Narrative Lectionary: Baptizing the Eunuch

Luke 24:44-47

Acts 8:26-39

Consider pairing with

Psalm 63

Matthew 28:18-20

Call to Worship (Psalm 63:5-8)

God, I think about you when I go to bed, I meditate on your presence

My Soul clings to you, God. 

My soul is satisfied for your love, for it is a rich feast for my heart.  

For You have been my help, in the shadow of your wings, I sing for joy.

Prayer of Confession(unison): God, I confess that sometimes I am thirsty for you, and forget to seek you out. Sometimes I am unaware of your grace. I confess that I feel overwhelmed by the violence and sickness that exists in the world, and I am lost and weary in a dry land. Provide me, provide us, provide the world with your sanctuary of grace, I pray, Amen.  (Silent Confession) 

Assurance of Pardon: Know the Truth God’s love is from everlasting to everlasting, whenever we need grace and forgiveness it is there. So it is with the confidence of the baptized we are able to say the good news: In Jesus Christ we are forgiven.

Prayer of Dedication: (unison). God, help us to peek into your power and glory, and let it be shared freely. Help me to know that when the question is “What is to prevent me from being baptized?” the answer is always, “nothing.” Let us go forth into the world and baptizing people in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost. Amen. 

Hymns: Fount of Ever Blessing, Blessed Assurance Jesus is Mine, God Bless Your Church with Strength, Christ is Made the Sure Foundation, Today we are Called to Be Disciples, Live into Hope,

Ideas with Children: Renew baptism with sprinkling of water with leaves

Prayers for Acts 6: Stoning of Stephen

Acts 6:1-7:2, 44-60

Suggest Pairing Isaiah 66:1-2, 22-23

Call to Worship (based on Isaiah 66:13-14, ) 

God promises, asa  mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you

We shall see, and our hearts shall rejoice. 

Come let us pray for the Lord, for God is Good. 

Come let all flesh give God Thanks and Praise. 

Prayer of Confession: God, we confess that we find comfort in tradition. We have struggled throughout this year as so many things have had to change. Walk with us this spring and we try to understand what it is we need to keep, and what it is we can leave behind. Help us to choose, always and forever, the ways that lead us closer to your kingdom. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen 

Assurance of Pardon: God’s promises to remake heaven and earth in God’s forgiveness. Let us share the good news with one another: In Jesus Christ we are forgiven.

Prayer of Dedication: (unison) Lord, let us go forth giving thanks for all that is good. Place praise for you on our lips and on our tongues, that others might see and know and understand your love. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.

Hymns: Morning Has Broken, Jesu Jesus Fill Us with Your Love, Called as Partners to Christ’s Service, Great is Thy Faithfulness, Amazing Grace,

Maundy Thursday Prayer

God, I know that when I am overwhelmed or depressed taking a bath or a shower seems insurmountable.

It feels like work, to wash things away.

And yet, when my kids are having a hard day or feel unwell—I immediately offer to give them a bath (or a shower).

I will start the water and be sure to add soothing bubbles. I’ll set up the towels and usually set out pajamas no matter what time of day it is.

I wonder if you knew that the disciples were feeling poorly after the long journey to Jerusalem, your tumultuous entrance, and your Frank discussion over dinner about what to expect in the next few days.

I wonder if you remembered how good it felt for Mary to wash your feet.

I wonder if you said to Mary—remember how you washed my feet? Can you help me do it again? Let’s make the water ready together.

As you knelt at the disciples feet and demonstrated how they can live one another did you blink back tears? Or did you tell silly jokes and remiss about your ministry I keep the tone light?

Remember me you said.

Love one another you said.

Stay awake with me, you said.

Let us all strive to do the same I pray. Amen.

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

Conspiring with God: A Prayer

As rumors of microchips and aliens and kidnapped sex workers abound.

I hear you whispering that you are the God of the Conspiracy theorists too.

You hear their cries for a world that makes sense, you feel their arms when they reach out for someone/anyone to go along with what they are proclaiming, you take their anger when the world does not go the way it should.

You hold their hands, even when they think guns are the answer.

You continue to tell them the truth, even if their hearts are hardened with entrenched racism, sexism, homophobia, ableism and other forms of bigotry.

Only you know, God, what conspiracies abounded when Jesus rode the small colt, you are the one who knows what the palms and cloaks symbolized for those who threw them.

