Promises & Prayers

Someday

I hope

We will raise prayers

No longer wet

With the sacrificial blood

Of children killed by guns

And violence

And hunger

And neglect

And hate.

Some day

We will care

More for health

Than test scores

More for housing

Than lawns

More for queer families

Than breaking hearts

More for disabled people

Than helping porn and “self-advocacy”

More for people of color

Than trumped up blame, hushed up histories, and subjugation.

Some day God,

The kin(g)dom

Will sneak up

On us

Like a cool breeze

On a hot day.

Like dew

On the lawn

Like a rainbow

Coming into focus

And we will all be Beloved neighbors there!

I’m standing in you

And your promise Jesus.

Because at the end

Of the day

Isn’t that what prayer is?

So I’m standing here

Breathing another one

Another prayer

For your collection

Put it on your heart please.

Amen.

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

Preparing to Be Away, a Prayer

God

I’m trying to look forward to all the things

But the list to get there is interminably long

And I find that I don’t have the energy to even look at the list much les complete it.

Yet the laundry, house, packing, paperwork and people all await my presence.

Is this when you took a nap Jesus? I love a Savior who knows the value of a good nap.

Am I tired because I need the energy to face things

Or

Am I tired because the things facing me need to get done before I can feel energized again?

Sometimes human existence is such a mystery God, you have to admit, you did not make us simple beings.

Anyway here’s praying what needs to get done will, and can wait will

And that you’ll give me the patience to know the difference.

Amen.

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

Week 6 Rage Notes

“fig tree was the private preface to the very public force of anger in the temple the face of injustice and exclusion, we meet a God of holy, premeditated, bodily, unapologetic rage.”  p. 109

“What does it mean that Christ doesn’t just scream but also physically overturns tables? What does it mean that Christ doesn’t just lament the bare fig tree but damns it, leaving his followers with gaping mouth and no immediate resolution?” p. 109

“I like that GOd doesn’t play or talk nice to the hands of injustice.” “I can name very few instances (none, arguable) of a niceness in God, and yet this is the demand of the oppressor will always make of us. p. 110

“I’ve determined I will no longer settle for mere articulation of anger. I want to feel my voice shake and the warmth cree up up my spine.” p. 111

“I remember when I first read the psalmist begin God to break the teeth of his enemies…Anger expressed in the interior life is permitted to exist in its rawest and most honest form.” p. 113

“If you read the psalms, you’ll find no small number of them committed to rage. Calling for a creditor to seize money from the oppressors, begging for bones to broken, enemies to be wiped out, their descendants punished. These imprecatory psalms were a liberation to me because they finally told me the truth—that is, I belong to a God capable of holding the ugliest parts of my anger.” p. 113

Private anger doesn’t have to be public, but our wounds can be seen, and some anger, on behalf of the dignity of others can be justified p. 114 

Justifiable Anger is amazing, but you have to have a care that it doesn’t turn to hate. Hatred should only be directed towards evil and not creation, very fragile and difficult to contain towards where its meant to be p. 114

Scream when you need to 

Idolatry

God

Jesus

Holy Spirit

How can I pray to the Holy Trinity

In a work of idols?

How can explore the mystery faith

When we humans use labels as weapons?

Instead of names of exploratory wonder..

I don’t know creator,

When humans seem bent on being destructors

And death cults

And weapon makers

How to bear your image, how to preach your image,

how God can I better be your image in the universe??

::am I doing it wrong?:: my very soul whispers.

How can we free ourselves from our idols?

How can we become seed planters and tenders of things that grow?

God I long for healthy growing things..

(And you know I have a black thumb so if it need to be metaphorical so be it)

Our hearts are already broken—return us to life and live I pray.

Return us to community we pray.

