October: A Prayer

God,

I’m thinking a lot this October,

about how sweet and innocent I was over the summer.

How I thought it would be all downhill this fall.

How we would be older, and wiser, and vaccinated.

And I must confess that the reality is not really living up to the dream Lord.

I really have to stop being in survival mode–because I can’t sustain that anymore.

So one of these days, I’m going to sit down, and figure out

what October 2021 means–

even as October 2021 marches on,

and I have to look at my phone real quick to double check

are we in 2022 yet? Am I wrong? are we in 2021? I’m still confused about time God.

So here’s a prayer God, to get out of survival mode, and into resurrection mode.

Can these bones live Lord? I say to the Halloween decorations, as I spread out

the skeletons and spiders in yard, and buy enough candy for one of the few safe holidays to celebrate

Can these bones live Lord? As I pray and pray

and pray and pray and pray for 5-11 vaccines, so that we can finally get

down to the brass tacks of baby vaccinations.

Can these bones live, Lord?

As I think of the two years lost in the ministry, the wise saints who have gotten older

the families that have gotten more worn down,

the community that has huddled closer over the last 18 months.

But they are good bones of ministry, I think fiercely,

And we are doing good things, as we brave the elements to worship ouside,

as we pray and take care of those in our congregation who are sick

these are the bones of ministry I think as our deacons keep in touch with our far flung families,

and our Sunday School teacher bravely starts a new ministry

Can these bones live?

You know God….

Meanwhile, I think I’ll concentrate on the plan of getting through October

–Thanks for letting me do it one day at a time God—

and thank you for October.

Amen.

King County Library on Twitter: "“I'm so glad I live in a world where there  are Octobers.” ― Anne of Green Gables. Whether it's a classic you enjoyed  as a child or

A Blessing for (Surviving) Today

Here’s a blessing for you.

Because you are still here,

And it’s been a year, of ::gestures inarticulately:: everything.

And we need all the blessings we can get.

So here’s a bless this mess.

A blessing on your head,

one that grants you good dreams,

and moments of respite,

and times to let go,

and moments to connect with your beloveds,

and reminders that your worth is not defined by your productivity

and that its ok not to be ok

and that this is not the new normal, nor should it be.

So all the blessings–

for being here,

and doing the things

and being you.

Keep at it! Take breaks,

Drink water, take care of yourself,

and be blessed,

For you are a beloved child of God.

No matter what.

God bless you, Child of God.

Today, Tomorrow, and Always.

Amen.

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Aunty God

God

Nothing makes me want to scorch earth faster

Or with more fury

thank suffering children.

My heart clencheswithin my chest, when children suffer.

Especially when it is due to the incompetences of adults.

It’s is our job to protect children—not from inconveniences or hard things—

But from bullying, bigotry, mistreatment and evil.

Lord you know that my niphling, your niphling has COVID

And that each and every child sick with COVID right now (at least in the United States)—

Is a failure.

Because we know how to keep each other safe.

We just need to do the hard work, and we keep tripping up

On our ignorance

Selfishness

And greed.

Tonight I will probably pray some people shaped prayers;

But right now I need to rage and and spit and cry out:

Lord in your mercy

Hear our prayer

Break our Hearts of Stone

So that we might do better—God help us to do better,

I know we can do better!

And keep your baby niphlings* safe,

All the baby niphlings For you are the Mighty Aunty God

Ready to hug us and rage on our behalf

And love us back to health

Come on Aunty God and help all your sick niphlings

Till each of us is better I pray

—and thanks again for the vaccines and masks—

In Aunty God’s name I pray

Amen

*niphling is one of several gender neutral terms for nieces and nephews. It’s my favorite because it sounds like something out of a fantasy novel.

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Pandemic Prayers & Resources

If you find these resources useful please consider contributing to my Doctorate in Ministry in Creative Writing! I have already Successfully funded year 1, and am now working on Year 2!

No Trucks, No Supply: a Prayer

Have mercy on us,

The sign didn’t say.

Instead it said,

We apologize,

that we may not have all of the items

you need, for our truck,

didn’t come in today.

And that is exactly how I feel today, God.

After a week of emotional wraughtness

(which spellcheck tells me is not a real word)

Of good school start, and scary Covid news,

and exhausting abortion, masks, Natural Disasters, Afghanistan, 9/11 and more…

After a week of reopening church events, and finally getting some rentals of the building

and reopening the Nursery School

and seeing the smiling faces of tiny students

behind the masks that we have put into tiny

and hopefully safe classes.

(Please, Lord in your mercy, help us to keep them safe)

I find that I am all out of emotions.

