All I want…(Magnificat)

All I want for Christmas God,

is everything

Peace on Earth, and no more guns,

and the end of the filibuster,

and every child fed.

All girls want is equity–

and all pregnant people want is easy and safe access to abortion

and childbirth, family leave and chidcare.

Jesus Christ, do you hear me?

All we want is equity, and Black Lives to Matter

and Native Land Returned

and Queer Families to be acknowledged and safe

and for all Bodies to be Affirmed.

All we want is for Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness

to include healthcare and shelter for every single person

and the humanity of one single person to never ever be debased.

All I want is for pronouns to be universal, and for people to not look at me weird if I refer to God as she or ze or they.

All I want is for everyone to understand that no human being is illegal,

and that disability porn is disgusting, and that any nation where people have to beg to get basic things is severely lacking.

Holy Spirit– you have heard me say this before, so you know.

All I want is a world where addiction is understood to be a disease,

mental illness care is not a shambles

and neither is blamed whenever some domestic terrorist incident happens.

All I want is a world where everyone who wants access to therapy can get it–

without barriers for free.

All I want is a place where politics are not politics but policies of care and where politicians are there to serve the people.

All I want is a world where mindless corporations are not favored and technology is first and foremost used to help one another.

God–why did you make my imagination so unlimited, when it seems that our capabilities are so limited?

How is it I can so easily imagine the Kingdom to come? I know its not really my job to bring it about, because I can’t, that’s your job.

Nor can I demand it, for it will come in its own time.

But wow Lord, whenever I imagine what can be, my mind just goes wild with the possibilities! Help me to see some of the fruit of the Spirit I pray!

Because, as you know, I want it all!

Amen.

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

Advent: Praying for Justice Again, God, Cause we Can’t Do it Alone

Not on Our Watch Lord,

We tried to say last summer,

as we rallied together and chanted Black Lives Matter

And bought books by Blacks, and resourced Mutual Aid, and made hearty promises.

Not on our watch, as whispers came to defund the police,

and we spoke about what injustice really meant and statues of Southern Rebels Toppled-

But then God,

The couple who threatened marchers got a fine,

and marchers got run over again and again by a car

and the President called both sides very fine people.

And today a colleague is engaging in the Holy Practice of Despair Dishwashing,

Rage Cleaning

and Sweary Laundry…

and Perhaps some Sadness Sweeping…

because even as the good news of Union wins, Bills for the poor and Julius Jones

being saved from unjust execution at the last second–the victories are too few and far between.

Christ I this is why I need Christmas.

Every

Single

God

Blessed

Year.

Because

I need to remember that you

And not White Supremacy reigns

And that you come to conquer the Imperial tendencies of humanity

And that it’s not, “Not on our watch”

but not on YOUR watch

You defeat ALL evil

With Justice and Mercy and Peace

Every Time

and you how do you do it?

With tiny Baby.

Sweet Baby Jesus.

I am ready,

Let’s do this Justice thing.

And practice it again,

Til we imperfect humans get it right, I pray.

Until we see that injustice anywhere hurts everyone everywhere.

I’ll be waiting,

with tears in my eyes,

cleaning coping mechanisms in my hands

and peace words on my breath.

Let’s Go God!

Amen.

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

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Justice Prayer

Jesus when you said

Justice would roll down

like water….

Did you mean

that it would

trickle first

down my face as a tear

of compassion?

Or will it truly unleash?

Like the dams of injustice

finally breaking through…

I want to know,

because I am thirsting for Jesus

Like a deer in the desert–

and when I look for justice,

I find rules or civility or equality

or some other thing,

that we humans think is justice,

but it isn’t really.

So here’s a prayer for justice,

the big kind, that washes away everything else.

So here’s a prayer for justice, the rip-roaring kind,

full of righteousness, and grace and hope.

Even if it has to start as a trickle,

Because, you and I know God,

I will take all the justice I can get.

So here’s a prayer for all the justice,

any of the justice we can find today, and everyday.

