Pandemic Mourning

God, I don’t have enough tears for 400,000. If I cried for forty days and forty nights, it wouldn’t be enough.

So instead I’ll light the candle–and watch the flame gasping for breath.

And when I blow it out, I’ll bathe my face in the smoke. I taste ashes on my tongue.

Grief is never enough. The lives cut short, every single one of them, is a tragedy.

Anger rises, and I let it wash and let it go, because this anger is sadness in disguise.

I breathe in, and out, and feel the prickles of oxygen that others can no longer breathe.

God I don’t have enough tears for 400,000 people.

But you do. Mourn with me please I pray. Every tear for one of your beloved. May they fill the ocean with the salt of sorrow, so that we can never again let people die because they are essential or forgotten.

Mourn with me, I pray.

Amen.

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

Pandemic Prayers & Links to Support my Writing

Elections and Infections and Insurrections Prayer

Lord, it’s been quite a week: Elections and Infections and Insurrections. To say we are tired is an understatement. We are stuck, numb.

The prayers that fall from our lips are entreating. Please God make a way for us. Clearly we are lost, squabbling in the desert.

Please. Let us not freeze in this moment. Help us to do justice, and remind us the the doing will take a while and a lot of work. Help us go love mercy—not cheap forgiveness carelessly given, but the deep mercy given to marginalized communities who need the mercy of equity.

And the mercy given to the oppressors after the truth is told.

And Lord if these lessons are what we need to learn to walk humbly, where we do the needful work of God’s without quid pro quo or expectations of reward.

Let us not freeze up—as we have done in crises time and time before, set our hands and minds and feet to do the work. Encourage and en-courage us to try. To move forward inch by inch. Help us not to be alone in the work but to find others, partners in Christ’s service, who are inching with us we pray.

Remind us that God knows we can only see a dim reflection of ourselves, and that we only see in part and know in part. His knows this, and still tells us to do the work.

Sing us to sleep at night, grant us some Sabbath and sanctuary so we can nourished and empowered for the work we pray.

In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.

Feel free to use/adapt with credit to Pastor Katy

With credit to Margaret Aymer Ogrt for her poignant call.

Easter: Topical Prayer

Topical Prayer: God, we are all the characters int he story. The women who find the stone rolled away, and are terrified of the angel, the disciples who do not believe the resurrection to be true, Peter who runs to see it all only to be left with the wrappings from the tomb. As we experience this story, let us embrace the amazement and perplexity of the events. They are truly beyond human ken. Though that is uncomfortable, let us sit with the wonder that Easter is we pray. Amen.  

Maundy Thursday Topical Prayer

Topical Prayer: God it’s been a long journey. And you are ending it by serving us a meal. What an unexpected way for the journey to end. The disciples expected revolution and a call to arms. Instead Jesus spent time with those he loved, celebrating the festival of Unleavened Bread and Praising God. You spent your last night, as you spent your entire life: teaching and loving us by serving us. As we wander through this Mandy Thursday, help us to keep your commandment: to love one another, close to our heart we pray. Amen. 

Lent 5 Prayers

Journeying to Redemption 

March 21

Lent 5

Zacchaeus

Luke 18:31-19:10: http://bible.oremus.org/?ql=476535940

Psalm 84:1-4, 10-12: http://bible.oremus.org/?ql=476535968

Call to Worship: 

How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts!

My soul is longing and fainting for it

Happy are those who live your house, God

My heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God. 

A day in your courts, is better than a thousand elsewhere, God

God, you give us such good things, let us rejoice in our trust for you! 

Invitation: All you have to say is “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me! and Jesus will heal and save you! Come let us confess ourselves to God

Confession: God, I confess that I am but a frail human, my body does not always work the way I want it to. Also, I confess that I worry about the future so I am not always generous with my time or my talent or my wealth. I know that you are calling me to greater things. Please heal me like the blind man and show me how to be more generous like Zaccheus, I pray. Amen. 

Assurance fo Pardon: Hear the Good News: Your faith has saved you! In Jesus Christ you are forgiven! Amen. 