So if you could give me a week God,

or even a weekend off,

of big emotions.

I would be very grateful–

because when I reach for an emotion I need

be it happy or sad or mournful or contented.

Sometimes, I’m not sure that I have what I need.

For I have used up way more than a week’s supply,

within the last week.

How does one take a break from emotions, God?

And I mean this, of course, in a healthy way.

When the world keeps on turning,

and the kids keep asking questions,

and life seems to be restarting,

If you could help me to figure out

some more ways to recharge–

I would be grateful.

In the meantime I will pray, and seek sunlight and read and do yoga,

and call friends and do the church thing and spend time with family,

until I figure out what else to do…

or how to change the world.

Thank you for listening God.

Amen.

With thanks to @KendraWrites for the inspirational tweet.

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Pandemic Prayers & Resources

People Shaped Prayers

I’m tired of my prayers

Being shaped like sick children

and full emergency rooms

and humans struggling to breathe.

Debates about policies and masks and vaccines make me want to scream and rage,

and do not bring out the Jesus in me.

Lord God, I long for the dandelion seed shaped prayers,

the ones that look like shooting stars, and tiny mustard seeds.

Instead, I am here, cursing fig trees,

Screaming at the stormy waves to “Shut up”

and licking my lips to whisper when I see the rioting crowd

“forgive them Lord–how can they know not what they are doing?”

I’m tired of the shapes of these prayers that tumble from my lips–

But I do not have any other prayers to pray.

Maybe the Holy Spirit can pray some other shaped prayer for me too,

like a bonus; if she has the time.

And meantime, I’ll keep praying human shaped prayers,

at least they are a kind of prayer, I know how to pray,

so I will keep praying them. Until I know what else to do.

Amen.

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Pandemic Prayers & Resources

A sign stating “Full capacity for COVID-19 cases” is posted at the entrance of the San Juan de Dios Educational Foundation in Pasay City on April 4, 2021, following a surge in coronavirus cases. Rappler.com

No Plans, A Prayer

I’m not making any plans God,

I just wanted to let you know.

As great memes about fall plans, and their eminent demise,

are circling the internet, helping us to laugh until we don’t cry.

It doesn’t mean, that I don’t know what comes next.

There’s fall, and there’s school, and Halloween.

There’s stewardship and Thanksgiving and football.

I have a general sense as to what is going on,

and I have a sense of the rhythm.

But between, you and me Jesus, and the universe.

I thought I’d let you know,

that I’ve decided that I can’t really put any plans down

on anything as permanent as paper

no grand projects to pursue,

no pie in the sky goals–

Because I really don’t know what is coming next,

so here I am. The girl who loves the list,

the family organizer,

I am now without a plan.

I’m not giving up.

I’m still doing the next thing I have to do.

I still know what has to get done.

but its all way more ephemeral,

and instead of plans, its more like

that I’m making

sketches and blessings

and dreams

and relationships

(It sounds more perfect and beautiful than it is believe me)

I’m not making any plans God.

I’m just making do.

How about you, God?

Are you making do too?

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There Are Just Too Many Hilarious “Fall Plans Vs. Delta Variant" Memes (20+  Memes)

A Prayer for Chaplain-ing an Apocalypse

God, No one told me that apocalyptic events were going to go one for so long.

I had never considered, when I watched the floods and fires in movies,

when havoc of the post apocalypse was depicted in my novels–too often it was skated over about just how long the chaos ensued.

So here we are

After years of warnings and castrophic governances–

a pandemic of, as I used to say as teen, totally epic portions, did not strike me as such a long term event.

I know, I knew that recovery would take forever.

Thank God, that I have it drilled into me, that recovery takes longer than the actual event, and I am aware and girded, appropriately, to start healing.

But I didn’t know

That my kids will be entering their third year of pandemic schooling.

That I would be jostling back and forth between regulations and meeting the needs of so many differing circumstances of ministry from 2019 til the year of our Lord two thousand and twenty one.

That I would still be stuck today in this:

mindset-shifting, world-changing, Revelation-timeframe-of-the-particular-dragon-that-is-the-double-pandemic-of-Covid-and-Racism-not-to-mention-the-ongoing-Climate-Disaster thing

and a multi year timeframe to just have the apocalyptic event itself, was not quite on my schedule Lord.

I thought catastrophes were sudden, and fast.

Where is my cut scene?

I hear we hit the economic depressive climax (lowmax?) in April 2020?

Just goes to show that money is a human made thing, don’t it God?

Lord, as we face this ongoing apocalyptic event,

As we minister in these times.

