Sept 19 Binding of Isaac

Living into this God Given World: Struggling with Trauma

Genesis 21:1-3; 22:1-14

John 1:29

Call to Worship

God without name

You are the Great I am

As we journey up the mountain with Abraham and Isaac, may we offer only the sacrifice of Praise.

Come let us praise God together.

Prayer of Confession: God, I confess that it is hard to know who it is who is hearing you right. Do you call us to sacrifice children? Will you provide for us when we forget to bring the sheep? We confess that sometimes we do not have the answers to hard questions. We confess that sometimes the struggle is real. Help us God, when we do not know what to do, or who to ask for help. Help us to make the right decisions, help us to do that which is right we pray. Amen

Assurance of Pardon: Jesus promises that all we need to do is confess, and already our sins are forgiven. Know and be comforted by the truth: In Jesus Christ we are forgiven.

Prayer of the Day/Dedication: God, we give thanks for the sheep, for the clarification, for the opportunity to give God the sacrifice of Praise. May we go into the world knowing, that Our God is good and merciful, may we go into the world assured that our God will only ask for acts of love and grace. May we be dedicated to do only those things today and everyday we pray. Amen.

Hymns: Immortal Invisible God Only Wise, Amazing Grace,

With Children: Discuss sacrifice, and how our God would never ask us to sacrifice our children and only asks for the “sacrifice” of praise.

Some Things to consider when interpreting this very difficult text:

From the perspective of a parent trying to explain the story to her child: by author Cindy Wang Brandt who wrote “Parenting Forward” https://cindywangbrandt.com/child-abuse-in-the-near-sacrifice-of-isaac/

From the perspective that Abraham was abused and that might have figured into his own response to one of his children being exiled and the other being potentially sacrificed from Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg: https://lifeisasacredtext.substack.com/p/why-didnt-abraham-protest-on-behalf

More Narrative Lectionary Year 4

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!

Resource on modern lament

My colleague April Fiet is putting together a resource in Lament and included one of my prayers in her resource on how to lament—which makes sense a lot of my pandemic prayers are laments or psalms. Or as I like to put it “I like to write angsty prayers” which is luckily a very Biblical thing to do. Angst is Biblical.

April Fiet is really thoughtful and this is a really good resource about lament and how to do it. A lot of the Bible is about the importance of grieving and I’m excited to see more as she works on the topic.

Henri J. M. Nouwen said “I’m beginning to see that a lot of praying is grieving”

If you feel overwhelmed by everything I invite you to check her resource out.

https://aprilfiet.com/my-thoughts/how-to-grieve-in-an-unfeeling-world-resources-for-creating-space-for-lamenthttps://aprilfiet.com/my-thoughts/how-to-grieve-in-an-unfeeling-world-resources-for-creating-space-for-lament

Sept 12 Creation by the Word

Living Into this God Given World: God Gives Creation

Genesis 1:1-2:4a

John 1:1-5

Psalm 33: 1-12

Call to Worship

God you created all the things

Combining the Light with the Darkness, the Sky and the Earth, the Water with the Land

God, you are not a God of singularities, but combinations, yielding all kinds of crops and animals and sunsets

And you saw that this was good.

Let us rejoice in the manifest glory of your creation today and everyday!

Let us praise God, mysterious, manifold and and always creating. Glory to our God, the creator!

Prayer of Confession: God, we confess that sometimes we ignore the manifold of your creation. It is hard to imagine that you created so much that you needed to rest aftewards. It is hard for us to imagine that you hallowed every aspect of creation. It is hard to imagine that you designed the earth out of abundance so that every single being should have enough. We confess that we are very limited in our understanding of your creation. Forgive us, teach us to have a better understanding of your creation we pray. Amen.

Assurance of Pardon: God promises God’s mercies are new every morning. Let us tell one another the good news today. In Jesus Christ we are forgiven.

Prayer of Dedication/Day: God as you first shaped the world and breathed life into it, we ask for your continued inspiration and shaping. Grant us the gentle breeze of your your Holy Spirit, especially when we are weary and out of breath, to cool and inspire us. Continue to minister to us in your gentle way as we go into the world, we pray in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Children: Play with Legos, Cooties or some other interchangeable toys, discuss how many variations there are, discuss how God made so many varieties of the earth. Talk about the our human job to do science discover, create and name things with God as “Co-creators.” Read God Gave Us You.

