Palm Sunday, a Prayer

Jesus as the apostles went to get the colt

Did you have to psych yourself up

As you rounded the corner to enter the gates did you think

“This is going to suck”

When people threw their cloaks—did you focus on the children and try to think of how real their joy was?

Jesus did you laugh on Palm Sunday?

Did you steal your victory moment—because it was in peace.

Did you think of unions and BLM and Trans kids and all of the unnamed saints who live quietly.

Did they all flash before your eyes when you sighed and took a deep breath to continue your march into Jerusalem?

Did a tear of weariness and joy trickle down your face at the end of the day?

Did you rub your forehead, and smell the remnants of Nard and remind yourself that you too were beloved after a full and important day?

Jesus the longer I live—

The more human you become.

The more I see how you took on Sarc (flesh) for us so that our emotions are real to you–

Real and valid; thank you for celebrating Palm Sunday with us.

Thank you for it’s flashes of joy and humility and peace.

Hosanna.

Amen.

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

Image: https://i.swncdn.com/media/800w/cms/CCOM/65029-thinkstock-azerberber-palmbranch.800w.tn.jpg

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Apocalyptic Prayer

God,

as things seem to collapse

and people leave

and give up.

I can’t tell

Is this the end of the apocalypse?

Or the beginning?

What are we uncovering?

Will things change?

Or will we trundle along,

insisting that everything is

has been

and will be normal.

Is this how it was on Palm Sunday Jesus?

When people were welcoming you

with open arms.

Was everyone saying,

I can’t wait til Israel

gets back to normal.

Did you bother to tell them

That’s not what I’m here for?

Or did you answer,

like to Pilate–

You say that is what I’m here for

More or less agreeable.

God, I find that I am agreeable

these days,

as I don’t know

what is happening next–

I agree that this might happen

or that

and then I always end the day

in prayer

God’s will be done

God’s kin(g)dom come.

Because heaven knows,

I’m just another human

living in apocalyptic times.

God, I don’t have a bigger prayer

than this–

your will be done

your kin(g)dom come.

Amen.

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

April 10th Palm/Passion Sunday: Lament & Hope

The Crucified Messiah: Lament & Hope

Sermon Ideas, Pile of Good Things

Psalm 24

John 12:12-27

Call to Worship

The earth is God’s, and all that is in it; the world and all those who live in it!

God has founded it on the seas and established the world on the rivers.

Let us lift our heads, and seek God, to the gates, so that the King of glory may come in!

Come, we know who the King of Glory is! Let us worship Jesus!

Call to Confession: God, we all have things to confess, Hosanna, save us as we confess together.

Confession: God, we confess that we are always crying Hosanna, Save us! Help us! We confess that our best selves are our Palm Sunday selves knowing we need help and willing to do the work. Our worse selves are our Passion Sunday mob selves angry that things are not fixed and lashing out from our own internal pain. Forgive us, remind us that we no longer have to choose to be a Palm Sunday or Passion Sunday People—you have transformed us into a resurrection people. Help us to hang onto that we pray. Amen. 

Assurance of Pardon: Christ has already saved us, so we can proclaim the good news again and again: In Jesus Christ we are forgiven

Prayer of the Day/Dedication: God bless us as we go, remembering that you love us, every single day. On our best days, on our worst days, and every day in between. Help us to hold fast to that love we pray. Amen. 

Children: God does not keep score. Talk about forgiveness and how God does not judge like humans or keep grudges like humans. God’s grace washes it all away. Discuss how this is a really hard concept for humans, because we are really good at judging and holding grudges, but Jesus promises that is not how it works for God. 

Hymns: Great is Thy Faithfulness, Be Thou My Vision, All Glory Laud and Honor, Hosanna Loud Hosanna, O Love How Deep How Broad How High

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

Conspiring with God: A Prayer

As rumors of microchips and aliens and kidnapped sex workers abound.

I hear you whispering that you are the God of the Conspiracy theorists too.

You hear their cries for a world that makes sense, you feel their arms when they reach out for someone/anyone to go along with what they are proclaiming, you take their anger when the world does not go the way it should.

You hold their hands, even when they think guns are the answer.

You continue to tell them the truth, even if their hearts are hardened with entrenched racism, sexism, homophobia, ableism and other forms of bigotry.

Only you know, God, what conspiracies abounded when Jesus rode the small colt, you are the one who knows what the palms and cloaks symbolized for those who threw them.

You alone understand what poisonous lies, or world bending truths were whispered in Judas’s ear, to sell you out.

And still, the Truth is God’s, I can’t believe in any conspiracy but your love.

We humans are too clumsy, too small minded, too telltale to conspire.

I believe there are gross inequities, there are systems that run and thrive on corruption, I believe that there is, indeed, real evil manifest in the world.

But though I believe that power seeks out and protects power, and that small lies can lead to big lies, that there is no grand scheme.

Because evil is niggling and sneaky.

It hurts in micro-agressions and permission-giving for bad behavior, and in letting those who are in power believe their own lies. It’s not systemized, but all too often, it’s allowed to become prevalent.

