Sunday Prayer

(Based on RCL Psalm 91)

Holy Refuge,

In these moments we seek your shelter

in the shadows of the cover of your wings.

We long to be surrounded by You,

as we dwell in your compassion and justice.

Give us the courage to withstand the temptation to live tiny lives of shortsightedness, self-destruction, and self-service.

Give us the open-heartedness to live lives of vulnerable kindess, thoughtfulness, and forgiveness.

Help us to move closer to the release of your love, even if we need to tread on all that is scarey and consuming and troubling.  Show us your angels that will bear us up in the midst of our terrors.

We pray for angels to bear up those people and places around us who are being attacked by arrows of war, domination, and domestic and political violence.

We pray for angels to bear up those people and places poisoned by the pestilence of greed, captivity, starvation and the rape of our Mother Earth.

We pray for angels to bear up those people and places suffering from the wastes of destructive forces such as chronic and terminal illness, depression, fear and anxiety.

You promise to deliver, to protect, to rescue, and to save.  Help us, as your people to be part of your promise to this world you love so much.  May we protect, love, embrace, and hear the call for help in each corner of the world we live in.

In Christ we pray,

Amen.

Categories: clergy women, clergywomen, RevGalBlogPals, Sunday Prayer, women | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Saturday Prayer – First Saturday in Lent

As we take our first tentative steps into the wilderness, Oh Most High, and feel most alone, grant us the wisdom to trust that you will catch us, feed us and gather us into communities of mutual nurture and respect.   Amen.

meLuHew

 

(photo)

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11th Hour Preacher Party: Hearts, Flowers, and Temptations

Hello preachers!

It’s an odd mashup this week, with Valentine’s Day and the First Sunday in Lent. Are you observing either, both, or neither? Preaching about either, both, or neither?

68d8a-knit2bheart

Revised Common Lectionary preachers can find some discussion at our Tuesday post, and Narrative Lectionary preachers over here at this Tuesday post.

What else do you need? What else do you have to share? I need a children’s time idea and some decent sleep (quality and quantity). I have some sermon thoughts about a general Lenten sermon on spiritual disciplines and some heart sugar cookies with red sprinkles to share.

Come, join the party!

Categories: 11th Hour Preacher Party, RevGalBlogPals | Tags: , , | 67 Comments

Friday Prayer: Being In the Body

I put away my scale for Lent. Not just shoving it under the counter, but I lifted it and put it on a shelf in a closet I don’t use.

Now in the space and time between using the toilet and heading to the shower, there is no pause.

There is no looking at numbers that on which I will base my opinion of the day before and the day ahead.

There is no glow of a tally of pounds on which I put entirely too much weight (pun intended).

 

In that space, I pass three mirrors. Slowly I learn to use the moments that would have been scale time for body time.

 

There it is. The body of a beloved child of God. A body that will love and be loved today. A body that carries promises and receives covenant fulfillments. A body that is strong in its own way.

 

I’m working on the Body in my body.

 

May the truth of the glory of your own body with Christ’s Body be made clearer to you, day by day.

 

Amen.

Categories: Friday Prayer, RevGalBlogPals | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Friday Five – The State of Our Hearts

IMG_5285 There it is right in front of us: Valentine’s Day.  No  matter what our marital status, who we’re dating, how our hearts have been broken or how we’ve been loved in the past, we can not escape this yearly observance.  Hearts, pink packages of candy and commercial after commercial for flowers and engagement rings continuously surround us in the week or two or three before Valentine’s Day.

This doesn’t sit well with many hearts – especially ones that have been broken or who may be freshly grieving.  As a leader in the church, I’ve been wondering how communities of faith can come together to support those with broken hearts (and created a Facebook group for unmarried progressive Christians and friends to discuss topics which concern them).

Whether we are married, single, divorced, separated, widowed, in a relationship or any other marital status, we’ve all gone through some highs and lows when it comes to the state of our hearts.

As we head into Valentine’s Day weekend, here are five questions on which to reflect.  Feel free to post in the comments below or as a prompt on your own blog (and post the link in the comments).

(1.) What is one challenging thing about your current marital status?

(2.) What is your best memory of love?

(3.) What has been your best antidote in healing a broken heart?  (Movies, hobbies, etc.)

