Thanksgiving’s Empty Seat

Tags

, , , , , ,

IMG_5373

God, you fill in all spaces and abide in all times, and yet today, once space will feel every kind of void.

Dad’s seat.

There will be feelings and memories and all sorts of things we want to pile onto that seat. We will fill that chair with tears and sighs and our still-stunned hearts.

How could we be here today, God? No. This can’t be…

(There is no other way around it: today will suck.)

But even as our hearts are breaking throughout the day, help us to fill Dad’s plate with delicious memories. May our time together today be one where we embed the joyful Thanksgiving moments of the past into our souls, recalling moments of laughter and creating new mirthful memories.

Amen.

Advertisements

A Prayer in the Face of Misogyny

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

IMG_5309.PNG

God, you’ve seen the way the Bible has twisted the lives of Eve and Vashti and Tamar and Mary Magdalene…

And you see how the stories and images of women are twisted today.

We are tired, Mother God.

We are tired of the b-word and the frequent use of the words “whore” and “slut.” We are tired when people in power obviously work to intimidate us more than the men in our lives. We are tired when we are spoken over or told how we should feel. We are tired when we speak out and not believed. We are tired when our sheroes are attacked with greater fervor than the men who hold power. We are tired wheb being refused jobs because of gender (because, let’s face it, our reproductive organs have nothing to do with our qualifications). We are tired of the shame that comes with being born a daughter of Eve.

We are tired that Mother is not a good enough title for you, God.

We are tired of the little comments made to us or about us that make us feel less than human. We are tired of the larger ways our bodies and our accomplishments are tossed aside or belittled. Our energy is spent in ensuring that humanity sees us with the same dignity as cisgender men. Our sisters of color and our transgender siblings must spend even more of their spirits than we who are white women trying to achieve this dignity.

We are exhausted to hear how we should be grateful for the crumbs that have been scattered for us.

Crumbs are no longer enough. We are more than b*tches and whores and ditzes and witches. We will speak out when our voices are ignored, and we will no longer keep our stories silent.

We are worth every single piece of energy you used to mold us in your image. We are your children and deserve the inheritance of your kin-dom on earth as much as our male siblings.

You stand on the side of justice, and one day we will be equal in the eyes of our neighbors just like we are equal in your eyes.

Amen.

A Prayer When the Computer Crashes

Tags

, , , , , , , ,

IMG_5240

God who spans the infinite universe, I have this feeling you are rolling your eyes at me while I face my computer woes.

Poverty and illness rage across our planet, and I’m here cursing my crashed computer.

First world problems- right?

And yet, my writing is what keeps my soul engaged in the world. My work is to advocate for a fair universe. Wouldn’t a working computer help such a call?

(I know you are still rolling your eyes at me, God…)

Until I get this computer up and running again, give me serenity in my soul as I want to shout at the evil blank screen. May I find that the world will still revolve, and I will find ways of working until this fallible machine is running again.

(Feel free to keep rolling your eyes at me, God. And, as you do, help me find humor in these glitches.)

Amen.

Lakeside

Tags

, ,

This is a poem I wrote in November 2009.

I peer into a lake so deep –
A pool of despair I cannot touch.
I stay on land, the hardened shell.
It’s safe to be on water’s shores
Or so it seems from horror’s view. 
For if I were to leap right in –
Would I drown? Could I swim?
Would I swirl and twirl below
And reach the bottom, never to rise?
And if I were to wade right in,
A toe submerged, and then one more
Until a foot, a leg in deep.
Would I feel the chills beneath?
Wrinkled fingertips, shedding skin.

Yet on this seashore, lakeside day
I stare at ponds of fear once more.
Its waves are threatening those of us
On grounds that seems so steadfast, firm.

Thus I could stand on water’s shores
And find my doom from inertia’s call.
For thinking that this ground’s secure
I’ll find demise in idle’s arms.

I rise on earth, it’s strong below
Yet not for me to stay too long.
I jump towards the sparkling pool –
A pool of fear, I thought before.
My body finds it’s womb below
As water encircles every piece of skin.
Yet, spiraling to bottom not mine.
I rise to top, begin to swim –
The pond is mine! I’ve tamed the tide.