Give us what it is we need.

(Whatever that might be, because, I’m not sure what that is right now)

Because this story isn’t even in the the rearview mirror yet, and we are not yet ready to know how to tell it yet.

A colleague said it feels like we are Ron Weasley, working with a broken Wand,

doing the best we can–

No magic wand, no program, no methodology to “fix things” just presence and patience and prayer.

and maybe sitting down and reading Revelation again, or John, or Acts,

or Frederick Buechner, or Elie Wiesel or Martin Luther King Jr or J. R. R. Tolkien or Ursula K. Le Guin or Toni Morrison or Langston Hughes or Madeline L’engle or Octavia Butler or N. K. Jemison or….or….

Because God knows,

We’ve had to Chaplain Apocalypses before,

and we will have to do it again.

Be with us as we do, we pray.

Amen.

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Pandemic Prayers & Resources

Birds & Plagues

My breath caught God,

When I heard again,

the report of the plague

that was striking

the little birds

and the recommendations

to keep the birds six feet apart

I suppressed a messy sob when I thought about

How your eye is on the sparrows

just like its been on ours, as we fumble

on the bird feeders, on the masks, on the vaccines.

Bird by Bird,

Piece by piece.

God, your eye is on the sparrow.

And I think for a while, mine will be too.

Even though it’s sad, and hard to watch

A bird plague is much more manageable right now.

And if I can manage a that,

Then I know you can manage ours.

Even if the light seems to be farther away.

Even if Olympics and uneven vaccine distributions and delta variations

and one step forward and two steps back seem to be the norm

even then, maybe I’ll remember that you know how

…to take down the bird feeders

so….

In your Eye. I think I’ll rest a while God.

and leave this half unfinishished prayer in your lap

while I fidget with the birdseed, and watch the birds….

Amen.

Praying for Summer

Praise you God, because from you all blessings flow

And some kind of summer beckons.

Different from the endless summer of last year, where we were all so lonely we could spit.

Different from the fall where promises of vaccines were hazy and masks were packed into book bags with lunches

and we held our breath.

Now after giving up all of my free time to digitally school my eldest, and truck my other two back and forth to school.

Now after a year of basically nothing but school (and thank God eventually church), no clubs, no friends, no activities.

After a winter of depression

And a spring of exhaustion

And a Post-Pandemic, which, maybe, sort a, might be starting,

but sure as anything hasn’t really become a reality yet….

–For India and Brazil, Lord hear our prayers–

A year of mostly rewardless schooling has ended, and we are finally able to send our students and teachers back with our thanks.

And Now…

Summer beckons, and God I hope you guide us through.

I hope you help us to wind our way through this time of huge transition

Because we have not yet begun to feel the aftershocks of all that is different in our lives.

And I keep hearing hints

Of mourning those we have lost and adjusting to what life is now

Of mass retirements, and considered quittings,

Of reprioritizations and reorganization.

And so, I’m praying that I can string together some pieces of summer

with ice cream

and sunshine

and water fights.

Just enough pieces of summer, to feed my soul.

Until I figure how the hell we are going to do the next good thing.

Give us summer we pray.

Amen.

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Pandemic Resurrection

God. I’m doing the work of resurrection.

The stress has shifted from how do I mark time and God do I miss people to

I’m back at the races of triple scheduling and childcare & transportation needs exploding.

Is this what resurrection feels like?

Everything is returning back to normal; everything except for my priorities.

Everything is being re-examined, and I feel the ridiculousity of life as articles try to grab onto relationship evaluations with pallid and downright stupid questions.

It’s not about reciprocity or weight gain or worrying about having the right friendships and family.

It’s about who I missed, and what people can manage and how to be a better friend or family member.

What was it like for you Jesus when you came back. Did you need time to readjust?

Did you sit in the garden for a few minutes pulling weeds…

Thinking about what had radically changed in you life within the parameters of “getting back to normal.”

Is this why you waited to greet the women? Did you have to wait till your tongue could unstick from the roof of your mouth to speak.

Did you feel as socially awkward, unused to interaction and uncertain how to start, did you feel it as sharply as we do?

Were you far more burnt out out than you realized?

God as I sit in the abandoned Lord & Taylor

where in March 2020 my friends and I sat far apart in the lot trying to hear each other’ words, desperate to see other people—

as I sit here now

Now waiting…

waiting for my son’s vaccination, I know, I really know that this is actually what resurrection looks like.

Strange

And repurposed

And transformed into something you never imagined

And I know resurrection is worth it

Build us into the resurrection I pray.

Amen.

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