Supreme Justice? A Prayer

God,

You and I

know that I am uncomfortable

pledging allegiance to a flag–

because that flag’s justice

is not your justice.

Justice that flows like waters

is not promised in the flag

Supreme Justice–where mainly white men

reign like kings of the day;

welp God, I remember

all your warnings about kings,

and that you sent

ahem,

let’s say a different kind of judges

heroes who rebalanced the books

against the powers that be–

God we are the one

who are to empower the judges

against the Supreme Justices

Restoring Personhood, Privacy, Sexuality, Climate, Native Rights

Obliterating our hunger for Death Cults.

God, I do not want liberty and justice for all

because those human ideals cannot come close to

justice flowing down like water,

and righteousness like an everflowing stream

refresh our thirst for that which is good,

remind us to listen to those in the margins,

who still remember what justice tastes like.

Because surely it tastes like communion,

and the Kin(g)dom

and Love;

If only we can remember,

Whet our appetite for justice, I pray.

Amen.

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

Shaky Ground, A Prayer

God,

Maybe I’ll never take in

the shock of a country betraying my trust over and over again

first with 9/11

then the war in Iraq,

then college debt and a recession–

then motherhood unsupported, votes that don’t count,

adulthood mocked as I forced my way into the world hustling all of my hobbies into jobs

Being told that I didn’t care enough to make it in the world, and that’s why

I couldn’t have an emergency found, save for retirement, have security of house, babysitting and daycare for my children, living paycheck to paycheck,

after years of climate change, shaky policies and politics, no family leave, switching to paper straws, buying thrift clothes, and being told every single decision is my responsibility and fault

–the millennials are clearly to blame for it all

And knowing my family is ironically more financially secure now than we ever been and yet

now we are betrayed again,

And the world is on fire with pandemics and justice broken with Jan 6 and the Constitution being brought to its knees with two weeks of stacked “interpretations”

Maybe its ok that I cannot take in that the Supreme Court Justices have betrayed me yet again

That the greater church has no energy anymore

That there is no institution to fall back upon–

There is only faith and friends, and another letter to you God,

to say hey God,

I’m still here.

I still love you,

and I still believe that justice is worth it.

Babies need to be wanted,

Miranda rights are important,

Prayer should be taught by professionals

Guns are stupid, dangerous and don’t have rights

Schooling is more important than what we give it, and segregated schools through religiosity is trash

and I think we humans can do better than what we are doing now–

and I do know that sometimes there is no resurrection without death.

And I’m ok with that.

Help me God. Because trust is broken,

but I’m still here, and so are you.

Help me face today, and tomorrow,

because the path is not clear,

and we need to learn how to work together

with the people who know how to do the work already.

Thanks God.

Amen.

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

Women at the Well Story

Content Warning: Abortion

On June 25th, 2022

The Supreme Court of the USA

Decided things, for women;

Abortion could be made illegal,

by any state that wished it.

***

It was then the stories spilled out

Unstoppered from the soul;

They were told because

someone had to hear them,

We were like Hagar,

naming the truth of the anguish

Telling the tales that some will deny

after we screamed by a the tree

from rage and anguish and lament.

***

The stories, bled out under the tree,

as we hugged one another;

Of illegal abortions at college,

When the friend almost bled out…

and these stories are not as my youngest says

from “Ancient times”–

of the sister whose ectopic pregnancy;

after she finally convinced the dr that she was indeed pregnant,

…that this life saving surgery that was administered mere weeks ago

was as of THIS moment illegal in some states.

Of the horrific and hard late term abortions,

that were tragic and still open wounds.

Of abortions that eased and affirmed lives,

because the individual had no means

to care for a a child at that moment.

Of friends and sisters and trans individuals who died

from lack of proper care.

***

We named how racism will kill so many women now.

Of the horrors of foster care and adoption,

and how that is a different conversation

to convolute with abortion.

Because White Supremacists want to control the wombs of all women, of all childbearing people though they deny they exist.

The grandmothers of our community, recalled the fight as it happened before.

Of moms who wanted to work, but were stuck with children instead.

Of no credit cards, no freedom, no divorce, no control.

***

We raged and we mourned and

like a miracle, we found ourselves by the well—women and childbearing people of all genders

and we were telling stories to you Jesus–

Not our husbands, because we said,

“Today Jesus, I have no husband”

and we said, we have no husband–

and Jesus you answered and said, that’s right.

You are your own self, dignified, in your own right.

