Palm Sunday, a Prayer

Jesus as the apostles went to get the colt

Did you have to psych yourself up

As you rounded the corner to enter the gates did you think

“This is going to suck”

When people threw their cloaks—did you focus on the children and try to think of how real their joy was?

Jesus did you laugh on Palm Sunday?

Did you steal your victory moment—because it was in peace.

Did you think of unions and BLM and Trans kids and all of the unnamed saints who live quietly.

Did they all flash before your eyes when you sighed and took a deep breath to continue your march into Jerusalem?

Did a tear of weariness and joy trickle down your face at the end of the day?

Did you rub your forehead, and smell the remnants of Nard and remind yourself that you too were beloved after a full and important day?

Jesus the longer I live—

The more human you become.

The more I see how you took on Sarc (flesh) for us so that our emotions are real to you–

Real and valid; thank you for celebrating Palm Sunday with us.

Thank you for it’s flashes of joy and humility and peace.

Hosanna.

Amen.

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

Image: https://i.swncdn.com/media/800w/cms/CCOM/65029-thinkstock-azerberber-palmbranch.800w.tn.jpg

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Forgiving God (A Prayer)

God, sometimes I wonder

If you stand for weak apologies,

or how you stand them at all…

The “I’m sorry if your feelings were hurt”

or the half-hearted apologies that blame…

other things like mental illness or pills or bad sleep…

or anything…

(I call these non apologies what do you call them God?)

and I also wonder…

and how you view our funding for guns and military complexes

while children are hungry in the street

How do we quickly fund war-things

and let people die of plague and hunger and homelessness

I know you are a forgiving God…

but I also wonder if we take that too much for granted

If that is why Jesus looked at Jerusalem

and cried.

But then I think of how Jesus

washed Judas’s feet,

and lovingly forewarned Peter of his

thrice, THRICE ill-timed denial.

And I think,

Only you Christ, know

that somehow,

we humans can still change.

Even when we humans

Might give up on humanity.

You don’t

Well, you and Dr. Who.

So I’ll hold onto that,

With my pinky fingers–

even when I lose grasp

and my hands no longer want to fold

in prayers

and words of forgiveness

do not come from my lips.

I’ll rely on your forgiveness,

instead of mine

and work on the pinky

finger’s worth of prayer

instead.

Amen.

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

Conspiring with God: A Prayer

As rumors of microchips and aliens and kidnapped sex workers abound.

I hear you whispering that you are the God of the Conspiracy theorists too.

You hear their cries for a world that makes sense, you feel their arms when they reach out for someone/anyone to go along with what they are proclaiming, you take their anger when the world does not go the way it should.

You hold their hands, even when they think guns are the answer.

You continue to tell them the truth, even if their hearts are hardened with entrenched racism, sexism, homophobia, ableism and other forms of bigotry.

Only you know, God, what conspiracies abounded when Jesus rode the small colt, you are the one who knows what the palms and cloaks symbolized for those who threw them.

You alone understand what poisonous lies, or world bending truths were whispered in Judas’s ear, to sell you out.

And still, the Truth is God’s, I can’t believe in any conspiracy but your love.

We humans are too clumsy, too small minded, too telltale to conspire.

I believe there are gross inequities, there are systems that run and thrive on corruption, I believe that there is, indeed, real evil manifest in the world.

But though I believe that power seeks out and protects power, and that small lies can lead to big lies, that there is no grand scheme.

Because evil is niggling and sneaky.

It hurts in micro-agressions and permission-giving for bad behavior, and in letting those who are in power believe their own lies. It’s not systemized, but all too often, it’s allowed to become prevalent.

So that bad decision stacks upon bad decision leading to the mistreatment of immigrants, the white supremacy becoming cultural, to faith being inseparable from the very flag that corrupts it and weighs it down.

And that’s why, I believe you conspire and inspire for good–all the time and every time.

This is why you said “Tell Herod that fox that I’m going to keep healing and preaching til I breathe my last.” This is why on your last day on earth, you had a ginormous good meal with your closest peeps, and then spent time loving on them and washing their feet.

You will never stop. Jesus. Jesus who meets us by the well, in a tree, and even upon a cross as we lay dying. Even then, you conspire for good.

And if I blink, I can see the co-inspiring works of the Holy Spirit.

If I blink: I can see how you make it so that babies remain impossibly cute and a couple of droplets of baptismal water are enough to start the flood of your never-ending grace

If I blink, I can see how the stars still sing out Abrahamic promises and rainbows still speak of a weaponless future of love,

If I blink I can feel your presence “your church” in all of the communities and all of the neighborhoods in the world, and its then I can taste how bread and the cup are enough to tie us to every one of your beloved: those who have come before, and those who have yet to be.

