Praying for Summer

Praise you God, because from you all blessings flow

And some kind of summer beckons.

Different from the endless summer of last year, where we were all so lonely we could spit.

Different from the fall where promises of vaccines were hazy and masks were packed into book bags with lunches

and we held our breath.

Now after giving up all of my free time to digitally school my eldest, and truck my other two back and forth to school.

Now after a year of basically nothing but school (and thank God eventually church), no clubs, no friends, no activities.

After a winter of depression

And a spring of exhaustion

And a Post-Pandemic, which, maybe, sort a, might be starting,

but sure as anything hasn’t really become a reality yet….

–For India and Brazil, Lord hear our prayers–

A year of mostly rewardless schooling has ended, and we are finally able to send our students and teachers back with our thanks.

And Now…

Summer beckons, and God I hope you guide us through.

I hope you help us to wind our way through this time of huge transition

Because we have not yet begun to feel the aftershocks of all that is different in our lives.

And I keep hearing hints

Of mourning those we have lost and adjusting to what life is now

Of mass retirements, and considered quittings,

Of reprioritizations and reorganization.

And so, I’m praying that I can string together some pieces of summer

with ice cream

and sunshine

and water fights.

Just enough pieces of summer, to feed my soul.

Until I figure how the hell we are going to do the next good thing.

Give us summer we pray.


Please feel free to adapt/share/use with credit to Pastor Katy Stenta

Week 4 Psalm 23

The Message Psalm 23

Laughing Bird (Australian) Psalm 23 

The Lord is my Grandma

Call to Worship:

God is Good

All the Time

All the Time

God is Good

Let us praise, our God

Let us praise our God who is always Good.

Prayer of Confession: God, I know sometimes that goodness and mercy are chasing me because I’m distracted, or too hurried. I know too that it is hard to feel goodness and mercy when I am overwhelmed or in survival mode. Help me. Help me to see and understanding and feel the goodness and mercy that are already in my life. Teach me ways to cultivate these: with rest, nourishment and a practice of living out of abundance instead of scarcity. Teach me to be a Psalm 23 sheep I pray. (Silent Confession) Amen.

Assurance of Pardon: God loves you, you are forgiven. Let us tell one another this truth: In Jesus Christ we are forgiven.

1st Scripture Reading  Isaiah 40:9b-11

2nd Scripture Reading                                    Psalm 23:6

Prayer of Dedication: Thank you for chasing me God. As I go into the world, remind me to stop for a couple of minutes, so that I can feel your goodness and mercy wash over me. Remind me I pray. Amen.

Hymns: Amazing Grace, Savior Like a Shepherd Lead Us, Jesus Loves Me, If I but Trust in God to Guide Thee, Lord of Our Growing Years, Here I am Lord, God of the Sparrow, As a Deer Longs for the Stream, My Soul in Silence Waits for God, Any Psalm 23, Morning has Broken, Breathe on Me Breath of God

Psalm 23 Series

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

Psalm 23 Week 2 Psalm 23:4

The Message Psalm 23

Laughing Bird (Australian) Psalm 23 

The Lord is my Grandma

Call to Worship (Isaiah 40)

Have you not known, Have you not heard?

God is with us

When we need comfort, God will comfort us

Come, let us abide with God.

Prayer of Confession: (unison) God I confess, I am scared. Especially when evil surrounds me, even though I know your rod and staff are supporting me, I am afraid. I do not know whether to speak up or stay quiet in the midst of evil. I am uncertain at times if I should be standing firm or running away. And sometimes I find death to be very scary. Support me as I wrestle with these very real fears, I pray your Holy Shepherding Name. (Silent Confession) Amen

Assurance of Pardon: Hear the good news, God’s love is from everlasting to everlasting, ever available to support us even when our steps falter. Let us proclaim the good news: In Jesus Christ we are forgiven.

1st Scripture Reading  Isaiah 40:1-2, 21-24

2nd Scripture Reading                                     Psalm 23:4

Prayer of Dedication: God help me to remember that you walk with us in the shadow of the valley of death, for you have been there before and know what it entails. When I am afraid, remind me that you do not fear evil. Help us to be brave and comforted as we walk in the world today and everyday, we pray. Amen.

