Pandemic Beatitudes

Cursed are the greedy, the one who put corporations before others, for they will end up with only money

Cursed are the liars, the fakers and the scammers, for they will end up with nothing

Cursed are the penny pinchers, the ones who think they immune, the ones who take other’s lives into their hands, their is the guilt of hurting others

‪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. For theirs is the faith of the church.

Blessed are those who are at work, seeing hundreds of people a day, honoring the essentials of staying alive. For the work of their hands reflects the shape of their hearts.

Blessed are those who are waiting, waiting for the isolation to end, waiting to see if their loved one comes home safe from work, waiting to hear the news of a test in their lives. For theirs is the fullness of times

Blessed are the truck drivers and the custodial staffs who apply and scrub for all of us, for theirs will be all the comfort in the world.

Blessed are the truth tellers, the scientists and the fact fact-finders, for theirs will be the relationships of hope.

Blessed are the stressed, the homeworkers, the homeschoolers, the teachers without students, the workers without offices theirs will be peace.

More Prayers & Resources for the Pandemic

 

Abundance of Blessings: Seeds of #Prayer for #Lent March 6th #AshWeds

March 6th: Matthew 18:1-9

Psalm 146:7c-10 or 51:1-3

Abundance of Blessings

"Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me." Psalm 51:10 (Scripture doodle of encouragement)

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/425027283575522346/Call to Worship

Our God is an awesome God!

He made heaven and earth and the sea and all that is in it.

God reigns from heaven above with wisdom, power and love

For our God is the one who executes justice for the oppressed, the one who gives food to the hungry.

Who cannot praise our God, Our God is an awesome God!

Our God is an awesome God, let us praise God together. 

Call to Worship

God, you are the God of the hungry, the blind and the oppressed.

We praise you for opening the eyes of the blind, for lifting up those who are bowed down, for upholding the orphan and the widow

Prayer of Confession: Lord we think that blessings are like pie. We confess we want to be the closest to God, because we think those closer to God will get the most blessings. Remind us that blessings are not pie. Remind us that your blessings are enough. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.

Prayer of Confession: Lord, we admit that we sometimes cause stumbling blocks. We put things in other’s paths so they cannot succeed. Sometimes we even have to get out of our own way to be able to see you. Forgive us when we build walls, remind us to open any and all paths to Shalom, and help us be creators of those paths we pray.

Prayer of Confession: Lord I now my transgressions, my sin is before me and it is against you alone God, I have sinned. I have done what is evil in your sight. I was born imperfect. Remind me that you desire truth in my

Assurance of Pardon: Jesus promises us, that we are forgiven, loved and enough.

Assurance of Pardon: Our God is the God of healing, wholeness and peace. Our God gives us Shalom! Let us share the good news: In Jesus Christ we are forgiven. Amen

Assurance of Pardon: God promises to always execute justice, know that God’s justice includes mercy, hear the good news: In Jesus Christ you are forgiven.

Assurance of Pardon: The Lord will have mercy according to God’s steadfast love, blotting out all trangressions. Know we are loved and forgiven by God.

Prayer of Dedication/Prayer of the Day: God, you are the God of Hope precisely because you are the God of justice. When we forget who you are: open our eyes when we are blind, teach us again to feed the hungry, show to us how uphold the orphan so that we can remember who you are, Lord who will reign forever. Amen.

Hymns:

Savior Like a Shepherd Lead Us

Create In Me  Clean Heart

Jesus Thy Boundless Love to Me

 

A Short Order of Worship

Call to Worship: Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob,

whose hope is in the Lord their God, 

who made heaven and earth,

 the sea, and all that is in them;

who keeps faith for ever; 

who executes justice for the oppressed;

   who gives food to the hungry. 

The Lord sets the prisoners free; 

the Lord opens the eyes of the blind.

The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down;

the Lord loves the righteous. —Psalm 146:5-8

Communion

Oral Story: Matthew 18:1-9 Who is the Greatest? 