Holy Spirit, help me to conspire with you, and only you.

Stand with me as I work to find the threads of truth and love and hope.

Imbue in me, imbue in us, a faith that we humans can be beloved into a better being, and help me to talk and walk in ways that blot out the evils of the world. I pray in your most Holy Name, Jesus Christ.
Amen.

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

Palm Sunday: Waiting for the Stones

Jesus, I don’t know how much shouting of Hosanna will happen on Sunday.

I’m uncertain who will be there and how we will parade,

And Lord, you know, there will not be any singing. We miss it, God, but are trying to do right.

And though we may be sighing “Hosanna: Lord Save Us” we also know that we have to take some responsibility and help to save ourselves.

And, most days I doubt we actually want peace on earth, we are so bad at enacting and supporting true peace.

And Jesus is not going to come in guns blazing; Thank God!

What does the Lord require for Jesus to come? What humble entry can we cede to the Son of God?

What videos or drivethrus or palm crafts might come?

God, I confess this might be the week that there will be few shouts. We will be sticking well to your humility and simplicity this year.

So I will be listening to the stones.

For the truth cannot be stopped.

“Blessed is the one One who comes in the name of the Lord, Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest heaven.”

Amen.

Hosanna.

Amen.

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

More Holy Week Prayers: https://katyandtheword.com/2021/03/24/holy-week-easter-prayers/

Holy Saturday: Pausing for Grief

God, what was it like to take the Holy Pause of Saturday? Did you practice Sabbath while Jesus, your only son, had died?

Did you sit in a comfortable corner and let yourself cry?

Did you practice breathing, slowly, in and out, trying to find ways to regulate once again?

Did you embrace despondency?

Did it feel like the world had stopped? Did you feel slammed by the bad news–even though you knew it was coming? Did you have to sit for a minute to take in the fullness of its meaning?

Did you simply, actually, pause the world for a few so you could keep your rainbow promises?

Did you feel frustrated that after all you had done, and tried, that Jesus died anyway?

Did you take comfort in sitting with the disciples and Mary, and Mary and Martha as they moaned?

Did you make yourself useful, keeping busy helping all the humans who were in pain, so you could better process your own?

Did you just sleep all day, and try to forget the world existed?

Lord God, I have a sneaking suspicion that Saturday is Holy because it legitimizes our pain, our loss, our anger at injustices, our impatience with the waiting for peace, our heartbrokenness with the state of the world, our feeling of helplessness to be of help to anyone or anything.

And yet, You give us permission to take the time to sit with the pain. You give us the space we need to do absolutely nothing (at first) in response to the evil in the world. You do not barge in with good news or toxic positivity. You let resurrection sneak into our hearts, little by little.

Thank you God for this time and space.

Thank you for being a God who fully experiences the range of emotions and reactions we have.

Thank you for being our God and sitting with us.

Let us sit together a little longer………………………………

Amen.

Feel free to use/adapt with Credit to Pastor Katy Stenta

Friday isn’t Good

God, I’m raging today against good Friday. Its bad Friday, it’s mistaken Friday, its very, very human Friday.

We humans should never equate abuse and violence with good. Because too often we malign those who are different than us for “good.” Too often we consider police violence “for the greater good.” Too often we glorify those who have weapons as “good guys” and end up glorifying them for Good.

Did you have to die on the Cross God? Probably, because we humans could only see the “good” of violence. Only humans would think Emmet Till dying was worthwhile because it helped to spur the civil rights movement. *

Only humans consider martyrdom something to strive for (how did we even get there, ew!).

We are not a death cult, God, we do not want to make the long count to forty lashes, and we Christians should be the first in line to be against the death penalty, realizing that it is inhumane for us to kill one another.

We should be creating community and stopping abuse at all levels. And I must confess, sometimes we are too scared, or too nice to name and cast out evil.

God, I don’t think Friday will be Good for me, anymore.

Not after a pandemic where so many have died for the “good” of the economy.

Not after a summer where death after death of Black People resulted in a lot of noise, and little change.

Not in a culture where the first thing we experience after reopening is racist attacks and has shootings of AAPI siblings and mass shootings ing general.

Lord, no, Friday isn’t good.

But I’m glad you transformed it. I’m glad you could withstand it. I’m glad your beyond it.

And I hope that someday, violence will no longer be allowed or celebrated, or deemed as necessary for the good.

I hope the sun goes down on this Good Friday, God I hope it ends soon.

And I pray that we let the resurrection sneak up on us, that we can still hear its whispers and that we can, even in the midst of Friday, follow where it leads.

Lord hear my prayer, as I stand, living in the midst of a this terrible, horrible, no good very bad Friday time.