Hymns: It is Well with My Soul, Jesus Walked This Lonesome Valley, O Love How Deep How Broad How High, What Wondrous Love Is This, I love the Lord Who Heard My Cry

Psalm 23 Series

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

Psalm 23 Week 1

The Message Psalm 23

Laughing Bird (Australian) Psalm 23

The Lord is my Grandma

Call to Worship (based on Psalm 95:6-7)

Come, let us worship and bow down

Let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!

For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture  

We are the sheep of God’s hand, come Let us Praise God!

Prayer of Confession: (unison) God I confess that sometimes I do not want to be a sheep. Sometimes it is hard for me to take direction, and I do not know if it is unwillingness, or ignorance or simply weariness that stands in my way. And yet you walk beside me, to comfort and protect me. Help me to accept you as my shepherd I pray. Amen (Silent Confession) Amen

Assurance of Pardon: Hear the good news, God promises to restore us, know the truth in your hearts: In Jesus Christ we are forgiven.

1st Scripture Reading Isaiah 40:29-31

2nd Scripture Reading                                     Psalm 23:1-3

Prayer of Dedication: God you know we entered here thirsty. Send the Holy Spirit out with us, to shepherd us, comfort us, and to quench us. Send us into the world refreshed by your Word and Holy Spirit we pray. Amen. 

Hymns: Create in me a Clean Heart, There is a a Balm in Gilead, Spirit of the Living God, Any version of Psalm 23

Psalm 23 Series

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

Summer Hebrews Series #5: Hebrews 11:1-16 [12:1-2; Matthew 8:5-10] for Narrative Lectionary (August 11, 2019?)

This week’s NL resources are a bit more “down-and-dirty” and less elaborated than usual. Vacation and one Sunday off due to heat (our two sanctuary window air conditioners were not going to be up to the 105 heat index that Sunday, especially with our older folks) means we are out of rhythm on our own use of the NL, but I am striving to keep these resources up-to-date for those using them.

We will not be providing resources for any of the three-week mini-series listed for NL for the tail end of the summer. Instead, we will move right into the Genesis cycle. The first set of these should be posted by mid-August.

Prayer of Confession from Hebrews 12:1-2                                                            

Call to worship from Hebrews 11-12                                                                                

Prayer of petition from Hebrews 11                                                                                      

How to pray the Scriptures; prayer based on Hebrews 11:1

Service based on Hebrews 11:1-12:2 from Calvin Worship Symposium

An order of worship around Hebrews 11: “With Every Good Thing Series – The Wonder of the Nature of Faith: David, Jesus and Hebrews 11” Also Calvin Worship Symposium

My own original liturgical pieces will be posted here when I get that far:!AuB3z496aTHTgaojI6BKhg7nNHbmlA


Hebrews 11:1

Hebrews 12:1



Having faith in God even when we can’t see him

Trust as the theme of the children’s sermon

Using the book The Little Prince to illustrate faith as an invisible thing that shapes our lives

The storybook of Faith the Cow tells of the faith-filled founding of Heifer International

Object lesson using things that work in ways we cannot see/understand as a metaphor for faith


Hebrews 11

Hebrews 12




Narrative Lectionary commentary on this passage-the power of the Word to evoke faith.

NL Podcast on this passage; apparently addresses the whole book/series…?

The role of those who went before/all saints                                            

Pulpit Fiction: Seeing and Living the Faith from Working Preacher


Sermon by Rev. Anrew Ladwehr from the time of Watergate -Faith: The Unseen Power

Faith Amid the Fog

Audio of Bishop Robert Barron’s sermon from 2003: The “Leap” of Faith          


Hebrews 11:1-3, 8-16 is in the RCL for Proper 14C/Ordinary 19C; see for

Hebrews 11:29-12:2 is in the RCL for Proper 5C/Ordinary 20C and Holy Week Monday

Working Preacher (RCL) Hebrews 11’s 2 statements about faith:

Working Preacher (RCL) Hebrews 11’s “honors list”                                                    

Summer Hebrews Series #4: Hebrews 9:1-14 [Matthew 12:1-6] for Narrative Lectionary (August 4, 2019?)