Burning of Our Sins: The Lord says, if there’s a piece of you that causes you stumble, cut it off. What do you need to cut off or let go of ? Or what do you need to hang onto and grow so that you can be more joyful and curious like a child? (ceremonially burn our sins written on paper)

Imposition of the Ashes

Closing Prayer: Have mercy on me, O God,

   according to your steadfast love;

according to your abundant mercy

   blot out my transgressions. 

Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,

 and cleanse me from my sin.—Psalm 51:1-3

 

Full List of Lenten Resources (Of course some prayers may be appropriate for other weeks)

 

 

 

#bless and #blessing #slatespeak #reLENTless

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Genesis 12:1-4

I was able to take a pilgrimage to Israel in Seminary and meet Archbishop of Jerusalem Father Elias Chacour, who was doing work to build schools to education Jews, Muslims & Christians together to sow peace.

Father Chacour said that “blessing” has a very active meaning in his (and Jesus’s) native tongue of Aramaic.

To be blessed, means to be called to work into God. In essence every time we read that someone is “Blessed” we should probably actually translate it as Genesis 12:2 “You are blessed, now go and be a blessing” (Read the Beatitudes this way, and I guarantee it will rock your world)

I love it. Sometimes I think I want to start a new church plant and call it

Achoo ministries

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Bless and be  Blessing

Its catching

Blessings are funky, because we try to think that they are limited. Throughout the New Testament the disciples are worried about how liberal Jesus blesses and heals people. Their attitude continues to be “shouldn’t you save some of that for later/more of it for us” As if there is a LIMIT to the amount of blessings int he world. I can imagine Jesus continually chuckling at their confusing and explaining, again, that this is not how blessings work.

The most modern parallel I can see to this is safety. In the modern era we act like there is only so much safety to go around, we have to grab our safeness “quick” before its all taken. Also, counterwise, if someone else is safe, that means we cannot also be safe, because that group has “taken up” the safety.

Objectively put, we can see how ridiculous the idea of limited safety and blessing is….but the church, and the United States continue to act as if blessing and safety are limited.

When in fact, when one person is more safe, the entire community is more safe.

When in fact when you are blessed, then you also are being called to go and be a blessing and share it out as much as possible.

How changed is our life is we act like blessings and safety (i.e. Peace) are actually from the never-ending bounty of God.

….Its catching….

Reverse Black Friday Experience

Thursday morning at 6am I went to help with Equinox, which is a Thanksgiving meal program that serves about 10,000 in the Albany area….

I was really pleased to do this for the following reasons

1. My family is not the greatest financially, so I’m more able to give time

2. I have a 5& 1/2, 3 & 1/2, and a just 2 year old at home, so the theory of giving time is good, but not always possible, however my mother in law was in town, so I was able to feel like my husband had back up (he does the kid thing all the time, but he’s also our chef so……)

3. We are in the area….I usually don’t work over Thanksgiving, which means this is when we usually go to family (family comes to us for Christmas)…but this year we did a LOT of traveling…so my eldest asked his grandparents to come up and they obliged…

4. I got around to actually volunteering! They gave me the early shift, which I appreciated because it meant I really had the whole day to spend Thanksgiving with my family.

Immediately this made me feel better about the entire holiday…you know feeling worthwhile and all that…

I worked for two hrs…after which they practically kicked you out, so the next volunteers can get in…

I sorted bread, putting 2 bread products in a bag (trying to pair English muffins with the gigantic loaves so its more even) to be ready to pick up by the drivers who start their runs at 8am….

But my favorite part was the line….I had flashback to Black Friday…there they were over a hundred people sitting in their camp out spots (some since 3am I heard) waiting to be “drivers” to deliver the food…families and friends all sitting with boxes awaiting their food….

If we all did this…lined up one day a year to help people (instead of shopping) what a difference it would be….

