Friday Prayer: Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes

Put your hands on your head. 

Say: Lord, bless my head. Keep my thoughts focused on you, my eyes open to see your people, my mouth full of your blessings (or just keep it quiet).

Put your hands on your shoulders.

Say: Lord, bless my shoulders. Lighten my perception of my load and strengthen me for the work that lies ahead.

Put your hands on your knees. 

Say: Lord, bless my knees. Keep me moving forward in your direction, by your direction. Stir up my awareness of our travel together.

Put your hands on your toes (or just look at them).

Say: Lord, thank you for my body- one of the many gifts you have given me.

Amen.

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Friday Five: Sweet or Salty?

sweet

“Candy Box” by Denise Chan, released on Flickr under the Creative Common License found via Wylio

Beggars Night.

Harvest Party.

Hallowe’en.

Trunk or Treat.

All Hallows Eve.

Call it what you want, there’s plenty of holiday love for sweet treats on October 31st. (Consider this your one week warm-up.)

Ain’t gonna lie… Even though there are no Trick-or-Treaters in our home, I still eye the candy aisle with undisguised lust.

(blushing)

What shall it be? Can I resist? Maybe you have a craving for a little something from time to time… join me for this week’s Friday Five!

1. First, Sweet or Salty? Or both? Describe that gotta-have-it treat. (It can be healthy or paleo-friendly, or decadent. We won’t judge!)

2. Self-control: How do you help yourself stay strong with the temptation of All That Sugar?

3. Have you successfully cut (or decreased) sugar out of your diet? How did you do it?

4. What’s one sweet you won’t do without. Ever.

5. Just for fun: if you were a candy bar, which one would you be?

BONUS: Share a recipe or tip that uses up the leftover sweets at your house.

As always, we love it when you play on your blog and post the link in the comments (just copy and paste!) Or you can offer your Five in the comments.

Categories: RevGalBlogPals | Tags: | 1 Comment

Thursday (evening) Prayer

Watch, O Lord, with those who wake, or watch, or weep tonight, and give Your angels and saints charge over those who sleep. Tend Your sick ones, O Lord Christ. Rest Your weary ones. Bless Your dying ones. Soothe Your suffering ones. Pity Your afflicted ones. Shield Your joyous ones, and all for Your love’s sake. Amen.

Watch O Lord
by St. Augustine
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Ask the Matriarch: A Public Voice and Public Stands

RevGal Marci Glass at a Marriage Equality rally in Boise, Idaho (May, 2014).

RevGal Marci Glass at a Marriage Equality rally in Boise, Idaho (May, 2014).

To the Matriarchs:

I am beginning to receive and consider getting involved in causes at the state and local level. These are social justice issues about which I feel strongly, and for which I would like to take a stand. What I’m not clear about is whether or how much I need to get my local congregation’s approval or blessing for this. Is this a personal decision that I make? Is my presence at rallies as a clergy member seen as being on behalf of my congregation, or is it all confined to my position, what I believe? Should I bring it to my session and get their input or blessing before entering into this?

This is a great question about a tricky issue. I think this depends somewhat on polity; it sounds to me like you are possibly Presbyterian, so I hope some of our Presbyterian sisters will be ringing in. I am Baptist, and within our polity, I cannot speak for my congregation without their approval (i.e., a congregational vote). I am, however, free to speak for myself, so long as I do not imply I am doing so on behalf of the congregation. Recently, for example, I was asked by a church member to sign a letter regarding an affordable housing issue in my community. There was a place below the letter to sign on behalf of a group and a place to sign as an individual. I signed under “individual signers,” including my name and my church affiliation; this is what other individual signers did as well (including some members of my church). The church member who presented the letter really wanted us to sign for our church under “group signers,” but we could not do that without a congregational vote (and that is not an action we take without lots of time and discussion). I am likewise often involved in various causes and occasional protests, and while I am free to identify myself as a member of the clergy, and as affiliated with my particular congregation, this is not meant to imply the consent of my congregation. I’ll be interested to hear how others respond to this question!

earthchick at earthchicknits

Dear Friend,

Blessings on you as you listen to that voice of justice within you. Depending upon how active and public you plan to be in your advocacy ministry, I would share your passion to do this with your session. Together you can talk about why you feel called to get active and what role they want to take to support you, if any role at all.

