God we need your justice: a prayer

[Blue Green water reflecting the abstract of a mountain, tree and sky with the words “Let Justice Flow Down like Waters and Righteousness like an overflowing stream.] Image found here: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/560064903645243301/

I cannot wait until acts of justice are no longer a surprise, for you know God, and you told us through Amos and Isaiah and Luke that justice that is surprising is no justice at all. It is at worst painted as sacrifice and mercy and is at best the drops of accountability.

I am so thirsty for justice, Lord. And I confess my spirit is dry and brittle, breaking apart in its absence.

Human justice is not even a meager copy of your justice Lord. racism and bigotry poisons any system we might try.

God I cannot wait for your justice to flow like water. So that we taste it on our tongue, so that it rains on us daily from the sky.

I can’t wait until the taste and feel of justice is so familiar that it begins to feel like home.

I can’t wait until the moment that every cry for mercy, every cry for help, every cry for mama is answered–with the swiftness of the Holy Spirit on the wing.

God, I cannot wait, until not one street never ever sees a droplet of blood again. Instead they sparkle with the cleansing waters of justice, instead they are filled so much with justice, that it becomes puddles for the children to splash in, soaking themselves with the liquid.

I cannot wait until justice becomes a child’s plaything—Known so much, that it becomes a part of our very breath and body. I cannot wait until the 60% of water that flows through our bodies is blessed, in the completion of our baptism, into the holy waters of justice imbuing our very selves.

I can’t wait until I can spit justice out on the street with clear truths and gracious words that free my siblings of all colors, creeds, ages, sexualities and genders.

I cannot wait for justice to flood our world. Not like the flood of Noah killing off the bad, but like the rains of the desert, giving the much needed food to the flora and fauna to bloom.

I cannot wait for justice, so I’m going to gather the drops and the dribbles and the driplets I have experienced, and I’m going to share them out to those I meet. Showing them how it cools violence, and refreshes spirits, and is miraculously freer than any other action.

Because my freedom is wrapped up in yours, my humanity is wrapped up in yours, and my justice is wrapped up in yours.

I’m ready to do this justice thing, God. Teach me how to do it I pray.

Amen.

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

With Thanks to Lilla Watson and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s works and thanks also Black Twitter who let me listen as they prayed, grieved and celebrated over George Floyd and the guilty verdict of Officer Chauvin.

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/

Holy Week/Easter Prayers

Ashes: A Holy Week Prayer

Holy Week: Praying Our Way Through (Also good for Palm Sunday)

Palm Sunday: Waiting for the Stones

Maundy Thursday: Washing the Dust, Existential Crises: Love One Another?, Broken for You

At the Table: Not I, Lord

In the Garden of Gethsemane: A Socially Distanced Prayer

Good Friday: Friday is not “Good,Essential Workers at the Cross, Denial and Grace in Crises,

Holy Saturday: Pausing for Grief (Slides Version here) , Living in the In Between, Holy Saturday: A Confession (I didn’t really want more time to do nothing)

Easter: Masks a Prayer, Can You Hear Easter (the Good News), Say Nothing Easter, My God is the God of Emptiness (Empty Tombs)

Masks (are Holy): Ending with Easter

Pentecost: Stuck in a Room

Narrative Lectionary: Luke Lent Cycle Prayers and Resources

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

Holy Saturday: Pausing for Grief

God, what was it like to take the Holy Pause of Saturday? Did you practice Sabbath while Jesus, your only son, had died?

Did you sit in a comfortable corner and let yourself cry?

Did you practice breathing, slowly, in and out, trying to find ways to regulate once again?

Did you embrace despondency?

Did it feel like the world had stopped? Did you feel slammed by the bad news–even though you knew it was coming? Did you have to sit for a minute to take in the fullness of its meaning?

Did you simply, actually, pause the world for a few so you could keep your rainbow promises?

Did you feel frustrated that after all you had done, and tried, that Jesus died anyway?

Did you take comfort in sitting with the disciples and Mary, and Mary and Martha as they moaned?

Did you make yourself useful, keeping busy helping all the humans who were in pain, so you could better process your own?