Please God,

Thank you.

Amen.

Feel free to use/adapt/share with permission of Pastor Katy Stenta

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Nov 14 Amos: Justice Rolls Down

Amos 1:1-2; 5:14-15, 21-24

John 7:37-38

Call to Worship (John 7:37-38)

Jesus says, let anyone who is thirsty come

Here we are, thirsting for the Lord

Scripture says, all who believes can drink

Come, out of our hearts, let the rivers of living water flow!

Prayer of Confession: God we confess that we are thirsting for you, so thirsty that we are dry to the bone. We are uncertain that justice will flow. We do not know if there are even drips of justice in the world. We confess, that we don’t know if justice will flow like water–but we also confess that we long for that day. Help us to not give up our justice seeking we pray.

Assurance of Pardon: Jesus promises that Jesus will make all things right, so we can proclaim to one another the truth: In Jesus Christ we are forgiven.

Prayer of the Day/Dedication: God sometimes we feel like our offerings are not enough, we’d rather give you big festivals or more solemn worship services–but you ask us to simply seek justice, love mercy and walk humbly with your. Help us to do that today we pray. Amen.

Hymns: Be Thou My Vision, Crown Him with Many Crowns, We are One in the Spirit, Best Be the Tie that Binds, Come Live the Light, For Everyone Born, Live Into Hope

Children: Thirsty, discuss how we are often thirsty before we even know it and that we really need water to drink, that is how we need justice. Talk about how justice is not just equality or sameness, its the nutrients we need, and that every single body needs something different, and that Jesus knows that.

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Justice Rolls Down: A Prayer

More Narrative Lectionary Year 4

Oct 17th: God Calls Samuel

Living Into this God Given World: Judgement

Samuel 3:1-21

John 20:21-23

Psalm 46

Call to Worship:

God we come to here your voice

Let us hear the call of the Lord

God we come to answer your call

Let us gather together in the name of God!

Prayer of Confession: God we confess that it is hard to hear your voice of calling, sometime we confuse it with other callings. Sometimes we think we are only dreaming. Help us to hear your voice clearly we pray. Amen.

Assurance of Pardon: Hear the good news, God never gives up on us, God calls us and forgives us every time. Let us tell one another the truth: In Jesus Christ we are forgiven. Amen.

Prayer of the Day/Dedication: God, you call to us. Let us sit quietly and hear your still small voice we pray in your most Holy Name. Amen.

Hymns: There’s a Sweet Sweet Spirit in This Place, Here I am Lord, Called as Partners in Christ’s Service

Children: Explain the Concept of Priesthood of All Believers–that everyone is called by God, not necessarily to be pastors but to be helpers in the world, brainstorm all the things that people might be called to help. Point out that Samuel is a child.

More Year 4 Narrative Lectionary Resources

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Never Forget, a Prayer of Mourning

I remember staying up all night,

And waking up to the phone in my dorm

(landline, yes)

It was the 2nd week of Freshman Year.

And God, all I can remember

Is that everyone was so angry.

Because no one seemed to know

How to be sad.

Never Forget–

How to be angry I wondered?

As we marched off to war?

As I viewed the Holocaust museum in embattled Israel?*

As we became more embittered against Brown people.

And now,

After Iraq, and Afghanistan,

and a million Covid deaths later,

God, I think that maybe,

we are way more apt to get angry–

because we as a nation are not good at getting sad.

How often do I see our leaders cry?

How often do we encourage mourning?

So Today I’m glad that you are the God who weeps with those are weeping.

Today I’m glad that you affirmed

that

Jesus wept.

A tear for every life.

God does not need to get even for justice to be done.

And today, I am so thankful, for a God that weeps.

As I remember the first day,

that I realize that justice is so separate from anger–

and mourning is too.

So today, God, I think I’m going to concentrate on mourning,

and nothing else.

Please sit with me, again,

while I cry

whatever more tears

need to be cried.

Amen.