Featured image:

Images of the Holy of Holies:

Images for Hebrews 9:1-14…145936.146802..147479…0.0..0.101.427.4j1……0….1..gws-wiz-img.naJeXiW05Po&ved=0ahUKEwih8LndqNrjAhWMTN8KHSwjAmEQ4dUDCAY&uact=5

Images of opening the door   For a commentary using this image, see (NOTE: The 2015 commentary has the same content.)

17th Century etching of the Tabernacle:

My husband notes that the ark described here matches the one in Raiders of the Lost Ark… Synopsis of the movie at (page 39) of


Offering Prayer: God of all power and grace: we have often been overwhelmed by the indifference of the world and have let it discourage us from the work of disciple making and world transforming to which you’ve called us. Remind us once more of the victory of Christ and the victory available to us. As we give our tithes and offerings, may we do so with the confidence of victors, knowing that in your love, grace, and compassion, you will have the last word. We pray this in the name of your Son, who bore our sins and who defeated our death. Amen. (Hebrews 9:11-14, 24-28)

Prayer Reflection: Who Could Love Us More?  (Very short, but the spacing seems crucial and is lost when I copy it here, so please go to website.)

Original liturgical resources will be posted here when I get this far; I am behind since my church did not have services on 7/21 due to excessive heat. I hope to have these posted by Tuesday evening, 7/30.!AuB3z496aTHTgal1aLu-13ffpsmjdg

CHILDREN’S SERMON IDEAS. Note: This author of this resource usually advises shielding children from sacrificial images…


EXEGETICAL RESOURCES (beginning with those most likely to yield themes for preaching)

Podcast intro to the Hebrews series from NL: The 2015 podcast is the same.)

Preaching-oriented exposition of the structure of Hebrews 9 from Southwestern Baptist Seminary:

(Lots of potential themes in the discussion questions) Hebrews 9:1-14 Inductive Bible study with teaching points, cross-references and discussion questions from Moody Bible Institute grad who is serving in mission overseas.

Commentary on Hebrews 9:1-14 entitled “God’s Remedy for Guilt.” Uses biblical study tools from a substitutionary atonement perspective. Incl. discussion questions.

Bible study on Hebrews 9:1-14 focusing on OT background from folks from Fuller/Grace Communion International (formerly Worldwide Church of God).

Hebrews 9:1-14 (and beyond) Verse-by-verse word study and cross-reference from US Conference of Catholic Bishops

Hebrews 9:1-14 sermons from a variety of preachers/denominations. Looks like summaries are available for free and you can also get a free trial.

Hebrews 9:1-14 sermon from Reformed Perspectives Magazine (free online weekly publication).  Uses Westminster Confession and Westminster Shorter and Larger Catechisms as its doctrinal standards. 9:1-14

Hebrews 9:1-14 sermon that focuses on bridging the gap between the culture/religion of the book of Hebrews and Christians today from widely published Bethlehem Baptist Seminary chancellor entitled “Purified to Serve the Living God.”

Commentary on Hebrews 9:11-14 deals with the pitfalls of the “Jesus is better” part of this passage.

A Catholic take on Hebrews 9:11-14 and other blood sacrifice passages

Other articles delving into the theme of atonement/sacrifice can be found at


Audio of 1973 Princeton Seminary sermon on Leviticus 16 and Hebrews 9 on the Yom Kippur practice of praying for the sins of the nation. For more on Yom Kippur and Atonement, see

Video of 40 minute sermon from N. Boston Great Rock Church, a Calvary Chapel community, which is a non-denominational church movement focused on the inerrancy of the Bible and the expository teaching. Has roots in the Jesus movement.

Video of 36 minutes sermon from Pioneer Baptist Church entitled “A Clean Conscience.”

Video of 45 minute teaching from on Hebrews 9:1-14 by Michael Rood (“A Rood Awakening/Shabbat Night Live”) from a Hebrew/Torah perspective. Entitled “The Last Will and Testament of the Earthly Temple.” (NOTE: Didn’t vet the whole video; this TV show teaching seemed interesting, but their overall doctrine includes a focus on 7th day Sabbath and calendar issues.)

Commentary on Hebrews 9:11-14 (RCL for Proper 26B/Ordinary 31B/Pentecost 24-11/4/18) that includes consideration of v. 1-10; focuses on the Ark and on Jesus as the fulfilment/perfection.

