Messy Hope, a Prayer

God

I wonder if everything

In heaven will be well loved

Like a comfortable sweater

And a couch that hugs your butt just the wife way.

Holy Spirit you know how I am longing for comfort.

For the things of childhood that were so soothing:

Playing in the grass, coloring so hard you could smell the crayons, saying hi ready to make friends with the world.

Sometimes when people long for the good old days. I think they are wishing for their inner child

—even if they don’t remember who that was.

Ans yet Jesus, you know

And say that a child shall lead us.

God you know that nothing is gently used in my house—my kids are busting with energy and ready to fully embrace everything life has to offer.

Couches are to jump on.

Juice boxes spilling out with sweet goodness.

Mud and dirt brimming with life.

God, in this time of turmoil, help me to taste heaven.

Because surely this chaos is what Pentecost was like!

Come Holy Spirit! Fill us with some messy hope today we pray.

Amen.

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

Truth: A Prayer

Guns don’t spell peace

Just like White Supremacy can’t define Jesus

And Transphobia doesn’t protect families–but breaks them

And making abortion illegal, never, ever prevents abortions

God,

How can we humans be so confused

as to take the truth and completely

misconstrue it

so that somehow we make Christianity about power

and Church about politics?

Sometimes I think about this and I think,

only us humans are silly enough to mess up

messages as simple and easy as:

Love and serve one another

or the last shall be first.

Yet here we are God,

Tangling Truths around our Tongues,

Tricking ourselves, with comforting lies.

Ignoring the whisper of the Holy Spirit that says:

Fear Not.

Nothing can separate you from the Love of God

You can never be replaced.*

I hope you have some truth for us today, God.

Some clear, cool and collected truth,

gathered into the waters of baptism–

spilling into our hearts and souls.

Because we need your truth.

Help us to tell ourselves the truth

I pray.

We pray.

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

*replacement theory is a dangerous white supremacist theory that white Americans are being replaced usually by Jewish and Black People and it promotes violence and terrorism against said “replacement” races and religions. It is dehumanizing, bigoted, wrong and as stated a terrorist training ground. https://www.nytimes.com/2022/05/15/us/replacement-theory-shooting-tucker-carlson.html

Bullshit, A Prayer

Jesus,

Your coming back was such good news,

that the disciples called it bullshit–

we translate it nicer in church;

can you imagine that?

……

Jesus did you think that our job

maybe

perhaps

as Christians was to do

such extraordinarily good things

that when we did them

people would say

Bullshit! No one would ever do that!

……

And not so like, anyone would become Christian

or perfect

(because lets face it Jesus,

people are onto you when you are trying to steal their souls)

But just like, treat humans with respect.

……

Sometimes I imagine that churches paid every single person a living wage

or rallying for the forgiveness of debts (Reminder: Jubilee is a Biblical concept)

and working hard for universal healthcare for our congregants (the stories I could tell)

or even just make it so every sanctuary was a sanctuary for immigrants

……and

LGBTQIA folks

and those who are mentally Ill

and Those with addictions

and people with disabilities

and those who were houseless

……

If all those could feel welcome, accepted, heard and be essential to the leadership!

A place for teens to hang out without anyone worried about lawsuits.

And we got past tokenizing everyone who is different than us (hello white church).

I bet if we worked on a couple of these things, the church would become more Christ-like–what do you think Jesus?

……

Sometimes I dream that churches were changing the world–

and then I wake up, amazed that no one has cried out

Bullshit!

……

God I’m praying for that kind of church,

until then, I hope I hang our more with

Mary, Mary and Martha,

and keep saying things that make people say

……

Universal Basic Income for everyone? That sounds like bullshit!

……

Can’t wait Jesus, Till then,

I’ll keep praying

Idle Prayers,

And doing the work to make them

Working Prayers again.

Amen.