Hymns: “Spirit” “This is My Father’s World” “God of the Sparrow” “Morning Has Broken”

More Narrative Lectionary Year 4 Fall Resources

(If you appreciate my work donations for my Creative Writing Doctorate in Ministry accepted for my GoFundMe here)

Narrative Lectionary Prayer Resource Year 4 John; Fall 2021

Under Construction

Living Into this God Given World

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!s

Sept 12 Creation by the Word

Living Into this God Given World: Creation

Genesis 1:1-2:4a

John 1:1-5

Sept 19 Binding of Isaac

Living Into this God Given World: Struggling with Trauma

Genesis 21:1-3; 22:1-14

John 1:29

Sept 26: Jacob’s Dream

Living Into this God Given World: Dreams & Blessings

Genesis 27:1-4, 15-23; 28:10-17

John 1:50-51

Trickle Down Grace, A Prayer

Oct 3 God’s Name is Revealed

Exodus 2:23-25; 3:1-15, 4:10-17

John 8:58

Oct 10 God Provides Manna

Exodus 16:1-18

John 6:51

Oct 17 God Calls Samuel

1 Samuel 3:1-21

John 20:21-23

Oct 24 God Calls David

1 Samuel 16: 1-13; Psalm 51:10-14

John 7:24

Oct 31 Solomon’s Temple

1 Kings 5:1-5; 8:1-3

John 2:19-21

Nov 7 God Speaks to Elijah

1 Kings 19:1-18

John 12:27-28


Extended Advent?

Nov 14 Amos: Justice Rolls Down

Amos 1:1-2; 5:14-15, 21-24

John 7:37-38

Nov 21 Isaiah: A Child is Born

Isaiah 9:1-7

John 8:12

Nov 28 Jeremiah’s Letter to the Exiles

Jeremiah 29:1, 4-14

John 14:27

Dec 5 Ezekiel Valley of Dry Bones

Ezekiel 37:1-15

John 11;25-26

Dec 12 Word Accomplishes God’s Purpose

Isaiah 55:1-13

John 4:13-14

Dec 19 Word Made Flesh

John 1:1-18

Psalm 130:5-8

Dec 24 Birth of Jesus

Luke 2:1-14 [15-20]

Psalm 96:7-10

December 25 Shepherds Visit

Luke 2:8-20

Psalm 123: 1-2 or

Dec 26 A Voice in the Wilderness

John 1:19-34

Psalm 32:1-2

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!

Jonah, A Prayer

When people complain

About how hard

it is to help others.

The inconvenience to put cloth across

their face–

or that “they can’t do that to their children”

when we ask them to teach them to mask.

And I shudder when they refuse to put a highly tested medication

into their bloodstream, to bolster our bubble of protection.

I think about what happened to Jonah

When he was sent to help Ninevah.

God followed the boat with a storm

and the ocean, with a big fish.

I wonder how it feels to be

in the belly of the fish,

praying to be thrown up,

so that you can go out,

covered in vomit,

and realize,

that you are still called to help people.

Welp, here we are God,

Covered in Vomit,

help us to take those steps–

in flood and fire, in hurricane and disease,

in senseless war, horrific evictions and systematic racism

even when things are completely overwhelming help us

to pick ourselves up, and remember that even cover in goo

we are still called, to be the helpers

and maybe take a nap under a tree now and then

when we need one,

so that we can look back,

and see the work that we have been doing,

counts.

It all counts, help us to see how it all counts

I pray.

Amen.

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.

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

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

Afghanistan, A Prayer

Some mistakes,

Cannot be fixed

They lie shattered on the floor–

in pieces so tiny that you can’t even sweep them up

without cutting yourself.

I can’t help but think God, that we broke Afghanistan

and then we left it shattered, for someone else

to clean up,

and sustain the injuries.

And thoughts and prayers

aren’t going to do much

in a situation like this

But I know that I too bear some

responsibility for the glass upon the floor.

And maybe God, next time, we can stay out of the China Shop

where we don’t belong

so we don’t break

countries

into pieces anymore.

Not breaking things seems a good prayer to make God.

Help us not to break things,

I pray.

Amen.

Feel free to share and adapt with credit to Pastor Katy Stenta

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?

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

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.

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

Pandemic Prayers & Resources