God & Pivoting

Someone on social media today–I don’t remember who or where, said that she is super sick of the word pivot. That in the grand variety of our language, that we only use pivot.

I, too am sick of the word pivot and the pivoting itself.

God, let’s talk about how it is that you don’t need to Pivot! Because it’s amazing.

You exist in these sketchy, hard, uncertain thin places.

You already know who you are. And you remain you even as you exist in the mystery.

You don’t need to pivot, because you embody the liminal God. You exist in the in-betweens.

The gray areas are God.

The sun and the rain together (rainbows anyone?) are God.

You are in the the thin, thin air between the mountain and the sky. The squishy ground where the sand changes from shore to ocean, the moments of complete indecision–Lord, God, this is where you dwell.

So while summer is letting go into fall, while we hover over the places that are between rebuilding and destruction, while we wait between illness and health, and while we in the United States are in the already and not yet of election but not yet elected, God you are here.

You are in the grays.

Thank God you don’t need to pivot.

And if when we need to, help us.

And we don’t, when we need to spend time in the in-between, remind us that this is where you dwell, we pray.

Image: https://www.saqa.com/art/browse-collection/thin-places

Amen.

Pandemic Prayers, Narrative Lectionary Advent Resources, Mundane Prayer Resources

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Existential Crises

Holy Spirit, we need to talk about this whole humanity thing.

Because I am plumb worn out from having existential crises about the human race!

Between pandemics, systematic oppression, the continual pursuit of power and principalities that screw the costs, and the whole the earth itself seems to be crying out from abuse thing, my head is spinning.

This is not to mention poverty, homelessness, neglect of those who are addicted, and the deaths of black and brown children, and I am reminded once again of the orphans which (again) have been created and abused by my very own government, oh and there’s a war in Armenia where my Aunt is located– I find I am bone weary.

Can these bones walk?

Holy Spirit, do you sometimes give humanity the side eye when you appear in bird form?

Because I trust in you. I trust God, and I love Jesus. This is not about that.

But I am dried out, cracked at the core when I think of humanity as whole.

I have found amazing human beings on earth. In the Singular I know individuals: gracious and forgiving ones, selfless and devoted ones, tireless and hard working ones. I love many-a-person…

But when it comes to humanity…

Well let’s just say I understand that whole flood thing better now.

Sometimes I wish I could do a reboot too, but we both know that doesn’t fix the inherent issues with being human

And so, here I am, stuck in an existential crises.

Why do we exist?

And, maybe the real existential question is this: if I know we can do better, how are we not doing better? Why?

Ok, but we have to try.

We have to show that those who are poor, or homeless are beloved.

We have to constantly interrupt racism and oppression, and plots to kill people or the neglect that lets people die. We have to stand up to power.

God, I remember a story in the Bible when someone asked Jesus a very political question about marriage, he basically said “that’s a human thing, God doesn’t care about such things”

Immediately this was followed up with a question about what does God care about, and Jesus responds with a simple “Love God, and Love each other” summary of, well, basically everything!

As always, when I have trouble loving other humans, I reground myself in loving you God.

Because I don’t know how to love humanity, and I don’t know why we are here.

So I guess I’m going to have to love you, and trust that you are continually helping us to course correct so that all things work together for good.

But right now, I’m going to snuggle under the covers, and tell myself that its ok that I don’t know how to process humanity’s existential crisis right now, because that’s not my job.

Help me to do my job–

that whole loving thing, I pray

Amen.

Agnusday.org - The Lectionary Comic

https://www.agnusday.org/comics/456/matthew24-36-44

More Mundane Prayers Here, Here is the Link for Pandemic Prayers and Resources

Please Share/Adapt with Credit to Katy Stenta and Please contribute to my Doctorate of Ministry with a Donation  I have PayPal https://paypal.me/KatyStenta?locale.x=en_US Venmo www.venmo.com/Katy-Stenta or Google Pay to Katyandtheword at gmail

Communion Tastes Different Now

God, I have had many times when I realized I didn’t really know anything.

All the things I knew how to do have changed.

From going for a walk to grocery shopping.

And, so, Communion tastes different.