So that bad decision stacks upon bad decision leading to the mistreatment of immigrants, the white supremacy becoming cultural, to faith being inseparable from the very flag that corrupts it and weighs it down.

And that’s why, I believe you conspire and inspire for good–all the time and every time.

This is why you said “Tell Herod that fox that I’m going to keep healing and preaching til I breathe my last.” This is why on your last day on earth, you had a ginormous good meal with your closest peeps, and then spent time loving on them and washing their feet.

You will never stop. Jesus. Jesus who meets us by the well, in a tree, and even upon a cross as we lay dying. Even then, you conspire for good.

And if I blink, I can see the co-inspiring works of the Holy Spirit.

If I blink: I can see how you make it so that babies remain impossibly cute and a couple of droplets of baptismal water are enough to start the flood of your never-ending grace

If I blink, I can see how the stars still sing out Abrahamic promises and rainbows still speak of a weaponless future of love,

If I blink I can feel your presence “your church” in all of the communities and all of the neighborhoods in the world, and its then I can taste how bread and the cup are enough to tie us to every one of your beloved: those who have come before, and those who have yet to be.

Holy Spirit, help me to conspire with you, and only you.

Stand with me as I work to find the threads of truth and love and hope.

Imbue in me, imbue in us, a faith that we humans can be beloved into a better being, and help me to talk and walk in ways that blot out the evils of the world. I pray in your most Holy Name, Jesus Christ.
Amen.

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

Palm Sunday: Waiting for the Stones

Jesus, I don’t know how much shouting of Hosanna will happen on Sunday.

I’m uncertain who will be there and how we will parade,

And Lord, you know, there will not be any singing. We miss it, God, but are trying to do right.

And though we may be sighing “Hosanna: Lord Save Us” we also know that we have to take some responsibility and help to save ourselves.

And, most days I doubt we actually want peace on earth, we are so bad at enacting and supporting true peace.

And Jesus is not going to come in guns blazing; Thank God!

What does the Lord require for Jesus to come? What humble entry can we cede to the Son of God?

What videos or drivethrus or palm crafts might come?

God, I confess this might be the week that there will be few shouts. We will be sticking well to your humility and simplicity this year.

So I will be listening to the stones.

For the truth cannot be stopped.

“Blessed is the one One who comes in the name of the Lord, Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest heaven.”

Amen.

Hosanna.

Amen.

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

More Holy Week Prayers: https://katyandtheword.com/2021/03/24/holy-week-easter-prayers/

Lent 6: Palm/Passion Sunday Topical Prayer

Topical Prayer: Jesus, you have done it. You have reached the end of your journey to Jerusalem. Thank you for letting us to journey with you. Thank you for letting us enjoy the full moment of your arrival with a festive parade and hope. Thank you for standing up to the officials and not letting them stop the celebration. Even though you know that things will spin to ugly very soon, you let us be our full human selves and do this Palm Sunday too. Grant us the courage and endurance for Holy Week. Help us to see ourselves there, so we can witness your life and death and sacrifice. Help us not skip straight to the resurrection we pray. Amen. 

For the Complete List of Narrative Lectionary Lent Resources can be found here including a way to receive a doc copy

Lent 6: Palm/Passion Sunday Prayers

Journey to Jerusalem

March 28

Lent 6: Palm/Passion Sunday

Triumphal Entry

Luke 19:29-44

Psalm 118:19-23

Call to Worship

Hosanna, in the Highest!

Blessed is the One who come in the name of the Lord

Save us Lord! We need help!

Come Savior, teach us the ways of Peace.

Blessed is the Kind who comes in the name of Lord

Peace in heaven and glory in highest Heaven

Invitation: Let have all who are burdened confess those burdens to God who is loving and merciful.

Confession: God, I confess that I do not always let it be known that I need Saving. It is a strange idea to me to go into the streets and shout “Hosanna, Save us.” But you know that we need saving. We still do not know all of the ways of peace. We are distraught and lonely. We often don’t know how to connect to each other and to you. We squabble, we worry, we judge. Help us, we pray. Teach us the ways of peace, so that the rocks don’t need to shout out, because we are doing it instead. Lord, forgive us and teach us we pray. Amen.

Assurance of Pardon: God’s steadfast love endures forever! Let us all know and proclaim that God’s steadfast love endures forever. And because of this, we know the truth: In Jesus Christ we are forgiven. Amen. 

Prayer of the Day/Dedication: Lord, this is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it. Let us give thanks to the Lord for God is Good all the Time! Let us proclaim that God’s steadfast love endures forever!

Hymns: Lift High the Cross, Take My Life, There is a Balm in Gilead, In the Cross of God I Glory,

Taize: Nada te Turbe: nothing disturb you

For the Complete List of Narrative Lectionary Lent Resources can be found here including a way to receive a doc copy

Holy Week: Praying Our way Through!

Palm Sunday was the premature victory parade.

People in the streets, gathering because they thought the battle was over.

In the great tradition of Greek & Roman celebrations, they came and laid cloaks and palms at the victor’s feet to soften his path.

