May 22nd Partnerships in the Gospel

Praying the Gospel

Philippians 1:1-18a

Luke 9:46-48

Call to Worship

God you call every single person here

We are called into community with one another

Help us to pray for one another

Let us thank God for one another

Come let us worship God

Come, let us be called into community together

Call to Confession: God is here, to listen, always. Come let us confess ourselves to God.

Prayer of Confession: God we confess that sometimes we feel like we are in competition with fellow Christians, or that our work is not good enough, or that we do not know how to be evangelists for your faith. In truth, we do not often agree with people who call themselves Christians, and we do not know what to do with that. We confess, that we do not really believe that all good works will somehow be brought into fruition in Christ. Help us: to keep at it, to have courage, to take joy in the work and to keep teaching and praying. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.

Assurance of Pardon: God’s Love is from everlasting to everlasting. Let us live into the assurance of the truth: In Jesus Christ you are forgiven.

Prayer of the Day/Dedication: May we go into the world thanking God every time we think of one another, and knowing that the good works that have begun here will be brought into completion by Jesus Christ. Amen.

Hymns: Every Time I Feel the Spirit, I Love the Lord Who Heard My Cry, Lord I Wanna Be A Christian In My Heart, O God Our Faithful God, If Thou But Trust in God to Guide Me, Just As I Am Without One Plea

With Children: How do you know prayers are answered? Talk through about what praying for another person is, and what to do when prayers are answered and when they aren’t. Talk about God’s perspective versus the human perspective.

God Bless the Church, a Prayer!

This is a prayer

for all the babies in church

loud and crying,

breastfeeding or stinky

sleeping and beautiful

and for all of the kids,

squirmy or cute or talkative or shy

and the people who can’t sit

and the ones who can’t stand

and the people who whisper throughout

and the elder who falls asleep

and the ones who can’t hear

and the faithful who always sit in the same spot

and the teen who scribbles or is on the phone and seems to ignore everything

You are a part of the Church and you are Blessed!

This is a prayer for Easter/Christmas attenders,

the one time attenders,

the homebound church members

the ones who attend every week but will never ever, ever join!

You are a part of the Church and you are Blessed!

This is prayer for the livestreamers

who some say “aren’t really” at church

for the latecomers who enter by the inconvenient door

for the Pastor who forgets the words to the Lord’s Prayer

for the one responsible for the misprinted bulletin

You are a part of the Church and you are Blessed!

This is a prayer for the worship service that was too quiet

or too loud

or whatever.

This is a prayer, for those who couldn’t give for offering,

for the ones who dressed differently, or immediately felt rejected

for the ones who felt left out–or overwhelmed when they walked in the door.

You are a part of the Church and you are Blessed!

This is a prayer for all those

who came to church and didn’t feel welcome

Because there is no apology for that

This is a prayer for the church

The invisible, miraculous Body of Christ–

however you are a part of the church,

for you are Beloved, and always Blessed!

We are made up of all of these pieces.

The eye cannot say to the hand, you are not a part of me.

Praise Jesus.

Praise Jesus, that this is true of the Church of Jesus Christ!

Let us continue to be the Body of Christ,

This thing we call Church

and continue to Bless us, in all of our parts we pray.

Amen.

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

Disability Glorified, A Prayer

It’s Brave, Active, Disabled Thomas Sunday

katyandtheword

Ableism kills,

Jesus you were not ableist.

What kind of diagnoses did your twelve disciples have?

Who limped, who was “ugly”

Who had voices, who had ADD or Autism or OCD?

….

As you healed and were asked,

What sin was committed that this person is blind?

The people asked, and, then our Savior said

None. Neither he nor his parents!

And then Jesus, you touched lepers,

those who were lame or blind or bled,

the poor, the oddly shaped and the dirty,

the ones who humans avoided even looking at–

because in our hearts of hearts,

we are so scared of disabilities that we avoid eye contact

afraid of catching it,

embarassed that we still

even today,

do not know how to interact

with people who exist differently than us.

—-

In some ways Jesus’s resurrection

might be the scariest thing of all.

Jesus you were young and…

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Praying with Covid

God,

Here’s a Prayer

for those with Covid.

Because, you know God

so far my family has a light case.

But it’s scary–

scary that it might get worse;

scary how easy it is to ignore the warnings and go on with our lives.

Here’s a prayer for those in isolation–

because they have covid,

or are avoiding it, still

after all this time.

Lonely, and alone.

Here’s a prayer for the sick,

the ones who are caretaking

the long haul covid people

wrestling with something we still do not understand

Here’s a prayer for the world-weary

those who feel like they are screaming into the abyss

Who are tired of playing Sorry,

hearing sorry, when covid is bumped into again,

and oop back to start again.

Jesus how do you deal in humanity?

Our pride, our ignorance?

Worst of all our frailty,

which someone you know but we are able to boisterously ignore?

