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.

Unfreezing Christmas Pageant No Rehearsal Version

Unfreezing Christmas Pageant

No Rehearsal Version

by Katy Stenta, feel free to Email me at Katyandtheword at gmail for a doc version

Feel free to Adapt (Really Adapt I know how these things are)/Use with credit to Katy Stenta 

Full Extended Advent Resource

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

Characters: Mr Tumnus, Lucy, Narrator (Can be Played By Lucy), Mrs Beaver (Can be played by Mr Tumnus) Two Friends, Mary (non-speaking), Other Nativity Characters (Optional), All reading parts can be read from lecterns. 

Needed: 1 Stuffed Lion, 1 Babydoll, 1 Manger (optional), Nativity Costumes (optional)

Congregation says Merry Christmas and Aslan Unfreeze Christmas: Can be pompted by one of the Lead Characters without a script

Narrator: Here Are the Instructions everyone, when the music stops, please Freeze, when the music starts, you can unfreeze!

(Music Starts)

Mrs. Beaver Here in Narnia we are having a hard time. It is always winter; Always winter and never Christmas. 

Mr. Tumnus: I am excited though, because I have invited my new friend Lucy from the Land of Spare Oom over to Tea—and the Queen has Not found out about our friendship. 

(Music Stops)

For some reason the Queen hates humans. Oh no look everyone is Frozen You are all frozen out there. 

Lucy: Oh no look, what happened?

Mr. Tumnus: They must have been celebrating without the Queen’s permission and she turned them into stone.

Aslan (Someone holding a Stuffed Lion walks on stage): Roar

Mr Tumnus & Lucy: Aslan Unfreezes Christmas

(Everyone Unfreezes, Music Starts)

(Aslan exits)

Mr Tumnus: Oh my gifts and packages! That must have been Aslan! Unfreezing their hearts for Christmas!

Lucy: Merry Christmas

Congregation: Merry Christmas

Scene 2

(Music Stops)

(Two People frozen back to back)

Mr Tumnus: Oh dear I do not like the look of this, this does not look of this, we must be following the Queen’s winter. 

Aslan—(can be a different person playing Aslan—roars and unfreezing them Music Starts)

Congregation: Aslan Unfreezes Christmas

1st Friend—I’ve been looking for you everywhere

2nd Friend-I’m so glad I’ve found you

(the two people hug)

Scene 3

(Music Stops)

Girl Holding a Babydoll by a manger Frozen

(Other people can be other characters in a manger scene as is appropriate/easy or not or can come on to sing)

Ms. Beaver: I remember this story

Mr. Tumnus: Yes the White Witch really is preventing Christmas now, by freezing this one. 

Aslan (again can be the same person or someone different) roars to unfreeze the girl Music Starts)

Congregation: Aslan Unfreezes Christmas

Girl puts the babydoll into the manger

Congreation: Merry Christmas

Everyone comes onstage: to sing (with the congregation if you choose)

Reader to close: Aslan has truly unfrozen Christmas, Look! For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders—and he is named, wonderful counsellor, mighty God, everlasting Father, Prince of Peace

Aslan: Roars One last Time

Silent Night or Away in the Manger or Your Favorite Christmas Hymn for Everyone to Sing

Living Water

Signs of God: Baptism/Holy Spirit

Psalm 147:1-11

John 7:37-52

Call to Worship

Praise to Our God, it is Good to praise our God who Gracious

God heals the broken-hearted, and binds up their wounds

God determines the number of the stars, and gives them their names, our God is abundant in power, and has an understanding beyond measure.

Come let us praise our glorious God!

Call to Confession: God we confess that we are tired and in need of the nourishment you promise. Please give us that nourishment today. Let that living water flow from our hearts as promised we pray.

Assurance of Pardon: Hear and Know God is here with us, sustaining us. Know the good news In Jesus Christ we are forgiven.

Prayer of the Day/Dedicaiton: Jesus you promise that the living water, the Holy Spirt, will come from your followers hearts, help that to happen today and everyday we pray. Amen.

Children: Holy Spirit talk about all the meanings of the Holy Spirit: Wind, Water, Fire, Inspiration, Breath. Talk about which image might be their favorite and why. Discuss how Jesus talks about how their is a piece of the Holy Spirit in every single human being to help comfort, sustain and inspire us, and that’s what today’s story is about!

Hymn: I’ve Got Peace Like a River, Breathe On Me Breath of God, Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing, Out of Deep Unordered Water, Stand Up and Bless the Lord

If you find my work useful, please consider giving to my Doctorate in Ministry in Creative Writing https://gofund.me/70a114f9. It is a “working theologian’s” doctorate where I preach, write and share my work with the world all at the same time. If your church uses my work extensively and could use a receipt email me at katyandtheword at gmail and let me know!

Bread of Life

Food for the Hungry

Psalm 34:1-19

John 6:35-59

Call to Worship

I will bless the Lord at all times

Come bless the Lord with me

Jesus says, I am the everlasting bread of life

Come, let us praise God who gives us life

Prayer of Confession: God, I confess that I hunger to be nourished. There are times I truly need to taste and see that the Lord is good, because I am stumbling and falling, because the world is full of so many not good things. Save us, please we pray. Show us the good.