(4.) What has been the most meaningful gift from a significant other, family member or friend?  Of course, it doesn’t need to be a material object.

(5.) Name something the church could do to support someone with a broken heart.

May God seal all of the cracks in your heart as you step into new life and new paths.  Amen.

*****

RevGalBlogPals encourages you to share our blog posts via email or social media. We do not grant permission to cut-and-paste prayers and articles without a link back. For permission to use material in paper publications, please email revgalblogpals at gmail dot com.

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Thursday Prayer: Today day two

shutterstock_Feb-11Today
day two
I woke
thinking
feeling
making up
my mind
my heart
what to do
or not to do

Read this
Write that
Don’t eat that
or then
Do walk there
or run instead

Open heart
Open mind
Open spirit

Listen to my gut

Listen to You

Today
day two

I woke

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Ask the Matriarch: Lenten Practices

Day Two of Lent dawns. The ashes left a little smudge on the pillow. The journey continues . . .

The Matriarchs were asked to tell us how they and their congregations have made plans to go through Lent by responding to these prompts:

1. Your 2016 Lenten spiritual practice(s) 

2. One wonderful Lenten congregational tradition or practice

3. The healthiest thing you are doing for yourself right now

Jennifer Burns Lewis begins the conversation:

1.      I’m writing a note of gratitude per day in Lent. The inspiration for my 2016 Lenten Spiritual practice can be found here: http://livingourfaithstpauls.com/2016/02/08/forty-ways-to-care-for-your-soul-this-lent/ and also from April Davis Campbell, who did so every day for a year. (Amazing.)

2.      The congregation I serve holds three services with a neighboring congregation in Lent. Two involve eating together and liturgy that moves me every single time.

3.      The healthiest thing I’m doing for myself right now?  I’m training for six 5Ks with my daughter in 2016. We live in different states, and train separately, but hold each other accountable. Thank you, Fitbit.

Jennifer Burns Lewis

www.anorientationofheart.blogspot.com

Thank you, Jennifer!  Six 5Ks?! My Fitbit is jealous.  Best wishes!

Here’s what’s going on during my Lenten season:

1. I’m writing a prayer a day. It is daunting because it feels more like writing for an audience (beyond God) more than it feels like prayer. There’s the challenge — and the hope — and the need!

2. The UCC church I serve seems open to new rituals. Their small, intimate physical space is just right for a combined Maundy Thursday meal with Communion, followed by a Tenebrae in the Sanctuary. Work in progress . . .

3. Just in time for the Wilderness Lectionary text for this week, I am determined to drink more water. I am filling up my water bottle 4 times a day and staying hydrated.

Sharon Temple
Tidings of Comfort & Joy

* * * * * * * * *

How about you, dear readers? 

What Lenten ideas did you begin to put into practice on Day One? How is it going?

Play in the comments below!  Thank you for sharing your ideas and thoughts on your Lenten practice(s).

We love questions! What’s bugging you or confounding you about church life or pastor life? Our Matriarchs are here to help.

Send your questions to AskTheMatriarch (at) gmail (dot) com

*****
RevGalBlogPals encourages you to share our blog posts via email or social media. We do not grant permission to cut-and-paste prayers and articles without a link back. For permission to use material in paper publications, please email revgalblogpals at gmail dot com.
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Wednesday Prayer

The party is over,
the streamers are packed away,
a hint of grease remains on pancake griddle as it rests in the dish drainer,
and the plastic baby King Jesus sits on the counter with a few cake crumbs dotting his belly.

This morning we arise,
to sackcloth and mourning,
to the very earth-boundedness of our lives,
reminded of our mortal selves.

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, mixed with oil of anointing.
We brush back our hair to present our foreheads,
or hold out the back of our wrinkled smooth hands
for the mark of a smudged cross,
a symbol of all of who we are and who we are not.

A mark that invites our whole selves to return to God,
to repent, to release…
and crack open our tired, aching, chained up hearts
to the mystery and healing hope of God.

Oh God of life and death,
of forgiveness and blessing,
we know we are dust, and to dust we shall return,
and in the midst of all of that,
we return to You.
Come, O God, make haste to save us.

Amen.

 

Categories: RevGalBlogPals | 1 Comment

Wednesday Festival: Ash Wednesday

ashes

Preparing ashes in the vicarage garden.

“Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return.

