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

1 Corinthians 13: Apocalyptic Thinking

1 Cor. 13:1-3

(Mark 12:28-31)

Resources, Commentaries and Prayers by Rev. Dr. Barbara Hedges-Goettl

Rewritten 1st Corinthians 13 in light of today & pandemic

If I speak with all of the authority & power in the world, but have not love,

My voice becomes blurred and untrustworthy.

If I can move mountains, changing laws, changing history, changing minds, and have not love–my work becomes meaningless

If I proclaim victory: that we are “great” the “best” the “most” and talk about all I have done for my family and my country, but have not love. I in actuality, have gained absolutely nothing.

Love: does it’s best to wait til after the danger of disease has passed to hug a loved one.

Love does not compare leaders, all of whom are doing the best they can to keep people safe.

It does not gut medicare and ignore the vulnerable and the elderly in the nursing homes as it boasts that it is doing everything possible to save lives

It is not racist or bigoted, It is not ignorant or panic-inducing.

Love is not irritable or resentful–it wears a mask out of love, and pays the essential workers more, and understands how reliant we are on one another for survival.

Love does not rejoice in wrongdoing, it does not ignore the racial discrepencies in illness, treatment or quarantine enforcement.

Love rejoices in the truth, even when it is hard.

For it is through love we bear all things even in sickness and death, it believes all things even in joblessness and loneliness, hopes all things: even as singing is silenced the hope for the opportunity to sing again persists.

Love can endure all things.

Even when we can’t believe it especially, when we can’t believe it.

Love endures all things

Love never ends: As for prophecies: promises of the future beauty & success: it comes to the end.

Tongues: chattering gossip and lies–they too will cease.

Even knowledge: will come to an end as humans are limited and to think we know more than a grain of how the world works is hubris.

For we only know bits: facts & science serve as only the beginning, and we can foresee some other bits: arts and gospel serve to extend our knowledge beyond our own sphere and experience.

But, when the complete comes, the partial will end. God will give all knowledge to everybody. And it is up to us if we experience that knowledge as judgement or grace.

For I am but a child of God, speaking and reasoning like a child: babbling the bits of love I understand to God and other humans.

When I fully mature: when I join God, I will put away childish ways: jealousies, regrets, conspiracies, imposter syndromes, competitions and internalized bigotries and self-hate will fade into the foolishness they are.

Now, I can barely glimpse God and love: sometimes I feel it when I briefly glimpse myself in the mirror and can actually affirm, for a moment, that I am God’s beloved.

Someday I will see love, God, each other: face to face.

Now I acknowledge that even in the best of time, I can only know things in part.

Someday I will know fully, just as I am already full known by God.

Someday I will fully know myself, and I will be fully  known by others, and acknowledged as belonging–not a piece or part of me, but all of me, as a created beloved piece of God’s love.

And as Faith, Hope and Love abide today.

Someday there will be no need for faith and hope.

So fully will we be bathed and punctuated by Love.

Feel free to use for sermon/worship/prayer with credit to Pastor Katy Stenta image

 

 

Virtual Communion Resources

Pandemic Resources

Eastertide Narrative Lectionary Resources

Pandemic Prayers & 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. My go fundme is located at gf.me/u/y8n94m

Also See my more Mundane Prayers: Prayers for Surviving Day to Day

Abundance of Caution Prayer

Lord I Hadn’t Planned to Give this much up for Lent

Flattening The Curve Prayer

Best Laid Plans Prayer

Viral Prayers: Litany for Help & of Thanksgiving

Act of God Prayer, What is an act of God

Prayers of the People

Pandemic Beatitudes: Blessings & Curses

Garden of Gethsemane Meditation

May God is the God of Emptiness

As the Rain Falls

Everything Counts/Count the Stars

Apocalypse Meditation 

Nothing will ever be the Same Again: Temples & Resurrection

Palm Sunday

Chaos & the Cross: Passion Sunday

God of Sleep

Maundy Thursday Prayer

Presence Over Perfection (& Easter)

Denial & Grace in Crises: Good Friday

Essential Workers at the Cross

Thank God it’s Friday? Psalm 22 Good Friday

I hate waiting: Holy Saturday Prayer

Virtual Communion: a Meditation/Prayer

Holy Saturday Meditation

Holy Saturday: A confessional prayer about too much time

Say Nothing Easter (Mark)