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

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Image: https://www.cbeinternational.org/sites/default/files/styles/article_image/public/2020-05/ChristIsRisen1200_0.jpg?itok=pikHhKoE

April 17th Resurrection: Hope Seeing Resurrected Jesus

April 17th Resurrection: Hope Seeing Resurrected Jesus

John 20:1-18

Psalm 118:21-29

Call to Worship

Christ is Risen

He is Risen indeed

The stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone

Look the Lord’s doing wondrous things before our eyes

This is the day that the Lord has made

Let us rejoice and be glad in it!

Call to Confession: God sees us exactly as we are and loves us, so come let us confess ourselves to God. 

Confession: Jesus, we confess that sometimes we are blinded by tears or turned away, and it is hard to recognize you. We confess that all too often we do not practice or believe in the power of resurrection, so it sneaks by us. Forgive us, teach us to see the seeds you are planting, for you are, after all, the original gardener, and help us to co-create and tend the seeds of resurrection so that they grow, we pray in the name of the resurrection Jesus. Amen. 

Assurance of Pardon: Christ is risen, so you are forgiven. Know the truth: In Jesus Christ we are Forgiven.

Prayer of the Day/Dedication: We are an Easter people, a Resurrection People, let us name it and claim it we pray in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen. 

Please support my writing: Katy’s Doctorate in Ministry in Creative Writing at Pittsburgh Seminary. 

For Word versions of the Liturgy email me at Katyandtheword at gmail

From Lament to Hope Full Resources

March 13 Jesus Washes Feet: Hope of Serving

Jesus Washes Feet: Hope of Serving

John 13:1-17

Psalm 51:7-12

Call to Worship

God we gather to serve

For you first served us, the one who taught the first will be last

Jesus we long to be near you

Come let us worship the alpha and omega

Call to Confession: God calls all those who are in relationship with God to come into God’s presence for confession, come let us confess ourselves to God and each other

Prayer of Confession: God, I confess that I am like Peter crying out create in me a clean heart God, clean my feet and my hands and my whole body! Because some days I understand all too well all of my imperfections, and they seem to scream at me, from my body and my personality and my accomplishments. Remind me God, that you sent Jesus to show us how to love and serve one another, no more, no less, and that your grace is infinite. Remind us, we pray in your most Holy name. Amen. 

Assurance of Pardon: God always restore us to the joy of salvation, hear the good news of the gospel: In Jesus Christ we are forgiven.

Prayer of the Day/Dedication: God we come to you fully confessing ourselves and ready to be washed clean. Let us go forth rejoicing and ready to serve our God. Amen

Children: Discuss Baptism and how Confession is a renewal of Baptism

Hymns: Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing, Create in Me a Clean Heart, Jesu Jesu Fill Us with Your Love, I’m Gonna Live So God Can Use Me

Please support my writing: Katy’s Doctorate in Ministry in Creative Writing at Pittsburgh Seminary.

For Word versions of the Liturgy email me at Katyandtheword at gmail

From Lament to Hope Full Resources

Lent: Narrative Lectionary, From Lament to Hope

If you like my work, please contribute to my Doctorate in Ministry in Creative Writing at Pittsburgh Seminary. I’m 75% the way there this year!

For Word Versions of resources please Email Katyandtheword at gmail.com

From Lament to Hope 

Ash Weds: Full Service

March 2

The Good Shepherd: Ashes A Prayer

500,000 People: Ashes

John 10:1-18

Psalm 23

March 6

Jesus Raises Lazarus: Jesus Wept, Lament

John 11:1-44

Psalm 104:27-30

March 13

Jesus Washes Feet

John 13:1-17

Psalm 51:7-12

March 20

Peter’s Denial: Lament and Denial

John 18:12-27

Psalm 17:1-7

March 27

Jesus and Pilate 

John 18:28-40

Psalm 145:10-13

April 3

Jesus Condemned

John 19:1-16a

Psalm 146

April 10

Palm/Passion
The Crucified Messiah: Sermon Ideas, Pile of Good Things

John 12:12-27

Psalm 24

April 14

Maundy Thursday

Jesus Last Words: An in Person, Virtual or Stations Worship Service

John 19:23-30

Psalm 26:3

Betrayed: A Prayer for the Brokenhearted

April 15

Good Friday Worship: Burying Jesus, An In Person or Virtual Worship Service Based on the texts

