Prayer for the Changes

This is prayer for those who are making the changes

Who are doing the hard things.

Who are saying goodbye.

Who have accepted that death is a part of resurrection.

This is a prayer for all those who know, in their heart of hearts,

that normal isn’t real anyway.

That Jesus doesn’t hang out with the normal people in the first place,

and that the tiny hurts, that you are uncovering, are real, and valid, and it’s ok that they feel lonesome.

This is prayer for those who feel like its just one thing too many…

it that you feel like its your own failing: your too old or too young or too weird or too poor, too tired or just too whatever to handle it.

Because Jesus knows, she knows, and she will swoop down, like a mother bird, and wrap you her wings, and love you to her bosom, and hug you

til you remember you are too whatever, and still beloved,

somehow both and.

Here’s a prayer for moving on,

because we humans are made to transition all the time, and yet emotionally it is like the hardest thing to do

Why is that God?

And we are in the midst of some big Apocalyptic transition thing

From Pre-Pandemic to

Not Post pandemic.

But whatever it looks like

Here’s a prayer for that

For all of us

Help us as we do this thing, and love us through we pray.

Amen.

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

With thanks to RevGalBlogPals, the Board, the Writers, the Community

–Katy “Katyandtheword”

Pandemic Prayers

Did She Want to Get Up?

The Resurrection of Tabitha/Dorcas is truly a wonderful miracle. There is Peter, and there are all the widows taking care of her who stand as witness as he says, Tabitha get up. To me, the most amazing part is, she does. She must have loved her discipleship. She must have had things to do on earth. Because part of me wonders if Tabitha laid down because she was really, really tired, so tired that she was burned out. In a time where more than half of women admit to being burned out according to Forbes: https://www.forbes.com/sites/deloitte/2022/04/26/women-continuing-to-face-alarmingly-high-levels-of-burnout-stress-in-the-new-normal-of-work/?sh=12cd72432e5c

What kind of world are we running where we decide that the women of our society are allowed to be run off their feet? It’s ok to work our women to death—a truth I think which has only been laid bare by the pandemic. Certainly, most of our churches are primarily run and kept in order by women. And the more that is put on women’s plates, the less the church is able to do—plain and simple.

One of the main reasons Christianity grew was because it empowered women—it is shocking to see it as a place that now conversely hems women in. Shutting them up, taking away their individuality, sexuality, independence and power—regulating them to baby making volunteers for Jesus. A place where abortion becomes a dividing vote: https://www.cnn.com/2022/05/03/politics/abortion-politics-analysis/index.html Meanwhile, Acts makes it clear that the women were the original founders and financiers of the church, making disciples and decisions going forward.

I imagine that Tabitha wanted to get up because she had more good works to do—because she found the charity work in her life fulfilling, because she was a woman who empowered women. Why else would all the widows be there? Widows, who are politically powerless, but clearly have purpose beyond baby making in Tabitha’s world. They are the ones who are present. They are very, very important.

I am tired, of being angry that less women are employed now than when my mom was in the job market. That all women of color are especially being left behind: https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/behavioral-competencies/global-and-cultural-effectiveness/pages/over-1-million-fewer-women-in-labor-force.aspx That abortion rights are receding.

That my queer siblings are unsafe, that genders are clearly & stupidly divided (by baby making abilities) and uteruses are a commodity to be bought and sold and that my value to many is about how many Christian white babies I can make—and that I am not a real pastor to most because I am a woman. I am tired, and very, very angry.

But I am reminded, that resurrection in Jesus Christ, is complete resurrection, one of joy and energy and that the work is good, and moreover—the widows are waiting. So I guess I better get up and get to work.

A version of this appears in the resources available in “The Immediate Word” section of The Sermon Suite subscription resource that gives all kinds of help in sermon writing and worship planning: https://www.sermonsuite.com/the-immediate-word. I am a regular contributor, and my colleagues are fantastic writers if you are interested.

