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!

Feed my Sheep. A Prayer

Jesus I wonder,

if when you said Feed my sheep.

Not one or two,

but three times,

if it was because you were hard to hear….

Or if the disciples thought they misheard you?

Or if you heard the murmurs of arguments…

What if they are drunks (alcoholics, addicts)?

Or sinners?

Or demon plagued?

Or diseased?

Or lame?

Did you take a deep breath, Lord?

And close your eyes and gather your patience,

and lower your voice to the teaching whisper–

and say Feed My Sheep again

with a little bit of frustration creeping in.

And then did you finish

with huge compassion and love

overwhelming the words,

so that the disciples could not help but

feel overwhelmed with the call to action?

Feed my Sheep.

God, may we hear the request…

the call…

the mandate today…

this is my prayer.

Amen.

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

Please Consider supporting my 2nd Year of Doctoral Work in Creative Writing here: https://gofund.me/70a114f9

953 Flock Of Sheep Illustrations & Clip Art - iStock
Image: https://media.istockphoto.com/vectors/various-sheep-group-vector-id1144271973?k=20&m=1144271973&s=612×612&w=0&h=lfG6lGX-j0_a8SNBqw7MVkuQU8PD_QpHE0PVvyCO6vI=

What is Sacred, Christmas Prayer

No photo description available.

God I approach this Christmas season

with some trepidation,

and a lot of fear and trembling.

Because I don’t know if I really

understood before,

what was really sacred,

before now.

All the pomp and circumstance of Christmas

lies by the wayside now, like crumpled wrapping paper.

After all, we are not here to impress anybody.

What is left, is the Christ Candle,

burning the conviction into our hearts,

that life is sacred,

precisely because it is all so

unique and beautiful and brief.

The fact that a young girl, a shepherd and a magi

could each magnify God

in their own,

and yet important way

makes me want to cry

silent tears

at the magnitude of the meaning of Christmas

So here we are…

Fill us up,

with what Christmas

means for each of this year

Reminding us

that God sent a baby

in a manger

for each and every one of us

and God values us–

enough to send

babies and angels

and teachers and doctors and nurses

and vaccines and masks

and phone calls and cards

and candles and stars

and every other symbol that we need to remind us

that we are beloved.

And that we are here to fill the world with love

any way we can,

because that is the Christmas miracle

turning emptiness into something else.

Let us Go, and be comforted by the Love of God.

May God Bless you

and Keep you

in Belovedness–

wrapped in the miracle

that God is here.

Amen.

Always, forever,

God is even now. Here.

Alleluia.

Amen.

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

More Advent/Christmas Resource

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!

Ministry, A Prayer

Sometimes I get to preach

Or tell good stories

Or talk about God in high minded ways–with really cool words!

But the best time, God are when I sit with someone

and do ministry, by listening to stories

or holding a crying child

or trying to understand a perspective that had never occurred to me.

God thank you for reminding me

that ministry is that easy

and that hard.

And thank you, for the fact

that you have empowered

each of us, to minister

to one another

every day.

May we smile

or help

or sit

in ministry today.

Amen.

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

More Mundane Prayers for Surviving the Day to Day

Pandemic Prayers & Resources

If you find these resources useful please consider contributing to my Doctorate in Ministry in Creative Writing! I have already Successfully funded year 1, and am now working on Year 2!

People Shaped Prayers

I’m tired of my prayers

Being shaped like sick children

and full emergency rooms

and humans struggling to breathe.

Debates about policies and masks and vaccines make me want to scream and rage,

and do not bring out the Jesus in me.

Lord God, I long for the dandelion seed shaped prayers,

the ones that look like shooting stars, and tiny mustard seeds.

Instead, I am here, cursing fig trees,

Screaming at the stormy waves to “Shut up”

and licking my lips to whisper when I see the rioting crowd

“forgive them Lord–how can they know not what they are doing?”

I’m tired of the shapes of these prayers that tumble from my lips–

But I do not have any other prayers to pray.

Maybe the Holy Spirit can pray some other shaped prayer for me too,

like a bonus; if she has the time.

And meantime, I’ll keep praying human shaped prayers,

at least they are a kind of prayer, I know how to pray,

so I will keep praying them. Until I know what else to do.

Amen.

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

Pandemic Prayers & Resources

A sign stating “Full capacity for COVID-19 cases” is posted at the entrance of the San Juan de Dios Educational Foundation in Pasay City on April 4, 2021, following a surge in coronavirus cases. Rappler.com

A Week of Hard Questions: A Prayer

God, this week I asked hard questions

About love and tradition and cultural differences. I asked (rather timidly even) if race played a part to our reactions.

And soon I found myself hip deep in a quagmire of pain.

People were triggered. They felt they needed to defend their pain.

And it was hard God, and part of me wanted to take it all back. Because I don’t want to create heartache.

But then I remembered two weeks ago when someone asked me hard questions about love and inclusion and the brokenness of the system that I perpetuated.

And although that was embarrassing and hard. I lived through it.

And in reflecting this experience I remembered that part of why I asked the hard questions this week was because as of last week I was tired of us: me, the church, consumer culture, ignoring hard issues and perpetuating whatever was comfortable for us.

Did you ever notice Jesus really likes to answer a question with a harder question?

You deconstructed me Lord. And I confess I need you to bless this mess today, because I’m going to be in the deconstructed zone for a while.

Because once God starts to deconstruct you, it becomes easier for you to see other places where the threads of normal need to be pulled apart.

And you can choose to continue the work God started, but it’s up to you.

So I guess I’ve reached a new level of maturity, where I stay in the muck longer than is comfortable, and I feel the anguish of racism on top of the anguish of those in pain.

And as my heart aches, I am thankful for all the times I was able to say:

“I don’t know. “

And “I hear you.”

As I sat with the pain and let go of the reasons and the arguments.

Do you sometimes say I don’t know God?

I don’t know

But thank you for helping me to brave the muck; and help me to muddle through, or sit, or cry. Help me to do this hard questioning thing I pray.

Amen.

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

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