You alone understand what poisonous lies, or world bending truths were whispered in Judas’s ear, to sell you out.

And still, the Truth is God’s, I can’t believe in any conspiracy but your love.

We humans are too clumsy, too small minded, too telltale to conspire.

I believe there are gross inequities, there are systems that run and thrive on corruption, I believe that there is, indeed, real evil manifest in the world.

But though I believe that power seeks out and protects power, and that small lies can lead to big lies, that there is no grand scheme.

Because evil is niggling and sneaky.

It hurts in micro-agressions and permission-giving for bad behavior, and in letting those who are in power believe their own lies. It’s not systemized, but all too often, it’s allowed to become prevalent.

So that bad decision stacks upon bad decision leading to the mistreatment of immigrants, the white supremacy becoming cultural, to faith being inseparable from the very flag that corrupts it and weighs it down.

And that’s why, I believe you conspire and inspire for good–all the time and every time.

This is why you said “Tell Herod that fox that I’m going to keep healing and preaching til I breathe my last.” This is why on your last day on earth, you had a ginormous good meal with your closest peeps, and then spent time loving on them and washing their feet.

You will never stop. Jesus. Jesus who meets us by the well, in a tree, and even upon a cross as we lay dying. Even then, you conspire for good.

And if I blink, I can see the co-inspiring works of the Holy Spirit.

If I blink: I can see how you make it so that babies remain impossibly cute and a couple of droplets of baptismal water are enough to start the flood of your never-ending grace

If I blink, I can see how the stars still sing out Abrahamic promises and rainbows still speak of a weaponless future of love,

If I blink I can feel your presence “your church” in all of the communities and all of the neighborhoods in the world, and its then I can taste how bread and the cup are enough to tie us to every one of your beloved: those who have come before, and those who have yet to be.

Holy Spirit, help me to conspire with you, and only you.

Stand with me as I work to find the threads of truth and love and hope.

Imbue in me, imbue in us, a faith that we humans can be beloved into a better being, and help me to talk and walk in ways that blot out the evils of the world. I pray in your most Holy Name, Jesus Christ.
Amen.

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

Palm Sunday: Waiting for the Stones

Jesus, I don’t know how much shouting of Hosanna will happen on Sunday.

I’m uncertain who will be there and how we will parade,

And Lord, you know, there will not be any singing. We miss it, God, but are trying to do right.

And though we may be sighing “Hosanna: Lord Save Us” we also know that we have to take some responsibility and help to save ourselves.

And, most days I doubt we actually want peace on earth, we are so bad at enacting and supporting true peace.

And Jesus is not going to come in guns blazing; Thank God!

What does the Lord require for Jesus to come? What humble entry can we cede to the Son of God?

What videos or drivethrus or palm crafts might come?

God, I confess this might be the week that there will be few shouts. We will be sticking well to your humility and simplicity this year.

So I will be listening to the stones.

For the truth cannot be stopped.

“Blessed is the one One who comes in the name of the Lord, Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest heaven.”

Amen.

Hosanna.

Amen.

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

More Holy Week Prayers: https://katyandtheword.com/2021/03/24/holy-week-easter-prayers/

Holy Week/Easter Prayers

Ashes: A Holy Week Prayer

Holy Week: Praying Our Way Through (Also good for Palm Sunday)

Palm Sunday: Waiting for the Stones

Maundy Thursday: Washing the Dust, Existential Crises: Love One Another?, Broken for You

At the Table: Not I, Lord

In the Garden of Gethsemane: A Socially Distanced Prayer

Good Friday: Friday is not “Good,Essential Workers at the Cross, Denial and Grace in Crises,

Holy Saturday: Pausing for Grief (Slides Version here) , Living in the In Between, Holy Saturday: A Confession (I didn’t really want more time to do nothing)

Easter: Masks a Prayer, Can You Hear Easter (the Good News), Say Nothing Easter, My God is the God of Emptiness (Empty Tombs)

Masks (are Holy): Ending with Easter

Pentecost: Stuck in a Room

Narrative Lectionary: Luke Lent Cycle Prayers and Resources

Please feel free to use/adapt with credit to Pastor Katy Stenta

Holy Saturday: Pausing for Grief

God, what was it like to take the Holy Pause of Saturday? Did you practice Sabbath while Jesus, your only son, had died?

Did you sit in a comfortable corner and let yourself cry?

Did you practice breathing, slowly, in and out, trying to find ways to regulate once again?

