Narrative Lectionary: Ash Wednesday Links of Prayer

Ash Wednesday

ashwednesdaycrossmotion2

“Invitation to Lent” Author Rev. Mary Austin

Feel free to use/edit. Credit to the original author (i.e. based on prayer/prayers written by Rev Mary Austin) appreciated.

Luke 9:51-62 and Psalm 5:7-8 or Psalm 5:8

Call to Worship
We are dust and ashes,
bone and breath,
full of frailty and limitation.
Lent calls us into reflection and repentance,
drawing closer to God. 
Lent calls us to see ourselves as dust and ash,
alive only with God’s breath.
Lent invites us to be pilgrims,
moving with Jesus toward the truth. 
In Lent, we travel with Jesus,
moving toward an end and a beginning.
Let us worship the God of glory,
with all that is within us.  
 
 
Call to Confession
Keeping up appearances is exhausting. Pretending to be something we are not takes a toll on our spirits.  The illusion of perfection makes us weary.  Lent invites us into a place of freedom.  Let us speak the truth about ourselves, and know the truth about God.Trusting in God’s abundant, living mercy, let us pray. (time for silent reflection)…Amen 
 
Prayer of Confession
God who breathes life into dust,
and fills ash with glory,
we come to you knowing that we are broken,
not by your doing,
but by our own. 
Forgive us for chasing shiny gods,
instead of turning to you.
Forgive us for trusting our own abilities
more than your goodness.
Forgive us for seeing other people as stepping stones,
instead of as your beloved ones. 
Breathe life into our dust again, we pray,
and claim us once more as your own. 
In Jesus’ name, Amen. 
 
Assurance of Grace/Pardon
Who are we, that God is mindful of us?  God’s fingers have shaped us, and God’s breath gives us life.  God’s abundant mercy follows us with each step.  In the life of Jesus Christ, we see a new way to live.  In following him, our lives are redeemed.  Through Jesus Christ, we are all forgiven.  Be at peace in God’s grace. 
 
 
Invitation to Communion
My friends, dust and ash we are, and also God’s beloved people.  Jesus, who knows both death and resurrection, invites us now to the table.  Here, even on this day, we see a glimpse of God’s table.  At the table of God, there is hunger is no more, and all of God’s people feast together.  There death is no more, and we see our beloved ones and God’s people of all the ages.  There tears are no more, and we rejoice in the presence of God’s living grace. 
 
In the name of Jesus our host, Jesus whom we follow into Lent, Jesus who gives us living bread, we are all invited to come and share in the feast. 
 
 
Prayer after Communion
Holy God,
with the taste of ash still in our mouths,
you have fed us with the bread of heaven
and the cup of new beginnings.
Lead us now, we pray,
into a Lent of somber reflection
and committed service,
spreading the taste of your love to all people.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.  
 
 
Offering Prayer / Prayer of Dedication
Merciful God,
our gifts are as limited as our lives,
but we offer them to you with gratitude,
knowing that they really are your gifts,
loaned to us.
We offer them with praise,
that you invite us to share in your work. 
We offer them with hope,
knowing that you can transform them
into instruments of love and justice.
In Jesus name, Amen.

A Resource:Narrative Lectionary Advent Prayers

Many Thanks to those who have pitched in to write prayers. Page will be edited as more prayers come in.

These are resources, seeds and jumping off points. Hopeful they are useful!

advent-candles-with-messages

 

Advent 1 Nov 27 Daniel 6:6-27 Daniel in the Lions’ Den Luke 23:1-5

Author: Pastor Andrea Allen Advent theme is “God Makes a New Home in Us.”

Advent Wreath: Psalm 62: Hope

v. 5-8 For God alone my soul waits in silence,
for my hope is from him. 
6 He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall not be shaken. 
7 On God rests my deliverance and my honour;
my mighty rock, my refuge is in God.                                                                                               8 Trust in him at all times, O people;
pour out your heart before him;
God is a refuge for us.

