Looking for a Sign

Lord, God, Jesus, Dude. You know this prayer. I’ve said it often enough.

I’m trying to make decisions, but am weary from the road.

And a lot of what has to be done feels like starting over.

And God, I don’t want to have to start over again,

So here is one my favorite prayers: If you want to—send a sign,

about what I should do

where I should go

who I should be..

I wouldn’t mind God.

Because you know we humans have trouble seeing what is right in front of us

You know that we play denial likes its an Olympic sport,

and too often our eyes are bleary.

Lord, God I wouldn’t mind a sign or two right now.

And if it isn’t a sign—maybe you can give me a nudge.

And if it’s not a nudge…

please squeeze my hand and remind me you are here I pray,

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In the most Holy Name of God, who never tires of the same prayer over and over again, that’s the God I pray to today.

Amen.

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

More Mundane Prayers Here

Here is the Link for Pandemic Prayers and Resources: Top Posts are “In an Abundance of Caution” “The Lord is My Shepherd: What kind of Sheep are You” and “Masks: A Prayer”

Imprecation: Shatter Them

Lord God, how do I do this prayer thing when I’m really angry at someone?

Can I wish them ill? Do I throw curses off of my tongue?

(If I use the fancy word for curses: imprecation, does that make it better? It feels better to say Imprecation)

What did Moses do when the Pharaoh continually made a promise to free the Hebrew people, and then took it back, over and over again?

What did Jesus do when people tried to throw him off the cliff the first time he preached?

Can I just shake the dust off from those encounters, and continue on my day?

That doesn’t feel like enough!

Lord, God, I know it is my job to name evil when I see it, and that a synonym of imprecation and curses is simply denunciation.

Sibling Jesus, I am praying that you Help me to reject evil, Lord. Gift me with a better understanding than hate the sin and love the sinner (because that just isn’t good enough)

And I know the Psalms is full of really hard curses like: Give them what they deserve, and let my enemies experience what I have experienced.

Hannah says ” He will guard the feet of his faithful ones,but the wicked shall be cut off in darkness;  for not by might does one prevail. The Lord! His adversaries shall be shattered;” (1 Sam 1:9)

Mother Mary, who is often portrayed as sweet and quiet prays: “God has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things,  and sent the rich away empty.” (Luke 1: 51-53)

So I guess my prayer will echo theirs, in it’s own simplicity.

And trust you know the full meaning of the prayer, because I confess I do not.

And justice is yours.

Lord shatter the enemy.

Those in power Shatter them to pieces.

Shatter the hardhearted as only you can.

In Christ’s name. I submit this prayer to you, O God.

Amen

Use/Copy/Adapt with Credit to Pastor Katy Stenta

Denunciation of Evil Prayer

Mundane Prayers & Pandemic Prayers

Bulletin 2: Passover by Pastor Katy Stenta

The Promise of Passover: Sermon & Bulletin 1 by Rev. Dr Barbara Hedges-Goettl, Bulletin 2 by Pastor Katy Stenta, Passover Prayer
Exodus 12:1-13; 13:1-8
Luke 22: 14-20 Opt Psalm 105: 31-36

Announcements 

Call to Worship

God called Abraham out of his homeland, and the Hebrews out of Egypt

Come Let us worship the Lord

God continues to call us out of where we are to who we should be

Come let us worship the Lord

All Creatures of Our God and Kings 455

All creatures of our God and King, Lift up your vote and with us sing; Alleluia! Alleluia!Thou burning sun with golden beam, Thou silver moon with softer gleam

Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia

Thou rushing wind that art so strong, Ye clouds that sail in heaven along; O sing ye Alleluia Thou rising morn, in praise rejoice, Ye lights of evening find a voice!

Thou flowing water, pure and clearMake music for thy Lord to hear; Alleluia! Alleluia! Thou fire so masterful and bright, That gives us both warms and light

Thou fertile earth, that day by day, Unfoldest blessings on your way; O sing ye! Alleluia! The flowers and fruits that in thee grow, Let them God’s glory also show! 