Can You Hear Easter? (The good news) Mark

Easter is the Beginning

Grief

Body of Christ: Essential workers, we need one another

Virtual Communion Resources

Preparing for Worship 1

Preparing for Worship 2 (family edition)

Love One Another: The Value of Caring

Socially Distanced God: the struggle

Stuck on Repeat

The Moment for a Psalm (Because I don’t know how things work anymore)

In this Smoosh of Time Prayer for Groundhog Day

A Prayer about Masks in the Bible

Prayer at the Mailbox

End of My Rope Prayer

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

The Lord is My Shepherd: Sheep Scale Prayer

Stealing Time: Sabbath & Rest

Imprecation:  Shatter Them

Existential Crises: https://katyandtheword.com/2020/10/21/existential-crises/(opens in a new tab)

Post-Election Prayer

Dropping you a line: A Prayer

Ducks (not) in a Row Prayer

Exponential Growth Selah!

Pieces of Joy: A Holiday Prayer

It’s Complicated: a Holiday

Tantrum Prayer

I Can’t Catch My Breath

How Do We Feel (We Don’t)

I’m So Angry

Pandemic Mourning

Back to “Normal” A Prayer

Ashes to Ashes: a Prayer 

500,000 People: Ashes

Kingdom of Heaven (Vaccination) Prayer

Prayer of the Pandemic Era (It ain’t over yet)

Pandemic Resurrection

A Prayer for Chaplain-ing an Apocalypse

No Plans, A Prayer

People Shaped Prayers

Aunty God

A Blessing for (Surviving) Today

Also….

Mundane Prayer to Survive the Day to Day

‪Blessed are those who stay home and wait for the resurrection not as a date on the calendar but the as the return to wholeness, health and peace in the community ‬

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. My go fund me is located at gf.me/u/y8n94m

More About Me; My Story & My Writing

Apocalypse Now? Narrative Lectionary: Mark 13:1-8, 24-37 (March 29, 2020?) Resources

Note: The apocalyptic nature of this reading gave me pause! The exegetes (esp NL Podcast) see this as referring to Jesus’ Passion as the space/place when God draws near to us. Our current times raise largely unanswerable questions about theodicy (why). While why is fascinating, more often what we really have to answer is “Given the situation, now what? What are we called to be and do?” I do have to confess to having a list of questions for God for when I get there. Don’t know if I’ll just know the answers; won’t feel the need to know anymore; or will have them answered. But I definitely have a list!

 

Apocalypse Meditation/Sermon by Rev. Katy Stenta 

HYMNS

Presbyterian Hymnal

Mark chapter 13

77.5 Forty Days and Forty Nights  (means 5th verse esp. relevant)

86 When We Are Tempted to Deny Your Son

87.4 The Glory of These Forty Days

272.2 God of the Sparrow

282 If Thou but Trust in God to Guide Thee

301 Lord Jesus, Think on Me

307 Fight the Good Fight

342 By Gracious Powers

360.5 Hope of the World

361 How Firm a Foundation

388 O Jesus, I Have Promised

389 O Jesus, I Have Promised

401.2 When Will People Cease Their Fighting?

410.3 When I Had Not Yet Learned of Jesus

419 How Clear Is Our Vocation, Lord

420 God of Grace and God of Glory

442 The Church’s One Foundation

443.1 O Christ, the Great Foundation

447 Lead On, O King Eternal

448 Lead On, O King Eternal

461.4 God is Here!

538.2 Lord, Dismiss Us with Thy Blessing

559.3 We Gather Together

13.1-2,14-20

7.2 Lord Christ, When First You Came to Earth

13.24-27

5 Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence

6 Jesus Comes with Clouds Descending

9 O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

153.1 He Is King of Kings

293.2 This Is My Father’s World

379.4 My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less ELW 596/597, GG 353, NCH 403, UMH 368, TFF 192Link

449 My Lord! What a Morning

467.4 How Great Thou Art

13.28-37

15 Rejoice! Rejoice, Believers

17 “Sleepers, Wake!” A Voice Astounds Us

341.3 Blessed Assurance, Jesus Is Mine!

379.4 My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less

456 Awake, My Soul, and with the Son

+14–15

83.3 O Love, How Deep, How Broad, How High

My Lord, what a morning   ELW 438, GG 352, UMH 719, TFF 40
Link to contemporary songs appropriate for Mark 13

