Bible full of Nobodies

God, in your might and power you gave us a book that tells us truth through a bunch of nobodies.

When you tell the story of Hagar, Shiphrah & Puah, the Sultan’s daughter, Miriam and Zipporah you tell us about the “little people” in the world. We don’t even know the name of the Pharaoh’s daughter!

When you reveal the energy, intelligence, imagination and love of Ruth & Naomi and also Esther you report the profound sacredness of the lives of women of color.

“Black Lives are Sacred” attributed to Dr Wil Gafney

Because of these women we stand in prayer every single time we tell the story of persecuted black women, women of color and trans women who are black or brown.

And because women throughout the Bible are unnamed we know, we know the importance of #sayhername.

Breonna Taylor we say your name Oluwatoyin Sakai, Atatiana Jefferson, Latasha Harlins and Sandra Bland we say your name and pray.

And because we know there are even more women who are unnamed victims of police violence, healthcare violence, sexual violence and state violence perpetrated through powerfully neglectful pandemic policy.

The true nobodies in the Bible are those in power kings, pharaohs and religious leaders serve as footnotes to the real everyday lives of the “ordinary” somebodies in the Bible.

As these stories and names echo in my head in between distance learning and working and running errands, help me to take these echoes seriously.

Help me to take each and every echo, and to find the ways to tell these stories to my children, just like the stories in the Bible.

Help me to tell the story meaningfully, fleshing out my black and brown sisters and humans who are fully of life and value. Help me to tell the stories in such a way that they matter.

And empower me to see and stop racism and violence in all of its physical, emotional and political forms, I pray. Make me an interrupter of violence.

I pray this in the presence of the brown, persecuted, imprisoned and murdered man who I am honored to be an adopted sister of, Jesus Christ. Amen.

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

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

God, I never realized that historic events aren’t really one thing. Instead they are the combination of humanity’s foibles boiling over to the point of historicity.

I didn’t even know historicity was a real word until today.

And what will bubble up next? Australian Fires, Hurricanes, Derechos, Post Offices. Lord I’m only human, how can I process all this? Or maybe I can’t.

Did racism cause the Black Lives Matter marches and sometime riots? What ingredients meshed exactly right to finally give people the exact things they needed to get out and protest: racism, yes, but also poverty and pandemics, boredom and bereavement, time and trouble.

These sort of things come from the perfect balance, so that the risk you are taking is the best risk possible.

God, I’ve been thinking a lot about risk. Of Hagar the enslaved who risked raising her son in the desert, about Joseph the imprisoned who risked interpreting dreams of his cellmates, of Rahab of Canaan who defied expectations to help Joshua.

What is the perfect risk for us as Christians right now? As we look at this particularly moment in history, how do we decided how to risk, and who to risk, and why?

And how do we risk for ourselves and our community, and yet still practice grace towards all the rest of humanity–who are having to make the same decisions in different circumstances.

Truly we are all weathering the same storm: but in different boats, with different tools and different gifts.

Really God, is now the time to discern gifts? I mean, really and truly God, I want you to know that now is a truly risky time to discern our gifts.

Selah!

Remind us, it’s worth the time.

Black Lives Matter

Remind us, We are worth the time.

Safety first

Remind us, You are worth the time.

God of the poor, the sick and the marginal.

And teach us how to risk in this historic moment, in the best, kindest most gracious way we can.

I pray this with all those who are risking right now. Help me stand with them I pray.

Amen.

Permission to Use or Adapt with Credit to Pastor Katy Stenta

Pandemic Prayers & Resources

Psalm 73 for today: Plea of Relief from Oppressors

1 Truly God is good to all those who are seeking love

2 But I will admit, sometimes  I have tripped on my journey, I’ve almost fallen off the path more than once not understanding the cry Black Lives Matter.

3 For I have seen the siren call of white privilege, I saw how those in power prosper calling themselves “great.” I have forgotten that i too benefit from a racist system.

4 Those White Supremacists admit no pain, ever, they have doctors and massages and rest. They can completely ignore the pandemic that ravages the communities of color.

5 They are not troubled by other people. They go around unmasked, breathing on everyone. For they do not have to deal with, what I have to deal with. They can ignore the pain of the world.

6. They decorate themselves with pride being “the greatest.” They dress themselves in a fine suit of violence. Making it seem beautiful.

7. Their eyes bulge with their privilege, their hearts allow them to speak feelings as facts.

8 They scoff and speak with malice and threats to all who disagree. Loftily & carelessesly they threaten oppression, so normal is it for them.

9They set their mouths against God, and their tongues spread the disease and oppression all of the earth.

10 People turn and praise them, and cannot (no matter what) find fault with them.

11 They say “God won’t know” or “Truly power and Jesus are on the same side; MAGA”

12 Such are the wicked, comfortable with evil, as they increase their riches from a pandemic, poverty and racism.

13. I have tried to keep my heart clean: but bigotry is insidious. I try to wash my hands from the pandemic, but I must expose myself to others.

14 We small people are plagued, punished everyday by our context.

15 But if I say “all lives matter” or “church is more important than flattening the curve” I would have been untrue to the circle of your children.