Maundy Thurs (or Resurrection Promises) a prayer

Jesus

You promised to show up

Whenever we feed one another

In your name…

You promise that we can celebrate

Communion

With one another and you

Whenever we want/need to

How is this possible?

Jesus let me hang onto your promises,

And remind me,

Even if I let go—your promises remain

They are better than time or borders

Or any other human invention

God, I’m going to stand on your promises,

Or hide in them

Or even if I lose them—

I’m going to wait for them to find me again

Like Ruth and Naomi,

Like Joseph in Egypt,

Like Paul

Your promises don’t find us because we are perfect

Or deserving

They find us simple because we are loved.

May we feel beloved today.

Amen.

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

April 17th Resurrection: Hope Seeing Resurrected Jesus

April 17th Resurrection: Hope Seeing Resurrected Jesus

John 20:1-18

Psalm 118:21-29

Call to Worship

Christ is Risen

He is Risen indeed

The stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone

Look the Lord’s doing wondrous things before our eyes

This is the day that the Lord has made

Let us rejoice and be glad in it!

Call to Confession: God sees us exactly as we are and loves us, so come let us confess ourselves to God. 

Confession: Jesus, we confess that sometimes we are blinded by tears or turned away, and it is hard to recognize you. We confess that all too often we do not practice or believe in the power of resurrection, so it sneaks by us. Forgive us, teach us to see the seeds you are planting, for you are, after all, the original gardener, and help us to co-create and tend the seeds of resurrection so that they grow, we pray in the name of the resurrection Jesus. Amen. 

Assurance of Pardon: Christ is risen, so you are forgiven. Know the truth: In Jesus Christ we are Forgiven.

Prayer of the Day/Dedication: We are an Easter people, a Resurrection People, let us name it and claim it we pray in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen. 

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

Pandemic Resurrection

God. I’m doing the work of resurrection.

The stress has shifted from how do I mark time and God do I miss people to

I’m back at the races of triple scheduling and childcare & transportation needs exploding.

Is this what resurrection feels like?

Everything is returning back to normal; everything except for my priorities.

Everything is being re-examined, and I feel the ridiculousity of life as articles try to grab onto relationship evaluations with pallid and downright stupid questions.

It’s not about reciprocity or weight gain or worrying about having the right friendships and family.

It’s about who I missed, and what people can manage and how to be a better friend or family member.

What was it like for you Jesus when you came back. Did you need time to readjust?

Did you sit in the garden for a few minutes pulling weeds…

Thinking about what had radically changed in you life within the parameters of “getting back to normal.”

Is this why you waited to greet the women? Did you have to wait till your tongue could unstick from the roof of your mouth to speak.

Did you feel as socially awkward, unused to interaction and uncertain how to start, did you feel it as sharply as we do?

Were you far more burnt out out than you realized?

God as I sit in the abandoned Lord & Taylor

where in March 2020 my friends and I sat far apart in the lot trying to hear each other’ words, desperate to see other people—

as I sit here now

Now waiting…

waiting for my son’s vaccination, I know, I really know that this is actually what resurrection looks like.

Strange

And repurposed

And transformed into something you never imagined

And I know resurrection is worth it

Build us into the resurrection I pray.

Amen.

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

More Pandemic Resources here

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

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.  

Easter Sunday Prayers

Journey to Resurrection

April 4

Resurrection

Resurrection of Our Lord 

Luke 24:1-12: http://bible.oremus.org/?ql=476536856

Psalm 118: 17, 21-24: http://bible.oremus.org/?ql=476536876

Call to Worship: 

God, I thank you that you have become my salvation

Look! The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone

This is the day that the Lord has made!

Let us rejoice and be glad in it!

Christ is risen!

Christ is risen, indeed, alleluia. 

Invitation: Let all who are astonished by the resurrection confess themselves to God. 

