Dec 11th Justice & Joy, Magnificat Realized

Justice, Mercy & Light Extended Advent

Dec 11 Joy Candle
Light of Nations
Isaiah 42:1-9 Through Spirit bring Release to Prisoners
Matthew 12:15-21 Spirit of justice, fulfilling the prophecy
Psalm 146:1-10 Joy & Justice for All in Need
Luke 1:46-55 Magnificat 

Advent Candles Liturgy

Joy and Justice, A Topical Prayer

Call to Worship
God, what Joy is it when there is justice
God, your mercy is from everlasting to everlasting
Come let us worship Jesus, healer of nations
Come, let us worship our God

Call to Confession: How wonderful is it that we can bring everything to God? Come let us stand in the shadow of God’s care

Prayer of Confession: God, we confess that we do not understand your justice. It is foreign to us, completely different from human structures of justice and accounting. We confess that your mercy and healing and accounting makes no sense to us, and we spend far too much time trying to figure it out. When we could, instead, spend time sitting with Jesus. Why do we do that God? We confess we do not know. Teach us to spend time with you. Teach us to look for Jesus in unexpected places we pray. Amen.

Assurance of Pardon: Jesus forgives us, anytime, anywhere, always. Hear, feel, breathe the good news: In Jesus Christ we are forgiven. 

Hymns: Live Into Hope, Lord I Wanna Be a Christian, I’ve Got Peace Like River, Blessed Assurance Jesus is Mine, Away in the Manger, O Little Town of Bethlehem, Magnify the Lord, To O Come All Ye Faithful

With Children: Aint’ Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around by Kirkwood, Kathlyn J. Or Justice Is by Preet Bhara Talk about Justice and What that really means. 

Image Found Here

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Full Extended Advent Resource

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Election Day Prayer

Do not put your trust in Princes
God says
-Vote

Care for the widows and the Least of these-
Lord Hear our Prayer
as I walk towards the booth, wary of those who are in line with me

Care for the Stranger and Immigrant, for you may care for Angels Unawares
echoes in my brain, as I trace the bubbles with smudgy pen

Woman, I hear you, I picture Jesus saying
as I see the name of the candidates who disregard
the healthcare of pregnant people and victims of abuse

Put not your trust in any human power–but my hope is in the Lord
who gives justice to those that suffer wrong
and bread to all those who hungers

God keeps promises better than any human
or politician.

This is why good administration is ministry
This is why voting and crying is ministry
This is why we do our best to care.

This is what I carry to the ballot box
That God will open the eyes that need to be opened
and lift up those who are bowed down
and free those who are bound–

Turn the wicked UpsideDown God.
I’ll help where I can.
And watch you work miracles.
Amen.

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

God’s Potent Promises: Joseph in Prison

Full Resource

God’s Potent Promise for the Outsider: God is with You

Joseph in Prison
Genesis 39:1-23 Joseph in Prison, God with Him
Matthew 5:11-12 Blessed when People Revile you
Psalm 146

If you want a document version of this entire series for easy viewing and formatting just email me at Katyandtheword at gmail and title it Narrative Lectionary and I will be happy to send it to you.

If you would like to support my work, please give to my gofundme for my D. Min in Creative Writing or in an exciting new prospect become a Patron for only $3 a month!

Call to Worship

God you call to the outsider 

You care for those who are imprisoned, different or are alone

You are with the marginal

God you are the God of the least of these

How mighty is our God, who cares for those we forget

Praise be to God, let us bless God 

Call to Worship (Based on Psalm 146)

Praise the Lord, O my Soul

God made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them, and keeps faith forevers

God executes justice for the oppressed, feeds the hungry, and sets the prisoner free. Thisis our God!

Come let us Praise the Lord!

Call to Confession: Come let us carry any piece of ourselves that is different or imprisoned to God.

Confession: Holy Spirit, I confess that I am not Joseph, but there are times in my life where I have felt like an outsider or trapped by my actions. There are times where I have felt different. God I confess it is easy to become embittered about those harsh times in life, or to hate as a result. I confess that it is easier to believe in a God of winners and powerful ones, than a God who wants to care for those who are vulnerable and powerless. Remind me that you came as a baby to show me that you are not interested in power, but love. Help me to understand a hope that is different and a freedom that is not political I pray. (Silent Confession). Amen.