Maybe it isn’t all year long…but I like to think how small starts…like volunteering for 2hrs…can make a huge difference

(The food is gathered in city hall since its the only place big enough to hold it all….a formal dinner is served to 500 people and 9,500 people get it delivered)

 

Also! Check out this for more Survival Strategies

Jacob: The Trickster

Jacob is a loveable trickster: a character we often identify with–the loveable thief, the passionate adulterer, the rogue hero.

One who gets his inheritance by tricking his dying father to giving his blessing (i.e. will) to him instead of Esau.

He is even named as a rogue–as heel grabber is the translation of Jacob

you know the whole pull yourself up by your bootstrap culture in America? Jacob did the opposite, he pulled himself up from someone else’s bootstrap (heel). This ability, no doubt like all talents is a gift and a curse (as Adrian Monk would say). Every piece blessing is a gift, and a curse. For example, I am an extrovert, most of the time it is great, except when it isn’t 🙂 If I don’t extrovert enough during the week, I am in sore danger of extrovertly exploding over people.

Gifts are meant to be used, when you write or sing or extrovert, its both a duty and a joy. You don’t do it for recognition, you do it because you have to. In that way it can be a blessing…and a curse.

Jacob has stolen Esau’s inheritance…last week our lectionary covered the Abrahamic Blessing the promise to father a nation and spread the blessing through it…when Jacob took this blessing he did not know that this blessing carried with it more than wealth. This is a blessing to be used…or its a curse.

Why do we love rogues anyway, what is it that makes them so fun? There is something about a rogue that means, just because they don’t follow the rules doesn’t mean they don’t have a heart. These are the human wish for redemption, our ongoing story for hope…

So, here is Jacob, on the run from his brother Esau who at best will be really, really mad for Jacob stealing his inheritance, and at worst is out for blood. He is out in another country, in the middle of the desert when he dreams…

He dreams of Angels. Angels who (we know) are not Precious moments cutesy babies, but are something scary to behold. They are going up and they are coming down, they are in-between, in short they are everywhere. This must have been scary enough.

Then God stands next to him (that must have been terrifying) and says I am the Lord of your forefathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac” remember, this is Jacob who just took all of his father’s blessing, so when God says he is Isaac’s God, it carries much weight! Then God promises that Jacob will father nations, that his descendants will own the land and that they will spread like dust North, South, East and West. God promises “All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring. I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.””

What does Jacob take out of this conversation? That its too much? Does he see God’s promise as a threat (you WILL father nations) of responsibilities? Does he refuse to hear what it is that God is saying?

No

Jacob says…probably in a quiet voice of wonderment “I didn’t know God was here.” He didn’t know that God was with him. He didn’t know that God sought and found him, that God was his keeper. Jacob ought to be the last candidate for God to be with, tricking his way into inheritance, but yet, God was still within him. He didn’t know. He thought he had to be right, and brave and good for God to love him.

I didn’t know God was here…There are many places where we don’t know God is present.

1 in 10 people have mental illness, 1 in 10 struggles with addiction, 1 in 5 women have been sexually abused, and more than that have been victims of abuse. If we needed to be “whole” for God to be found, then about half of us would be statistically disqualified (actually that’s fuzzy math, but you get the idea)… For those who are Spiritual but not Religious, they might say I didn’t know God was here feeling that we make impossible requirements for answers and perfection.

….But we know our God is not a fixing God though. God does not simply take us apart and put us back together as new people. Our God is a creating and blessing God, working with what he made, as it exists in the world. God is present where we are, improving on what God has given us as gifts and blessings. Identifying who we are in one word, and blessing us with the next. God is like a “strengths-based counselor” building on who we are and what we do, so that we might become a better version of ourselves. Building off Jacob’s trickster nature and naming him as God’s own in order to make Jacob wonderful….

Church should be a place to do this, a place for broken rogues, tricksters and scoundrels, a place of hope. It should be a place where we all don’t know that God could be here. A place where we welcome people who know nothing, after all we know nothing too. God tends to show up in the ways we least expect it (in tricksters, in a women, in a stable, on the cross)…we could all know nothing together.

After All…

God could be found here too.