Confession: God we confess that we too are perplexed by the resurrection. How did it happen? Is it real? Did it truly happen to save us all? Help us in our confusion and questions. Give us the courage to ask about the things we don’t know and the wisdom to let some things be mysterious. Help us to be a resurrection people, ready to go out and proclaim the mystery and the truth of God’s love to all we meet. In the name of your risen son Jesus Christ we pray. Amen. 

Assurance of Pardon: Christ is alive! Risen to forgive all sins. Let us tell the truth: In Jesus Christ we are forgiven. 

Prayer of the Day/Dedication: God we are in great need of alleluias! Let us go into Easter with full hearts and dripping with grace we pray.

Communion Prayer: Lord Jesus, it is a great honor to celebrate your death once again. This time in the midst of the very resurrection you promised. You remind us that we cannot have resurrection without death. Comfort us as we mourn your death, and enable us to celebrate your life all within this meal. Send you Holy Spirit to dance upon our tongues and give us a foretaste of the feast in heaven, with all the saints that were and are and will be we pray. Amen. 

Hymns: Christ is Alive!, Come Ye Faithful Raise the Strain, The Day of Resurrection!, Thine is the Glory, Jesus Christ is Risen Today!, 

Taize: Laudate Dominum: Sing, Praise and Bless the Lord, Peoples, Nations, Alleluia! 

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

Looking to Heaven: Eastertide

Jesus went to heaven, and the disciples would have liked to have stayed there.

Looking at the heavens.

Just like the transfiguration.

Let’s move in, we are ready for heaven.

Or at least we can spend all the time with the pure ones, the disciples, the ones in the know.

And Jesus said, don’t worry I’m going to send you to the ends of the earth, don’t worry I’m going to give you a million Easters, 2,000 years to learn; 2,000 years of grace.

Talk about a grace period for one’s debts.

Many weeks and Sunday for Easter to unfold into your hearts, and your children’s hearts and your children’s children’s children’s house.

I’m going to give you time to learn how to be community.

I’m going to leave you with my one commandment, love one another.

Stop looking at heaven, the answer isn’ there.

Look to earth, to the relationships.

Nothing will ever be the same again: Temples & Resurrection

Jesus promises that nothing will ever be the same again.

But no one understands: Neither rabbis nor the government, neither his family nor the disciples.

But that is the word of Jesus: nothings will ever be the same again.

And then he tears down the temple: time shatters as a side effect.

The sky goes dark, the minutes become slippery and the future melts into the past.

Jesus promises that nothing will ever be the same again

And Lazarus knows it when he is resurrected from the dead, so does Jairus’ daughter.

Because after Resurrection, not one stone will remain upon another.

After Resurrection, everything changes in the world and the entire world is changed.

They are not the same people, and their relationships will change.

What is an apocalypse? It is the uncovering of what is real, and what is rote.

Why is it an apocalypse? Because it’s about time we wake up and pay attention.

As things crumble away, money becomes meaningless and hugs become everything.

Power desinigrates, but conversations become lifesaving.

Jesus promises that nothing will ever be the same again.

And we pray for that, when we pray thy kingdom come, thy will be done.

(As things change, as every single thing we do changes from work, to family, too finances. As this moment becomes a part of the social conscious memory, let us acknowledge that maybe it’s good that nothing will ever be the same again.

Maybe priorities will change, maybe relationships will strengthen, maybe the things that are breaking were already on the brink and it’s time to change the way we do those things: elder care, disabled care, work/life balance, the value of essential work, the need for healing, the way my health is wrapped up in your health, the way my money is economy up in your economy, the way my shalom is wrapped up in your shalom.)

We can taste the kingdom on our tongues, not because Jesus is coming tomorrow, but because has already been here.

And we, living in the grace of 2,000 plus years post Jesus, are just now realizing that nothing truly will ever be the same again. But the temple is being rebuilt, this too Jesus promises.

It won’t be the same temple, but the temple will be rebuilt.

Thanks be to God, for the good news.

More Prayer Resources