Assurance of Pardon: Jesus comes to free you from all sins, you have already confessed, so you can now rest, safe and secure in the good news, come let us whisper the truth to one another: In Jesus Christ we are forgiven. Amen.

Prayer of the Day/Dedication: God, help us to see and accept and free the Josephs of the world. Remind us that you are always working towards justice and good, and human machinations are nothing towards your mercy. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.

Hymns: Live Into Hope, We Meet You Christ, There’s a Wideness in God’s Mercy, O God of Every Nation, If Thou but Trust in God to Guide Thee

Image: https://ps11showmedotcom.files.wordpress.com/2017/02/sneetches.png?w=620

Children: Talk about God being the God of the “Marginal.” Define that word to mean not in charge. Explain that this means that God is not interested in Christianity being in charge or in control, because God is most interested in caring for those left behind and forgotten. Brainstorm who those people might be. Book Suggestion: “Martin Luther King Jr: A Kid’s book about advancing Civil Rights with Nonviolence” by Mary Nhin “The Star Bellied Sneetches” by Dr Suess

If you want a document version of this entire series for easy viewing and formatting just email me at Katyandtheword at gmail and title it Narrative Lectionary and I will be happy to send it to you.

If you would like to support my work, please give to my gofundme for my D. Min in Creative Writing or in an exciting new prospect become a Patron for only $3 a month!

Full Resource

April 3rd Jesus Condemned: Lament for sin

Jesus Condemned: Lament for sin

John 19:1-16a

Psalm 146

Call to Worship

Our hope is the Lord our God

God made heaven and the earth, the sea and all that is in them

God keeps faith forever

Come let us praise the Lord!

Call to Confession: Come all you who are heavy burdened, and Jesus will give you rest. Come let us confess ourselves.

Confession: God we confess that we are frightened by the angry mobs of people, by death cults, by those who threaten violence when they lose their privilege. We confess it is frightening because we are afraid that we will will be caught up either in the mob, or be caught up and trampled by it. Avoiding it did not stop the violence, as your disciples can testify. Forgive us, God, for we do not know what we are doing, still. Teach us stop the crime of “crucify” and transform them into the grace and freedom that Pilate tries to enact. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen. 

Assurance of Pardon: God loves us, today, tomorrow and forever, nothing can separate us from that love. Thus we can tell one another the truth in that love: In Jesus Christ we are Forgiven. Amen. 

Prayer of the Day/Dedication: God teach us true freedom, not that of mobs, but the freedom that grace provides. Let us walk away in grace we pray. Amen. 

Children: Talk about 2nd Thoughts, why Pilate was having them, why it’s hard to have 2nd thoughts in a crowd/group/mob. Talk about why parents always say “if everyone jumped off a cliff would you” (I would say this very much as an inside joke that the kids all know). Talk about bravery, and the power of grace, and how true freedom means being able to have a difference of opinion and how Jesus wants us to be able to be free to love and protect one another first and foremost. 

Hymns: Were You There, He Never Said a Mumblin’ Word, When I survey the Wondrous Cross, Amazing Grace, Jesu Lover of My Soul

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

Sermon at Nazareth

GATHERING AROUND THE WORD

Welcome & Announcements
Call to Worship
(based on Psalm 146)

Praise the Lord, O my soul. 

I will praise the Lord as long as I live. I will sing praises to my God all my life long.

Do not put your trust in princes, in mortals, there is no help.

Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the oLd their God. 

God made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them, God who keeps faith forever . 

The Lord will reign forever, for all generations, praise the Lord!

*Hymn #288                         “I Sing the Might Power of God”

I sing the mighty power of God that made the mountains rise;

that spread the flowing seas abroad and built the lofty skies

I sing the wisdom that ordained The sun to rule the day;

The moon shines full at God’s command, And all the stars obey.

I sing the goodness of the Lord That filled the earth with food;

God formed the creatures with a word, And then pronounced them good,

Lord, how Thy wonders are displayed, Where’er I turn my eyes;

If I survey the ground I tread, Or gaze upon the skies!

There’s not a plant or flower below, But makes Thy glories known;

And clouds arise and tempests blow, By order from Thy throne;

While all that borrows life from Thee is ever in Thy care,

And everywhere that we can be, Thou, God, art present there. 