Exodus 12:11b-13:8

(1 finger) It is the passover of the Lord. For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike down every firstborn in the land of Egypt, both human beings and animals; on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgements:

(2 fingers)  I am the Lord. The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live: when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague shall destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt. 

(3 fingers) The Lord said to Moses: Consecrate to me all the firstborn; whatever is the first to open the womb among the Israelites, of human beings and animals, is mine. 

(4 fingers) Moses said to the people, ‘Remember this day on which you came out of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, because the Lord brought you out from there by strength of hand; no leavened bread shall be eaten.

(Pastor Katy) Today, in the month of Abib, you are going out. When the Lord brings you into the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, which he swore to your ancestors to give you, a land flowing with milk and honey, you shall keep this observance in this month. 

(5 fingers) For seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, and on the seventh day there shall be a festival to the Lord. 

(6 fingers) Unleavened bread shall be eaten for seven days; no leavened bread shall be seen in your possession, and no leaven shall be seen among you in all your territory. 

(7 fingers) You shall tell your child on that day, “It is because of what the Lord did for me when I came out of Egypt.” 

Children’s Sermon

Sermon                         God with the enslaved Pastor Katy Stenta

Live into Hope 332

Live into hope of captives freed, Of sight regained, the end of greed

The oppressed shall be the first to see, the year of God’s own jubilee

Live into hope the blind shall see, With insight and with clarity, 

Removing shades of pride and fear—A vision of our God brought near.

Live into hope of liberty, The right to speak, the right to be

The right to have one’s daily bread, To hear God’s word and thus be fed.

Live into hope of captives freed, From chains of fear or want or greed.

God now proclaims our full release, To faith and hope and joy and peace. 

Prayer of Confession: Lord God we confess that we are not where we should be right now. We get distracted by idols, we forget that God promises to free all of God’s children. We proclaim our liberty, and forget that you also commanded us to love one another, and gave us instructions how to save one another.  Help us to love and work to save one another, we pray.  Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed by Thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and 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 Power and the Glory Forever. Amen.

Passing of the Peace

More Narrative Lectionary Resources

Passover Prayer

I see what you did there, God. All those years ago.

You put forth all the plagues: the bloods and the bugs and the frogs (or a giant frog depending how you translate it).

And when all of that was said and done. When Moses’ leadership alone wasn’t enough to set the Hebrews free–you required some participation.

You said, with arms outstretched, that if you want salvation, I’m going to need a little work and sacrifice from you people.

I imagine there might be some Godfearers in Egypt–some friends–who also put the sign of God upon the door. I imagine there was grace there that is as of yet unknown.

And I wonder, God, if the method to this was the foretaste of the work to come. The understanding that Moses could lead all he wanted but without the people, nothing would happen.

What a great precursor to Jesus who stands with an open hand for our salvation–and at the same time forces no one and waits for our participation.

God is always with us, but are we able to see it?

Lord, how can I participate in my own salvation? How can I help others paint their doors with the sign of God?

Image from Prince of Egypt from here

In an era where we continue to think it’s every person for themselves, I’m praying that you show us how to be more like the people in Exodus–who although they complained every step of the way, and fumbled and made mistakes. In the end they understood that my freedom is wrapped up in yours.

Lord teach us to be safe and free, teach us how to love and serve one another. Help us to participate in our own Passover today. Not because we are better than anyone else, but because we want every single person who can be saved, to be saved.

I pray this is your most holy name. Amen.

More Narrative Lectionary Resources

God of Gaps

Dear God of all things missing, imperfect and forgotten, I appeal to you today.

Fill in the gaps, like kintsugi, remolding them with gold to make them beautiful.

I am aware that when we humans fill in the gaps, we do so clumsily. Like children trying to fix a things with school glue.