Prayer of the Day/Dedication: God we are nearing the end of our journey with Christ to Jerusalem, but Jesus does not stop his preaching and healing. Help us to hear and see and feel his grace that imbued him as he journeyed, we pray. Amen. 

Communion Prayer: Lord God, we know that your crucifixion is imminent. We can feel the long journey to Jerusalem coming to an end. Please gather our hearts together in this communion so that we can complete the journey to the cross together. Send your Holy Spirit so that we can celebrate Christ’s death with his Holy presence we pray. Amen. 

Hymns: Live Into Hope, Called as Partners in Christ’s Service, Guide My Feet, I Love the Lord Who Heard My Cry, Just as I am Without One Plea, There is a Balm in Gilead, O Wondrous Sight, O Vision Fair, We walk By Faith but Not By Sight, 

Taize: Seigneur, Tu gardes mon âme

you know my heart, lead me to eternity

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

Lent 3 Prayers

The Possibility of Journeying Home

March 7

Lent 3

Lost Sheep, Coin, Son

Luke 15:1-32

Psalm 119:167-176

Call to Worship: 

God you call us home

And whenever one of us is missing, you search for us without ceasing

Lord, you are welcoming

When one us is discluded or left out, you immediately welcome us to the table.

Lord, you are the father, running to embrace us and welcome us home!

Come let us celebrate as the children of God today. 

Invitation: God is always inviting us to return home. Come let us bring our full selves home to God.

Prayer of Confession: God I confess that when I feel lost, it is hard to return to you. All my imperfections scream at me, telling me that I am not deserving of your love. And sometimes those fears are confirmed by my experience of human judgement or prejudices. Remind me that you are never prejudiced God, you welcome me home and renew me every single time I ask for forgiveness. Forgive me for all that I did that was wrong and all the things I have not done that I ought to have done. Forgive me for forgetting that nothing can separate me from your love, and help me to return to your loving embrace I pray. Amen. 

Assurance of Pardon: Our God will always leave a light on for us, that light is Jesus Christ. Know the truth: In Jesus Christ we are forgiven

Prayer of the day/Dedication: Lord, every single time someone enters into your presence, you welcome them with a party. Help us to party people into your Kingdom we pray!

Communion Prayer: God, you never forget us or leave us behind. When we seemed lost and alone you sent your only son Jesus, love incarnate to find us, call us by name, love us and teach us. Send your Holy Spirit onto these elements, so that when we feel lost or alone, we might be nourished by Jesus Christ. We pray this in God’s most Holy Name. Amen. 

Hymns: Seek Ye First, Jesus Priceless Treasure, Lord I Want to Be a Christian, Love Divine All Love Excelling, O Love that Wilt Not Let Me Go, O Jesus I Have Promised

Taize: Ubi Caritas: where there is goodness and love there is God

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

Lent 1 Prayers

Journeying Past Our Neighbors 

February 21st

Lent 1

Good Samaritan

Luke 10:25-42

Psalm 15

Call to Worship:

God you call us to love

We would like to abide in your tent God.

You call us to our neighbors and our neighborhood. Because you are present here, too. 

Let us praise the God who is in our neighborhood.

Invitation: Come let us confess our full selves to the Lord.

Prayer of Confession: God, we confess that although we strive for love, we do not always achieve it. We catch ourselves gossiping or slandering others, we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We are too worried about who is going to get in first, to help those who are last. Help us to be like the good Samaritan, to take the time and energy to help all those in need without prejudice or malice. Embolden us to do what is right, we pray in the name of Jesus. Amen. 

Assurance of Pardon: God promises that we can dwell with God’s very self on the holy hill. Through grace, is space in God’s neighborhood. Those we can tell one another the good news: In Jesus Christ we are forgiven. Amen. 

Prayer of the Day/Dedication: Lord, help us to face and see our neighbors: black, brown, white, immigrant, disabled, our LGBTQIA neighbors. Let us embrace those who vote, pray or live differently. For each individual is fully human and beloved by God. Help us to love them we pray. amen. 