It is a vulnerable place sometimes, as clergy, knowing that our passions and theology might differ from some of those in our congregation. But these conversations open doors for growth.

Blessings on your next steps.

Rev. Kelley

Readers, what is your experience? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Categories: Ask The Matriarch | Tags: | 6 Comments

Wednesday Festival: Provocative Questions

Around our blogging network, many powerful reflections and thoughtful writings are regularly shared. For this week’s edition of the Wednesday Festival, I offer snippets of provocative questions from the blogging ring and encourage you to comment on one another’s blogs for further conversation:

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Here in the middle of stewardship season — that time of fundraising and/or financial pledging in many churches — a question about the place of money in church vision processes: Should budget people be kept out of church visioning processes? (achurchforstarvingartists)

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Does one owe flowers to the lawyer who, unknowingly, helps that one avoid the ire of a local judge? (a funny story from Skewed View)

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On a more serious note, what are the big questions that keep you up at night? (Las Puertas Abiertas de Par en Par)

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How do you keep your focus on Jesus? (Just Wondering)

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Whether for reasons of professional ethics or choked by tears, whether for fear or for lack of words, what is it you cannot say aloud? (An Unfinished Symphony)

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What gets you singing Jesus songs? ((im)possible things with god)

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Have a question — serious or lighthearted — that you’ve been considering in your own blog? Share a link in the comments!

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Revised Common Lectionary: A Place For Us

Photo Credit: Space Safety Magazine

“You are here.” Photo Credit: Space Safety Magazine

“Lord, you have been our dwelling place
in all generations.” – Psalm 90:1

As I read this week’s lectionary texts, a common word/theme keeps jumping at me: place.

Specifically, the contrast between God’s place and our place. These texts paint the picture of our simultaneous closeness to and separation from the Most High. Our place is with God, and yet is apart from God — and yet is still with God!

Moses, who was unlike any other prophet and “whom the LORD knew face to face” still wasn’t allowed to cross over to the land given to Abraham’s descendants. His place was the top of Pisgah, not west of the Jordan. That place was for Joshua.

Paul, Silas, and Timothy acknowledged their place as preachers of the gospel. It was not their place to seek praise, or gain, though that might have been afforded to them without anyone batting and eye. They were firm in where they stood.

Jesus put a young Pharisee and his company in their place with a little messianic theology. Perhaps they weren’t as learned as they thought they were!

I sense this week’s readings are inviting us to consider anew that God’s thoughts and ways are so very far from ours. We are reminded in the Psalm that we come from dust and return back to that. We are reminded that “a thousand years in [God's] sight are like yesterday when it is past.” And yet, as the psalm says, the Lord has been our dwelling place in all generations. Our place is not God’s place, and yet our place is in God.

Consider the ways in which we’ve tried to assume a place that is not reserved for us. How have we unknowingly tried to stand in God’s place rather than standing in God — in God’s shelter, provision, love, and plan?

Categories: RevGalBlogPals, Revised Common Lectionary, Tuesday Lectionary Leanings | Tags: | 2 Comments

Tuesday Prayer

ok, God.
I set out to pray first thing today…
but then I hit the snooze for a few more zzz’s.
And then when I woke up, I snuggled with warm sleeping dogs who smell like grilled cheese.
Then, I realized what time it was,
so I made a cup of coffee,
popped open the laptop,
and got distracted
by a trip down the Facebook feed.
Oh, wonderful posts by beautiful friends,
thought-provoking links,
silly photos,
even funnier videos,
seeing the names and ponderings of all of those friends and pages
that for 20 minutes have enriched my life…
and others around the world…
maybe even some have evoked social change
and wrought justice
and brought forth the choice of Love above all else,
and I am grateful.
Grateful for the ways in which you reach us,
and thankful for the chance
to pray my way through this twenty minute journey,
all the while surrounded by the gentle snores
of sleeping angels who smell like grilled cheese.
Amen.