Here’s a prayer for us humans,

silly, confused, and still beloved.

May we still walk the road to Emmaus together,

especially when we are confused or tired, or frail we pray.

Amen.

(Pastor Katy’s family has covid, but it seems like a light case at the moment)

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

Like my work? Please support my degree in Creative Writing which is a Doctorate in Ministry as a Public Theologian at Pittsburgh Seminary

Easter through Pentecost Narrative Lectionary

Teaching the Good News and Praying the Gospel

May 1st

Paul’s Conversion

Acts 9:1-19a

Matthew 6:24

May 8th

Paul and Silas

Acts 16:16-34

Luke 6:18-19, 22, 23

Consider John 3:16-17

May 15th

Paul’s Sermon at Athens

Acts 17:16-31

John 1:16-18

May 22

Partnership in the Gospel

Philippians 1:1-18a

Luke 9:46-48

May 29

The Christ Hymn

Philippians 2:1-13

Luke 6:43-45

June 5th 

Pentecost: Rejoice in the Lord

Acts 2:1-21

Philippians 4:4-7

John 14:16-17

Disability Glorified, A Prayer

Ableism kills,

Jesus you were not ableist.

What kind of diagnoses did your twelve disciples have?

Who limped, who was “ugly”

Who had voices, who had ADD or Autism or OCD?

….

As you healed and were asked,

What sin was committed that this person is blind?

The people asked, and, then our Savior said

None. Neither he nor his parents!

And then Jesus, you touched lepers,

those who were lame or blind or bled,

the poor, the oddly shaped and the dirty,

the ones who humans avoided even looking at–

because in our hearts of hearts,

we are so scared of disabilities that we avoid eye contact

afraid of catching it,

embarassed that we still

even today,

do not know how to interact

with people who exist differently than us.

—-

In some ways Jesus’s resurrection

might be the scariest thing of all.

Jesus you were young and healthy,

and died anyway, and the disciples

(of course) fled death.

Except for the women,

who probably had the most intimate

relationship with death and dead bodies.

…..

Jesus the Good News is not just that you returned

but you returned with holes in your arms and legs–

who were still wholly you, but unchanged.

You were still perfect, but your body was still yours!

What hope for those with disabilities.

It leads us to ask, are there wheelchairs and mobility aides in heaven?

Is it a place where your body is not weighty and there is no more pain,

but you are still you?

Are those with Dyslexia, ADD, OCD, Bipolar, Down Syndrome, Autism and more are–

Beloved and understood!

….

Jesus, I am so thankful that you got it,

that you get it,

that ableism kills

That you do not promise wealth and health!

That you do not need our bodies to be perfect for us to enter heaven–

You know Jesus I am not yet 40 and relatively healthy,

and I would definitely fail that test.

….

Jesus, I am thankful that as humans

make decisions that are more and more ableist

and fall more and more in the vein of a death cult–

(ignoring all those who aren’t fit or rich or whatever)

that I am hanging on

with every breath I take

that Jesus is not ableist.

….

And, maybe Thomas wasn’t either.

And as sure as the holes remained

in Jesus sacred body–

Holes that I am invited to touch

whenever I doubt or feel alone or scared of my own imperfections

I can breathe in

Jesus wasn’t ableist

and breathe out

And Jesus affirms all people.

..

Thank God for the Risen

holy, hole-y body!

Amen.

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

If you want to support my work, Please Contribute to my Doctorate in Ministry in Creative Writing at Pittsburgh Seminary. It is a degree as a Public Theologian!

Image: https://image.shutterstock.com/image-vector/hands-jesus-christ-isolated-hand-260nw-186438794.jpg

Bullshit, A Prayer

Jesus,

Your coming back was such good news,

that the disciples called it bullshit–

we translate it nicer in church;

can you imagine that?

……

Jesus did you think that our job

maybe

perhaps

as Christians was to do

such extraordinarily good things

that when we did them

people would say

Bullshit! No one would ever do that!

……

And not so like, anyone would become Christian

or perfect

(because lets face it Jesus,

people are onto you when you are trying to steal their souls)

But just like, treat humans with respect.

……

Sometimes I imagine that churches paid every single person a living wage

or rallying for the forgiveness of debts (Reminder: Jubilee is a Biblical concept)

and working hard for universal healthcare for our congregants (the stories I could tell)

or even just make it so every sanctuary was a sanctuary for immigrants

……and

LGBTQIA folks

and those who are mentally Ill

and Those with addictions

and people with disabilities

and those who were houseless

……

If all those could feel welcome, accepted, heard and be essential to the leadership!

A place for teens to hang out without anyone worried about lawsuits.

And we got past tokenizing everyone who is different than us (hello white church).

I bet if we worked on a couple of these things, the church would become more Christ-like–what do you think Jesus?

……

Sometimes I dream that churches were changing the world–

and then I wake up, amazed that no one has cried out

Bullshit!