Did you embrace despondency?

Did it feel like the world had stopped? Did you feel slammed by the bad news–even though you knew it was coming? Did you have to sit for a minute to take in the fullness of its meaning?

Did you simply, actually, pause the world for a few so you could keep your rainbow promises?

Did you feel frustrated that after all you had done, and tried, that Jesus died anyway?

Did you take comfort in sitting with the disciples and Mary, and Mary and Martha as they moaned?

Did you make yourself useful, keeping busy helping all the humans who were in pain, so you could better process your own?

Did you just sleep all day, and try to forget the world existed?

Lord God, I have a sneaking suspicion that Saturday is Holy because it legitimizes our pain, our loss, our anger at injustices, our impatience with the waiting for peace, our heartbrokenness with the state of the world, our feeling of helplessness to be of help to anyone or anything.

And yet, You give us permission to take the time to sit with the pain. You give us the space we need to do absolutely nothing (at first) in response to the evil in the world. You do not barge in with good news or toxic positivity. You let resurrection sneak into our hearts, little by little.

Thank you God for this time and space.

Thank you for being a God who fully experiences the range of emotions and reactions we have.

Thank you for being our God and sitting with us.

Let us sit together a little longer………………………………

Amen.

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

Friday isn’t Good

God, I’m raging today against good Friday. Its bad Friday, it’s mistaken Friday, its very, very human Friday.

We humans should never equate abuse and violence with good. Because too often we malign those who are different than us for “good.” Too often we consider police violence “for the greater good.” Too often we glorify those who have weapons as “good guys” and end up glorifying them for Good.

Did you have to die on the Cross God? Probably, because we humans could only see the “good” of violence. Only humans would think Emmet Till dying was worthwhile because it helped to spur the civil rights movement. *

Only humans consider martyrdom something to strive for (how did we even get there, ew!).

We are not a death cult, God, we do not want to make the long count to forty lashes, and we Christians should be the first in line to be against the death penalty, realizing that it is inhumane for us to kill one another.

We should be creating community and stopping abuse at all levels. And I must confess, sometimes we are too scared, or too nice to name and cast out evil.

God, I don’t think Friday will be Good for me, anymore.

Not after a pandemic where so many have died for the “good” of the economy.

Not after a summer where death after death of Black People resulted in a lot of noise, and little change.

Not in a culture where the first thing we experience after reopening is racist attacks and has shootings of AAPI siblings and mass shootings ing general.

Lord, no, Friday isn’t good.

But I’m glad you transformed it. I’m glad you could withstand it. I’m glad your beyond it.

And I hope that someday, violence will no longer be allowed or celebrated, or deemed as necessary for the good.

I hope the sun goes down on this Good Friday, God I hope it ends soon.

And I pray that we let the resurrection sneak up on us, that we can still hear its whispers and that we can, even in the midst of Friday, follow where it leads.

Lord hear my prayer, as I stand, living in the midst of a this terrible, horrible, no good very bad Friday time.

Amen.

*With Credit and Thanks for Rev. Lenny Duncan who challenged if Jesus or black bodies should have to die for us humans to “get it” or be “woke” or to spur us into action.

Feel free to use and adapt with writing credit to Pastor Katy Stenta and theology credit to Rev. Lenny Duncan.

Washing the Dust

Jesus, how beautiful is it that you chose to spend some remaining moments reminding the disciples that they can help each other wash off the dust.

Lord you know, sometimes I’ve tried to shake the dust off my feet, but it is stuck tight. It stains my sole. It stains my soul.

And I know how to wash my own feet. But sometimes i don’t have the energy, to get the water, to bend over, to do the self care.

Sometimes I don’t have the energy to wash.

And there you are–towel in hand, gently taking my feet and dipping them in the water.

You wash away the ashes. You remind me that when I’m having trouble, I can ask for help.

You remind us that we are not alone.

That we should love one another, care for one another, help one another.

So while the ashes of two more mass shootings, racist attacks, abusive trans legislation, and continue news of those who don’t yet have access to vaccines, and over 500,000 siblings who needlessly died.

You lather the soap, and pour the water, and prepare a fresh towel. Even while we are on the dusty road to Jerusalem, which ends in the cross, you make provision for us.

You teach us how to comfort one another on the journey.

And For that I give you Thanks and Praise.

Please fee free to use/adapt with Credit to Pastor Kay Stenta