Call to Worship: (Based on lyrics from hymn “O radiant Christ, incarnate Word” by Ruth Duck 1991 found in Voices United #84)

One: Come, let us prepare ourselves this Advent, our faith and hope renew.

All: God, come, lead the peoples to your peace.

One: We gather for a time of hope found in waiting and preparing for the light to be born within us again.

All: God, come, shine upon our shadowed world.

One: We come into this time to pause, to pray, and to share in our worship.

All: God, come, make your home within our hearts.

Gathering Prayer Gracious God, We give you thanks for today and for the opportunity to prepare and celebrate this Advent season. Be with us as we worship you, reminding us that you are our living God, and that your love endure for ever. Guide us to hear your word to each of us today and be with us as we seek to live out your call. In the name of Jesus the Christ, in whom we await, Amen.

Call to Confession O Holy God Today we come to you asking for your forgiveness for those times when we have not left room for you to build a home within our hearts and our lives; those times when we have pushed you out of our hearts and lives. Advent is a busy time in our world when so many activities, parties, and events pull us away from you, forgive us when we leave you to the last of our lists and help us to put you first in our lives. Forgive us when we forget the importance of the season of advent, when we forget to cherish the time of waiting and preparing, and so we push along with the world to celebrate Christmas before it is time. Daniel prayed to you in a time when doing so was dangerous. He trusted in you and because of that you kept him safe. Forgive us when we do not trust in you but rather put our trust in the world and turn away from you. In the name of Jesus the Christ we pray, Amen.

Assurance of Pardon: Today and every day, God loves us, forgives us, and sets us free. Today and every day we remember that our living God endures forever. God’s kingdom will never be destroyed and we will always have a place in God’s kingdom. Amen.

Communion Prayer (TBD)

Offertory Prayer O living God, we thank you for your constant presence in our lives and in response to the constant blessings you give, we offer you our gifts today. Accept our offerings of time, talents, and treasures that they may further your work here on Earth so that one day all will truly know your Kingdom here on Earth. Amen.

Advent 2 Dec 4th Joel 2:12-13, 28-29 and Luke 4:16-21

Author: Pastor Shea Zellweger

Advent Psalm: Peace Psalm 2

v. 6-8  There are many who say, ‘O that we might see some good!
Let the light of your face shine on us, O Lord!’ 
7 You have put gladness in my heart
more than when their grain and wine abound.                                                                            8 I will both lie down and sleep in peace;
for you alone, O Lord, make me lie down in safety.

Lighting of the Advent Wreath

Leaders: Hear our fervent prayer, oh God.

People: Listen to our plea, and grant us your peace.

Leader 1: Our old men have visions of a time when all will be content, for all will have enough, no longer driven to spend and consume.

Leader 2: Our young women dream of nations who wage peace and not war.

People: Listen to our plea, and grant us your peace.

Leaders: We light the second candle, a blue candle, which carries the glow of peace. In the midst of turmoil, its steady glow reminds us that when all seems bleak, even then there is peace to be had.

People: Come, o Prince of Peace, Come.

Song of Response

O Come, O Come, O Adonai, who came to all on Sinai high.

And from its peak a single law, proclaimed in majesty and awe.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel

Call To Worship

One: Sing Praises to God, all you who dwell on Earth!

Many: We sing our praise, echoing the joyous strains of the angels.

One: God gives strength to us, the people of God.

Many: God blesses us with peace.

One: In peace, let us sing praises to God.

Many: In peace, let us worship!

Prayer of Confession

One: We confess our sins before God and one another,

[Pause for silent confession]

God, whose peace surpasses all understanding, we do not always seek peace.

Many: We sow the seeds of strife and division.

One: Nation wars against nation, and our people fight amongst themselves.

Many: Forgive us, o Lord, for we know not what we do.

Assurance of Pardon

One: Our God is a merciful God. Our conflicts have already been forgiven. We receive God’s forgiveness together as we follow the path of peace laid before us.