And oftentimes I can feel overwhelmed with all the gaps that exist: gaps that lead to homeless, the gaps that lead to human injustices, the racial gaps, the gendered gaps, the disability gaps, the hetereo-normative gaps, the gaps in environmental care.

There are so many gaps once you start looking gap years, gap employment, gap babies, gap relationships….

And I confess we are a people of gaps. Trying to place everyone into easy categories of work and care. God. Help me to see and accept that we are a people of gaps.

And when I see the gaps, help me to truly acknowledge and try to understand where those gaps come from.

Help me learn how to handle others’ gaps of knowledge, which are perhaps even more frustrating than my own. (It’s easier to ignore my own gaps than others).

Remind me to love my neighbor, and their gaps, as I love myself and my own gaps.

And encourage me to know that you don’t ignore or just fix gaps.

God, you inhabit the gaps. Those small hidey-holes we hide or forget.

These places of mysterious are a part of your very Godly Being!

You are the God of gaps.

How wondrous is that.

Be the God of Gaps today and everyday we pray.

Amen

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

For More Mundane Prayers: For Surviving Day to Day Life click here

More Pandemic Prayers and Resources: Top Posts are “In an Abundance of Caution” “The Lord is My Shepherd: What kind of Sheep are You” and “Masks: A Prayer”

Prayer at the Mailbox

God, only you know how many times I’ve been to the mailbox.

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Checking it two to five times because some days the most exciting interaction of the day is getting my mail.

Lord, you know how I fell back in love with mail. The encouraging letter from an old connection to take care of myself during the pandemic–the boxes of small treats, the postcards to the children, and the much needed supplies in the height of local shortages.

The Easter cards, I never had time to do, where I poured my love out to my congregation, the handwritten notes and the small activity books for the kids of the church.

Lord this is prayer for the mail, which was so consistent in my life and did not used to be exciting. It used to just be bills and ads, and have instead been a tangible, touchable, visual sign of love and community.

Protect the mail, I pray.

Amen.

Pandemic Prayers & Resources

Decision Fatigue

Lord God Almighty, Can’t you just make the decision for me?

COVID Risk Chart

Image xkcd comic

In a time when every single decision seems to carry weight. Do we go to the grocery store, or do take out? Am I appropriately spaced from the person nearby? Do I go to bed or spend 5 more minutes on this moment of free time?

Reopening sucks. Are we even reopening? How much can we reopen? Should we even try when we know that it’s still not safe?

Lord, decision making is not safe right now.

Do I send my kids to some kind of camp or school? Do I accede to digital learning, should i just homeschool (please God let the answer not be that I should be homeschooling, because i just can’t)

Lord, usually we make decisions in a split second, in a culture where immediacy is the primary value–I valued the swiftness over the efficacy.

God, Lord, Jesus, Holy Ghost. How do you–with three people make any decisions.

Do you have any hints for me?

Can you just make the decision for me? No?……

Well then, help me to weigh, to quiet my voice enough to give some room for yours–

Help me to make the best decision I can in the moment, remind me that nothing has to be written in stone.

Help me to make the right risky decisions: About who to help, who to be in relationship with, how to donate & protest in all the needful ways.

Give me the strength I need face the things I have to continue to say no to…give me the support I need to carry on in the midst of it all.

and

Grant me your grace, as I make the hard decisions I pray.

And please help every single human who is making all of the decisions. Kyrie Elesion.

Send your Holy Spirit, nudge us (or shove us) in the right direction, build consensus, Soften the hard-hearted so they can hear the facts they need to make the right decisions.