Defined not by your husband, or your children,

with rights over your God-created, God-imagined, Godly and beautiful body.

Go and be blessed.

And so we will go, full of pain

And hope

and stories.

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

Don’t Give up, A Prayer

God

I am pretty mad at humans today

and Old White Men

and the powers that be

And the manipulators

Who thought one dollar more

was more important

than getting justice done

and the church

who put off

flipping tables

for another time and place

And I want to rage

and scream

and find the right punishment

for all of my enemies

except I don’t really know who my enemies are

just they they are out there

whispering nonsense about

pro-life and family first and great america

as they grind these things into dust

as they deal death

with additive drugs like “safety” “religion” and “whiteness”

And I feel like I’m going to throw up or pass out,

and my soul hurts with the magnitude of it all.

Is this when you run away into the desert? Jesus?

Or hop a boat into the ocean?

Or feed 5,000 people just for the hell of it?

Or invite yourself over to the tax collector’s house to dinner, just to piss everyone off?

Because at times like these I feel like if I don’t enact justice viscerally, I’m going to implode.

And then I have to remind myself I’m not Jesus, I cannot save the world.

So I beat my chest, scream a tree, write an angsty psalm, cry.

And maybe I retreat for one day instead of forty,

maybe I feed one person instead of 5,000

maybe I invite someone I’ve been meaning to over to dinner instead of a tax collector.

And I remind myself, it all counts.

Because all justice counts,

Because I’m not a Jesus or a superhero,

but at least I can do something,

and I’m not giving up.

Thanks for reminding us not to give up God.

Amen.

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

This Here Flesh Notes Week 9 Justice and Liberation

Ch 10 Justice

“Justice is different from violence and retributions; it requires complex accounting” p. 122

“Justice doesn’t choose choses dignity is superior. It upholds the dignity of all those involved, no matter whom it offers or what it costs.—there is no liberation without justice.” p. 123

“The freedom of God’s people did not occur in a vacuum. There were consequences. There was truth-telling. And there was a disturbingly costly justice.” p. 124

“Activism is the body of justice” p. 125

Habakkuk” In weariness and frustration, demanded God do something..the Christian story is the tensions between the promise of justice and liberation and the unjust and oppressive patterns in our daily lived experiences. “ p. 128-129

“Assata Shakur ‘Nobody in the world, nobody in history, has ever gotten their freedom by appealing to the moral sense of the people who were oppressing them’…They are parched and delirious, their memory of themselves tainted. Their only hope is the hear the voices of the marginalized hiding them back to the water—a mercy they will not immediately understand. It is not until they drink from the streams that the prophet Amos calls on to roll down like justice and righteousness that their withering sons regenerate, and they recognize that all this time, the problem was not that they were thirsty; it was that they were were cursed.” p. 129

Land and Justice are the same p. 132, 133 bc we all live here 

Ch. 15 Liberation: Summation You deserve more than the despair that stalks your days. You don’t have to make a sound; just let the peace pass through your belly and be what you need it to be. p. 169

No notes, plan to reread

Full Liturgy Here

Idolatry

God

Jesus

Holy Spirit

How can I pray to the Holy Trinity

In a work of idols?

How can explore the mystery faith

When we humans use labels as weapons?

Instead of names of exploratory wonder..

I don’t know creator,

When humans seem bent on being destructors

And death cults

And weapon makers

How to bear your image, how to preach your image,

how God can I better be your image in the universe??

::am I doing it wrong?:: my very soul whispers.

How can we free ourselves from our idols?

How can we become seed planters and tenders of things that grow?

God I long for healthy growing things..

(And you know I have a black thumb so if it need to be metaphorical so be it)

Our hearts are already broken—return us to life and live I pray.

Return us to community we pray.

Amen

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

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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Fiercely Listening, a prayer

God

sometimes I think about

how much of my job

is listening to those

who are hurt

Sometimes I pray about

all those without ears to hear

Those who are quick to judge

or center themselves

or say, if they had just…

So…

I think about how often Jesus just sat

and listened, really listened

and validated people’s pain,

and then called them by name.

Sometimes I think about

how much of the community’s job

is listening,

Fiercely listening to those

who are unheard, or drowned out our ignored

Fiercely listening

who are hurt,

without judgement

or agenda

…just listening fiercely

to those who have been

especially hurt

and then I

try to practice

that fierce listening

taking to heart

the cries of injustice

opening my ears to hear

and my heart to be melted

Help me me to do my job I pray.

Amen.

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

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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