Repent and believe the Gospel.” 

These words, or words like them, will be spoken in many places around the world as Ash Wednesday arrives in our respective time zones.  Around the RevGals ring, we are writing about Lenten practices, about these words and our mortality, and entering into this season of Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving in a diversity of ways.

Jan Richardson offers a blessing for Ash Wednesday including these words: did you not know what the Holy One can do with dust?

Mary Luti wonders what we might give up for Lent, suggesting our self and all our striving.  Let God be your holiness, your healing, and your hope.

Cheryl Harader is writing about her personal Lenten practices and how they are shaped in response to her grief after the death of her husband.  So for me, at this time, this practice/commitment is what will help me focus on what I really do need: to stay close to God, not to buy more stuff.

Kimberly Knight describes her queer Ash Wednesday quandary and that while her resolution of the quandary is a little unexpected I am a human filled to the brim with contradictions and paradoxes, broken and beautiful in God’s eyes.

Casey at Faith and Wonder (and the scheduled presenter for the RevGals Big Event in 2017) has a great Biblical storytelling resource for the first Sunday in Lent.   I loved watching the children tell the story of the temptation of Jesus.

Please add links to Ash Wednesday writing and Lent resources in the comments.

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Revised Common Lectionary: Dust and Temptation

A busy liturgical season is upon us with tomorrow’s arrival of Ash Wednesday. Your colleagues in RevGalBlogPals are walking with you, encouraging you, and sharing resources so that your Lenten journey is professionally supported and personally nourished.

For today’s Lectionary Leanings on the Revised Common Lectionary, we dive into the fullness of this Lenten season with discussion of the Ash Wednesday texts as well as the First Sunday in Lent texts:

Ash Wednesday, February 10 (texts here)

  • Will you sound the trumpet of Joel 2 and Isaiah 58, with the nuanced reminder from Matthew 6 that the trumpet is not actually ours to sound — rather it is God’s call to all of us to turn & return & return again to the worship of God?
  • Will you lean on Isaiah 58, 2 Corinthians 5, and Psalm 51 to remind those gathered that God’s grace is not meant to be received in vain, but its purpose is to pour out for the healing & rejoicing of crushed bones, for the feeding of the hungry, for the relief of unjust yokes, for the vindication of those who are speaking truth against affliction & imprisonment & beatings (see also: #BlackLivesMatter)?
  • Will you focus less on the lectionary texts and more on the imagery of ashes & dust: the simple yet stark reminder that we are — beautifully, awfully, insufficiently, wholly — human, not so powerful or so proud or so self-sufficient as we hope to be?
Photo by RevGal Julie Jensen

Photo by RevGal Julie Jensen

First Sunday in Lent, February 14 (texts here)

  • Will you reflect on the Lenten theme of confession, perhaps considering “confession” as faith-journey-storytelling as represented in Deuteronomy 26, perhaps playing with the Word/word on our tongues in Romans 10 and the possibility that “confession” does not divide us by creed but binds us together in a common appeal to God for hope in an uncertain world?
  • Will you consider our world’s wanderers and refugees in light of Deuteronomy 26 and Psalm 91, celebrating a God who is a haven and calling the Church to offer safe space in the name of the ever-welcoming haven-God?
  • Will you wrestle with the complexities of Jesus’ temptation, of stones that are obstacles and bread that is not quite all of life, of esteem among nations and humility before God, of the protection of angels and the unavoidable vulnerabilities of life? Have you noticed that Jesus said no to temptation but we cannot, because we need bread and we love popularity and we plea with God to avoid harm? Have you noticed that the temptations offered to Jesus can be paralleled with the promises that God made to Abram: of land (stone and fields to produce wheat/bread), of a reputation among nations, of protection and the security of God’s name?

The texts are complex and Lent is appropriately a season for wrestling with God, with one another, with faith. How are your preaching & worship plans taking shape for Ash Wednesday and the First Sunday in Lent? Share your thoughts, brainstorms, and questions in the comments.

*****
RevGalBlogPals encourages you to share our blog posts via email or social media. We do not grant permission to cut-and-paste prayers and articles without a link back. For permission to use material in paper publications, please email revgalblogpals at gmail dot com.
*****

Categories: Ash Wednesday, Lent, Revised Common Lectionary | Tags: , , , | 12 Comments

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