Many: Thanks be to God

Reading: Joel 2:12-13, 28-29

Prayer of Thanksgiving

We praise and thank you, God, for the visions and dreams you have poured out on your people. As we await your coming, may we prophesy with boldness your lasting call to walk the path of peace together.

Offering Dedication Prayer

Here are our gifts, Lord – the work of our hands. The sweat of our brows. The first fruits of our harvest. We dedicate them to your service. May they help to spread your reign of peace throughout the Earth. Amen.

Advent 3 Dec 11 Isaiah 61:1-11 and Luke 4:16-21

Author: Pastor Katy Stenta

Advent Candle Joy Psalm 98

v. 7-9 7 Let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
   the world and those who live in it. 
8 Let the floods clap their hands;
   let the hills sing together for joy 
9 at the presence of the Lord, for he is coming
   to judge the earth.

Call to Worship

God you send the Holy Spirit, clothing us in the good news

You bind up the broken-hearted and comfort those who mourn

We are planted  in God, who loves justice.

Therefore we will rejoice in the Lord! Let us exult the Lord with our entire being!

Prayer of Confession: Lord we confess that joy is difficult. We would rather smile or be nice, than find the joy in our lives. We are too busy, too worried or too polite to embrace the God who cares for the lost, the poor and the forgotten. We long for a connection to this God who knows where to plant us and how to tend to us. Forgive us we pray and teach of the joy of the Lord who repairs the brokenness of the world. 

Assurance of Pardon: The Spirit of the Lord comes upon us, clothing us in salvation. Hear the Good news of the Lord, in Jesus Christ we are forgiven. Amen.

Prayer of Communion: Mighty God, you gave us life, blowing your Holy breath into our lungs. Walking with us through time, you saw that we could only understand your law as a burden. Thus you gave us your very self, so we might feel your joy in the work of love and care, in your son Jesus Christ. Jesus who was born among us, broke bread together with us and died for us. Upon Jesus’s resurrection, all sin became forgiven. It is from this God we receive the invitation to the table today….

Prayer of Dedication: Lord, let us give with joy all that we have to you, so that we might truly build the kingdom of God together.

 

 

 

 Advent 4 Dec 18th Luke 1:26-49 and Psalm 113

Author: Pastor (Dr.) Barb Hedges-Goettl

Advent Candle: Joy Psalm 84

v. 8-108 Let me hear what God the Lord will speak,
   for he will speak peace to his people,
   to his faithful, to those who turn to him in their hearts.* 
9 Surely his salvation is at hand for those who fear him,
   that his glory may dwell in our land.                                                                                              10 Steadfast love and faithfulness will meet;
   righteousness and peace will kiss each other. 

One: Hallelujah! You who serve God, praise God!

Many:  Just to speak his name is praise!

One: Just to remember God is a blessing—

Many:  now and tomorrow and always.

One: From east to west,

Many:  from dawn to dusk,

All:  keep lifting all your praises to God!

Call to Worship B Psalm 113 NIV

One: Who is like the Lord our God,

Many: the One who sits enthroned on high?

One: Who stoops down to look on the heavens and the earth?

Many: God raises the poor from the dust

One: God lifts the needy from the ash heap.)
Many: God seats them with princes,
One: with the princes of his people.

All: Praise the Lord.

Alternative Call to Worship (Luke 1)

One: The Lord is with you.

Many: What kind of greeting is this?

One: Do not be afraid; you have found favor with God.

You are caught up in service to the Kingdom of God.

Many: How can this be?

One: The Holy Spirit will come upon you

and the power of the Most High will overshadow you

for with God nothing is impossible.

All: We are servants of the Lord. 

May God’s word to us be fulfilled. 

Prayer of Confession:

God, we confess that sometimes our plans don’t allow for your plan.                                                                                        We rely only on ourselves, not on you and on one another.

Creator, Spirit, and Lord, forgive us when we do not consult you.