Prayer of Confession: (unison): God, I confess that sometimes I do not want to see your blessings spread afar. At times, I am selfish and think that blessings are like pie and may run out. I think that I must hoard my blessings, or earn them or somehow win them by being a better person. Remind us that this is not how God works, Jesus comes to the ones most in need, first. God calls us to help those the most in need first. Teach us the true nature of blessings, we pray. Amen.  

Assurance of Pardon: Happy are those who put their trust in the God of Jacob, for he sends us the power of the resurrection and the life, 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 146

2nd Scripture Reading                                     Luke 4:14-30

“Blessed to be a Blessing” 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, help us to do the work of Jesus! Let go forth proclaiming the good news to the poor. Help us to release the captives and let the oppressed go free! Let us go forward working to recover the sight of the blind, and to proclaim the year of God’s favor. Anoint us to tell the good news we pray. Amen. 

Hymn # 525             “Here I am Lord” 

I, the Lord of sea and sky, I have hear My people cry, 

All who dwell in deepest sin, My hand will save.

I who made the stars of night, I will make their darkness bright. 

Who will bear My light to them? Whom shall I send?

Here I am Lord, Is it I, Lord? I have heard you calling in the night.

I will go Lord, if you lead me. I will hold Your people in my heart. 

I, the Lord of snow and rain, I have borne my people’s pain.

I have wept for love of them, They turn away.

I will break their hearts of stone. Give them hearts for love alone.

I will speak My word to them. Whom shall I send? 

I, the Lord of wind and flame, I will tend the poor and lame.

I will set a feast for them, My hand will save.

Finest bread I will provide, Till their hearts be satisfied,

I will give My life to them. Whom shall I send? 

*Charge & Benediction

The peace of Christ be with you. 

And also with you.   (Invitation to share Peace)

God’s Care for the Widow

1 Kings 17:1-16 [17-24]
Luke 4:24-26 Opt Psalm 146: 5-10

Another Bulletin by Rev Dr Barb Hedges-Goettl

Call to Worship (Psalm 146)

Praise the Lord, O my soul!

I will praise the Lord as long as I live

Do not trust in princes, there is no help 

Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob,

Happy are those whose hope is in the Lord their God

God executes justice for the oppressed and gives food to the hungry

The Lord watches over the strangers; he upholds the widow

The Lord will reign forever, Praise the Lord!

Hymn: Here I am Lord

1 Kings 17:8-15 (We shall read the text together wherever we are, please read the appropriate passage when I hold up my finger)

(1 Finger) Then the word of the Lord came to him, saying, ‘Go now to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and live there; for I have commanded a widow there to feed you.’ 

(2 Fingers) So he set out and went to Zarephath. When he came to the gate of the town, a widow was there gathering sticks; 

(3 Fingers) he called to her and said, ‘Bring me a little water in a vessel, so that I may drink.’ As she was going to bring it, he called to her and said, ‘Bring me a morsel of bread in your hand.’ 

(Pastor Katy) But she said, ‘As the Lord your God lives, I have nothing baked, only a handful of meal in a jar, and a little oil in a jug; I am now gathering a couple of sticks, so that I may go home and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it, and die.’

(4 Fingers) Elijah said to her, ‘Do not be afraid; go and do as you have said; but first make me a little cake of it and bring it to me, and afterwards make something for yourself and your son. 

(5 Fingers) For thus says the Lord the God of Israel: The jar of meal will not be emptied and the jug of oil will not fail until the day that the Lord sends rain on the earth.’ 

Children’s Sermon

Sermon “God Among Strangers” Pastor Katy Stenta

https://youtu.be/Vswlz65zDhk

My Shepherd Will Supply My Need

Feel free to use/adapt, if you use the prayers please credit Pastor Katy Stenta

More Narrative Lectionary Resources Here

RCL: All My Mites

It is election time in the United States, and I have been thinking about this text–Mark 12:38-44 all week, before even I was conscious that it was the lectionary.

I will start by admitting that I didn’t remember that those in political & religious power are devouring widows. I remembered thew widow giving her all, but I didn’t remember that it was in such sharp contrast to those in power.

My gaff makes sense, however, because too often we forget that Christianity is not about power. Or rather, that Jesus Christ is all about empowering those who have none. Thus being in power and being Christian is tricky at best.