Good Friday: Good Friday Worship Juxtaposing Communion & Lord’s Prayer

Good Friday: John Tenebrae

Jesus the Passover Lamb

John 19:31-42

Psalm 31:9-18

April 17th 

Resurrection: Hope Seeing Resurrected Jesus

John 20:18

Psalm 118:21-29

April 24 

Thomas

Sermon Ideas:

But Thomas

Brave Thomas

John 20:19-31

Psalm 145:13-21

If you like my work, please contribute to my Doctorate in Ministry in Creative Writing at Pittsburgh Seminary. I’m 75% the way there this year!

Santa Hat Prayer

God,

You know that every year,

around Thanksgiving,

My advent prayer looks like a Santa Hat–

(and yes I cheat and start earlier)

You know which one I mean.

The really real one,

deep red one that got last minute at a drugstore,

that I can no longer find anywhere

that one I spent $6 Freshman year of college…

Way too close to 9/11,

This hat was a promise that

somehow

despite the exams, the terrorism, the depression and the needless war

Christmas would come that year

And that Christianity didn’t have to look like

whatever it looked like on the news that year…

(and honestly how its looked since then too)

I wear that prayer on my head

and Holy Spirit only you know how it is I haven’t lost that hat in the following twenty years

I have tried to buy another hats, similar hats, but its never worked, and always return to this one–worn throughout Thanksgiving til Christmas.

Somedays, I forget I am wearing the Santa hat, til someone flashes a smile, or compliments me,

or calls me Mrs Claus, And then I wink and tell them I’m actually Santa

And when Children ask why I wear the hat, I say its because I get to teach about Christmas because I’m a Pastor

and it reminds me…

why I do all of this.

Last year, it was a relief to wear it some as things slowly opened,

this year, I suspect that it will be more defiant,

as Covid rages on, and humans are not my favorite beings

at the moment.

But I’ll be here,

wearing a prayer,

like hope, peace, joy and love

upon my head–

Thank God for twenty years of Santa hats–

and all the pieces of prayers that we wear on our hearts

today and everyday.

Give us all the pieces of prayers you can this season

I pray

Amen.

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

Advent 1 Full of Prophesy/Life Narrative Lectionary Year 4

Call to Worship

Ezekiel 37:1-15

John 11:25-26

Call to Worship

God you know our questions before we even ask them, we are struggling this year, can these bones live, only you know

And you reassure us, saying that you will send us the Word we need

Give us the word of Hope, we need

Come let us gather around the Word of the Lord

Confession: God, we confess that we do not know if these bones can live. Sometimes, we cannot even ask the questions about resurrection. We are too busy struggling along. We confess that we are weary to bone. Weary of the evils of the weary, weary of injustice, weary of illness, weary of sorry. We confess that we forget to ask for hope. Forgive us, and teach us to see and know that you are already at work in the world. Amen.

Assurance of Pardon: Jesus Christ is the Hope of the World, assuring us of the truth that we can tell one another: In Jesus Christ we are forgiven

Prayer of the Day/Dedication: God, the struggle is real, because you are already here, making things happen. Remind us of your presence, from our first breath. Inspire us with your Holy Spirit, and encourage us as we need it we pray. Amen.

Hymns: See Advent Candle Suggestions

Children: Read Emily Dickon’s Hope is a many feathered Thing Poem. Discuss what kids Hope for.

More resources.

If you find these resources useful please consider contributing to my Doctorate in Ministry in Creative Writing!