Assurance of Pardon Hear the good news, God is good all the time, an so we know the Gospel truth In Jesus Christ we are forgiven.

Prayer of the Day/Dedication: God let us go into the world knowing you want every single person to be fed. Let us all work to make that happen today and everyday we pray. Amen.

Hymns: Here I Am Lord, O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go, O Jesus I Have Promised, O Jesus I Have Promised,

Children: https://www.ted.com/talks/peter_reinhart_the_art_and_craft_of_bread?language=en

Writing https://gofund.me/70a114f9. It is a “working theologian’s” doctorate where I preach, write and share my work with the world all at the same time. If your church uses my work extensively and could use a receipt email me at katyandtheword at gmail and let me know!

Healing Stories

Psalm 40:1-5

John 4:46-54 [5:1-18]

Call to Worship

God we long to be Healed

We sorrow in the sickness in the world

God we gather together to pray

Come let us pray for one another to God

Prayer of Confession: God we confess that we would prefer instant solutions to our problems. We would like for everyone to be instantly healed of their illnesses. Remind us to take responsibility, to do the work, and to hold fast to praying for one another and to not lose hope. Help us when we lose hope or are tired. Encourage us and surround us with support when we are worn out we pray. Amen.

Assurance of Pardon: Hear the Good News: Jesus loves us and supports us, loving us into wholeness every time: In Jesus Christ we are forgiven

Prayer of the Day/Dedication: God please heal us in the ways that we need to be healed, that are perhaps beyond our human understanding, and bind us together so that we can continue to love and support one another in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Hymns: I love the Lord Who Heard My Cry, There is a Balm in Gilead, Lord I Want to Be a Christian In My Heart, Lift High the Cross, Love Divine All Love Excelling

With Children: Talk about ALL the ways of healing: physical, spiritual, mental, emotional, intellectual, relational, natural (earth), individual, communal. Discuss how the healing Jesus has promised is way more than just one kind of healing and how fixated humans are upon primarily physical and then secondarily mental healing and how we might work towards other kinds of healing.

If you find my work useful, please consider giving to my Doctorate in Ministry in Creative Writing https://gofund.me/70a114f9. It is a “working theologian’s” doctorate where I preach, write and share my work with the world all at the same time. If your church uses my work extensively and could use a receipt email me at katyandtheword at gmail and let me know!

Woman at the Well

Signs of God: Jesus Meets You Where You Are

Psalm 42:1-3

John 4:1-42

Call to Worship

Come as You are

Jesus will meet you

Come all you who thirst

For God will provide you the waters of everlasting life

Call to Confession: God, I confess that sometimes I am like the woman at the well. Not knowing what it is I am thirsty for, but knowing that I am in need of more, thirsty for something. Please help me when I am lonely or unsatisfied. Provide me with that which I really need, so I am not distracted by wants or wishes, but may instead focus in on that which is really important I pray. Amen.

Assurance of Pardon. Jesus promises salvation to all who ask, know the good news: In Jesus Christ we are forgiven.

Prayer of the Day/Dedication: God help us to follow the ways of grace, so that we might further journey on the path that we need to take we pray in the Holy Name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Hymns: What a Friend We Have in Jesus, Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing, We Meet You O Christ, Help Us Accept Each Other, More Love to Thee O Christ, They Will Know We Are Christians By Our Love

With Children: Talk about how Samaria and Israel were fighting siblings: Very similar but had different customs and so they wouldn’t talk to one another so it was very unusual for Jesus to talk to anyone from Samaria, much less a woman. Indicate how Jesus meets everyone where they are–by a well, up a tree, eventually on a cross. Discuss all the funny places Jesus might meet people if he was walking around today

Nicodemus

Signs of God: Love and Rebirth (We Belong to God)

Psalm 139:13-18

John 3:1-21

Call to Worship

God you know us and love us

Thanks be to God

Who do we belong to?

We belong to God, Our Father

Come let us praise God

We will praise our God together.

Call to Confession: God I know that nothing is hidden from you, and yet sometimes I confess that sometimes I pretend that it is. Sometimes I worry that what I carry is too big to be forgiven. I forget that you promise always to forgive. Remind me that your forgiveness is rooted in love, I pray. Amen

Assurance of Pardon: Remember that God loves us, and know the truth: In Jesus Christ we are forgiven.

Prayer of Dedication/Day: God help us to show the world that we are Christians first and foremost by our actions and love we pray. Amen.

If you find my work useful, please consider giving to my Doctorate in Ministry in Creative Writing https://gofund.me/70a114f9. It is a “working theologian’s” doctorate where I preach, write and share my work with the world all at the same time. If your church uses my work extensively and could use a receipt email me at katyandtheword at gmail and let me know!

Hymns; To God Be the Glory, Amazing Grace, Holy Holy Holy Lord God Almighty, Our Father’s Love Begotten, Blessed Assurance Jesus is Mine, Jesus Thy Boundless Love to Me

With Children: Talk about Baptism, discuss why we don’t use last names because we are baptized into God’s family, discussed how we are “born again” in this way

Writing https://gofund.me/70a114f9. It is a “working theologian’s” doctorate where I preach, write and share my work with the world all at the same time. If your church uses my work extensively and could use a receipt email me at katyandtheword at gmail and let me know!