10392001_163696007809_6700173_n

A Prayer for the Needed Time-Machine

Tags

, , , , , , ,

IMG_5221God who operates beyond time and space, would you mind transforming me back to one year ago this afternoon?

Would you send me back to a time when hope still pushed aside the climate of despair? A time when I didn’t know death’s frigid grasp so well… a time when my body hadn’t yet become companions with various types of pain… a time when we stood on the edge of a possibility which would have brought prosperity for more of my neighbors and a time when hate was not so loud.

Where is this time machine, God? Maybe I would have made some different decisions, spent more time with loved ones, cared for myself in new ways.

I know we cannot travel back, and I know forward through the tunnel is the only path to journey. So give me the peace and strength as the suffocating shadows swallow me as I drive this stretch of road.

And as I reemerge from the tunnels, may your sunlight warm my soul again.

Amen.

 

Glimpses of Survival Through Grief

Tags

, , , , ,

pexels-photo-164018.jpeg

Sturdy God through the flimsy times,
I discovered that I may endure this time in the wilderness.
I may escape the land of everlasting shadows.
I may find more than an oasis from grief.

Now, I’m not sure how I will feel in two hours or four days, but right now, God, I embrace this gift from your Spirit.

Sure, I know the moon’s dance will cross between me and the sun,
And my soul will feel every bit of the lack of light from the eclipse.
And there will be days when the clouds leave no gap to allow the blue sky to show its friendly face.

But I’ve seen those days before.
And I cried and screamed.
And once again, the sun showed her face.

Again and again, after the shadows have had their say, the light breaks through.

This is the human life.  This is the way I know that I will endure.
This is how I know I will make it from one breath to the next
And from one day to the next.

Even as I walk through the shadow filled valleys, you are with me God.
And you will journey with me to sunlight again.  Amen.

All Saints’ Sunday Eve

Tags

, , , , , , ,

pexels-photo-205304.png

God of the brisk autumn evenings and chilly fall mornings,
Tomorrow is All Saints’ Sunday – the one time per year when we recall out loud the names of our deceased loved ones.
We speak of them aloud to give their lives dignity and grieve their passings.

But All Saints’ Sunday Eve is drastically different than All Saints’ Day Eve.
There is no hunting for Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Milky Ways.
There are no costumes or parties or pumpkins.

Instead, it’s me and you, God.

I pray that I have the strength tomorrow to muddle through the service
To remember my father without publicly shedding copious amounts of tears.

It will sound strange to hear his name read in the list of saints.
And as my skin will crawl when he is named
May your peace be a salve to my irritated spirit.

Amen.

An All Saints’ Day Prayer for Those Left Behind

Tags

, , , , , , ,

IMG_0284

God of the weeping souls, many of us sit in sorrow today.

Our favorite saint no longer abides with us. With the absence of their voice and facial expressions and stories,  we walk around today in a mid-autumn daze.

Today asks us to remember the saints when we want to forget the pain. Today begs for us to remember voices and expressions and stories as we hold onto memories for as long as possible.

So with the void that we carry around like a 20-pound weight, we face the day one less person in our world.

We logically understand that tomorrows will become more tolerable in this mediocre journey. But today we cry with the absolute loss we’ve been given.

God, you are celebrating with them on that side of heaven, but on this side, you lament with us.  Be in both places at once in this existence that we are all trying to understand.

Amen.

 

All Saints Sunday Communion Liturgy

Tags

, , , , , , ,

homemade bakery cereal full sight bun

Invitation to Communion

Siblings in Christ, join me today at this table to a feast belonging to Jesus the Christ.  Siblings in Christ, join me today for a feast which will comfort our souls.  Siblings in Christ, join me in this sacrament knowing that we will grow close to God, neighbor, and self at this table.

Prayer of Communion

Friends, we come to this bittersweet ritual today filled with a bundle of emotions.  While our gratitude for this family of faith is plentiful, our spiritual pain still may be suffocating us at five weeks or four months or three years or even two decades after the death of our beloved.

Our pews are a little lighter.  Our homes are a quieter.  And our hearts know well of the gaping hole resulting from our loss.