Amen

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

Week 5 Rest Notes

To rest is a special kind of power” 

Isaiah 30:15

“You say confess your sins.. Okay, and fair enough—but maybe I’m saved a little every time a I rest my eyes.” p. 148

“To cultivate habits of rest, we must discern what noise has found a way to penetrate our soul.” p. 150

“In this way the silence of God, which is so often mistaken for abandonment, may be a gift to those of us who cannot steady our sons in the vibrations of test world’s clangor.” p. 150

“Rest is not the reward of our liberation, nor something we lay hold of once we are free. It is the path that delivers us there.” p. 151

“I have to believe that if we didn’t need to protect ourselves, we would be prone to avoiding rest.” p. 152

Labor is not a gift, its a means to an end, not an avenue for flourishing p. 152

“We sleep and regenerate. Our cells begin a sacred rhythm of repair and release. And when we wake we are more whole, less inflamed, more aware. And, of course, we sleep, that we might dream.” All things promise to us in scripture. p. 153

“If Christ walked away, so can I.” p. 153

“I see the longing and despair all noun die and I think of Christ, lying in a boat with his head on a  pillow while the waves cross their craft around. Everyone is frantic, thinking death itself has come for them, and the creator of the universe is fast asleep. Glory.” p. 153-154

God was in the silence, Be still and Know that I am God

“Tricia Hersey says ‘to not rest is really being violent toward your body, to align yourself with a system that say your body doesn’t’ belong to you, keep working, you are simply a tool for our production.’” p. 155-156. 

“What if God doesn’t always want to use you? What if sometimes God just wants to be with you?” p. 156

“People think the sabbath is antiquated; I think it will save us from ourselves.” p. 156

we will not be owned…we will be free and we will be dreaming.” p. 157

Full Liturgy Resource

Week 4 Fear Notes

“It is rare that we ever truly behold another person’s fear’ bc people mask it.

“God is not cricitizng us for being afraid in a world haunted by so many terrors and traitors. I hear Don’t be afraid and hope that it is not a command no to fear but rather thhe nurturing voice of a God drawing near to our trembling.” p. 83-84

“Perhaps it is not the indictment of God we are sensing but our own souls turning against themselves” p. 84

“ I wouldn’t dare criticize Christ in the garden—sweating, crying pleading for God to let the cup pass from him.p. 84 This is a Christ who knew fear deeply.” My God, My God why has thou forsaken me….Or my soul thirsts for God,

“faces of fear” Past: memory and trauma, present unfolding: Pain and survival, the horror is here “nothing less to wonder but how much the horror will take form you.” p. 84

Future: abandonment, embarrassment, death, loss: the most hidden because we don’t admit these become about anxiety and control Coronavirus clung to work when we needed rest and our rhythms tend to get more and more disjointed the more we try to control Psalm 23 p. 85

“God does not bid us courage as we might perceive it. Instead, he draws us through fear’s essential sister, rest— assister who is not meant to replace fear but exist together in tension and harmony with it.” p. 86 Fear can be life saving, just don’t let it run your life 

You will not go blind. I will not let you go blind. It’s a vow that I rationally know she is incapable of making, yet this promise will still hold me if my vision goes and I come to the end of seeing before I am ready.” p. 89

“I do not consider deeply whether her vow will be kept; rather my practice is to rest in the love that compelled her to make such a promise.” p. 90Julian of Norwich Speaks of not safety but of Love

Fear communities convinces you the path is NOT love, but violence. “”Tyrants thrive in communities of fear…They’ll promise safety, power, belonging to those who require hope to attached to a person.” reverence is rooted in fear NOT integrity p. 91

Shiprah and Puah rebel with Tenderness, with babies p. 92

“Who will tremble with you?…Who will put you to sleep?…You are not foolish to fear…we’re all shaking” 

Full Liturgy Resource

Week 3 Notes

Children are made of awe”  Let the Children Come, Faith of the Child, Blessed are the… Faith of the Mustard Seed

“Impoverished by the honor withheld from us in childhood, we become very willing participants in childhood, we become very willing participants in a kind of spiritual maturation that honors the profound and grave, even at the expense of the simple and the beautiful.P. P. 30-31

“seeing the veils of this world peeled back again and again, if only for a moment—is no small form of salvation” p. 31 I lift my eyes to the hills 

“too enamored with the mountaintops, we should ask ourselves whether their ephor comes from love or from the experience of supremacy.P. 32