In Jesus Holy Name, please hear our prayer

Amen

Pentecost, Gifts of the Spirit Seeds of Faith narrative Lectionary

Gifts of the Spirit

Acts 2:1-4; 1 Cor 12:1-13

(Mark 1:4-8)

Body of Christ

Stuck in a Room: Contemplating Pentecost

Gifts of the Holy Spirit Plea/Prayer

Bulletin and other Resources by Rev Dr Barb Hedges-Goettl

Another Resource for NL http://sacredise.com/lectionary-resources/pentecost-a/

Call to Worship

Lord we come here to celebrate our baptism

One Body, One Spirit, One Baptism, One Body of God

Bathe us once again, in the Holy Spirit

Come let us gather and greet the Lord

Call to Worship

Lord remind us that we are one in the Spirit

Help us to recognize your gifts, we pray

Let us use our gifts today and everyday

Let us use them to glorify the Lord

Confession: Lord, God we are feeling trapped and uninspired. We are weary. What do we say in times like this? How can we help those in need? How do we heal from this mass trauma? We feel alone. Breathe on us once again–give us live and inspiration and strength. Encourage us. Ennerve us. Energize us. Advocate for us, we pray.

Assurance of Pardon: God’s grace breathes upon us like a soothing breeze in the scorching heat. Know that God always loves us. Live into the refreshing forgiveness of Jesus Christ.

Prayer of Communion: Lord, before we even existed, your Spirit danced upon the water, blowing it’s presence across the earth. Then you formed us out of clay and breathed us into being. Then your Holy Spirit accompanied Christ: sometimes encouraging him, sometimes becoming the driving force behind him. Then when Jesus ascended into heaven, the Holy Spirit was sent to the disciples, as an advocate. So we ask for you to breathe once again here, upon these common elements. Transform them through the power of the Holy Spirit to carry the body and blood of Christ. Commune us together Holy Spirit: with all those who have celebrated communion, all those who are celebrating and all those who will celebrate communion. Create with us the invisible, present and virtual Church made real in Christ. We pray this is the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/the Day: Lord, bless us so that we can be a blessing we pray. Remind us of our gifts. And when our gifts feel like a burden or a curse, remind us to rest and eat and to breathe, so that we might once again do our work in joy, we pray.

 

All resources can be used with credit to Pastor Katy Stenta

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Eastertide Preaching Narrative Lectionary

Virtual Communion Resources

Pandemic Resources

 

Narrative Lectionary Seeds of Prayer: Church at Corinth

Church at Corinth

Acts 18:1-4

1 Cor. 1:10-18

(Mark 9:34-35)

Lectionary Resources & Prayers by Dr. Barb Hedges-Goettl

Call to Worship

To whom do you belong? Are you an American? A Democrate? a Republican? An Independent?

I belong to Christ

Can Christ be divided?

No, we are the body of Christ. 

Call to Worship

Look who has gathered here today?

It is us, the hands and feet of Christ

It is so good you are here, we have need of each and every one of you!

Come let us worship the Lord together!

Prayer of Confession: God, too often we forget who formed us, and blessed us and sent us into the world. We think we are made of our own bootstraps, or that our merits are based on our worthiness. Bless us as children of God, we pray. Amen.

Prayer of Confession: Lord, I confess that I am desperate to belong, to fit in, to be a part of it all. And it is hard to know that I fall short, it is hard acknowledge that I can disclose others, who also want to belong. Teach me how we all belong to you I pray. Amen.

Assurance of Pardon: God’s love always leaves the light on for us, come home and know the truth: In Jesus Christ we are forgiven.

Prayer of the Day: Lord, remind us that we can find home and love in you. Especially when it’s hard to face the world. Be our soft place to land, we pray. Amen.

Communion Prayer: Lord, like a mother you nourish us. Giving Adam and Eve the Garden of Eden and all that dwelled therein. Then when we were wandering in the desert with Moses, you fed us manna. Again, when the temple was destroyed, you fed us hope. Feed us today, again, today in any way we need. Bless this food and cup with the Holy Spirit so it can be the food of Jesus Christ, communion and love. We pray in the name of Jesus Christ, your firstborn child, who adopted each of us as family. May we celebrate all of our meals with our brother Jesus we pray. Amen.

Body of Christ Litany

Mother’s Day Confession Prayer

Mother’s Day Litany Prayer (in light of the pandemic)

Virtual Communion Resources

Pandemic Resources

Eastertide Narrative Lectionary Resources