Did you just sleep all day, and try to forget the world existed?

Lord God, I have a sneaking suspicion that Saturday is Holy because it legitimizes our pain, our loss, our anger at injustices, our impatience with the waiting for peace, our heartbrokenness with the state of the world, our feeling of helplessness to be of help to anyone or anything.

And yet, You give us permission to take the time to sit with the pain. You give us the space we need to do absolutely nothing (at first) in response to the evil in the world. You do not barge in with good news or toxic positivity. You let resurrection sneak into our hearts, little by little.

Thank you God for this time and space.

Thank you for being a God who fully experiences the range of emotions and reactions we have.

Thank you for being our God and sitting with us.

Let us sit together a little longer………………………………

Amen.

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

No Excuses God

What kind of God are you, if you can’t handle my bad days God?

I am so glad that I can safely tell yell to you and at you and know that I am still beloved.

I am glad that you sit with me on my pain and loneliness and tell me it’s ok to be lonely.

I’m glad that you have made sacred the screaming Psalms of pain. We don’t need a reason or excuses, because you are a no excuses God.

I am sad by the people who feel they have to hide their pain, their anger, their frailities from God.

I am deeply wounded that time and again we humans hurt each other and ourselves in pursuit of impossible purity and perfection.

I rage with the anger of a thousand suns when bad behavior is blamed on other people, mental illness or “having a bad day.”

I am mystified, but not really, when young black women, disabled individuals, immigrants and Black People are beaten or killed during arrest but racist white cis mass murders are restrained unharmed.

When are we White people going to start flipping the tables on racism?

No excuses.

When will our pain convict us enough to chop down the tree of racism, condemning it—Strange fruit and all—to the fire?

Lord, I’m so glad you are the God that denounces evil. Help us to denounce evil!

Help us to let go of our whining and excuses.

Give us the fortitude to stop trimming the tree of racism here and there, willy-nilly—and instead go for the roots: the racial fetishes, the micro aggressions, the stereotyping. God let us no longer let the stereotyping, the jokes, the devaluing of non white people to continue. Help us to STOP it.

Rotten Tree Stump The Tree Was Cut Down And Revealed Its, Rotten Tree Stump  - Albert

God I’m glad I can tell and scream these things when I have a bad day.

RACISM KILLS! WE ARE STILL TANGLED AND COMPLICIT!

And I’m glad you are a God who says to carry the cross, to love my neighbor, turn the other cheek. All to illustrate that you do NOT condone abuse, violence or murder; no matter how we try to rationalize it.

You are a No excuses God! Thank God!

God we’ve had a bad day. Help us to decide that we never want a day like this to happen again. Help us to flip the tables of injustice and to root out evil.

You hold out forgiveness to love us all the way back to how and why we should treat one another humanely.

God hear our cry, help us to break out of our systems of White Supremacy we pray.

Amen

White Work: a Prayer after (continued) Racist Violence for the Asian Community

God teach me how to take the target off of my Asian neighbor’s back.

I am torn by grief that the stereotypes and the racial violence continues.

God help me to fight against the idea of a model minority.

Help me to interrupt, to disrupt, to work against any and all micro-aggressions. Strengthen my resolve and spark my curiosity so I never stop learning about how they creep into my perception of the world.

Do not let any of us call a horrific pandemic the China or Kung Fu virus. For it is racist and wrong. It is evil, let us denounce it as so.

Help me to confront, and not dwell in shame or embarrassment, so I can address when I participate–in the Asians are smart-compliant-good-at-math-“Asian”-stereotypes.

And be with those communities that have received injuries or death in the United States. Help those who are Asian–whichever of the more than a dozen countries that means–find community and connection. Help those who are citizens and those who are not to get the help they need I pray.

Give them sanctuary.

Help us to be more of a sanctuary. Help us not to proclaim ourselves as “safe” but instead teach us how to actually be and enact safety and hospitality.

God I know there’s a target on my Asian neighbor’s back and it makes me want to weep and rage. Teach me how to stop this targeting, I pray.

Show me how each individual is uniquely and beautifully made in your image.

And help me to do the White work I need to do.

