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

Easter/Resurrection Links of Prayer

 

the-spirit-that-is-in-you-now-794x794

Invitation to be Raised by Rev. Dr. Barb Hedges-Goettl

Feel free to use/edit. Credit to the original author (i.e. based on prayer/prayers written by Rev Dr. Barb Hedges-Goettl) appreciated.

Luke 24:1-12 and Psalm 118: 17, 21-24 or Psalm 118:20 

Call to Worship/Opening Prayer

Option A: Gospel

Bring us to your place of resurrection, Lord.

Perplex us. Terrify us. Make us remember.

Send us out to tell the good news.

Bring us back to see for ourselves.

Amaze us by what has happened, and by what continues to happen.

Make us your resurrection people.

Option B: Gospel

We are perplexed when Christ Jesus is not in the tomb.When confronted by your messengers, we are moved to worship.They tell us we are looking for the living among the dead and testify to who Jesus is and what he has promised.Confront us. Speak to us. Fulfill your promises to us.Embolden us to carry Easter news to the world:Christ is risen!   ALL: Christ is risen indeed!

Option C: Psalm

I shall not die, but I shall live

I shall recount the deeds of the Lord.

I thank you that you have answered me and become my salvation.

The stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.

This is the Lord’s doing

It is marvelous in our eyes.

This is the day that the Lord has made.

Let us rejoice and be glad in it!

Prayer of Confession

God, many times we do not pay attention to the tales of what you do. We think they are idle nonsense, full of wishful thinking and overactive imaginings. We are afraid to believe them. We don’t want to be ridiculed or disappointed. When we do not see you, we think that you are missing-in-action. We expect death and tombs, not resurrection and new life. Often we do not remember what you have promised or what you have done. We think that you acted in other times and place, not our own, or we want to be in charge of how and when and why you are act. Forgive us, Lord, and help our unbelief.

Easter Litany

(Possibly for Communion)

One; On this Easter morning,

Many: on this day of resurrection,

ALL: O Lord, raise us up.

One: As Jesus rose up from the grave.

Many: and Peter rose up to go and see

ALL: O Lord, raise us up.

One: Raise us up to the surface

Many: where we can breathe.

One; Raise us up to the mountain

Many: where you can be seen and heard.

ALL: O Lord, raise us up.

One: Raise us up from the tomb

Many: renouncing the old life in favor of the new.

One: Raise us up in mutiny against the powers of evil

Many: resisting hate and injustice.

One: Raise us up in rebellion against all that would separate and divide

Many: Straighten us up in the face of overwhelming threats

ALL O Lord, raise us up.

One: Raise us up from death.

Many: Raise us up with your burgeoning life.

One: Raise us up with your effervescent Spirit.

Many: As your resurrection people

ALL: O Lord, raise us up.

More Narrative Lectionary Lenten Themed Prayers  

Surprise!?! #diversity, #love and #easter #reclaimholyweek

Christ is Risen

Christ is Risen, Indeed!

What a funny recitation, its as if we don’t believe eachtother that Christ was resurrection, as if its a surprise to us.

Its only sort of a surprise, it reminds me of a Stenta Surprise ( my husband and various members of that family)

The Stenta side of the family is not that good at surprises…they hate to be on the receiving end of surprises.

Usually surprises go like this

I tell my son we have a surprise for me huband

Something like, “I got a Phillies keychain for your dad, but Shh! Its a surprise

Why don’t you go and give it to him and tell him its a surprise” (all in my husband’s hearing)

That is usually as close to a surprise we try to get…

Surprises are funny, though, because they are about how you feel.

You can be expecting something, and still be surprised when it happens.

Ex: You are trying to get pregnant, and then SURPRISE! you are …

On the one hand you were trying to get pregnant…on the other hand that realization is a surprise.

The next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate and said, ‘Sir, we remember what that impostor said while he was still alive, “After three days I will rise again.” Therefore command that the tomb be made secure until the third day; otherwise his disciples may go and steal him away, and tell the people, “He has been raised from the dead”, and the last deception would be worse than the first.’ Pilate said to them, ‘You have a guard of soldiers; go, make it as secure as you can.’ So they went with the guard and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone. Matthew 27: 62-66

tomb1

In Matthew’s verison, everyone knows that Jesus is supposed to rise from the dead….

