Sunday Prayer

In silence we wait for you.
. . . . .

In silence we pour out our hearts.
. . . . .

In silence we listen for your word.
. . . . .

In silence we hear:
“Blessed. Bless.”

Most Holy God,

Bless those who are poor.
Be generous where we have been stingy,
loving where we have been shaming.

Bless those who mourn.
Hold in your hands the tears and aching hearts
of those who have sat with death.

Bless those who hunger and thirst.
Sustain your children; satisfy the longing
of your people for justice.

Bless the merciful and the peacemakers.
To those who are doing your work, overflow with
discontent and strength for perseverance.

Bless the light and the salt.
By the light and the salt, reveal our true nature
so that we might shine, unconcealed.

Bless your followers and your wanderers.
Change your mind about us by your holy grace,
and we will trust in you always.

In silence we wait for you.
. . . . .

In silence we pour out our hearts.
. . . . .

In silence we listen for your word.
. . . . .

Most Holy God, call us onward to your good news.

Power belongs to you alone, Most High God,
power and love and mercy.
Amen and amen.

Cross-posted at RevGalBlogPals.

The LORD Is My Screen Time

The LORD alone is my rock:

the firm ground beneath my feet,
the foundation built by centuries of life
and hardship and compression, the reliable
place when all else quakes and trembles

God alone is my screen time:

the shining light that holds my gaze,
the comforting glow, the distraction before me
at every turn and every moment, the source
of laughter and tears and connection

God is my fortress and my hiding place:

more than covers pulled over my head,
more than the “nothing bothers me” mask,
more than the coffee shop of intimate anonymity,
more than locks and bolts and dreamless sleep

The LORD alone is my parking spot:

the guiding lines, the space to be,
the stopping point along the journey,
the moment of bracing and breathing before
transitioning from place to place to place

God alone is my coffee mug:

the warmth to my fingertips, the renewal
and the calm alike descending over my spirit,
the daily routine, the one vessel that is never empty
or stingy, the wellspring of surprising life

The LORD alone is my wall art:

as captivating as the winter sunset, as
exquisite in every brushstroke as the swooping
hawk, as inspiring as a romantic crush, as delightful
to the soul as dark chocolate is to the tongue

Sunday Prayer

Ah holy God, you find us
in the wilderness,
under the fig tree,
day by day by day.

You find us and you test us
to learn if we can be faithful,
to discern if we know how to repent,
day by day by day.

You test us and you call us
across the sea,
throughout the night,
day by day by day.

You call us and you fashion us
with eyes for a new vision,
with foolishness for a new faith,
day by day by day.

Be found even as you find, O God,
in word and deed,
in bread and in being,
this day and always. Amen.

Cross-posted at RevGalBlogPals.

Wait for the LORD

Wait for the LORD;
be strong and let your heart take courage;
wait for the LORD! (Psalm 27:14)

Otsego_LakeI wait for you, O LORD, I wait: longing
to be caught up in your unwavering love,
bolstered by the steadfast pulse of the waves,
encouraged by the rising perfume of new grass,
captured by the magnificence of the sky,
held in the holiness of a moment
and renewed for being.

Monday Muse: Thirty Pieces of Silver

Barely into the season of Epiphany, it’s a little difficult to believe that Lent is just around the corner — but just around the corner it is, which puts Lenten preparations squarely on the “to do” list for many ministers these days.

If you’re looking for small group resources for Lent, I encourage you to check out the free small group discussion guide that I’ve written for Writing to God; it’s available for download on the Paraclete Press website (below the image of the book cover). There’s also a helpful tip sheet available if you’re using my new book Sacred Pause with a small group, and I’m currently completing a Lenten Sunday School curriculum for Writing to God: Kids’ Edition.

If you’re eager for ideas and conversation to inspire your plans for a Lenten sermon series, join me on Thursday, February 5th at 1:00pm (Eastern) for a webinar on preaching in Lent, through the Center for Progressive Renewal. I’ll post the link for registration as soon as it’s available!

In the meantime, I’m perusing the Revised Common Lectionary readings for Lent in preparation for the above, and the story of the woman who anoints Jesus with perfumed oil (much to the chagrin of Judas) reminds me of a dramatic script that I wrote for a Lenten worship service last year. I share it here for your Lenten preparation, for your personal reflection, and/or for your worship use for Maundy Thursday or Good Friday.

Two Who Loved Jesus
John 12:1-8 with Matthew 26:14-16

Judas (disciple of Jesus): Jesus, I love you.

Mary (sister of Martha & Lazarus): Jesus, I love you.

I have watched you and followed you over these years.

I have watched you and followed you over these years.

I have called you Teacher. You have called me Friend.

I have called you Teacher. You have called me Friend.

You have revolutionized my worldview, exposed me to the subtle ways of death amidst life, called me to proclaim good news in unexpected ways.

You have revolutionized my worldview, exposed me to the ways of life amidst death, called me to welcome good news walking out from a tomb.

You taught me to name demons and diseases of the soul to heal the body.

You knew my name, recognized me, valued me even amidst a crowd of men.

You multiplied a meal for the thousands and conjured a calm out of a terrifying storm. What power!

You wept when I was in mourning. You unbound Lazarus from the grasp of death. What mercy!

But you eluded me when you spoke with the Samaritan woman and showed consideration to a soldier. You were soft, too easily distracted by people’s needs. Why didn’t you ride into Jerusalem on a stallion instead of a donkey?

You borrowed a donkey from my hometown to ride into Jerusalem. Whenever you visited us, you let me sit quietly at your feet. And then you soothed my soul as I anointed your body with perfume.

You called me into a ministry of finances, granted me authority to use the offerings of our wealthier patrons to clothe and feed the poor (with the occasional new robe as a perk for myself). We lived off the land and the generosity of others. We were building a movement of the least of these — the 99% against the system!

How could I offer you any less than 100%

We were going to be the ones in power someday!

I knew that you would not be with us one day.

But you betrayed me, and you betrayed our cause when you accepted the gift of perfume. I could do better — instead of three hundred denarii, I could earn thirty pieces of silver to start our revolution.

I could do no better than to bless you, with perfume and prayers pouring from my hands.

Suggested interlude: verses 1 & 2 of the hymn
“From the Crush of Wealth and Power”

Judas: Jesus, you are the Christ.

Mary: Jesus, you are the Christ.

The strong Messiah.

The beautiful Covenant.

The most expensive Treasure.

The most life-giving Supply.

But your life is only one life…

Your life is the only life…

…and there are many lives to be concerned about in this world, including mine.

…and all lives for all time will be blessed by you, including mine.

It’s time for you to take on the world.

It’s time for you to leave this world.

Turn the tables and claim your place as God’s Chosen Treasure.

Open your arms and claim your place as God’s Chosen Treasure.

But if you do not…

And as you do…

…may God use me instead…

…may God use me in this stead…

…to bring a new order into being…

…to anoint and bless the fullness of your being…

…at whatever cost. [Judas pours silver coins.]

…at whatever cost. [Mary pours oil.]

Suggested closure: verses 3 & 4 of
“From the Crush of Wealth and Power”