In the name of Jesus Christ I pray.

Amen.

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

The Kingdom of Heaven Prayer

God, my heart is so happy whenever I hear or see that anyone has received the vaccine. It makes me want to throw a party.

So God, today the kingdom of heaven looks like everyone being vaccinated and going to a party.

No one is too early and no one is too late to join the party.

We are all dressed like we want God, to the nines or comfortably.

No one is jealous or pushing in line, no one is worried that there is not enough food or glamour or belovedness to go around.

Every single person is called by their name and preferred pronouns are used without a misstep or a blink of surprise.

God, today the kingdom of heaven looks like Spring with kids playing freely, unbothered but the stresses of the pandemic.

Homes are warm and dry and safe and accessible; everyone has one to go to and no one is afraid to go home.

People are supported: their status is not defined by their age or gender or class or marital status. Every person is celebrated.

People’s traditions and roots and experiences are valued and validated. Science is no longer, ever, seen to be in conflict with faithfulness.

And Faith is in the room. Faith that word which is almost never used to refer to a singular person’s set of beliefs, but instead is a word that honors the system of the community that glues them together through ritual and hope. Faith is abundant.

God, your kingdom come, your will be done. I pray now and forever.

Amen.

Feel Free to Use/Adapt with credit to Pastor Katy Stenta

Ashes to Ashes: a Prayer

God, I’ve been living with ashes in my mouth for over a year now.

And though they are bitter and continue to color every single aspect of my day,

I find that I cannot spit them out. For you have put them there, Lord

Living with death is hard–it’s why family parlors became living rooms

It’s why death was exported from homes and churches to funeral homes

Because it’s tough to see just how fragile humanity is.

Is this like white fragility and male fragility? This mortality thing? Do we ignore it because we, mistakenly, think it makes us stronger?

And then in comes the Christ: an openly weeping male, here comes Christ who sits with the sick and the weak and the disabled and the young and the dying.

Here comes Christ, with dust in his hair and dust on his feet, and ashes in his mouth. Tasting his death for all three years of his ministry.

A taste, he too can’t spit out. A taste that when he tries to draw attention to it, or share it with his disciples, it is rejected.

How did it feel, Jesus, when Mary took a moment to sit with you in the dust, and to wash as much as it as she could off, and then to wipe it clean with her own hair? Mary–whose own brother had died–Mary was the one who was able to sit with you in the dust.

How did it taste, Lord? To drink the wine and eat the bread of resurrection, while the taste of ashes was probably at its’ strongest? Did Peter taste it? Or James or John? Did Matthew and Mark feel the grains upon their tongue? Was Luke aware of its dusty origin? Did Judas recognize the taste of death upon his tongue?

And that night in the garden, when the sand of sleep overpowered the disciples, did you feel the dust in the corner of your eyes? Did you wipe it away, or had you learned to live with it by then?

God, I’ve been living with ashes in my mouth all year, and we are going to enter the season of death, of ashes, of the dirty, dusty path to Jerusalem. And so I pray, that I learn to live and learn how to learn a little more from my own mortality.

I pray that some of the taste of ash is eased with the taste of the living waters of baptism and resurrection.

I’m tired of living with ashes on my tongue, God.

But here we are.

Help me to taste the truth and good news even among the ashes, I pray.

Amen.

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

Art by Beatrice Stenta

More Lenten Resources

Prayer for the Cold

God, my heat was out today, and my Northern teeth chattered in 50 degree heat and my hands and feet started to ache with the cold.

Please be with all those experiencing the storm.

Prayers for the powerless

the homeless

the cold

Source of Life, give resources to all those who need them today. Help them to find ways to eat and hibernate. Help them to figure out how to move or stay safely.

As our vortex becomes more and more polar in nature, help us we pray.

God help those of us who don’t have the infrastructure, personally or fiscally or civically, to withstand the cold.

Help us and our neighbors neighbors to reach out, let any and all warmth be shared and may we be able to safely depend upon one another.

Source of Life: help all of us who need to, to be able to weather the storm we pray. In the name of the encouraging, creative and loving Holy Spirit we pray.

Amen.

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