Break through to us with your Advent, your coming, your calling

(Silent Confession)

Assurance of Forgiveness:

One: God looks with favor on the lowliness of God’s servants.                                                  The Mighty One has done great things and holy is his name.                                                                               The Son of the Most High was given the throne of David.                                                             He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of this kingdom there will be no end.             Thanks be to God for the Good News:

All: In Christ Jesus we have eternal and abundant life.

Prayer of Great Thanksgiving/Communion Prayer

We give you thanks, Lord God on high.                                                                                    You are high above all nations.                                                                                                  Your glory is above the heavens.                                                                                               From the rising of the sun to its setting, we praise your name.                                        We thank you for the gift of Jesus Christ, your son and son of Mary.                      Although his greatness overwhelms us, he came to dwell among us.                           You gave to him the throne of his ancestor David, yet he reigns now and he will reign forever. Of his kingdom there will be no end.                                                                          We magnify you, Lord. We rejoice in you, our Savior.                                                           For you have looked with favor on our lowliness, doing great things for us.  Make us a part of your great work.                                                                                                                     As you give the barren one joy and a home, give us joy and a place to be at home.          As Christ Jesus heals and helps those in need, let us lift the needy from the ash heap.   As Christ Jesus the King sits with sinners, may all be welcome at this feast.                   As you raised up Christ Jesus from the cross, let us raise the poor from the dust.      For with you, nothing is impossible.                                                                                             As your Spirit came upon Mary and your power rested on her, shed your Spirit and your power this day.                                                                                                                    Come upon these gifts of bread and cup, that they may be for us the body and blood of Christ Jesus. Embolden us to be the body of Christ Jesus and carry Christ into the world, transforming it by transforming us.

Offering

O God, like Mary, we belong to you, body and soul. Like Elizabeth, when we meet you, we are filled with the Holy Spirit, and leap for joy. How happy we are when we believe in you, for it is then that our gifts, our lives, and our selves find their fulfillment.

 Christmas Dec 25th Luke 2:8-20 and Psalm 123:1-2

Author: Katy Stenta

Advent Candle Psalm 68

v. 19-20 19 Blessed be the Lord,
who daily bears us up;
God is our salvation.
Selah 
20 Our God is a God of salvation,
and to God, the Lord, belongs escape from death.

Call to Worship

Come to Bethlehem and let us see the one whom angels sing!

Let us sing with the angels: Glory to God in the highest, on earth peace and goodwill to all!

Come, let us see God!

Come Let us see the Christ child!

Prayer of Confession: Lord, we confess it is hard to approach you. It is hard to see the Christ child. Forgive us and help us to see you, to know you and to love you we pray.

Assurance of Forgiveness: Christ has come, love incarnate, salvation of the world! Know the Good news, Jesus Christ was born today, and it is in him we are each, and every one of us, forgiven. Thanks be to God.

Prayer of Thanksgiving: Jesus, you are here with us today. Before the world even began, God knows us and loved us into being. Then God translated Godself into human form–so we might see and taste salvation in the feast of love. Providing to us the good news in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Let us give thanks to the God who created us, became human with us, and died to save us all. Let us continue to give God praise….

Offering Prayer: Light of the world, you have given us your only son. May we offer our gifts in return from the joy of the birth of Jesus Christ, we pray. Amen.

#Confession #lent the #bible is clear

Prayer of Confession:

Embodier of God’s Love, teach us your love. This week our confession is that we are not willing to make the sacrifice. We are more concerned about who is a part of the kingdom, instead of loving those who might not be. We ask, what must I do? Yet the Bible is clear. When people in the Bible said Moabites were bad (Deut. 23), then Ruth the Moabite came to love Naomi in heroic ways. When the people of the Bible proclaimed that those from Uz were evil (Jer. 25), Job from Uz was uplifted as the the most blameless man on earth. When God’s people hated Samaritans, Jesus told a Samaritan who was the only one to love an injured neighbor. When foreigners and eunuchs were banned (Deut 23), an African Eunuch is prompted by the Holy Spirit to be baptized into the church. (Acts 8). When the story begins with prejudice and fear, the Spirit of God moves them to be stories of God’s openness, welcome, inclusion and affirmation. We confess that often time our story is one of worry and doubt, about what we can do, about what others can do to us. Turn our story into God’s story, the story of love. We confess ourselves and pray that we are changed here and now. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.