Do we even know how the economy works? I doubt anyone knows anymore.

Money and power become nonsensical, time itself has changed.

When I see two or three year olds wear a mask, without blinking, for three hours of nursery school.

I realize that they are the only ones who will know how the world works right now. Because they are growing into it.

Meanwhile ancient schemes are being broken

And the Holy Spirit is here, whispering new words on the wind.

And because I have changed, and I’m a part of communion, communion tastes differently now. The kingdom tastes different.

Because everything is being made new.

The whole world is indeed laboring in birth, and I am praying that somehow, all things are working together for good.

The thing about labor is, you don’t know what you’re doing

Parts of you die and parts of your body make room for the new thing, and parts of your body are never the same again.

It’s messy and bloody and it hurts like hell.

And when you are handed the child, whew.

You really realize that you really don’t know anything.

Mothering, swaddling God, tell us it’s ok if communion tastes different, it’s still communion.

Lord, teach us how to handle this new reality that is being birthed, I pray.

Amen.

Feel free to use/adapt credit Pastor Katy Stenta

Here is the Link for Pandemic Prayers and Resources: Top Posts are “In an Abundance of Caution” “The Lord is My Shepherd: What kind of Sheep are You” and “Masks: A Prayer”

Procrastination as a Spiritual Practice

Lord God, I don’t know how you built us so that we will forever do one step above the hardest task before us to avoid doing that hardest thing.

But I know that cleaning the house, so I don’t have to write a difficult email…..

Or suddenly figuring out how to pitch another really important idea when I’m supposed to be working on the one in front of me is a uniquely human quirk.

Lord, I am practicing being thankful for the laundry that gets done when I’m avoiding something else.

I am thinking of the number of times I have prayed, desperately or defiantly because I don’t have the energy to do anything else at that moment.

How about you God? Do you save the most horrible tasks for the end? Did you play with judgement for a millennia before it suddenly struck you that you could delay the apocalypse by coming down to earth with/as Jesus’s humanself?

Are you breathing life into this grace period. This moment of waiting between Christ’s ascendancy and the second coming to save every last soul you can? Could procrastinating be in all of humanity’s favor?

My favorite is when I put off a task so long, that it feels too big to ever accomplish, and then I finally must, must do it and it takes mere minutes and does not in fact wound my soul.

Were you holding your breath in heaven, hoping not to have to send your only son, only to come down and realize that you love being human and 33 years is not that long to have after all?

Dear God, procrastinating is not always the best decision, but sometimes I take in the beauty that you designed us to give ourselves time to process things emotionally, that you allowed us to fill that time with more enjoyable or other important things.

And I ponder how, in the creativity of the Holy Spirit of procrastination, we are made in the image of God.

And I offer up to God my procrastinating as a form of thanks and praise.

Thank you God.

Amen.

Image found at https://clare-ofarrell.com/2018/06/01/map-of-procrastination/

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

For More Mundane Prayers: For Surviving Day to Day Life click here

Here are Pandemic Prayers and Resources: Top Posts are “In an Abundance of Caution” “The Lord is My Shepherd: What kind of Sheep are You” and “Masks: A Prayer”

Stealing Time

God, remind me to steal some time.

To look at the clouds

to be bored

to take the scenic route…

Tell me how it is ok if the house is messier than I’d like, that it’s good to claim the smaller victories of keeping everyone fed and (at least starting out) in clean clothes…

Remind me that Jesus stole time all the time!

Napping in the storm, snuggling a fig tree, sneaking off to a lake

When you lead me beside the (sort of) still waters of a small lake beach on a stolen afternoon, help me to embrace the experience.

When the power or internet is out and I’m forced to relax…

If the best I can muster in thought is half written sentences…

When time is given, as a gift, remind me that it isn’t stolen.

Remind me that Holy Spirit herself might be intervening.

Whisper to me that I am beloved. And that my worth is not based upon my productivity.

Image: Your Work is Not Measured by your Productivity

I’ll never forget my first year in full time ministry when there was a snowstorm every single Wednesday of November, forcing me to slowdown.

Sometimes, I need that reminder God.