Jan/Feb 2022 Narrative Lectionary

Signs of God

January 9th Wedding at Cana: Hospitality as Ministry

John 2:1-11

Psalm 104:14- 16

January 16th Jesus Cleanses the Temple: Making a Sanctuary

Psalm 127:1-2

John 2:13-25

January 23 Nicodemus: Love and Rebirth (We belong to God)

Psalm 139:13-18

John 3:1-21

January 30th Woman at the Well: Jesus Meets You Where You Are

Psalm 42:1-3

John 4:1-42

February 6th Healing Stories: Healing

Psalm 40:1-5

John 4:46-54 [5:1-18]

February 13 Bread of Life: Food for the Hungry

Psalm 34:1-19

John 6:35-59

Feb 20 Living Water: Baptism/Holy Spirit

Psalm 147:1-11

John 7:37-52

Feb 27 The Man Born Blind

Psalm 27:1-4

John 9:1-41

If you find my work useful, please consider giving to my Doctorate in Ministry in Creative Writing https://gofund.me/70a114f9. It is a “working theologian’s” doctorate where I preach, write and share my work with the world all at the same time. If your church uses my work extensively and could use a receipt email me at katyandtheword at gmail and let me know!

Jesus Cleanses the Temple

Signs of God: Making Sanctuary

Psalm 127:1-2

John 2:13-25

Call to Worship

God you make this a sanctuary for us

Giving bread to the hungry, Rest for the weary

Surely those who look, will find God

Come, let us build a house of justice and sanctuary for God

Confession: God we confess that we often confuse peace with being subdued or quiet. We forget that true sanctuary means a place to not just feel but be safe. Help us to be safe with one another we pray. Help us to build your sanctuary, we pray. Amen.

Assurance of Pardon. God’s peace is from everlasting to everlasting, know the good news: In Jesus Christ we are forgiven.

Prayer of the Day/Dedication: God’s mercies are renewed every morning. God’s mercies never come to an end. Let us go into the world renewed by God. Amen.

Hymns: Be Thou My Vision, Room at the Table, Great is Thy Faithfulness, Because He Lives, Worthy is The Lamb,

With Children: Chalk and Eraser Board Jesus can cleanse you every single time you make a mistake. Jesus wants you to keep trying!

If you find my work useful, please consider giving to my Doctorate in Ministry in Creative Writing https://gofund.me/70a114f9. It is a “working theologian’s” doctorate where I preach, write and share my work with the world all at the same time. If your church uses my work extensively and could use a receipt email me at katyandtheword at gmail and let me know!

Mary’s Affirmation–A Prayer about Cana

Jesus,

Today I wonder if you shared some insecurities with your mom,

If you told her you had to leave home,

and start to do all of the dangerous things

she sang about

when you were still in vitro–

and I wonder if you had imposter syndrome

Because your were–after all, fully human,

I wonder if you whispered that you didn’t want to leave home to her

in the middle of the night

or if you worried about leaving your brothers and sisters

when Joseph is so conspicuously absent from the picture now

You, the eldest, the man of the house,

would be leaving too, just to cause a revolution, that’s all

and here is your Mother’s blessing,

at a wedding,

I wonder if she wanted to give you a good memory to start your journey…

if these were good family friends

who had more friends than they could afford–and I can just imagine God

how you looked Jesus when you were like,

“Seriously Woman, this is not what God’s power is for!”

And Mary, Chosen of God, doesn’t even deign to answer her son.

Lord, I just imagine the Mom Look she gives Jesus.

God, I’d love to be able to see someone giving

Jesus, Christ our Lord and Savior, a Mom Look

Because aren’t those Mom Looks affirming of all that we are, and can be–

they are the opposite of imposter syndrome, are they not?

Mary, gives the Mom Look and then commands everyone in the Room

“You will do as my son says” and gives a grand exit,

Beginning Jesus’s ministry with a flourish…of hospitality,

She blesses Jesus’s ministry with a Party–She starts the ministry as it must end–

with the outpouring of wine.

There is no formal communion narrative in John, but it fits in right here…

as we on the inter-webs argue about what can make communion..

telling us all we need to know about communion

God you turned water into wine,

you know the truth–

its all real,

every drop of Hospitality and Communion,

and identity Affirmation,

It

Is

All

Real

Ministry.

Don’t ever let us forget I pray.

In the name of your Partying Jesus Christ,

and his affirming Mother I pray.

Amen.

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

If you find my work useful, please consider giving to my Doctorate in Ministry in Creative Writing https://gofund.me/70a114f9. It is a “working theologian’s” doctorate where I preach, write and share my work with the world all at the same time. If your church uses my work extensively and could use a receipt email me at katyandtheword at gmail and let me know!

"Water To Wine" is a painting by Darcie Pike,
Image” https://www.journeywithjesus.net/Essays/Darcie_Pike_Water_To_Wine_sm.jpg