But Jesus, knew the hardest things would be next–

The Sedar Meal where Jesus spends his last night on earth with his beloved.

Then he tries to tell the disciples that he is–that they all are–betrayed, but no one believes him, and Judas denies his complicity

I wonder if this is the moment that Jesus decides he’s going to wash his disciples feet. Lavishing love upon them one last time, giving them another more personal memory to be layered upon the parade where I’m sure the disciples walked on the dusty ground near Jesus.

The long journey to Jerusalem, the cries of victory and the soothing touch of the Lord Jesus, the bellies full of good food all of the makings of the end of a good day.

Palm Sunday was the premature victory parade; people gathered in the streets thinking that there was going a battle that needed to be won. Unaware that it would instead be about healing.

I think about this as Holy Week seems creeps into today. In the midst of a pandemic I feel the need to celebrate the good, the anguish of seeing people die, the waiting, waiting, waiting of Holy Saturday.

I don’t want any premature victories, let me tell you that straight off. And I don’t want us to be going to war. And I already tire of the heightened violence, the excuse for evil racist attacks, the righteous violence of those who knock over people who are spitting on food or violating the social distancing rule–Peter’s anger in the garden seems way more present these days.

I want reconciliation, I want healing. I want us to all act like Easter is coming. Not according to any human calendar or calculation, but because Shalom is the ultimate goal. I want to work towards the healing of the world, because it’s the right thing to do, not because I need this victory or that one.

Palm Sunday was fine, but I’ll wait for Easter as long as this Holy Saturday takes.

More Prayers and Resources about the Pandemic Here

#Seeds: #Prayer Resource for Narrative Lectionary Triumphal Entry or Palm Sunday

Triumphal Entry or Palm Sunday

Matthew 21:1-17 or Psalm 118:25-29

Call to Worship

Blessed be the One who Comes in the Name of the Lord

Lord save us!

Bind up the festal procession with branches, cry Hosanna!

Praise the Lord, Lord Save us, Blessed is the One who comes in the name of the Lord

Call to Worship

This is the day that the Lord has made

Let us rejoice and be glad in it.

This is the day that the Lord has made

Let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Call to Worship

How will the Lord Come? Upon a great chariot or a fine stallion?

Jesus rides in the back door, on the back of a mere donkey

Victory we cry!

Are you the one prophets foretold? (Is the question ringing in our ears)

Call to Confession: Who is this that we are confessing to? Who is this Son of David? The one who cleanses the temple?

Confession: Jesus we confess that we are still left with questions. After 2,000 years we still don’t know exactly who you are, or how it is you will save us. And yet, we will cry Hosanna, help us to know you and save us from our sin we pray.

Confession: Our temple is still unclean, we confess, for we are broken and do not know how to make things clean. So we confess our sins to you. Heal us as you healed the blind and the lame we pray.

Confession: Lord, we confess that we have trouble keeping our eyes on you. We cry Hosanna, save us, one minute and then turn you over to be killed the minute your justice offends us. Forgive us, and teach us the path to you, we pray.

Confession: Lord, we confess that when things are going our way, it is easy for us to celebrate one another, but when we are worried or in pain we lash out. We confess that sometimes we are the people of Palm Sunday and sometimes we are the mob by the cross. Forgive us when we lash out, we pray.

Assurance of Forgiveness: Whenever we ask, whenever we confess, wherever where we are, no matter what we’ve done, no matter when it is, we are always, always, through the grace of Jesus Christ,  forgiven.

Prayer of Dedication/Prayer of the Day: Lord we often don’t know if we will exist as the Palm Sunday Parade or the Mob at the Cross, give us the help we need to be the body of Christ we pray. image.png

Full List of Lenten Resources (Of course some prayers may be appropriate for other weeks)

Hymns

Hosana, Loud Hosana,

Ride On! Ride On Majesty!

What Wondrous Love is This?

God of Our Life

Amazing Grace

If Thou but Trust in God to Guide Thee

When in Doubt: #PalmSunday #PassionSunday

John 19:16b-22 Opt: John 12:12- 27 and Psalm 24

Call to Worship: Hosanna, Save us! All Creatures up Our God and King, Lift up your voice and with us Sing. Hosanna, Hosanna in the highest, blessed is the one who come sin the name of the Lord. Let all things their Creator bless, and worship him in humbleness, Let us all cry Hosanna together.

 

Prayer of Confession: Lord we confess that sometimes it is hard to see you as the crucified God, we decorate ourselves and our spaces with crosses, but forget the full meaning of the cross as a symbol of your love. Teach us Lord Jesus. Teach us how to honor your life and your death and resurrection, and teach us the fullness of your restorative work we pray.

 

Assurance of Pardon: Know this, God loves us and forgives, us go out into the world proclaiming the truth: In Jesus Christ we are forgiven.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering Prayer Lord, help us to remember your glory, by serving others as Christ has served us. Willing to do what is needful for justice in the world. Give us the strength to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with Jesus on his path we pray. Amen

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.

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