Bibleisclear.jpg

#rejectedsermontitles #wrongquestionMoses

Moses Asks: Who am I to do all this

God says: I am with you, You are on Holy Ground.

Because God makes Holy Ground to be where God and humanity meet. That is what makes things Holy.

Moses: Who are you then?

God: I am who I am<–God the one and only, often imitated, never duplicated……the living God

Moses: You don’t have a name?

God: I am the God of all things, I don’t need one name, you can name me

Mark 12:26-27a
26And as for the dead being raised, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the story about the bush, how God said to him, “I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob”? 27He is God not of the dead, but of the living; you are quite wrong.’

Exodus 1:8-14, 3:1-15
8 Now a new king arose over Egypt, who did not know Joseph. 9He said to his people, ‘Look, the Israelite people are more numerous and more powerful than we. 10Come, let us deal shrewdly with them, or they will increase and, in the event of war, join our enemies and fight against us and escape from the land.’ 11Therefore they set taskmasters over them to oppress them with forced labour. They built supply cities, Pithom and Rameses, for Pharaoh. 12But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread, so that the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites. 13The Egyptians became ruthless in imposing tasks on the Israelites, 14and made their lives bitter with hard service in mortar and brick and in every kind of field labour. They were ruthless in all the tasks that they imposed on them.
3Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian; he led his flock beyond the wilderness, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 2There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of a bush; he looked, and the bush was blazing, yet it was not consumed. 3Then Moses said, ‘I must turn aside and look at this great sight, and see why the bush is not burned up.’ 4When the Lord saw that he had turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, ‘Moses, Moses!’ And he said, ‘Here I am.’ 5Then he said, ‘Come no closer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.’ 6He said further, ‘I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.
7 Then the Lord said, ‘I have observed the misery of my people who are in Egypt; I have heard their cry on account of their taskmasters. Indeed, I know their sufferings, 8and I have come down to deliver them from the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey, to the country of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. 9The cry of the Israelites has now come to me; I have also seen how the Egyptians oppress them. 10So come, I will send you to Pharaoh to bring my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt.’ 11But Moses said to God, ‘Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?’ 12He said, ‘I will be with you; and this shall be the sign for you that it is I who sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall worship God on this mountain.’
13 But Moses said to God, ‘If I come to the Israelites and say to them, “The God of your ancestors has sent me to you”, and they ask me, “What is his name?” what shall I say to them?’ 14God said to Moses, ‘I am who I am.’* He said further, ‘Thus you shall say to the Israelites, “I am has sent me to you.” ’ 15God also said to Moses, ‘Thus you shall say to the Israelites, “The Lord,* the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you”:

God, Stooping, Kneeling and Praise Ps 113 Narrative Lectionary

One of the most common themes in the Bible is the proclamation that EVERY knee shall bow to Jesus Christ. I like this because I feel it contains within it the POSSIBILITY for universal salvation. This is a tricky thing, because if Jesus is our only salvation, then its difficult then to go and state that Every knee shall bow to God. However, this is my faith in God’s everlasting love and salvation, and what is great about this proclaimation is that its EVERYWHERE in the bible from Isaiah 45:23 to Romans 14:11 to Phil 2:10-11

5Let the same mind be in you that was* in Christ Jesus,
6 who, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God
as something to be exploited,
7 but emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
being born in human likeness.
And being found in human form,
8   he humbled himself
and became obedient to the point of death—
even death on a cross.


9 Therefore God also highly exalted him
and gave him the name
that is above every name,
10 so that at the name of Jesus
every knee should bend,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue should confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

During my oral examination for ordination, I got asked about this phrase in my statement of faith, for I stated that I whole heartedly believed that someday every knee shall bow to Christ, every tongue confess him Lord.