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

If you enjoy my work, please consider giving to my Doctorate in Ministry in Creative Writing 

Pandemic Prayers & Resources

*The Nationally Funded motto of all the museums in Israel is also Never Forget, which I discovered upon a pilgrimage there in 2010.

God we need your justice: a prayer

[Blue Green water reflecting the abstract of a mountain, tree and sky with the words “Let Justice Flow Down like Waters and Righteousness like an overflowing stream.] Image found here: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/560064903645243301/

I cannot wait until acts of justice are no longer a surprise, for you know God, and you told us through Amos and Isaiah and Luke that justice that is surprising is no justice at all. It is at worst painted as sacrifice and mercy and is at best the drops of accountability.

I am so thirsty for justice, Lord. And I confess my spirit is dry and brittle, breaking apart in its absence.

Human justice is not even a meager copy of your justice Lord. racism and bigotry poisons any system we might try.

God I cannot wait for your justice to flow like water. So that we taste it on our tongue, so that it rains on us daily from the sky.

I can’t wait until the taste and feel of justice is so familiar that it begins to feel like home.

I can’t wait until the moment that every cry for mercy, every cry for help, every cry for mama is answered–with the swiftness of the Holy Spirit on the wing.

God, I cannot wait, until not one street never ever sees a droplet of blood again. Instead they sparkle with the cleansing waters of justice, instead they are filled so much with justice, that it becomes puddles for the children to splash in, soaking themselves with the liquid.

I cannot wait until justice becomes a child’s plaything—Known so much, that it becomes a part of our very breath and body. I cannot wait until the 60% of water that flows through our bodies is blessed, in the completion of our baptism, into the holy waters of justice imbuing our very selves.

I can’t wait until I can spit justice out on the street with clear truths and gracious words that free my siblings of all colors, creeds, ages, sexualities and genders.

I cannot wait for justice to flood our world. Not like the flood of Noah killing off the bad, but like the rains of the desert, giving the much needed food to the flora and fauna to bloom.

I cannot wait for justice, so I’m going to gather the drops and the dribbles and the driplets I have experienced, and I’m going to share them out to those I meet. Showing them how it cools violence, and refreshes spirits, and is miraculously freer than any other action.

Because my freedom is wrapped up in yours, my humanity is wrapped up in yours, and my justice is wrapped up in yours.

I’m ready to do this justice thing, God. Teach me how to do it I pray.

Amen.

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

With Thanks to Lilla Watson and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s works and thanks also Black Twitter who let me listen as they prayed, grieved and celebrated over George Floyd and the guilty verdict of Officer Chauvin.

God’s Care for the Widow

1 Kings 17:1-16 [17-24]
Luke 4:24-26 Opt Psalm 146: 5-10

Another Bulletin by Rev Dr Barb Hedges-Goettl

Call to Worship (Psalm 146)

Praise the Lord, O my soul!

I will praise the Lord as long as I live

Do not trust in princes, there is no help 

Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob,

Happy are those whose hope is in the Lord their God

God executes justice for the oppressed and gives food to the hungry

The Lord watches over the strangers; he upholds the widow

The Lord will reign forever, Praise the Lord!

Hymn: Here I am Lord

1 Kings 17:8-15 (We shall read the text together wherever we are, please read the appropriate passage when I hold up my finger)

(1 Finger) Then the word of the Lord came to him, saying, ‘Go now to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and live there; for I have commanded a widow there to feed you.’ 

(2 Fingers) So he set out and went to Zarephath. When he came to the gate of the town, a widow was there gathering sticks; 

(3 Fingers) he called to her and said, ‘Bring me a little water in a vessel, so that I may drink.’ As she was going to bring it, he called to her and said, ‘Bring me a morsel of bread in your hand.’ 

(Pastor Katy) But she said, ‘As the Lord your God lives, I have nothing baked, only a handful of meal in a jar, and a little oil in a jug; I am now gathering a couple of sticks, so that I may go home and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it, and die.’