“To encounter the holy in the ordinary is to find God in the liminal.” p. 33

Simply beauty + belonging

“If you want to know if your’ve forgotten how to marvel, try staring at something beautiful for five minutes and see where your mind goes.” p. 35

“Taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8) p. 35 Revelation 21

Too busy, neglect babies, less perceptive to pain, we lose touch with other sensations—trauma p. 38-39

“Wonder, then, is a force of liberation. It makes sense of what our souls inherently know we were meant for” save and find hope in the mundane p. 40 favorite smell, sight, activity, hobby

Eli “I resented this for quite some time. That God would spend her time talking to people about which state to live in but would not rouse herself to tell me that she is real or that I am real. It weighs on you as a kind of injustice that God would call some so distinctly and precisely and leave the rest of us to replay our dreams five times a night just so we know which corner to hide in.” p. 43

“not all calls come from outside” p. 44

Ask young people what is true of them right now. There are parts we hide even from ourselves, and we sometimes believe lies we tell, and we sometimes embrace mirages to belong p. 45

“Any love we receive while earring the mask only affirms the belief that unmasked, we are indeed unlovable. Our shame is not resolved. It expands. p. 46

“the process of knowing the self should be relentless” p. 46 confession

“The mirage self has no concern for the sound of the genuine in you, for the body, for the mind…it wants you dead” p. 47 

“My journey to the truth of God cannot be parsed from my journey to the truth of who I am.” p. 48

“honor the sacred in our work without creating spiritual hierarchies…God is in the streets” p. 51

God in word on the page, first mathematician, first artist, washed filth from feet, “excellence may be a part of the calling, but work itself is a meeting place for the divine as we experience a God who labors alongside us.” p. 52 Jesus spits? Washing of Feet? 

Don’t forget this: Nothing is truly ever ordinary. I’m telling you, Protect the truest things about you and it will become easier to hear the truth everyplace else.” p. 55

“I cannot now name the the song, but when I hear the sound, I will recognize it.” p. 55

Fully Liturgy Resource

Embodiment, A Prayer

God,

Only you could encase
bone and blood
with flesh, and then say
You are made in our image.
Treat each other with inherent dignity.

What does that even mean Jesus?
Have you seen my pathetic body.
It grows in peculiar and hilarious ways,
until it starts to fall apart.
And I have to feed and water it every couple of hours.

Don’t even get me started on the sleep.

It is almost as if you made us so complicated for a reason.
It is almost as if we each body was handmade with unique flaws,
to show the creative artisanship, so that we can stop and wonder.

God, made in your image you say.

Ok, I say, let me see dignity

less as perfection

and more as embodiment.

Breathe with me God,

Embody with me Christ, I pray.

Amen.

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

This Prayer also fits into a “This Here Flesh” Sermon Series Resource

Week 1: Body (Ch 5) & Dignity (Ch. 1) Notes

“Let the children Come, more than silence, Come, Laugh, Dance, cry Spirituality in body, voice, people and silence” xi
“we must repeat with regularity that to love ourselves is to survive” p. 5
“You don’t give dignity, you affirm it.” p. 11
Idolatry, “You are no longer the image of God, you are currency…how much a person can do” p. 11
“How can anyone who is made to bear likeness to the maker of the of the cosmos be anything less than glory? This is inherent dignity.” p. 7
”What does evil have to gain in tricking us to into believing we are anything less than glorious?” p. 9
Our dignity may involve our doing, but it is foremost in our being—our tears and emotions, our bodies lying in the grass, our scabs healing.”p. 12
“Or did she see her flesh for what it was holy? Weak, powerful human, and holy?
“That the creator of the cosmos would choose to rely on an embodied creation. To be grown, fed, delivered—God put faith in a body. In Mary’s muscles and hormones, bowels and breasts. And when Christ’s body is broken and blood she, we should hold in mystery that first a woman’s body was born, her blood shed, in order to deliver the hope of the world in to the world.” p. 57
“When we neglect the physical, it is inevitably suffocates the image of God who ate, slept, cried, bled, grew and healed.” And whether or not the origin of that negated is hatred, it will indeed end in hatred.” p. 60

Shannon A Thompson

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