Love, A Prayer for Such a Time as This

God,
I know what it is
to love
And have nothing else.

I know what it is to be sick
for a week, a month,
a year
and pray and hope for treatment
And be stuck with nothing but waiting
And illnesses wash over you–and you are stuck with surviving
at such a time as this

I know what it is to see your beloved stuck in the throes of psychosis
Screaming for you to help them
And you are right there
But they can’t hear or see your love
at such a time as this

I know what it is to be the one talking to estranged family members
hearing both sides of the story
Knowing that both sides are right in their own way
seeing the irony of how similar they
and bearing the sadness of their loneliness and hurt during the holidays
at such a time as this

I know what it is to worry about your kids getting sick
And the dangers of gun violence that seem to be around every corner
but that society has deemed that the economy is important, so you send them
To school, to the theater, to the shopping center, to activities
at such a time as this

I know what it is to act in love
To make the best choice one can
When there is not right choice
Only the best choice at hand-
After years of “once in lifetimes” wars, violences, protests, recessions and pandemics, until we learn the truth God
at such a time as this

We are in an apocalyptic times: a great revealing of truths.
In such a time as this
I keep learning the authentic sacrifices of love:
communication, doing one’s best, forgiveness, boundaries
God, you don’t have to be Queen Esther to live in this advent world
at such a time as this

We are all holding each other’s hands
And walking each other home
In such a time as this–
God, I know you understand too
I’m hanging onto that with both hands
this advent, as I’m waiting
at such a time as this

Let’s light a candle of love,
especially at such a time as this,
light this candle with us I pray
Amen

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

Full Advent Resources

Please Support my Writing, I am Funding some of my Doctorate in Creative Writing as a Public Theologian through donations https://gofund.me/554d36e3 Thank you to all those who have donated, I have successfully completed 2 years thanks to your support.

Dec 4th Love and Justice

Justice, Mercy & Light Extended Advent

Dec. 4
Esther Love Candle
Esther 4:1-17
For Such a Time as This, Esther was Made Queen
Matthew 5:13-16 Salt and Light 
Psalm 89:1-13

Advent Candles Liturgy

Topical Prayer: Love, A Prayer for Such a Time as This

Call to Worship
God we need your justice
For such a time as this to light our way
When salt and light is not enough, Jesus we need you
Come, let us look for God
God we are looking for your love
Come, let us love God together

Call to Confession: God you call to your love in the good and the bad times. Come let ourselves to God

Prayer of Confession: God, we confess that it is hard to come to you in uncertain times. How can anything be worthy of love at such a time as this? Who can sort out there feelings in this mess? We want time, to clean up, to get things in order, to research, to know things. God, you remind us that you are the city on the hill, not us. You are the salt in our food, not us. Be our salt and light, and remind us that we are allowed to be a mess and still love we pray. Amen

Assurance of Pardon: Jesus comes in the midst of emergencies, full of grace, so we know the truth: In Jesus Christ we are forgiven, right now. Amen. 

Prayer of the Day, Dedication: God, remind us the Grace does not wait, because we need its immediacy. Let us go forth full of grace we pray. Let it spill from our hands, our mouths and feet as we go, so that we may become the very embodiment of your love. May this be our prayer as we go about the world. Amen.

Hymns: We Are One In the Spirit, Here I am Lord, O Come O Come Emmanuel, I Love the Lord Who Heard My Cry, I Wonder as I Wander, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

With Children: Warm Fuzzies https://reenchantements.files.wordpress.com/2018/08/warm-fuzzy-tale.pdf Sharing Love vs. Hate in times of Trial
I feel its very important to note that we call Dandelion fuzz: Wishies in my family and also link “warm fuzzies” to dandelion seeds

Image

Please Support my Writing, I am Funding some of my Doctorate in Creative Writing as a Public Theologianthrough donations https://gofund.me/554d36e3 Thank you to all those who have donated, I have successfully completed 2 years thanks to your support.

Full Extended Advent Resource

Little/Big Things Prayer

Lord God, Almighty in Heaven
When 2 people dying
becomes blip
on the news…

When Anti-Semitism
needs to become
A Roar of despair
for a major
German distributer
to drop a name

When this flood gets
lost with the last one
And the fires
And tornados
weary your soul

I want say
God,
Come get
Your Humans

And I worry about
the next political arguments
I will have
About gender, sexuality
and disabilities–
Because they are not political
but about people

I admit to deep weariness
with this thing
we call
you call
Humanity
God

But then

I find rest and restoration

In

Children’s laughter

Red Autumn leaves against cloudy skies

unexpected time for naps

the right to complain to you God

the taste of chocolate upon my tongue

cats who snuggle

a text from a friend

It is amazing how the smallest things
Can be the most important–
I fully admit, you designed thing well

We humans would have focused
on only the big things

But a moment to notice the good things
the space to rewatch a favorite show

a hug

a cup of coffee

playing our favorite song on the loudest volume

How did you know that we would need these things?

Thank you God–for all the little things–

Keep sending them please.