(4 Fingers) Elijah said to her, ‘Do not be afraid; go and do as you have said; but first make me a little cake of it and bring it to me, and afterwards make something for yourself and your son. 

(5 Fingers) For thus says the Lord the God of Israel: The jar of meal will not be emptied and the jug of oil will not fail until the day that the Lord sends rain on the earth.’ 

Children’s Sermon

Sermon “God Among Strangers” Pastor Katy Stenta

https://youtu.be/Vswlz65zDhk

My Shepherd Will Supply My Need

Feel free to use/adapt, if you use the prayers please credit Pastor Katy Stenta

More Narrative Lectionary Resources Here

Imprecation: Shatter Them

Lord God, how do I do this prayer thing when I’m really angry at someone?

Can I wish them ill? Do I throw curses off of my tongue?

(If I use the fancy word for curses: imprecation, does that make it better? It feels better to say Imprecation)

What did Moses do when the Pharaoh continually made a promise to free the Hebrew people, and then took it back, over and over again?

What did Jesus do when people tried to throw him off the cliff the first time he preached?

Can I just shake the dust off from those encounters, and continue on my day?

That doesn’t feel like enough!

Lord, God, I know it is my job to name evil when I see it, and that a synonym of imprecation and curses is simply denunciation.

Sibling Jesus, I am praying that you Help me to reject evil, Lord. Gift me with a better understanding than hate the sin and love the sinner (because that just isn’t good enough)

And I know the Psalms is full of really hard curses like: Give them what they deserve, and let my enemies experience what I have experienced.

Hannah says ” He will guard the feet of his faithful ones,but the wicked shall be cut off in darkness;  for not by might does one prevail. The Lord! His adversaries shall be shattered;” (1 Sam 1:9)

Mother Mary, who is often portrayed as sweet and quiet prays: “God has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things,  and sent the rich away empty.” (Luke 1: 51-53)

So I guess my prayer will echo theirs, in it’s own simplicity.

And trust you know the full meaning of the prayer, because I confess I do not.

And justice is yours.

Lord shatter the enemy.

Those in power Shatter them to pieces.

Shatter the hardhearted as only you can.

In Christ’s name. I submit this prayer to you, O God.

Amen

Use/Copy/Adapt with Credit to Pastor Katy Stenta

Denunciation of Evil Prayer

Mundane Prayers & Pandemic Prayers

Orange Skies

Lord, today I wonder what you think when you see our skies in California, stretched orange with smoke.

When Karachi is flooded.

When Superstorm Laura winked out the power before a heat wave.

When Beirut explodes, and Typohoon Haishen blows through Japan and South Korea.

Did you have a big messy cry when violence erupted not once but twice in Kenosha, WI?

I did.

God I cannot even grasp the news. I can feel people falling through the gaps as children go hungry and try to sign online to education.

Are there days when you feel like you can’t look at the news anymore–does God wish God could close God’s own eyes sometimes? And yet I know you never do.

You work for that justice that has been delayed and therefore denied too long! No justice, no peace.

For you have promised that one day justice and peace will make love!

I worry about the jobless, the homeless, the sick.

I worry that I haven’t upheld my promise to be anti-racist today. (I haven’t, and the work continues)

I am continually angered by the hotspots that people don’t seem to want to control.

I cringe at how in policy, protection and politics about how all lives–don’t!–matter. Cringe and taste vomit in my mouth.

Today, I think the orange skies pretty much exactly show how absurd my emotions have become.

And though I really don’t think you punish us with disasters–I highly suspect there are a million exit signs on the road that we willfully ignore–I do wonder how you process them all.

Lord God Almighty. What do we do when the sky turns orange?

Please take my messy cries, my absurd emotions, my mistakes, my exhaustion, my cringing and the vomit in my mouth. And shape them into a prayer.

An embodied prayer, so that we can do that which needs to be done.

With my entire self I pray.

Amen.

Feel free to hit share or use or adapt with credit to Pastor Katy Stenta

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