https://wordtoworship.com/search/node/Mark%2013

Link for Hymnary.org for this text

IMAGES

Both of these include Agnus Day and other cartoons
Mark 13:1-8 https://www.google.com/search?q=images+mark+13%3A1-8&tbm=isch&ved=2ahUKEwj6obiag6roAhXbHd8KHb_WDwcQ2-cCegQIABAA&oq=images+mark+13%3A1-8&gs_l=img.3…41904.41904..42272…0.0..0.72.72.1……0….1..gws-wiz-img.PRHG9Ft3uy4&ei=aTl1XrrJLtu7_Aa_rb84&bih=576&biw=1366&rlz=1C1CHBF_enUS891US891

Mark 13:24-37 https://www.google.com/search?q=images+mark+13%3A24-37&tbm=isch&ved=2ahUKEwiHw8evg6roAhXIHt8KHcANAQsQ2-cCegQIABAA&oq=images+mark+13%3A24-37&gs_l=img.3…223984.226104..227297…0.0..0.87.616.8……0….1..gws-wiz-img…….35i39j0i8i30.kld4u3pJeTQ&ei=ljl1XoegA8i9_AbAm4RY&bih=576&biw=1366&rlz=1C1CHBF_enUS891US891

Images of church of St. Peter in Gallicantu (cock-crow) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_of_Saint_Peter_in_Gallicantu

See exegesis below re the places to “stay awake” including at the time of cockcrow

CHILDREN”S MESSAGE

When things fall apart (good for preaching to grownups too!) https://rfour.org/childrensmessage_b_51.html

Carolyn Brown on children and the apocalypse http://worshipingwithchildren.blogspot.com/2012/10/year-b-proper-28-33rd-sunday-in.html

LITURGICAL PIECES/RESOURCES

Link to our bulletin including youtube music & Scripture links. linkshttps://1drv.ms/w/s!AuB3z496aTHTgcFAoraAggfvHmcIJg

Will add sermon link to that site when it is written.

Reader’s Theater Mark 13:1-8 https://re-worship.blogspot.com/2012/10/readers-theatre-mark-13-1-8.html

Prepare a Way

(referencing Isaiah 40:3-5, Mark 1:3, Matthew 3:3, Luke 3:4)

In the lonely places
The wilderness
Where we stand forlorn
Windswept and alone
Your voice calls out
Prepare a way for the Lord
In the dark places
The shadows
Where we hide our fears
Embrace our tears
Your voice calls out
Prepare a way for the Lord

— written by John Birch and posted on the Faith and Worship website.  http://www.faithandworship.com/prayers_Christmas.htm

God of hope, we come to you in the midst of a world fraught with troubles. Although the darkness is powerful, open our eyes, Lord, to the light of your presence. Give us faith to stand against the voices of division and violence. Through your Spirit remake us into hope-filled disciples, discovering lives attune to your wonder, and sparking in others a desire to know you more. In the name of the One who comes to us, we pray, Amen.

— Rev. Nancy J, on her blog, wonderings through life and other such nonsense

\

ere’s a prayer from Walter Brueggemann.  It references Romans 8:18-25.

Waiting and Longing

God of the seasons,
God of the years,
God of the eons,
Alpha and Omega,
before us and after us.

You promise and we wait:
we wait with eager longing,
we wait amid doubt and anxiety,
we wait with patience thin
and then doubt,
and then we take life into our own hands.

We wait because you are the one and the only one.
We wait for your peace and your mercy,
for your justice and your good rule.

Give us your spirit that we may wait
obediently and with discernment,
caringly and without passivity,
trustingly and without cynicism
honestly and without utopianism,

Grant that our wait may be appropriate to your coming
soon and very soon,
soon and not late,
late but not too late.

We wait while the world groans in eager longing.

~ written by Walter Brueggemann, in Prayers for a Privileged People.  http://www.amazon.com/Prayers-Privileged-People-Walter-Brueggemann/dp/0687650194Posted on the Prayers and Creeds website.  http://prayersandcreeds.wordpress.com/

Call to Worship

Pecking away at our computers, sitting in a knot of traffic:
we wait for you, God of all words, to speak to us.
Pacing the halls of a hospital, sitting outside the principal’s office:
we wait for you, God of comfort, to fill us with hope.
In the silence of each night, beginning each day’s new journey:
we wait for you, Steadfast Love, for you are our safe place.