Even as this void still consumes this day-to-day living, we come here looking for hope that we can find only in you.  Through this meal, we connect the past and present together, knowing that generation after generation has come to this table in their joy and grief.

God, we pray that this feast be one that fills our souls with comfort.  Even as winter is growing close and nighttime arrives early, this meal will kindle warmth and light inside our spirits.

May your Holy Spirit bless this bread and cup.  May the Spirit bless us as we celebrate at the peaks of life and as we abide in the shadow-filled valleys.  May the Spirit bring us the peace that will permeate our grief-coated hearts.  And may the Spirit use this time and space to remind us that we are never alone in our difficult spaces.

With his friends, Jesus shared his last communion before death.  The group recognized the sacred in their gathering and celebrated their friendship and their community of faith.

One more time, Jesus took the bread and blessed it.  In his breaking of the bread, Jesus yearned for them to remember his teachings and their times together.  “Whenever you eat this bread, remember me.”

One more time, after supper, Jesus took the cup and blessed it as well.  In his grasping of the cup, Jesus yearned for his followers to recall their times together.  “Whenever you drink of this cup, remember me.”

As we join together for this meal, let us remember with gratitude our loved ones who once ate at this table and many other tables with us.  While they no longer abide with us here today, help us to recognize that they are a part of the great cloud of witnesses, celebrating eternity with our Creator.

May this meal be a gift to each of our souls today.

Unison prayer of Thanksgiving

We express our gratitude for this meal, Divine Host.  We give thanks for the times we spent with our loved ones here at this table, and we thank you that this table is a reminder of our love for you, God.  Accompany us into the world with peace in our hearts and strength in the days to come.  Amen.

Reformation Day/Reformation Sunday Liturgy

Tags

, , , , , , , ,

pexels-photo-220483

For those who may need a Reformation Day/Reformation Sunday liturgy, here is an option for you to use and, if needed, adapt.  Please attribute.  Thank you!

CALL TO WORSHIP (Inspired by Psalm 96)
One: O sing to God a new song!
Many: Sing to God, all of us throughout this earth.
One: Sing throughout our lives. In our song, bless the name of God.
Many: Exclaim God’s salvation from morning until night.
One: Declare God’s glory and marvelous works
Many: For great is God, and with excitement, we join in praise.

OPENING PRAYER
God of all time and spaces, we know that through your magnificent creative Spirit our world and our lives came into being. And yet, you are not completely finished with creation.  You continue to speak.  As you nudge us to newness, grant us renewal as we observe creation with refreshed souls.  Help us to appreciate the boldness of Jesus, Martin Luther, and other reformers throughout history.   Give us the courage to change what needs to be transformed in order for your Church to grow.  Amen.

PRAYER OF RECONCILIATION
One: Just as the world continues to revolve and evolve, the church is called to move in new directions. Yet we do what we can to place brakes on change and silence newness. The winds of the Holy Spirit are still blowing in our direction, nudging us to move forward, but we have chosen to close doors, shut windows, and ignore its urging.

Many: Forgive us when we limit you, God and when we place you and your ideas into boxes. Open our souls to the expansiveness of faith.  May we incorporate the new winds and bold ideas even when we are set in our old ways and content with our monotonous routines.  Amen.

ASSURANCE OF GRACE
No matter how many times we have slammed the door on God, God continues to knock and wants us to answer.  We are grateful for the saturating grace that God continues to pour over us.  Amen!

CALL TO OFFERING
As God calls us to cultivate the Church, God asks us to share our time, talent, and treasures. As we give present our treasures, let us spend moments reflecting upon where God may be calling us to share our time and talents.

PRAYER OF DEDICATION
Through the gifts that we have placed in these plates and the offerings that we give of our time and talents, we seek to grow the Church, God. Let us continue to find creative ways to contribute.  And may our Still Speaking God’s call entice us to not only build but reform Christ’s church.  Amen.

BENEDICTION
May we leave this place understanding that this is the beginning. May we depart today knowing that the best of our faith is yet to come. And may the exhilarating mystery of God, the courage of the Great Reformer Jesus, and the dynamic nudging of the Spirit excite us as we become reformers for the Divine.  Amen!