After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. Matt 27:1

women

Some people even believe it

And suddenly there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. For fear of him the guards shook and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples, “He has been raised from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.” This is my message for you.’ So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them and said, ‘Greetings!’ And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshipped him. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.’ Matt:28:2-10

images

Even those who believe it are suprised by the appearance of Christ….

Why is that? I think its because, the faith journey is one of surprises. One where, in retrospect things make sense, but you believe and work at faith, but still can be surprised by just how amazing God is.

This is why its so hard to recognize Christ when he appears.

This is why, even though we hope & pray for it, we would be surprised if Christ showed up today.

And there is some kind of essence to this surprise/to this faith. This surprise is a part of who and what we are.

I bet if you asked Mary and Mary why they went to the tomb, they would say “I don’t know” I bet if you ask someone why they went to church that day, mostly they wouldn’t know.

Yet here we are at Easter, and all of us have gathered at the tomb

to experience the resurrection

To tell the news to one another

Christ is Risen

He is Risen indeed

This conversation, the one we have to review yearly, monthly, weekly through worship, is the very conversation that makes church because God surprises us. God’s fullness cannot be witnessed in one mere human being. We think too small. Even in the Gospels we have not one, but many accounts of what happened to Christ. None of them are considered “wrong” instead, they are considered to give us some perspective and scope of who God is and just how full, deep and wide God’s love is for us.

This happens only as we witness too and share our experiences, in essence having the same conversation

Christ is risen? (eyebrows up)

Christ is risen, Christ is risen, Indeed (affirmative tone)

Indeed, Christ is Risen (more strongly)

Then many voices, affirming the same thing, in different ways, Christ is Risen, Christ is Risen indeed.

Church is so that conversation (as opposed to becoming an echo chamber) becomes a rich and diverse reflection of who Christ is, and what Christ means for humanity

And that diversity, richness, depth of love and sacrifice–even though we saw it coming. Often God’s love takes us by surprise

#easter #smallchurch #emptytomb #emptychurch #nextchurch

Church-Mostly-Empty-Pews

And then all the Christians looked at the church, the pitifully empty pews, and asked each other. Where have all the people gone?

But the real question they were asking was where is Jesus? Akin to finding the empty tomb, we can see the emptiness, the absence……and we say to one another “‘They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” and weep.

And then Jesus meets us on the road, in the “real world” and instructs us not to dwell by the emptiness but to go and tell people that he has arisen.

Empty Church, pshaw, it is but the beginning of the resurrection story–Go on, go out it the world and tell them, wherever they are

“I have seen the lord” !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

 

John 20

 

20Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. 2So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, ‘They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.’ 3Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went towards the tomb. 4The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. 6Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, 7and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. 8Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; 9for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. 10Then the disciples returned to their homes.

11 But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look* into the tomb; 12and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. 13They said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping?’ She said to them, ‘They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.’ 14When she had said this, she turned round and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping? For whom are you looking?’ Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, ‘Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.’ 16Jesus said to her, ‘Mary!’ She turned and said to him in Hebrew,* ‘Rabbouni!’ (which means Teacher). 17Jesus said to her, ‘Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, “I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.”’ 18Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, ‘I have seen the Lord’; and she told them that he had said these things to her.

Narrative Lectionary: Thoughts on John 4:46-54

Restoration: from the Latin seriously it actually is 😉

restore – Online Etymology Dictionary

Restoration c.1300, “to give back,” also, “to build up again, repair,” from Old French restorer, from Latin restaurare “repair, rebuild, renew,

Katy’s Definition to simultaneously destroy and resurrect something at the same time

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God Restores us, healing our hearts AND binding our wounds: Forget Ps 140, I’m using Ps. 147:3
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kintsugi, the Japanese art of mending broken pottery by filling the cracks with amalgam mixed with powdered gold, I was awestruck. Kintsugi is translated as “golden joinery,”  The new, reformed whole contains both the remembrance of that which was before and also what is now – something that had been broken into pieces and is now reformed, containing the additional joining amalgam that is noticeable and traceable.

Viewing kintsugi pottery brought to mind how quickly Western culture discards the broken – broken objects, broken people, and broken relationships. We fail to see what the broken might look like if we put the resources into mending the broken.

Katy’s Synonyms Kintsugi, Restoration, (w)holistic Christianity, Shalom, Fullness, Overflowing, Give me your tired/poor/hungry, Brokenhearts, wholeness, complete,  Image

What a great Valentine’s Day text (love it when it works out that way!)

There is a Balm in Gilead folks!