16 But when I thought about how to understand what is going on. I immediately become overwhelmed.

17 then I put my sanctuary in God, instead. It is then I see how they will end.

18 You are setting them in slippery places of lies of their own making. You will make them fall to ruin.

19 They will be destroyed in a  moment, swept away utterly by errors.

20 They will be like a dream when one awakes–a footnote in the history of God’s love–and upon awaking you despise their phantoms

21 When my soul we bitter, before I understand, you pricked my heard

22 I was stupid and ignorant, with microaggressions and resting on my privilege that we will never experience a pandemic, or tyranny, or widespread racism, or riots

23 Luckily, you continue to be with me, and you hold my hand as I walk

24 You guide me with your Holy Spirit, and after you will welcome me home with open arms

25 Why do I desire heaven? For you God. There is nothing I desire more than Jesus.

26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is my strength of  my heart, and claims me as God’s own.

27 Indeed those who are far from you will perish, you put an end to all that is false.

28 But for me, it is good to be near my God; I have made the Lord God my refuge.

And I will not fear to seek justice and tell of your works.

 

 

Feel free to use or Adapt with Credit to Pastor Katy Stenta

A Prayer for the Protestors

Black Lives Matter

 

Black Lives Matter

Black Lives Matter

Jesus said and Jesus says.

Black Lives Matter Jesus breathes through the black families having the difficult talk about the dangers of having a different color skin

Black Lives Matter Jesus states on the wind, blowing the truth into the ears of the black mothers and fathers who are worried about their children,

Black Lives Matter Jesus murmurs inside the black children trying to walk, talk and play in a world where their existence can be seen as dangerous.

Black Lives MatterJesus assured the black prisoners in jail, disproportionately arrested and abused.

Black Lives Matter Jesus screams with the black man  and woman murdered by cops or white supremacist, or both, Jesus says this as they scream for help, scream for breath, and  scream for their mother.

Black Lives Matter Jesus coaxes to the Trans black woman as she negotiates walking the streets, trying to stay safe.

Black Lives Matter, Jesus’s never-ending sigh finally filters through to the world of whiteness and privelege

Black Lives Matter Jesus is whispering it in the ears of white women who were afraid of “the unidentified black man”

Black Lives Matter Jesus is chanting in the subconscious of the average white man trying to go about his business as normal

Black Lives Matter Jesus is singing it to the ears of white children, trying to sleep as they really realize that their friends of color were in danger

Black Lives Matter Jesus prays in the churches, raising his voice to the heavens.

Black Lives Matter Jesus says, all day every day.

Do you hear him?

A Prayer for the Protestors

Psalm 73: A Plea for Relief from Oppressors Rewritten

 

Black Lives Matter | Keppler Speakers

Feel free to use/adapt with credit to Pastor Katy

Neighbor? Who?

its been a crazy week. I’ve in essence heard the Good Samaritan story three times.

First time was with Alton Sterling, then Pilando Castile and finally with the Dallas police officers who were targeted. This in the wake of Orlando is wearying.

And then we hear the story of the Good Samaritan and the lawyer asks but…who…who exactly is my neighbor?

My flippant answer is whoever is close enough to annoy you. And as you know people can be pretty far away and still be close enough to annoy you.

My more serious answer is those you are close enough to hurt. This is an amazing thought because you can be very far away–all across the world or thd internet and still be able to hurt someone.

The counter to that is that if you are close enough to hurt someone then you are close enough to hurt someone then you are close enough to help them.

blm

the Good Samaritan story was so revolutionary because the Samaritans were so politically and religiously at odds with one another. They would desecrate each other’s temples, burn each other’s buildings and fight over the same land and water. When Jesus tells this story it angered people because it’s like telling about  Muslim and a Christian or an African American young man and a police officer. This was Jesus’s answer to Who is my neighbor.

The Belhar Confession, which is being adopted by the PCUSA was written by Africa about apartheid. We in the USA don’t seem to have apartheid until you look at the kind of violence that is going on and how it hurts African-Americans  until you look at the kind of violence that is going on and how it hurts police officers.

Belhar Confession is about unity being both a gift of God and our duty. I don’t know what to do about African-Anericans being stopped for minor violations and things escalating so quickly. I don’t know what to do about police officers being targeted for violence. Unity Both a gift and a duty because God says we belong to one another.

We belong to one another because we each of us are called to bind up the wounds of the cops and the African-Americans. We belong to one another because Jesus has loved us into being  showing us how love affirms our??? identity. Christians need to love like Jesus. There are no “buts” I this love, it’s not I love you but… It’s I love you and We belong to each other.

Real love is the kind that takes nothing away from you  it affirms and does nothing but add to your identity  it’s a live not based on your value or progress or perfection. God made us each unique and still belonging to one another. The word of God is not to believe in God and be the same, but love one another and affirm each identity so we add to each other.

Love is a language that doesn’t even compute in the financial, political and corporate world . That is the kind of love we are called to practice because we belong to one another God gives us to one another as a gift and it’s something to also work for. We belong to one another. Who is my neighbor? All those whom we are close enought to help.  This is the word of the Lord  thanks be to God!