Prayer of the Day

Keeper of every moment in eternity:
we come, not only to hear
those words which can transform us,
but to be filled with your grace and hope.
We have come, not out of habit,
but to respond to your call,
willing to be called away
from the familiar ways of our lives.

Walker of our journeys,
in the midst of our harried lives,
you call us to lay aside all that entangles us,
to follow you into service to others.
You invite us to step into
the waters of life and hope,
reaching out to draw others
to our side so, that together,
we might enter your kingdom
of laughter and joy.

When uncertainty fills every block
in our daily planners,
you come, Grace’s Companion,
to offer that hope which anchors
us in God’s heart;
to place our feet firmly
on that rock called peace;
to bring us safely to that haven
filled with God’s steadfast love
.

God in Community, Holy in One,
Rock of every age,
we offer the prayer Jesus has taught us,
Our Father . . .

— written by Thom Shuman, and posted on his Lectionary Liturgieswebsite.

Call to Worship Litany: Psalm 62: 5-12

Our salvation and honour come from God alone.

He is our refuge, and a Rock of safety.

We wait quietly before God, for our hope is in him,

our Rock and our Salvation.

O my people, trust him at all times.

Pour out your heart to him, for he is our refuge.

We wait quietly before God, for our hope is in him,

our Rock and our Salvation.

From the greatest to the lowliest—all are nothing in his sight.

If you weigh them on the scales, they are lighter than a puff of air.

We wait quietly before God, for our hope is in him,

our Rock and our Salvation.

Don’t try to get rich by extortion or robbery.

And if your wealth increases, don’t make it the centre of your life.

We wait quietly before God, for our hope is in him,

our Rock and our Salvation.

God has spoken plainly—we have heard it many times.

Power, O God, belongs to you; unfailing love, O Lord, is yours.

We wait quietly before God, for our hope is in him,

our Rock and our Salvation.

— based on the New Living Translation.

Call to Worship Litany

(based on Isaiah 40:21-31)

Have you not known?

Even youths will faint and be weary,

and the young will fall exhausted;

but we who wait for the Lord shall renew our strength.

Have you not heard?

We shall mount up with wings like eagles.

Has it not been told you from the beginning?

We shall run and not be weary.

Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth?

We shall walk and not be faint.

They who wait for the Lord.

We who wait for the Lord.

— written by Katherine Hawker, and posted on her Liturgies Outsidewebsite.

Sending Out: Good Friday

Here is a responsive closing for a Good Friday service.  It was written by Rev. Gord and posted on Worship Offerings.

Good Friday Sending

The story has been told,

and now we return to the world where we live and wait.

The worship is over?

No, the worship continues while we wait and watch.

Our worship will close after the stone has been removed

and the flame of hope has been re-lit.

So we go out to wait,

we watch for the hope that defies despair,

the life that defies death,

the beginning that defies the end.

While we wait,

while darkness covers the land of faith,

remember that no matter how abandoned we may feel

we are not alone.

God has not and will not abandon us.

Thanks be to God. Amen.

~ posted by Rev Gord on his blog, Worship Offerings. http://worshipofferings.blogspot.ca/


Prayer of Intercession

(Luke 21, 1 Thessalonians 3:9-13, Psalm 25:1-10)

Our Lord Jesus calls us to watch and pray, so let’s do that now,

responding to Lord, in your mercy with come and save your people.

Lord Jesus, thank you for coming in the flesh at Bethlehem, and for coming to us whenever we gather in your name. Keep us alert and watchful through the dark night of this world, and give us confidence as we wait for your coming in glory.

Lord, in your mercy… come and save your people.

We pray for your church—its people and pastors. Keep us alert and watchful in support of one another, guard us from everything false and untrue, and shine on us with the light of your holy word.

Lord, in your mercy… come and save your people.

We pray for the people of the world. Wake all people up to your just judgment and to your saving blood.  Keep us alert and watchful as your witnesses in the world.

Lord, in your mercy… come and save your people.

We pray for the nations. Lift the eyes of those in authority to their duty to govern wisely and well, for the good of all. Curb all terror and replace it with peace.  Keep us alert and watchful to serve you by giving good service to others on our daily lives.

Lord, in your mercy… come and save your people.

Thank you for providing us with everything we need for daily living. Bring relief to all those affected by drought, and poverty. Keep us alert and watchful to the needs of others, and move us to give generously to appeals at Christmas time.