Resources for RCL (Hebrews 9:11-14)




































Image above:

Summer Hebrews Series #1-Hebrews 1:1-4 and John 1:1-5 (7/12/19?)

Featured image:

Note: We are planning a “Christmas in July” for 7/28. In fact, Hebrews and John 1 are together in the RCL for Christmas; see resources below–and the incarnational themes for Hebrews could lead to a twinning of Christmas/Advent themes and Hebrews throughout this series.

INTRODUCTION  to Hebrews summer Narrative Lectionary series:

From the RCL, which also includes verses from chapter 2 in its pericope, this commentary answers the question “Why preach a series on Hebrews” and talks incarnation.  Also gives two illustrations, one from Kierkegaard and the other from The Man Which Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales.

Book of Hebrews resources:



Opening prayer of adoration:

1:1-4 and 2:5-12 for two readers                                                                                                  

Original prayers:

Opening Prayer   by  Rev. Dr. Barb Hedges-Goettl; please give credit if using/adapting.

God, you have spoken, and you continue to speak, to your people.

Reveal Christ Jesus to us this day as your Son and heir.

In him, reveal to us your glory and your very self,

that we may be purified and sustained by him,

sharing in his life and light. In his name,

the name above all others, we pray, Amen.

CALL TO WORSHIP (from Hebrews 1 and John 1 The Message)                                                by Barb Hedges-Goettl; please give credit if using/adapting.

One: The Word came first.

Many: The Word was with God and the Word was God.

By his Son, God created the world in the beginning.

Everything was created through the Word.

Nothing—not one thing!—came into being without him

and it will all belong to the Son at the end.

The Son perfectly mirrors God.

He is stamped with God’s nature.

He holds everything together by what he says,

His Life is the Light to live by.                                                                                      

The Life-Light blazes out of the darkness

and the darkness cannot put it out.

ALL: THANKS BE TO GOD.              

RITE OF CONFESSION  by Barb Hedges-Goettl; please give credit if using/adapting.

*Call to Confession:

God sent Jesus to light our way, but at times we stumble about cursing the darkness instead of using the light that God provides, and so we seek God’s forgiveness.

*Prayer of Confession                                                                                        Reader O God, you give us glimpses of your light,                                                               but sometimes, instead of following you, we stumble around on our own.                        We accept poor imitations of your light.                                                                     We try to catch your light and hold it,                                                                      so that we do not have to always look to you.                                                                         You speak the words that give and sustain life,                                                                             but we listen to the noise around us instead.

Forgive us. Give us eyes to see and ears to listen. (Silent Confession)

*Assurance of Pardon (from Psalm 40, The Message)                                Pastor Barb                                                     When Jesus had cleansed us from our sins, he sat down in the place of honor              at the right hand of the majestic God in heaven. And so we give thanks and praise                 to God for the Good News:   In Jesus Christ, we are forgiven.





OTHER IMAGES for bulletins/powerpoints



For preaching series on Hebrews:

Remaining Faithful to Jesus: “The Neglected Gift”

God’s proud parent speech

CRAFT PROJECT/Sunday School:   By His Own Mighty Word He Holds the Universe Together



Hymnary search at





The Lutheran Hymnal

Hebrews 1:06  Hark! Ten Thousand Harps and Voices.


At Digital Hymnal (midi files, guitar chords, karaoke files, projection text):

Memorizing scripture through song: Hebrews 1:1-3        

Presbyterian Hymnal (1990)

