and a multi year timeframe to just have the apocalyptic event itself, was not quite on my schedule Lord.
I thought catastrophes were sudden, and fast.
Where is my cut scene?
I hear we hit the economic depressive climax (lowmax?) in April 2020?
Just goes to show that money is a human made thing, don’t it God?
Lord, as we face this ongoing apocalyptic event,
As we minister in these times.
Give us what it is we need.
(Whatever that might be, because, I’m not sure what that is right now)
Because this story isn’t even in the the rearview mirror yet, and we are not yet ready to know how to tell it yet.
A colleague said it feels like we are Ron Weasley, working with a broken Wand,
doing the best we can–
No magic wand, no program, no methodology to “fix things” just presence and patience and prayer.
and maybe sitting down and reading Revelation again, or John, or Acts,
or Frederick Buechner, or Elie Wiesel or Martin Luther King Jr or J. R. R. Tolkien or Ursula K. Le Guin or Toni Morrison or Langston Hughes or Madeline L’engle or Octavia Butler or N. K. Jemison or….or….
Because God knows,
We’ve had to Chaplain Apocalypses before,
and we will have to do it again.
Be with us as we do, we pray.
Feel free to share/adapt/use with credit to Pastor Katy Stenta
God, this is the week that never ends, in the year that never ends.
Always, towards the end of the school year there is an impossible week.
Where spring and summer activities collide in their not quite done, and just getting started-ness.
Always there is a week where the schedule doesn’t work, every day has triple obligations, and on top of that everyone is cranky.
And then, someone doesn’t sleep, and someone else doesn’t feel well or the car has trouble or the pet has to go to the vet or the computer quits working or a something else impossible happens.
God, timing is everything.
And this year, when I have spent more time with parts of my family than ever, and seen other parts and my friends almost not all…
This year when vacations and retreats are just gasps of breath in the midst of survival mode…
This year when all the “fun things” I thought I was doing to have fun turned out to be coping mechanisms essential to surviving, as they have fallen by the wayside and the to do list somehow continues while these other things don’t..
God Almighty, You know, how this year has been never-ending.
Like a song that is stuck in your head, nagging at you day in and day out, that’s how the pandemic works–always in the background, giving your headaches and heartaches. Always on the calendar as you figure out what to do and how to do it.
The stress presses down, on my head, on my heart, on my soul.
God, I have been praying without ceasing this year. I have cried and sighed and laughed and zoomed and emailed and turned on cameras and turned off camera, have put on masks and then then washed the masks, every single day of this never ending year.
I have examined every ache and sniffed and listened to every lonely heartache of my friends and family…..and taken-just-a-moment-to-center-myself all in prayer.
I am living into the rhythm of prayer Lord–one that is both structured and spontaneous, one that has been out loud and quiet, one where I’ve known exactly what to say and one where I’ve murmured nonsense to the Holy Spirit.
It’s the longest week, in the longest year I’ve ever lived.
So I will continue to pray, and live.
Thank God you are eternal, thank God that prayers do not cease, and are picked up by friends and families and churches and strangers when mine falter.
Thank God you are the song that never ends God.
Feel free to use/share/adapt with credit to Pastor Katy Stenta
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.
Feel free to use/share/adapt with credit to Pastor Katy Stenta
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.
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.