I got asked if I was a universalist (that means that everyone will be saved no matter what which makes religion and even the need to do good irrelevant to some people), and I cheekily answered that the Bible says this to be true in both the New and Old Testament. I had no clue as to how God will put this mighty and impossible work into being, but I believed that the Bible was telling the truth, and if you viewed that verse to be universalist than Jesus and the prophets must have been universalists. This got me a laugh.

So, when I was looking at Psalm 113, a Psalm that names God and praises God as the one who stoops, a thought occurred to me….

When if at the end of the world, every knee shall bow, because that is the position Christ will be in? Christ who emptied himself, Christ who humbled (knelt/stooped) to be on earth

What if Christ comes, as always, to serve the world the actual physical position of servanthood, stooping and crouching to serve, and what if we all get on our knees to serve with her?

Maybe that is why it is couched with all the words about NOT judging each other in the New Testament, something that would definitely would have been better understood after Christ’s physical incarnation than before…..

Is it so hard to believe that Every knee shall bow and every tongue confess to Christ not because of the mighty thunder and lightening of the end of the world, but because God is serving and listens to what it is we have to say and invites us to assume the same position? We are conquered by God’s graciousness and are finally able to embody it…

Psalm 113


1 Praise the Lord!
Praise, O servants of the Lord;
praise the name of the Lord.


2 Blessed be the name of the Lord
from this time on and for evermore.
3 From the rising of the sun to its setting
the name of the Lord is to be praised.
4 The Lord is high above all nations,
and his glory above the heavens.


5 Who is like the Lord our God,
who is seated on high,
6 who stoops to look
on the heavens and the earth?
7 He raises the poor from the dust,
and lifts the needy from the ash heap,
8 to make them sit with princes,
with the princes of his people.
9 He gives the barren woman a home,
making her the joyous mother of children.
Praise the Lord!

The Waiting Room: #adoption #narrativelectionary #joseph #christmas

Jesus is adopted

http://www.workingpreacher.org/preaching.aspx?commentary_id=2259 here is a good resource to start thinking things and another one http://revgalblogpals.org/2014/12/16/narrative-lectionary-dreams-and-adoption-rooted-in-faith/ …but Jesus is adopted by Joseph

as scripture describes here

This fact is so, so important in understand who Jesus is…..He’s family…http://theinmanclan.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/the-painting-004.jpg

NPR’s The Moth  recently played Jillian Lauren’s tale of adoption

(Full 12min story here)

She flew to Africa to find her child, and was terrified, because a friend of hers had just come back from a Russian adoption empty-handed.

She had been warned that some of the people in her group were “super-Christian” so she decided to cover her tattoo, avoid talking about homosexuality (because even if they were nice, they probably actually hated them) and stop cursing.
She makes the long flight over and goes to the orphanage, where amongst beautiful babies, she and her husband are the last ones called over, and finally, finally they get to meet Tariku, for the first time and plays with him all day..and then has to put him back (at which point she wants to run away with him in her arms) until the next day. She describes the promise ceremony, where they meet the mother, who is still a young teenager, and formally hand over the care of the baby. The mother said, that Tariku’s name meant, his story because he already had such a story to tell.

This put me in mind of Jesus Christ’s story…of how he is and was the word of God how he had a story before he was born and that part of adopting Jesus is adoption of the word of God adoption of that whole story of creation….

Back to Jillian and her husband…they get to the embassy for the paperwork, and they get through the line, and the clerk tells them that they cannot adopt Tariku, because they can only adopt up to 4months…Jillian and her husband explain that it is a typo and should say 4yrs, so he goes in the back….

and they wait, and they wait, they wait hrs and there is no word, they don’t know where he’s gone or what he is doing, so by now they are asking frantically for help.