And if I need to take the longer way to Jerusalem, if I need to mull and mutter and forge out some time to relax before I do the next hard thing, that is okay.

Remind me, God, that you built me, and all humans to be this way.

And that Jesus knew full well that breaks for food, laughter with friends, and time with family are essential to our humanity, and Jesus was indeed fully human.

Rest is essential, Sabbath is commanded, time is precious–let me live these truths in whatever way I can, I pray.

Amen

Image of Tweet Robin Thede: We all need to expect about forty percent less productivity from each other than normal and yet somehow everyone seems to expect one hundred and forty percent right now. Working at Proffitting WAP: Chile, they are thinking because we are working reotely that we do not nothing but time since we are sitting at home. However that push for productive is affecting our mental health because there’s no boundaries to decompress

Many thanks to the continuing inspiration of the Nap Ministry: https://thenapministry.wordpress.com/ (who you can also follow on twitter)

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

More Pandemic Prayers and Resources: Top Posts are “In an Abundance of Caution” “The Lord is My Shepherd: What kind of Sheep are You” and “Masks: A Prayer”

The Lord is our Shepherd, A Sheep Scale Prayer

The Lord is our shepherd,

I shall not want.

The Good Shepherd reminds me that the silly sheep belong to him, and that Jesus probably stuck his tongue out to his disciples and friends.

God leadeth me beside still waters, so that ,at times, I am a contented sheep.

When I am am a frazzled sheep, overwhelmed and tired, God restoreth my soul.

Even when I want to hide my meager sheep’s head in a bucket, or wander away from the fold–God sends the Holy Spirit to lead me back on the path of righteousness.

And when the path wearies, God gives us a deep and uncompromising sleep, for The Good Shepherd’s name’s sake.

Like a sheep, I am clothed in the beauty your mercy; your rod and your staff comfort me. You surround me with love.

Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, half hiding half jumping at shadows, you are with me.

You anoint my head with oil, my cup overfloweth, and I pant in anticipation of the feast awaiting all of your sheep in heaven. Even in the presence of my enemies, you bless food so it somehow still tastes good.

Some days I leap for joy, remembering that goodness and mercy will chase after me, and someday I will be able to gambol in the house of the Lord, my shepherd, til the end of my life.

So we give thanks to you our Lord and Shepherd, the silly sheep, the resting sheep, the frazzled sheep, the hidden sheep, the exhausted sheep. Help us to see the sheep who are clothed in grace and the sheep who are jumping at shadows, the sheep who hunger for the kingdom and the sheep who remember to leap in joy. Remind us that there is no wrong kind of sheep, and that we, each and every one of us, belong to the shepherd.

In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.

Permission to use or adapt with credit to Pastor Katy Stenta

Pandemic Prayers & Resources

I’m Tired of Being Part of a Major Historical Event

God, I never realized that historic events aren’t really one thing. Instead they are the combination of humanity’s foibles boiling over to the point of historicity.

I didn’t even know historicity was a real word until today.

And what will bubble up next? Australian Fires, Hurricanes, Derechos, Post Offices. Lord I’m only human, how can I process all this? Or maybe I can’t.

Did racism cause the Black Lives Matter marches and sometime riots? What ingredients meshed exactly right to finally give people the exact things they needed to get out and protest: racism, yes, but also poverty and pandemics, boredom and bereavement, time and trouble.

These sort of things come from the perfect balance, so that the risk you are taking is the best risk possible.

God, I’ve been thinking a lot about risk. Of Hagar the enslaved who risked raising her son in the desert, about Joseph the imprisoned who risked interpreting dreams of his cellmates, of Rahab of Canaan who defied expectations to help Joshua.

What is the perfect risk for us as Christians right now? As we look at this particularly moment in history, how do we decided how to risk, and who to risk, and why?

And how do we risk for ourselves and our community, and yet still practice grace towards all the rest of humanity–who are having to make the same decisions in different circumstances.

Truly we are all weathering the same storm: but in different boats, with different tools and different gifts.

Really God, is now the time to discern gifts? I mean, really and truly God, I want you to know that now is a truly risky time to discern our gifts.

Selah!

Remind us, it’s worth the time.