331.1+3 Thanks to God Whose Word Was Written
255.4-6 Now Praise the Lord
327 O Word of God Incarnate
330 Deep in the Shadows of the Past
222.7 Psalm 103
319.2 Spirit
309 Of the Father’s Love Begotten
4 Creator of the Stars of Night
74 Jesus on the Mountain Peak
75 O Wondrous Sight, O Vision Fair
83 O Love, How Deep, How Broad, How High
133 All Glory Be to God on High
137.2 We All Believe in One True God
346.1 Christ, You Are the Fullness
474 O Splendor of God’s Glory Bright
10.4 On Jordan’s Bank the Baptist’s Cry
31.2 Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
36.2 In the Bleak Midwinter
41.2 O Come, All Ye Faithful
49.2 Once in Royal David’s City
52.2 Sheep Fast Asleep
54.3 From Heaven Above
55.5 That Boy-Child of Mary
57.4 The Snow Lay on the Ground
60.3 Silent Night, Holy Night
74.4 Jesus on the Mountain Peak
75.3 O Wondrous Sight, O Vision Fair
139.2 Come, Thou Almighty King
148.1 At the Name of Jesus
412.5 Eternal God, Whose Power Upholds
454 Blessed Jesus, at Your Word
485 To God Be the Glory
512.1 Living Word of God Eternal
41 O Come, All Ye Faithful
42 O Come, All Ye Faithful
141 A Hymn of Glory Let Us Sing
142 All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name!
143 All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name!
150 Come, Christians, Join to Sing
153 He Is King of Kings                                                                                                                      306 Fairest Lord Jesus
477 Ye Servants of God, Your Master Proclaim
566 Glory to God in the Highest (Gloria in Excelsis)
575.6 Glory to God in the Highest (Gloria in Excelsis)
133.3 All Glory Be to God on High
203.1 God of Mercy, God of Grace
263 Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise
412.5 Eternal God, Whose Power Upholds
474 O Splendor of God’s Glory Bright
519.4 Thee We Adore, O Hidden Savior, Thee
548.1+2 O Radiant Light, O Sun Divine
549.1 O Gladsome Light
550.1 O Light Whose Splendor Thrills
110.1 Christ Jesus Lay in Death’s Strong Bands
147 Blessing and Honor
151 Crown Him with Many Crowns
155 Rejoice, the Lord Is King
308.4 O Sing a Song of Bethlehem
466.3 O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing
154.3 Lord, Enthroned in Heavenly Splendor
341.1 Blessed Assurance, Jesus Is Mine!
492.1 Baptized in Water
133.2 All Glory Be to God on High
194.2 Peoples, Clap Your Hands!
148.3 At the Name of Jesus

4.3 Creator of the Stars of Night
19.4 To a Maid Engaged to Joseph
142.1 All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name!
143.1 All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name!
147.2 Blessing and Honor
148 At the Name of Jesus
260.2 A Mighty Fortress is Our God
310.2 Jesus, the Very Thought of Thee
311.2 We Meet You, O Christ
346.3 Christ, You Are the Fullness
371R Lift High the Cross
395.3 Have Mercy, Lord, on Me (Take Pity, Lord)
442.2 The Church’s One Foundation
466.2+4 O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing
477.1 Ye Servants of God, Your Master Proclaim
498.3 Child of Blessing, Child of Promise
500.3 Become to Us the Living Bread
504.1 Draw Us in the Spirit’s Tether
515.3 Now to Your Table Spread
539.1 Savior, Again to Thy Dear Name We Raise
548.2 O Radiant Light, O Sun DivineEXEGESIS

Christological questions from the passage:

Brief overview of Hebrews & our passage; also includes John 1                                                 This same author also publishes his leftover, more technical word-study type notes Again still yet includes John 1. See

Commentary from the passage’s use for RCL at Christmas focuses on  “What’s His Name,” allowing readers to listen in on God’s announcement of the name of his Son,                                 At Christmas, the RCL also includes John 1:1-14, for that commentary see

Another commentary from the Christmas context; this one addresses the wisdom underpinnings of the passage, Jesus as Logos/logic,  and even mentions John 1! Also addresses Jesus as the anointed king.

This passage is also in the RCL for 22B (October, 2018), This Working Preacher commentary takes up the challenges of the NRSV’s inclusive language translation, which loses the concept of “Son of Man,” thus truncating some of the meaning of Hebrews’ discussion of incarnation.

This one addresses the concept of Jesus as trailblazer using Harriet Tubman as an example. Also touches on the problem of the NRSV’s lack of the phrase “Son of Man.”

From the RCL context, this commentary introduces the book of Hebrews as well as discussing 1:1-4 (and 2:5-12). For chapter 1, it focuses on the word given the prophets, Christ as the Word, and the nature of the Son.

Exhortation against lack of commitment; addresses 1;1-4 but continues through 2:12.

Hebrews as providing hope/the big picture (Christmas context)

Incarnation plus pre-existence and exaltation (Heb. 1:1-12 in Christmas context)

Christmas Reflection: Alone with the Stars                               


Image result for bulletin cover hebrews 1:1-4

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