They reach a social worker who listens and also disappears in the back…

Meanwhile, of course, all the other parents received their paperwork fine, they have their cute diaper bags and their children and are ready to rest up for the long flight home tomorrow…

but they wait with the couple who is trying to figure out how to get Tariku …Tariku’s new parents wait, and all the other families wait with them…and their kids all play on the dirty floor together, they all wait beside this almost family….and finally, finally the official comes back and says everything is cleared up…and he-didn’t-know-why-they-were-so-worried-anyway….

Jillian explains how this experience formed a new family for her, for while they were awaiting to adopt Tariku, the people there adopted them…….and they became family, one that meets up regularly and keeps in contact…

Joseph adopted Jesus…just as Mary became mother, Joseph waited for him, and became his father…in fact all the people who were there…all those who had been waiting: the shepherds, the wise men, Mary & Joseph, all of them became a family…

Isn’t this what we practice every year? Aren’t we awaiting a Christ who will be adopted by us, and within that waiting, those-who-are-waiting become a family….and it doesn’t matter how different we truly are, because we have Christ in common. We wait, and we celebrate with one another and we mourn with one another and we do the hard waiting with one another….We wait for Christ at Christmas, because we are practicing, awaiting Christ’s return!

“For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, ‘Abba!* Father!’ 16it is that very Spirit bearing witness* with our spirit that we are children of God, 17and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ—if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.” Romans 8:16-17

We adopt Christ, Christ adopts us

and somehow, through the love of Christ, we end up adopting each other….

That is what we do every Christmas…that is what the church is….a waiting room for Christ….one where we learn how to love each other as family….

Maybe that’s why every time I walk into a church, I feel like I am home

Painting from http://theinmanclan.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/the-painting-004.jpg

Narrative Lectionary: John 13:1-17

John 13:1-17

Now before the festival of the Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. The devil had already put it into the heart of Judas son of Simon Iscariot to betray him. And during supper Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus answered, “You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no share with me.”

Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” Jesus said to him, “One who has bathed does not need to wash, except for the feet, but is entirely clean. And you are clean, though not all of you.” For he knew who was to betray him; for this reason he said, “Not all of you are clean.” After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord—and you are right, for that is what I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them.

Jesus washes feet. If you have ever washed a baby or an older person–you are aware there is a kind of beautiful intimacy to those washings. There is a trust and a love that makes something that should be gross.

Of course, its embarrassing, so Peter says no, and Jesus says “well if you want to be a part of what I do, you have to let me wash your feet”

So then Peter says “Wash everything then!”

And Jesus says “Nah! feet are enough”

And then Jesus goes on to say that he knows that they aren’t clean ie he knows that Peter is going to deny him, he knows that Judas is going to betray him, he knows they are only human and they will get dirty again. They will all get dirty again.

Its like when you wash a child, and know they are going to get dirty again. Or (even worse) when my husband got out of the shower only to be thrown up upon. Ugh!

But it is still beautiful and intimate to take care of those we love. And Jesus promises to take care of us, even are grossest parts, even knowing that we are broken and that we will get dirty again. Jesus demonstrates that the way to

We like to concentrate on Jesus miracles, but really Jesus superpowers are love and forgiveness….remember before Jesus ONLY God could forgive you (you had to still apologize to the human participate, but ultimately only Jesus forgives). So Jesus, empowers us! Telling us to do to one another what he does. He encourages us to love eachother, to forgive each other and to wash each others’ feet. This is why we confess our sins together and then assure eachother of pardon. We are the body of Christ, we are the ones who are going to be the intimate group, who washes each other feet. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.

Ash Weds: Narrative Lectionary Here’s what we’re doin’ tonight!

sheep

Ash Wednesday March 5, 2014

Psalm 23: King James Version

Call to Worship

23 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

Repentance: Confession and Creation of the Ashes (writing and burning of our sins)

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Silent Contemplation

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Communion:

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:

The Lord be with You

And Also with you

Lift Up Your Hearts

We Lift Our Hearts to the Lord

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God

It is right to give our thanks and praise

Epliclesis Prayer (Jesus you are the good shepherd who lays down his life for the sheep. You laid down your life, to take it up again of your own accord. So you taught long ago, and now the ears to hear and the hearts to understand. Send your Holy Spirit upon these elements so we might be further shepherded into your flock we pray in your most Almighty name. Amen)

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven, give us this day our daily bread, forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil, for thine is the kingdom and the glory and the power forever.