……

God I’m praying for that kind of church,

until then, I hope I hang our more with

Mary, Mary and Martha,

and keep saying things that make people say

……

Universal Basic Income for everyone? That sounds like bullshit!

……

Can’t wait Jesus, Till then,

I’ll keep praying

Idle Prayers,

And doing the work to make them

Working Prayers again.

Amen.

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

Like my work? Please support my Doctorate in Creative Writing in Ministry–as a Public Theologian at Pittsburgh Seminary

Image: https://www.cbeinternational.org/sites/default/files/styles/article_image/public/2020-05/ChristIsRisen1200_0.jpg?itok=pikHhKoE

May 15th Paul’s Sermon at Athens

Acts 17:16-31

John 1:16-18

Call to Worship

Jesus call us to you

Even when we do not know your name, you call us

Fill us with the joy of your good news!

Come let us worship our God!

Call to Confession: Come let us confess ourselves to the God who created us and loves us.

Confession: God sometimes we do not know how to teach about you or what to pray for; whisper in our ear the truth that, you are already at work, planting seeds. Remind us that it is your job convert people, ours is to love them and to share the good news. Tell us, as many times as we need to hear it, that–you are present already! The job is not as big as we are afraid. Forgive us, embolden us, love us, help us to hold onto things lightly enough to have fun with the gospel and tight enough to know that you love us no matter what. We pray this your son Jesus Christ’s most Holy Name. Amen.

Assurance of Pardon: God knows us and is for us, therefore, we can be assured in the good news that we can tell one another here and now: In Jesus Christ we are forgiven.

Prayer of the Day/Dedication: God help us to find you, even when your face seems invisible. Be with us we pray. Amen.

Hymns: In Christ There is No East or West, O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing, Come Great God of All the Ages, At the Name of Jesus, Immortal Invisible God Only Wise

With Children: Talk about finding something that was right in front of your nose. Talk about how seeds grow. Talk about how God works invisibly but is already at work, and we don’t bring God to people but instead help people recognize how God is already at work.

May 8th Paul and Silas

Acts 16:16-34

Luke 6:18-19, 22, 23

Consider John 3:16-17

Call to Worship

Call to Confession

Jesus you call us to life

You came into the world to tell us the truth

You free the prisoner and bring justice

Come let praise our God of Love!

Call to Confession: Jesus wants to set us free, let us confess ourselves to God

Confession: Jesus, we confess that we are too often stuck, like the slave girl and the prison guards. Send us the earthquake we need to shake loose and find the guides and friends and colleagues in our lives so that we do the work we are called to do. Help us to teach and pray the gospel Remind us it is never too late. Help us to learn that your freedom is different from any other freedom we pray. Amen

Assurance of Pardon: Jesus frees you from all sin, to be beloved, so go and be beloved, knowing the truth: In Jesus Christ you are Forgiven

Prayer of the Day/Dedication: Jesus, move us every closer to you as we go about our lives, so that we can see and know you better. Guide us with teachers and prayer we pray. Amen.

Hymns: Live Into Hope, The Day of Resurrection, Thine is Glory, When I Survey the Wondrous Cross, Because You Live O Christ,

With Children: Talk about the different ways to be imprisoned, enslaved, captured. Everyone thought Paul and Silas were the ones captured, but in some ways they were the most free. How was that?

This was a song I loved to bounce on the couch to when I was little (yes I am that young) Amy Grant: Angels Watching Over Me: You have to go to Youtube to watch it

May 1st Paul Conversion

Teaching the Good News and Praying the Gospel

Acts 9:1-19a

Matthew 6:24

Call to Worship

God we are called to your gospel

To preach and pray in unusual ways

Jesus help us to give others the eyes to see,

Invitation to Confess: Come let us confess ourselves to the Risen Christ.

Call to Worship: Jesus, we confess that we don’t always do baptism right. We push people into church, or we wait too long to invite them. We have trouble figuring it all out. Forgive us. Help us to know when to teach and when to pray. Remove the scales from our eyes. Help us to know the good news of the gospel, and how to share it we pray. Amen.

Assurance of Pardon: Jesus is here, loving us even now. So let us proclaim the good news. In Jesus Christ we are forgiven.

Prayer of the Day/Dedication: God, guide us where we need to go, help us to grow in faith and trust in the Lord, whether we are feeling more like Ananias or Paul at the moment, walk with us we pray. Amen.

Hymns: Here I am Lord, Create in Me a Clean Heart, Amazing Grace, Lift High the Cross,

With Children: Changing Names–talk about how people in the Bible change names when they feel like different people and how this makes sense because we call different people by different names: mother/father, teacher, boss, son/daughter, brother/sister, If it’s appropriate talk about why people might change their names in your congregation (getting married, changing genders) and how that is like Paul/Saul, Jacob/Israel, Naomi/Mara, Abram/Abraham

Shannon A Thompson

Author. Speaker. Librarian.

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