Advent Candles Year 4 Narrative Lectionary

Advent Candle Suggestion: In our Church we do Candles as our Children’s Time, We have our small collection of children light the candles youngest to eldest (whoever is there), those who haven’t gone go first. It is impromptu, not planned. It saves on having to schedule and ensures that the candles are lit and we spend children’s time explaining the meaning of the candle and how it relates the story of the week. If you don’t have children, I bet you could do this with your deacons as well.

Week 1: Hope/Prophesy

God you whisper to us, when we dare not hope suggesting to us the impossible

Mortal do you think these bones can live?

God it is in your multitude of knowledge, that we say the answer back to you, you know

Speak hope to the bones

We will speak hope together

Come let us speak the hope of the Holy Spirit today, and Live!

Lighting Hymns: Live Into Hope, Taize: Bless the Lord my Soul, Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence (v. 1)

Week 2: Peace/Purpose

God promises that all those who thirsts will drink, all those who hunger will be fed

Come, the banquet is set, all are invited

Truly peace shall reign, for everyone shall have enough

Come, and listen, so that you may live. I will make you an everlasting covenant

Who wants to taste and See the Lord?

Come, let us practice this peace today and everyday

Lighting Hymns: Comfort Comfort You My People, Taize Nada the Turbe, O Come O Come Emmanuel v. 3, God of Peace (to the tune of Silent Night)

Week 3: Joy/God’s Word

God we are ready for your Word

The Word was with God, and the Word was God

Your joy shines through troubles, more than just happiness, God’s Word is life sustaining Joy!

All things come to being through God, and without God not one thing came into being.

Each of us have a spark of that joy within us!

Come let us renew our joy with God!

Hymns: O Come O Come Emmanuel v. 2, Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence v. 2 & 3, Joy to the World Taize: The Kingdom of God, O Come All Ye Faithful

Week 4: Love/Good News

Hymns: The First Nowell, What Child is This

God we are thankful you unleashed your love into the world

Good News has come

There is nothing like the love of God

Filling the world with good news

Reminding us that hope, joy and peace are possible, fulfilling the promises of the covenant

Come let us whisper that God is coming soon!

Hymn Suggestions: It Came Upon a Midnight Clear, Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence v. 1 & 4, Come Thou Long Expected Jesus v 3 & 4, O Love that Wilt Not Let Me Go, Of the Father’s Love Begotten, Taize: Magnificat

Christmas

All is well, Christ is here

Hear the Good News of Great Joy.

Christ has come, the baby is here!

Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Guardian, the Heir of Peace!

Come let us worship the Lord

Glory to God, One Earth Peace, and Goodwill towards humankind!

More Advent Resources: Year 4

If you find these resources useful please consider contributing to my Doctorate in Ministry in Creative Writing!

Jeremiah 29:1, 4-14

John 14:27

Call to Worship

Our God is the God of Resurrection

God will never leave us

Our God is the God of peace

Come let us worship God!

Prayer of Confession: God we confess that sometimes your instructions confuse us. You tell us both to live our lives and to look towards heaven. You know we are only human, so it is difficult for us to do both at the same time. Forgive us when we get distracted or confuse. Remind us that practicing hope, and peace here on earth is worth it. And help us when we go astray, we pray. Amen.

Assurance of Pardon: God’s love is from everlasting to everlasting, know the truth in your heart: In Jesus Christ we are forgiven.

Prayer of the Day/Dedication: God it is a good thing you are the Prince of peace, and that you leave pieces of it for us to follow, because we definitely need help on that. Guide us to your peace today and everyday we pray. Amen.

Hymns: Take My Life, My Hope is Built on Nothing Less, O For a Closer Walk with God, Abide with Me, Lord Make Us Servants of Your Peace

Children: God promises peace. Ask the children to imagine what peace is like–help them to imagine peace as creativity not just silence or stillness. Discuss how we might practice peace now.

If you find these resources useful please consider contributing to my Doctorate in Ministry in Creative Writing!

More Narrative Lectionary Year 4

Shannon A Thompson

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