Amen.

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

Dark Red fall leaves drenched in little droplets of rain
Red leaves drenched in little droplets of rain

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

Like my work? Please support my Doctorate in Creative Writing in Ministry–as a Public Theologian at Pittsburgh Seminary

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

Teaching No More War, A Prayer

God,

Today I am thinking about how much

We humans have to devalue one another to go to war.

God, when I think of all of the lying that war involves.

Of all the hate and dehumanizing.

It chokes in my throat, and makes it hard for me to breathe.

Was this what it was like for the Hebrews,

walking in the desert,

homeless,

landless,

without water

immigrants.

Is this why you admonished them never to forget

that they were victims of war?

Is this why you promised them a land of milk and honey?

Does this symbolize a land where all people are valued as humans.

Does the promised land signify a place

where Terfs lies about trans individuals are muted

so we do not even hear their voices?

Is this a place where the bullying that

the right honorable judge,

and so many minorities had to stand by

and just take

Is not only unacceptable

but laughable.

If that is the Kingdom,

God–sign me up.

If that is peace,

I want to be there yesterday.

Teach us the ways of war no more, Lord.

Help us to pray for our enemies in such a way,

in such a way that we do NOT dehumanize one another.

Please teach us God.

we pray.

Amen.

Feel Free to Use/Adapt/Share with Credit to Pastor Katy Stenta

Image: https://i.pinimg.com/originals/ea/31/cd/ea31cd3b48ced7e685e9a03d959cd68b.jpg

10 book series to get to know me…

10 Book series to get to know me by I have funded $800 of my $2500 goal for my Doctorate in Creative Writing in Divinity at Pittsburgh Seminary. Thank you for everyone who has supported me this year. Whether it was through donation, likes, shares or (most importantly) praying with me. My Go Fund Me Page & Story is here: https://gofund.me/aaeb4910

Thank you again. I could do it without you.

In the Shadow: A Prayer in Memory of Desmond Tutu and bell hooks

God,

I want to write a great prayer

in memory of the Black excellence of Desmond Tutu and bell hooks.

Something that shows their fierce dedication to freedom and compassion.

But all I can picture is Desmond laughing in heaven,

overjoyed by every person he meets

And bell hooks, finding new womanist, queer, feminist aspects we didn’t know yet!

The Rosa Parks and Toni Morrisons who didn’t make the history books

making notes and translating it to us in a language we can feel in our souls!

God, I keep reflecting on how much of Tutu and hooks’ theology

is part and parcel of my everyday theology

“find why the babies are in the river”

“Love is an action never silly a feeling”

“if you are neutral in situations of injustice you have chosen the side of the oppressor”

“queer is the self which is constantly at odds with everything else”

I am fluent in the love of bell hooks and Desmond Tutu, without ever having met either one of them, or even having heard them speak.

It was mostly informal–through osmosis, their love broke through!

Here I am– standing in the shadow of Black beauty and knowledge

Thanks to them.

Thank you for the gift of their lives God. Thank you for their work, their bravery,

their love,

their imperfections, their power

and most of all their willingness to teach us all.

Thank you God.

Amen.

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

Images From: https://assets.vogue.com/photos/61ba2fdf8dfa948c34e8914c/4:3/w_4159,h_3119,c_limit/GettyImages-1178375349.jpg

and

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/imageserver/image/%2Fmethode%2Ftimes%2Fprod%2Fweb%2Fbin%2Fbb16d142-6666-11ec-98df-0bb0132add1b.jpg?crop=4324%2C2883%2C30%2C20

Countdown to the End of the Year, A Prayer

Ok God,

I don’t know when you have ever,

ever

Asked for our resume,

or our qualifications

(In fact you call us no matter what)

Nor do you ask us to make an accounting

of our year’s end accomplishments and goals

**

Instead I picture you.

Sitting down with us, at the end of the year–

Like a good friend does at the end of the day.

Allowing us to reflect

on the good and the bad and the ugly.

***

And you don’t mind if the language is crass , or the tears start to flow,

**

…Or sometimes we feel like we have nothing at all worth saying.

***

We humans like to mark time, because that’s how we are made.

And you like to sit and mark it with us, because you God, understand.

Our obsessions with days and weeks and hours and cups of coffee.

***

So God, when I start counting,

You remind me that I can’t count the stars,

and our blessings outnumber those–

and you remind us that every single person,

is beloved and no one is forgotten.

**

Neither is our small joys and accomplishments.

**

Everything Counts,

And we don’t need to.

Only you God, can make both true.

Thank you God,

for keeping track of the important stuff,

and letting the other stuff Go

And sitting with me, as I take stock.

Amen.

Please feel free to use/adapt/share with credit to Pastor Katy Stenta

If you like my prayers, consider adding your email to the list and/or contributing to my 2nd year in Doctoral work in Creative Writing for Ministry https://gofund.me/70a114f9 I am funding 1/3rd of it through fund-raising. Every contribution from $5-$200 helps. I successfully funded my first year this way, and truly appreciate your support!