As a Presbyterian in the United States this is a hard pill for my particular denomination to swallow. We used to be the power brokers in the US, we are the Catholics in Rome, we have our Reverend Witherspoons and our Aaron Burrs.

I think about this often because, in my context, my denomination has the least amount of money it has ever had. And its panicking all levels from the local church to the national governance. We are spending down our reserves as less and less money is coming in and membership is “declining.”

I think Jesus Christ is telling this story not only to point out the differences in power, and to remind us who it is we should be standing by. But I also firmly believe that Jesus tells this story because its true. Those who are the closest to being poor given the most to those in need. Those who are in the most precarious place, tend to practice their faith closer to the church and in a quieter manner than those with money and power and prestige.

And I’m convinced that those who have experienced poverty give the most because they understand what it means to have nothing, and that they, we, appreciate what they have more. I say we because I have experienced the grief of poverty and debt, and as I rise in prestige, power and money I hope that I never forget what its like to pick which bill you aren’t going to pay this month, to scrape together all the change in the house to send your child the money for a school activity, to carefully put all the baby food and milk back in the fridge to be used later.

But our God is a God of abundance, as is evident of 1 Kings 17:8-16. I have seen God make something out of nothing multiple times. I have had it so that the thing that was going to break my bank was miraculously paid for by someone else. I have received timely gifts of items we have desperately needed, that the person didn’t know we needed, but somehow the winter coat came just after the zipper from the old one broke, that a free day of play at a kids entertainment center appeared right when we couldn’t afford to do anything but the kids desperately needed to get out. I’ve seen politics and power at its worse and but I have also  seen how Medicaid and Therapy Care provided by the state of New York has saved our sanity and provided the structure our son with autism, and really our entire family desperately needed. And though the structure that comes through is the government, I cannot help but believe that these gifts came through my trust in God. Because the reason are in New York in the first place, in an epicenter for autistic care, is because I came here to serve a church. We thought we were just coming here to serve God, but of course, God called us here to help us.

I give to God not because God needs my money and my goods, but because God can increase them tenfold. I give to God because God can do way more with my stuff and talents than I could ever imagine.

Both widows have little

Both widows give

Both widows experience miracles.

Psalm 146 puts it well, I do not trust in the power and principalities of the world–as Nadia Bolz-Weber notes they are but footnotes in the story of Jesus, because God is the true power. So when I pray, when I trust, it’s God.

Because I want my God to be the one who executes justice. That’s who I want to worship and that’s who I want my God to be. I want a God who wants me to feed the hungry and set prisoners free, the one who opens the eyes of the blind and lifts up the burdened.

I want the God who teaches be me love the righteous, watch over the strangers/immigrants, and to uphold the orphan and the widow.

I want to know this God, and in knowing this God I want to be able to do this work.

Because I want to love God with all my heart

all my soul

and all my mites.

Thanks be to God


Katy Stenta is a solo pastor at a tiny church that is bigger on the inside in Albany, NY for over eight years and blogs at katyandtheword@wordpress.com When she is not dreaming up projects and ideas, some of which creep into the church, she plays with her three boys-boys or goes and visits her husband at the library, while he works, to read.


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When in Doubt: #Prayer Resource #Jesus Condemned

John 19:1-16a and Psalm 146

Call to Worship: Lord we come here for sanctuary Knowing the world is not always safe, we turn to you I will not put my trust in the power of mortals or princes I put my trust in the Lord, who executes justice–the one who gives food to the hungry. Breath departs and plans perish. So My hope is in God who’s promise is peace, that God I will praise all my life long. 

Prayer of Confession: Lord almighty, I confess that I feel the powers that be. I am strained by the systems, by the abuse and violence that is in the world. I am overwhelmed. So help me to turn to you Lord Jesus, let me see your love, so I am not only encouraged but also empowered to love in the midst of hardship I pray.

Assurance of Pardon: Hear this, our God is the one who sets prisoners free, opens the eyes of the blind. Lifting up those who are bowed down and watching over the stranger. This God is the one who proclaims the truth to us: In Jesus Christ we are forgiven. Amen

Offering Prayer/Prayer of Dedication: Lord we are here, hoping to give ourselves, not to the powers and principalities of mortals, but instead to you. So that we might love and serve the Lord, so that God’s love can shine through everything we do, we pray in your most holy name. 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.