going to end.

Help us to take some of the burden and to work on changing things today.

Someone I know has been having anxiety attacks, not once or twice, but multilple times a day. Between the politcis, the suffering and the pandemic, he is not sure how to treat the stress-o-phere that we live today.

Help us to find ways to change our stress-o-phere.

God I don’t know how I feel today–one minute I’m ok, the next I’m stressing, the next I’m depressed, then I’m anxious.

God help me with what I need, because I don’t know today.

All I can do to process is write, and pray, and scroll and write some more. I don’t know how I feel, but I know what I’m doing.

Help us God, we are feeling surrounded and beseiged by our enemies, like all the Psalms say. We are stuck and don’t know where to go.

All we can say is you are God.

You are God, please be our God we pray.

Amen

Not I, Lord

Jesus, how did it feel when you predicted your death, and the disciples said this can never happen?

How about at the table, when you were eating and drinking with your beloved, and warned that betrayal and denial would follow and each disciples said, “Not I Lord.” It can’t be me.

God, how are we so willfully blind? To the racism that is etched into our very DNA, to the violence that happens against school children who can’t pay for lunch.

How is it that we can’t believe that violence is coming… until it does. Storming the capital with Nazi flags of hate and signs that somehow proclaim “Jesus Saves.”

And we disarm people of color, and hide our children under their desks, but refuse to see violence as systematic and problematic.

How is such denial possible?

Did Jesus have a part of him that was in denial, that his people would turn on him…until the disciples fell asleep at the wheel, and then fell asleep again, and again.

Was he holding out hope that Judas would change his mind?

We feel betrayed, but the evil was there all along, like Herod.

Lead us not into temptation to say “this is not America”

America was always this way: violent and racist and ignorant, but pray for us God, because we keep hoping and proclaiming, like the disciples “Not I Lord.”

Open our mouths to say “this is not God, this is not foreordained” help us to take the responsibility that is needed to make the change.

It’s an Epiphany: A Realization

It’s an Apocalypse: An Unveiling that changes all of life.

Please let this be Apocryphal, please let this be an Epiphany.

Help me to shut my mouth when I’m tempted to say “Not I, Lord” or “Not All of Us” or “Everything Will Turn Out Okay.”

Chafe my hands into the work that needs to be done, enfold my mind with the empathy to Listen, Prod my feet to to do the walking.

Set me to work God, set me to do the work:

To protect the vulnerable, to tell the truth, to face the hatred, to love and serve

and to serve and to love.

Change my words to say “Here I am, Lord” I pray.

Amen

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

Some Epiphany, isn’t it?

I wonder how the Magi felt, leaving a small baby full of beauty and hope behind to journey home.

Did they let themselves hope? How terrified were they, God, when the angel appeared to them in a dream and “warned them to go home a different way.”

Is this what Epiphany feels like God? Understanding yet standing up to the real evil that exists in the world? Did the Magi feel a weird mixture of hoping for hope, but not being able to spend time on that yet?

Is Epiphany knowing what you don’t know? Is it finding small joys in babies and families and journeys successfully completed even as Petty Rulers do every single despicable thing to keep their power not caring what innocents will suffer or die along the way?

This is some epiphany, God. Where the vaccine is found, but the virus has not yet been defeated. The Good News is real, but hasn’t been disseminated yet. Where the fullness of already but not yet of salvation and health and peace and change is imminent, but completely out of reach.

What did the Magi pray when they looked upon the star? Did they pray for wisdom? for guidance? for safety? for family and friends who were far away? For the furture that had yet to impend?

Because that’s what I’m praying for this epiphany.

Lord, keep us wondering and wandering in the right direction I pray.

Amen.

Magi from Armenia manuscript of John
Malkon, Gaspar and Baghghazar

Easter: Topical Prayer

Topical Prayer: God, we are all the characters int he story. The women who find the stone rolled away, and are terrified of the angel, the disciples who do not believe the resurrection to be true, Peter who runs to see it all only to be left with the wrappings from the tomb. As we experience this story, let us embrace the amazement and perplexity of the events. They are truly beyond human ken. Though that is uncomfortable, let us sit with the wonder that Easter is we pray. Amen.