Black Lives Matter

Remind us, We are worth the time.

Safety first

Remind us, You are worth the time.

God of the poor, the sick and the marginal.

And teach us how to risk in this historic moment, in the best, kindest most gracious way we can.

I pray this with all those who are risking right now. Help me stand with them I pray.

Amen.

Permission to Use or Adapt with Credit to Pastor Katy Stenta

Pandemic Prayers & Resources

Prayer at the Mailbox

God, only you know how many times I’ve been to the mailbox.

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Checking it two to five times because some days the most exciting interaction of the day is getting my mail.

Lord, you know how I fell back in love with mail. The encouraging letter from an old connection to take care of myself during the pandemic–the boxes of small treats, the postcards to the children, and the much needed supplies in the height of local shortages.

The Easter cards, I never had time to do, where I poured my love out to my congregation, the handwritten notes and the small activity books for the kids of the church.

Lord this is prayer for the mail, which was so consistent in my life and did not used to be exciting. It used to just be bills and ads, and have instead been a tangible, touchable, visual sign of love and community.

Protect the mail, I pray.

Amen.

Pandemic Prayers & Resources

Masks: A Prayer

Lord God,

As I string the mask around my head, and adjust it to my ears.

May it be in honor of all the women the Bible who donned the veil to pray–Sarai as she longed for a child, Miriam as she sang jubilant songs, Mary as she attended the blessing of her son Jesus.

Holy Spirit, breath of God, as I feel my breath hot and heavy on my face, as it tickles my nose and dries my lips–remind me that a mask can reflect your love. Just as Moses wore a veil because his reflection of your glory was too blinding to see.

behind-the-veil

As I adjust it one more time to be snug around my face, dear Jesus I imagine you appearing to the women in the garden. I think-today-perhaps you were masked. Wrapped in a head covering of the dead with a scarf muffling your mouth so you had to say “Mary” twice. I think it lay up past your nose, disguising your face beyond recognition on the day you rose again from the dead.

Remind me that my mask is holy, that it follows a long footsteps of messengers and prophets and followers of God all wearing cloth upon their face as a reflection and sign of safety and love.

And when I feel short of breath, send your Holy Spirit to help me breathe, and to inspire me to continue to wear the mask.

And when I feel weak or afraid, God please hold me in the palm of your hand, so that my steps can be sure and strong.

And when I feel alone, send Jesus to be my sibling and my friend, and to remind me I am beloved I pray.

As I wear this mask, let it too be the image of God, I pray.

Amen.

 

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

Pandemic Prayers & Resources

In This Smoosh of Time

Lord God Almighty please help me as time continues to smoosh.

Summer is ending, and yet is is also the thousandth day of March.

I’ll wake up on Monday, know that’s it’s Monday (I did do church yesterday, though now it’s different).

I’ll do my chores, maybe find fifteen minutes to exercise and then  set my kids up for their activities–and cross my fingers that they will last them awhile.

Then I will sit down at my computer to work and cram in as much productive time that I can.

Then I’ll sigh, and realize I’ve forgotten to turn in an article, or are late for my kid’s counseling or have missed someone’s zoom meeting or training.

Because my heart and soul didn’t know it was Monday. My mind knew, but my soul is in denial.

Because Monday is not that important in the grand scheme of things. And I remain in crises mode, my alarms going off for the pandemic and the injustices of the world and not for the mundanities of life.

My ADHD family and friends say this is how time works for them on most days.

It’s non-linear non-subjective; more like a wobbly wobbly time-wimey stuff. I am stuck in the ball of time stuff.

Appointments are hazy at best, and I can’t remember things from before the pandemic. Lord help me to hold onto the things I need to and let go of the things I don’t need.

And clocks are tricksy.

And the end of the day drags on and on, so long that it is hard to get anything done. Why is that?

Help me to stop doom scrolling. Remind me to take a walk, to sit in the sun, to pause to do something fun.

Help me to remember it’s Monday, as best I can. And to practice self-grace when I can’t–and when others can’t as well.

Help me to set the alarms I need.

And help me to worry less about time, and be in the moment, when I can. I pray.

Amen.

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

Pandemic Prayers & Resources

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