Bread  & Cup:

(Friends, Christ has set the feast for us, we are invited to come and eat. For on the night that Jesus was betrayed, he supped with friends and he took the most common of foods he gave thanks and broken it and said this is my body broken for you, do this in remembrance of me. And after they were done and were fellowshipping with one another in the same way he took the cup and said this is the blood of my new covenant spilled out for you–for Jesus was shepherd and the lamb, we still don’t know how–and Jesus promises whenever we eat this bread and drink this cup with renew this covenant and remember his death until he comes again. Come let us celebrate this communion with one another.)

Ashes

Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Benediction
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

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

Prayers and Liturgy by Pastor Katy Stenta who is the solo pastor at a bigger on the inside church in Albany, NY and enjoys reading fantasy, soaking up sunshine, playing with her three sons and visiting her husband at his work, the library.

John 3:1-17: Narrative Lectionary, first thoughts

Less than compelling than Nicodemus in a tree (I mean Zecheus is way more fun story)….I mean really, they are secretly meeting to…..discuss theology… and to make matters worse, this is the where all the “Born agains” get their terminology…..As Beuchner says, the problem isn’t being born again, its proclaiming it like your a Super Christian

John 3:1-17

3Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. 2He came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God.” 3Jesus answered him, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.” 4Nicodemus said to him, “How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother’s womb and be born?” 5Jesus answered, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. 6What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7Do not be astonished that I said to you, ‘You must be born from above.’ 8The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” 9Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” 10Jesus answered him, “Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things? 11“Very truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know and testify to what we have seen; yet you do not receive our testimony. 12If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? 13No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. 14And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. 16“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. 17“Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

Pneuma: Wind, Spirit….we will be born on the wind, or the spirit….because “the wind blows where it chooses” Fresh air…the winds of change will blow us, and being born again/born from above (this is a pun in Greek that means both)… We are able to be MORE flexible because of God (not less) You know some great examples of winds of change (beyond the Holy Spirit) Mary Poppins Image Wizard of Oz Image You know the old serenity prayer? I think its a good one…. God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change The courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference. But maybe another viable version is God grant me the serenity to accept what I cannot change the courage to change the things I can the graciousness to grow into changes around me and the serenity to know the difference.

Another good resource on this passage 🙂

Narrative Lectionary: Saints, Prophets and Love!

Let it be known that I am pairing this week’s scripture (of which I am using 1 Kings 19: 9-15, John 12:27-28)

with 1 Corinthians 13:1-3….

Saints, Prophets and Love, oh my!

1 corinthians 13

If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Something about the sound of Love, and Silent presence, Silent Love are among my musings…I feel like this ties it all together…

So I am doing THREE readings for Sunday (how unpresbyterian of me boowahahahahahah)

Something to consider as you sermonize!

PS Hallows not Horcruxes might make its way in there too!

Shannon A Thompson

Author. Speaker. Librarian.

Lady Jabberwocky

Write with Heart

A Pastor's Heart

Thoughts on Life and Faith

10:00 am Worship @NCPC

Won't You Be Our Neighbor

Martha Spong

Clergy Coach

r e F o c u s

a ministry for transition

Church Set Free

Love is the answer - now what's your question?

Living Contemplatively

Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation

PNEUMYTHOLOGY

ROBERT LAMBERT JONES III

A Spirit Filled Life

Seeing the Sacred in the Everyday

Improvisations

thinking outloud online

G-Free Rev

Knittin' and Preachin'

Infinite Windows

Meditations on faith and art

Mom Meets Blog

Managing motherhood, midlife and a blog