Advent: Praying for Justice Again, God, Cause we Can’t Do it Alone

Not on Our Watch Lord,

We tried to say last summer,

as we rallied together and chanted Black Lives Matter

And bought books by Blacks, and resourced Mutual Aid, and made hearty promises.

Not on our watch, as whispers came to defund the police,

and we spoke about what injustice really meant and statues of Southern Rebels Toppled-

But then God,

The couple who threatened marchers got a fine,

and marchers got run over again and again by a car

and the President called both sides very fine people.

And today a colleague is engaging in the Holy Practice of Despair Dishwashing,

Rage Cleaning

and Sweary Laundry…

and Perhaps some Sadness Sweeping…

because even as the good news of Union wins, Bills for the poor and Julius Jones

being saved from unjust execution at the last second–the victories are too few and far between.

Christ I this is why I need Christmas.

Every

Single

God

Blessed

Year.

Because

I need to remember that you

And not White Supremacy reigns

And that you come to conquer the Imperial tendencies of humanity

And that it’s not, “Not on our watch”

but not on YOUR watch

You defeat ALL evil

With Justice and Mercy and Peace

Every Time

and you how do you do it?

With tiny Baby.

Sweet Baby Jesus.

I am ready,

Let’s do this Justice thing.

And practice it again,

Til we imperfect humans get it right, I pray.

Until we see that injustice anywhere hurts everyone everywhere.

I’ll be waiting,

with tears in my eyes,

cleaning coping mechanisms in my hands

and peace words on my breath.

Let’s Go God!

Amen.

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

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Tenterhooks

God, can we just say, tension is present

I’m wound really taught, and at this point even waiting for the good things feels impossible.

The social media reminders to unclench your jaw and roll your shoulders are so so necessary right now Jesus.

Jesus, how did you do this? How did you live in the tension–stepping into the gap between healthy and sick. Balancing the reality of being human and divine. Calling out hypocrisy and yet not shaming those in need.

How did you do that?

Holy Spirit, I could use some wisdom, if you are ready to supply.

Because the waiting for life to change, for the pandemic to change for the world to change as a result of ::gestures wildly:: all of this, is truly putting me on tenterhooks.

I looks at tenterhook today, God, I felt called to google the etymology and realized it was the hook that holds the tight tent, tight. So simple, so important.

But it also is what is holding things tight, while they dry out so that they are more flexible and able to take their proper shape.

If this means I’m a wet blanket. I’d believe it God. The days are short, the winter is long and the sort-of/kind-of quarantining we are trying to do is never ending.

How do I live into this tension? How to I do enough to survive, but not cut off the essential?

Jesus, the reality is that we all live in-between, it’s just our little human brains can’t handle it.

It’s like waiting for a baby to be born–perfect for advent–full of hope and trepidation. A time that is messy and where your whole body is stretched and changed, and your baby is between healthy and not because they haven’t even been born yet!

So help me, as I wait, as I’m no longer soaked but not quite dry either. Help me as this time of trial stretches me to my limit and pins me to the earth with an uncomfortable but necessary hooks.

And help all of my siblings on earth, because we all seem to be in the same place God.

Help us all, I pray.

Amen.

What Does It Mean to Be 'On Tenterhooks?' | Merriam-Webster

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Holy Saturday

Why is it called Holy Saturday?

 

I know many people pass the time on Holy Saturday by holding a vigil and reading through scripture.

But the truth is, when the disciples where waiting on Saturday, they were doing nothing. Holed up in their house they were hiding from the Empire.

They were awaiting their own death. Probably wondering out loud why Jesus had to die, wondering why he had to die a heretic, laid upon a cross that meant your were destined for hell.

It was a room that smelled of fear and death. It was a place where the disciples took cold comfort with one another, no doubt trying to ignore Peter’s pleas that he didn’t meant to deny Jesus. No doubt wondering if they were supposed to steal the body.

Women were sent. They were thought to be harmless. Women prepared Jesus for the tomb with the wrappings and the spices to hide the bad smell. They moved him to the cavern in the garden, where the guards watched to make certain no mischief was done. They were the worthless, but essential workers of the day.

We are in a sort of Holy Saturday ourselves, waiting for the word for the all clear. Hearing stories of who has died, and the suffering they have undergone.

We are experiencing the interminable wait, the timeframe is unknown, the hope is thin, and the loneliness is impenetrable.

Families are worried and separated from one another. And the world is slowly falling apart. And the world is a dark and scary place.

We can see the cornerstones of our lives being deconstructed. The things we depend upon are changing: the routines are gone, the securities are unreliable: school, work, church are crumbling.

Holy Saturday is what happens under the waters of baptism, I wonder if that’s what happens when you say goodbye to a loved one who has died who you can no longer see on earth. I wonder if Holy Saturday is where we are as we wait for the second coming of Christ.

Holy Saturday is the gap in scripture, undefined by the stories, left wide open in the yawning space of time.

Holy Saturday is now. The time between sickness and the cure. It’s the time before the temple is rebuilt. It’s the time when the cracks in society are splitting apart. It’s the time when the gaps are made clear, for when the rebuilding needs to happen.

And we await the healing, sabbath, wholeness of Easter and the time we can be together.

Somehow, this dark waiting time can be Holy too.

More Pandemic Prayers

Tower of Babel: A Parenting Parable

One Sunday Morning I was preaching on the Tower of Babel.

That morning Franklin, my 4 year old, really wanted the flashlight. We had the flashlight on the top of a bureau so the children wouldn’t turn it on and leave it on without our knowledge.

I told Franklin to wait for me to brush my hair–and then I would be able to get him the flashlight.

I come out of the bathroom and find Franklin halfway up the stairs with a stool/chair that is bigger than he is…

I took away the stool and started to laugh….”You thought it was easier to carry a stool all the way up the stairs and to climb on it and get the flashlight…that would be easier for me than waiting”

Isn’t this the story of Babel? Its easier to build a tower to God than to wait for God’s action. Isn’t this why we try to do everything for ourselves? We talk among ourselves, agree among ourselves and work for ourselves forgetting the all knowing, all caring perspective of God…that’s why God separates us out–not because we work together, but because if we do no more than preach to the choir.

If we do not have variety, we do not have the richness of God. So God separated us, God gave us more perspectives so we could see the fullness of the human condition–so we could hear the same story over and over again in different languages

Ex: Cinderella: French: Cendrillon, ou La petite Pantoufle de Verre, Italian: Cenerentola, German: Aschenputtel, Vietnamese version Tấm Cám, Korean version, too, named “Kongjwi and Patjwi

These versions give us meaning so that the nuances change, the characters differ, and the vastness and depth of God and his love, the meaning of the human condition can be peeked at 🙂

So–Can we do it, can we wait for God? Can we take in all the nuances of humanity and still accept each other as God’s children, or do we need to climb the stairs with a stool, do we need to depend on ourselves to reach God, or can we depend on God to reach us…

Genesis 11

New International Version (NIV)

The Tower of Babel

11 Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. As people moved eastward,[a] they found a plain in Shinar[b] and settled there.

They said to each other, “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”

But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower the people were building. The Lord said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.”

So the Lord scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. That is why it was called Babel[c]—because there the Lord confused the language of the whole world. From there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth.

File:Pieter Bruegel the Elder - The Tower of Babel (Vienna) - Google Art Project - edited.jpg

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