Lord, in your mercy… come and save your people.

Lord, stand by those who wake or watch or weep. Rest those who are weary. Soothe those who suffer.  Shield those who prosper. And come to those we know in particular need and whom we now name silently in our hearts… (brief silence)

Lord, in your mercy… come and save your people.

Lord Jesus, we do not know the day or the hour that you will come with great power and glory. Keep us always alert and watchful so we may welcome you with joy. For you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God now and forever.  Amen.

~ posted on the Lutheran Church of Australia’s Worship Planning Page. http://www.lca.org.au/

Here’s a call to worship and opening prayer based on the scripture readings for Proper 8 B (Ordinary 13 B).  They come from the Ministry Matters website.

Call to Worship

(based on Psalm 130)

Wait for the Lord, like those who hope in God’s mercy.
God’s steadfast love endures forever.
Watch for God, like those who eagerly await the morning.
We watch for God, whose power redeems us.
Hear God’s hopeful word, like those who long for pardon.
Sing praise to God and rejoice in God’s love.

Opening Prayer

(inspired by Mark 5:21-43)

Loving God,
we are yours.
We come as we are,
with our cares and concerns.
We long to touch you
and find healing in your embrace.
Strengthen our faith
and heal our brokenness,
that we may worship you with joy. Amen.

— adapted from The Abingdon Worship Annual 2009, © 2008 Abingdon Press.  Posted on the Ministry Matters website. http://www.ministrymatters.com/


Pastoral Prayer for Lent 2 B

(inspired by Mark 8:31-38)

God of compassion, the way of the cross is as much a mystery to us as it was to the immediate followers of Jesus. But we have heard how your grace is exercised in the journey of suffering and rejection experienced by Jesus. Help us to hear with ears inspired, to see with eyes opened to your ways, and to respond with lives committed to your service.

God of our Lenten journey, we watch and walk with Jesus.

We repent O God. We cannot name our own cross even though we try. You must show us the cross you give us. Help us see. Give us the faith to respond and follow Jesus. We have heard that it is in losing our life for the sake of Gospel of Jesus that we find our life.

God of our Lenten journey, we watch and walk with Jesus.

— from The Prayers of Our Church, written by Bishop Telmor Sartison.  Posted on the Worshipwebsite of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada.


The Path Ahead

(based on Mark 13: 24-37)

Watch out! Be alert!

Christ comes when you least expect it.

     In the beggar on the street,

     In the loved one at our table,

     In the stranger in our pew,

     In the refugee on our shores,

     In the hour of birth.

     In the hour of death.

With judgement and mercy, Christ comes.

Watch out! Be alert!

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,

the love of God,

and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit,

will

be with you now and always.

Amen!

— written by Bruce Prewer, and posted on Bruce Prewer’s HomepageVisit his site for other wonderful lectionary-based worship resources.

Call to Confession:

Nothing makes our lack of control more obvious than our current situation; let us confess our reliance on God.

Confession:

Lord, we had the best laid plans. The teacher were teaching, the doctors were healing, the calendars were full. And we had everything set. But plans are ephemeral, the illusion of control. Now all our best laid plans fail. We cobble together new ones, but they are ragged and imperfect. We have no best laid plans. All we have is you, O God. Be with us we pray. (Silent confession) Amen.

Adapted from Best Laid Plans Prayer by Barb & Len’s daughter, Rev. Katy Stenta. https://katyandtheword.wordpress.com/2020/03/20/best-laid-plans-prayer/

EXEGESIS

Exegetical excerpts from my faves among the links below can be found at https://1drv.ms/w/s!AuB3z496aTHTgcFWlDPYFyomsajWcw

Greek lectionary for vv. 1-8 What is the foundation of your life?  And second, what is the destiny of life? Jesus as the cornerstone (cf. 12:10) and the days of fulfillment. The disciples actually ask, “Where are these stones from/What kind of stones are these?” (no adjective) http://lectionarygreek.blogspot.com/2012/11/mark-131-8.html

Greek lectionary for vv.24-37 Power and suffering/tribulations in the passage http://lectionarygreek.blogspot.com/2011/11/mark-1324-37.html

NL links re this passage: https://www.workingpreacher.org/search/Default.aspx?cx=001947499050786061073:fplx-aun2rq&q=mark%2013:1-8,%2024-37&cof=FORID:10&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&search_domain=WWW