Amen.

*With Credit and Thanks for Rev. Lenny Duncan who challenged if Jesus or black bodies should have to die for us humans to “get it” or be “woke” or to spur us into action.

Feel free to use and adapt with writing credit to Pastor Katy Stenta and theology credit to Rev. Lenny Duncan.

Washing the Dust

Jesus, how beautiful is it that you chose to spend some remaining moments reminding the disciples that they can help each other wash off the dust.

Lord you know, sometimes I’ve tried to shake the dust off my feet, but it is stuck tight. It stains my sole. It stains my soul.

And I know how to wash my own feet. But sometimes i don’t have the energy, to get the water, to bend over, to do the self care.

Sometimes I don’t have the energy to wash.

And there you are–towel in hand, gently taking my feet and dipping them in the water.

You wash away the ashes. You remind me that when I’m having trouble, I can ask for help.

You remind us that we are not alone.

That we should love one another, care for one another, help one another.

So while the ashes of two more mass shootings, racist attacks, abusive trans legislation, and continue news of those who don’t yet have access to vaccines, and over 500,000 siblings who needlessly died.

You lather the soap, and pour the water, and prepare a fresh towel. Even while we are on the dusty road to Jerusalem, which ends in the cross, you make provision for us.

You teach us how to comfort one another on the journey.

And For that I give you Thanks and Praise.

Please fee free to use/adapt with Credit to Pastor Kay Stenta

Ashes to Ashes: a Prayer

God, I’ve been living with ashes in my mouth for over a year now.

And though they are bitter and continue to color every single aspect of my day,

I find that I cannot spit them out. For you have put them there, Lord

Living with death is hard–it’s why family parlors became living rooms

It’s why death was exported from homes and churches to funeral homes

Because it’s tough to see just how fragile humanity is.

Is this like white fragility and male fragility? This mortality thing? Do we ignore it because we, mistakenly, think it makes us stronger?

And then in comes the Christ: an openly weeping male, here comes Christ who sits with the sick and the weak and the disabled and the young and the dying.

Here comes Christ, with dust in his hair and dust on his feet, and ashes in his mouth. Tasting his death for all three years of his ministry.

A taste, he too can’t spit out. A taste that when he tries to draw attention to it, or share it with his disciples, it is rejected.

How did it feel, Jesus, when Mary took a moment to sit with you in the dust, and to wash as much as it as she could off, and then to wipe it clean with her own hair? Mary–whose own brother had died–Mary was the one who was able to sit with you in the dust.

How did it taste, Lord? To drink the wine and eat the bread of resurrection, while the taste of ashes was probably at its’ strongest? Did Peter taste it? Or James or John? Did Matthew and Mark feel the grains upon their tongue? Was Luke aware of its dusty origin? Did Judas recognize the taste of death upon his tongue?

And that night in the garden, when the sand of sleep overpowered the disciples, did you feel the dust in the corner of your eyes? Did you wipe it away, or had you learned to live with it by then?

God, I’ve been living with ashes in my mouth all year, and we are going to enter the season of death, of ashes, of the dirty, dusty path to Jerusalem. And so I pray, that I learn to live and learn how to learn a little more from my own mortality.

I pray that some of the taste of ash is eased with the taste of the living waters of baptism and resurrection.

I’m tired of living with ashes on my tongue, God.

But here we are.

Help me to taste the truth and good news even among the ashes, I pray.

Amen.

Feel free to use/adapt with Credit to Pastor Katy Stenta

Art by Beatrice Stenta

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Life in Slow Motion: Lenten Prayer

God, I feel like everything is in slow motion. I can see what is coming, all of it, but it’s hard to react in a timely manner.

The bicycle of life is barely moving, and when we hit a bump. It hits hard.

When I drop the paper or burn my hand or yell at my child, it seems insurmountable.

Because, I’m going to be honest God, I didn’t have all that much momentum to begin with–I am so reliant on the treat of the day: the good meal, the sunlight, the 20 minutes to do nothing.

And, executive function is hard to get functional. And the tea caffeine can only do so much.

And God, I’m not ready for Lent, because I’ve been trudging through Lent all year. Living with death, remembering my mortality, feeling alone. God I’m don’t wanna.

I don’t want to do Lent.

But here we are, ready for the desert, for the trudge, for the bumps. Here we are ready to celebrate life and death, once again, with you.

With you.

God, this is a prayer from the longest and slowest Lent ever. Help me not to freeze or burn out. Help me to stay compassionate and caring. Send your Holy Spirit, because we here on Earth need it.

And I know we cannot just skip to Easter God.

So, I’m praying you send us what we need, even as we find ourselves in slow motion.

Amen.

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Shannon A Thompson

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