Communion Prayer; Lord come and bless this food of the people and this cup of the people that we might taste and see the kindom in our neighbor’s eyes and be nourished to start the work of the kindom in our own neighborhood—knowing that we are all seen and loved in the eyes of God let us start to celebrate it here, today, by taking communion together. 

Hymns: Kum ba Yah, Jesu Jesu Fill Us with Your Love, Somebody’s Knocking at Your Door 

Taize: Let All who are Thirsty Come

Ash Wednesday Topical Prayer

Topical Prayer

Lord, you are the God of Ashes. So that when food tastes like dust upon the tongue, When we feel grubby and soiled, when we feel defeated—you’ve already been there. taking the long walk to death, walking grubby, dry-mouthed and alone. And you invite us, each and every year, to take the journey with you, so that neither of us are alone. You invite us to walk in our own stumbling way, with our own deaths. And you remind us—that we are but dust and to dust we will return. And it’s good to remember and process that fact. Because though we are dust, we are also the beloved siblings of Christ. And so, we will walk the path to Jerusalem together, because it is a journey worth taking. Be with us and we journey we pray, O God. Amen. 

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

Narrative Lectionary: Baptism of Jesus

Call to Worship (based on Psalm 51:15, 10)
O Lord, Open my lips
and my mouth will declare your praise
For you have not delight in sacrifice, it does not please you
Create in my a clean heart, O God, that I might worship you today and everyday.

Prayer of Confession: (unison): God, I confess my transgressions. Against you, you alone I have sinned. I confess that I have done what is evil in your sight. Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love. Blot out my transgressions according to your abundant mercy. Wash me, and cleanse me from my sin. Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your Holy Spirit from me.

Assurance of Pardon: God restores us, creating clean hearts and new spirits within us, and God’s salvation is restored to us through Jesus Christ. Friends hear the good news; In Jesus Christ we are forgiven.

HEARING THE WORD
Children’s Time : Telling God’s Story
(All children are invited to the front)

Prayer for Illumination
1st Scripture Reading Psalm 51:6-17
2nd Scripture Reading Luke 3:1-22

“Pre-Disciples” Pastor Katy Stenta

Reflection Roger Held

Joys & Concerns & The Lord’s Prayer (p. 16 in the blue hymnal)

RESPONDING TO THE WORD
Offering
*Doxology (#592 in Blue Hymnal) Praise God from whom all blessings flow. Praise God all creatures here below. Praise God above ye heavenly host. Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost! Amen.

SENDING THE WORD
Prayer of Dedication: God, remind us to share everything: food, blessings, baptisms. Send us forth into the world being the hands and feet of Christ. Help us to be your disciples we pray. Amen.

Hymn #443 “O Christ, the Great Foundation”


*Charge & Benediction

The peace of Christ be with you.
And also with you. (Invitation to share Peace)

Solace Solstice

God, on this the longest night of the year..and the shortest day, and the dance between Jupiter and Saturn dance so close together, they appear to be as one. I’m thinking deep thoughts.

I am praying, as I nestle in the dark, to embrace the long night. To have the stamina and wait for morning.

I am thinking how sometimes my head is pounding with stress and that it is then I retreat into the darkness. Quieting and darkening my thoughts.

It is different to meditate in the dark.

It is different to nestle in the dim light of the moon.

God I thank you for the comfort of the dark, for it is comforting to let the bits of sadness and anxiety and anger come–and to let them dissipate safely into the dark.

I am thankful when the darkness creeps towards bedtime, when the kids are (finally) able to be put to bed. For the minutes or hours I have to stay up afterwards, and for the permission for myself to call it a day a go to bed!

I thank you for the moments without the glow of lights or electronics. The moments I wake up in the middle of the night and take a deep breath and am comforted that it is not yet time to get up, that the children are still asleep, that it is dark outside.

I am thankful for the night and the winter and the changes in sunlight and moonlight. I am thankful for their changing consistency (how many times does the Bible compare you, God to the sun and the moon).

Thank you for the solace of this solstice. And I pray that when the sun rises, I remain grateful.

Please, let the dark continue to be a blessing I pray, in you–the shade in the sun, the shelter in the heat and the night after an endless long day.

I give you thanks and praise.

Amen.