Includes these individual links:

A take on the apocalyptic power of the God https://www.workingpreacher.org/preaching.aspx?commentary_id=2586

The birthpangs of deliverance—and remaining ready. Parallels between the times Jesus says the master may return and the upcoming betrayals related to his Passion. Yet there is still hope even for the faithless disciples. http://www.workingpreacher.org/preaching.aspx?commentary_id=4239

What about the apocalyptic Jesus? it may be an important reminder to hear an ancient prophet cry out about the fragile nature of the world.  https://www.workingpreacher.org/preaching.aspx?commentary_id=2663

NL Holy Week context. How is Jesus near? In the Passion, the night, the darkness.** http://download.luthersem.edu/media/working_preacher/narrative/216WPNarrative.mp3

Apocalypse Meditation

Psalm 102

18 Let this be recorded for a generation to come,
so that a people yet unborn may praise the Lord:
19 that he looked down from his holy height,
from heaven the Lord looked at the earth,
20 to hear the groans of the prisoners,
to set free those who were doomed to die;
21 so that the name of the Lord may be declared in Zion,
and his praise in Jerusalem,
22 when peoples gather together,
and kingdoms, to worship the Lord.

Two weeks ago my son asked if this is the apocalypse.

To be fair he is an 8 year old who is keenly interested in natural disasters, and three weeks ago the interest tipped into apocalypse. I had just previously defined a natural disaster as something that happens in one area whereas an apocalypse is something that happens to everyone.

Mark 13:24-37

When the sky goes dark and the stars fall from heaven it will be apocalyptic, not because the star is falling, but because when Jesus comes, Jesus will come for everyone.

Just when we think it’s “every man for himself” just when we think we are saved or die by individual faith, Jesus reminds us that we are all connected. On the heels of Love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your strength and all your mind Jesus gives this prediction.

The sky will be falling, the powers in heaven will shake and Jesus will come. Jesus will come for the whole and entire earth. The elect will be gathered, but remember these last 2,000 years are our grace time for the elect to be fostered and grown. We thought world was ending with the death of Jesus Christ, but instead we are given more time to learn, and to be ready and to catch our breath.

This apocalypse is a hopeful one, because it will be like the fig tree budding into bloom. The apocalypse is hopeful because even when heaven and earth pass away the word of the Lord, Jesus Christ, will stand.

Image result for fig tree budding

And this passage is hopeful because we are each, every one of us, told to stay awake. This means that it is not just one or two of us who are told to be ready, we are all told to be ready.

Jesus talks about great suffering—this part is scary. Because of this, every time the world suffers greatly, we wonder if it’s the end times. Even though Jesus says right in this passage that nobody knows when the time will come. We are to be alert, because it will sneak up on us.

Keep awake Jesus says, before he prays at Gethsemane asking his disciples to stay awake with him. Be ready for the apocalypse: the revelation. 

The question isn’t really is this an apocalypse, the question is are we awake? Are we watching for the budding of the fig tree, are we cultivating the kingdom of heaven or are we cultivating the seeds of faith.

Are we taking care of each other? Are we loving God? Are we living life like it is short and precious, are we treating each other like we are beautiful and beloved? Are we grounding ourselves in the stable Word of God?

Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or weep this night & give your angels charge over those who sleep. Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary, bless the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the joyous; all for your love’s sake. –Book of Common Prayer

Non-angsty vampires…GO

If you want to talk eschatology a good post-apocalyptic book is the way to go. A great post-apocalyptic book about vampires is even better. In this book the vampires don’t angst (they are in fact rather nonemotional as compared to humans). And the adult–that’s right she is not a teenager–finds her life interrupted by vampires, and having to deal with the consequences. Like all Robin McKinley, this is a reread but the reasons why I love this book are (in no particular order)

1. The main character is an adult

2. Its not about happily ever after or tragedy, its about dealing with the problems in your life–the good, the bad and the ugly

3. The vampire casts a mirror on the human life and choices ultimately make up how “good” you are (remember this book was pre-Twilight so the whole vampires can be good thing was only started here)

4. There is absolutely no longing to become a vampire.

5. It deals very closely with how one human being confronts the end of her/the world!

6. The main character is a baker who loves sunlight (how non-angsty can you get!!)

Read it if you like Twilight, read it if you hate Twilight.

Next “No Man is an Island” I love reading good new books!

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