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Narrative Lectionary: Babies and Swords Edition

Reading for this week:  1 Kings 3:4-9, (10-15), 16-28

Old Faithful, 2007Working Preacher commentary here.

Podcast here.

I commend the podcast and the commentary both to you.

I have one written note in my Bible next to this passage, reading, “Is there actually an ironic reading on this passage, since people would have known he wasn’t wise in practice later?”

I don’t actually know when I wrote that down, but I imagine that I was reading the passage and recalling Solomon’s violent and manipulative takeover of the throne, his enslavement of Israelites to build a temple, his vast accrual of foreign wives and concubines. None of these things seem particularly wise. By the time the history of Solomon is written, most of these things would have be known. Why- therefore- is he portrayed as asking for and receiving wisdom?

The story, with the two women and two children, jerks on every human emotion we have. Children, grieving, death, frustration, fear, doubt, longing for justice, craving order… this story has it all. We can almost here the patented “chung-chung” of Law and Order in between the scenes. Thus the swift (and irreversible) judgment of the king- what the people crave.

Is his decision actually wise? What would he have done if the woman hadn’t cried out- actually divided the remaining “property”?

If thinking of the baby as property gives you the cold shivers (and it should), it might be time to have a conversation in your congregation about the commodification of people in our prison system. (Just a side note from me.)

Solomon’s future seemed bright, at least in this story, in that God is granting him favor because Solomon has all the right words in all the right places. However, is that true wisdom? Is that applied wisdom? Do Solomon’s later decisions reflect on his desire for God’s will and the flourishing of the Israelites?

Solomon’s later actions (prayer to foreign gods, building the temple after his own house, conscription of Israelites, foreign wives being allowed to persist in worship of foreign deities) do not seem like wisdom or valor, but fear. Solomon’s CYA (cover your arse) policy belies the impression here that he trusts the Lord with his whole heart.

What are our own superstitions, our own failures of wisdom, our own quicks justices that fail to fully rely on grace?

What is the wisdom we should be seeking now as the communion of saints and as members of the body of Christ?

What is Solomon’s legacy to us- deep trust in God’s faithfulness or a hasty application of our own wisdom and a CYA prayer policy?

What’s your direction this week? Please share in the comments.

Categories: Narrative Lectionary | 3 Comments

Monday Prayer

Autumn leaves are falling
Reminding me that everyone needs to rest
The earth is getting ready for the long sleep

And yet, in other places the earth is wakening…
And so it goes again

As I awake, others sleep,
As I stir and plan and begin to work
Others’ days are closing
Thus it is, and thus it has always been

O God of wonder
Your world is amazing
Truly amazing
Help us to remember
Our small corner is just that
A tiny part of creation

Each is essential
Each is needed
Each is important

That, we O God
Are yours
And we O God
Have our part to play

The world prepares
For rest, or action
And we too
Prepare
To serve
To share
To love
All those you put before us

For we O God
Are yours
And we serve you

Autumn leaves are falling in our world
We prepare
Every day
For God – Mother, Brother, Breath
Amen

IMG_0185.JPG

Categories: Monday Prayer, prayer, RevGalPrayerPals | 2 Comments

Sunday Prayers: RCL 24A and Narrative Year 1

Sunday Prayer
Proper 24A /Narrative Year 1

RCL Exodus 33:12-23

Holy One,
You call us up the mountain,
to be in communion with your Presence,
and to learn from you on how to lead
your people and how to love your world.

You listen to our complaints, our needs,
our wishes, our wants,
with patience and perhaps a bit of wry wit.

We long for your Glory, and yet we do not really know
what we ask for—but you do, and you know it might kill us.
So, instead,
you protect us in a safe place
as you sweep by us in brilliance,
your Presence a dazzle all around us,
a shimmer and a sparkle remnant remains as You pass by.

May we not let the glistening remnant be covered in the dust
of daily life,
hidden under the burdens we struggle to bear and or let go.
May we be aware
of the reflection of Your glory
in every corner of the world…
and seek to share it with others,
the whole of all your creation.
Amen

Narrative: II Samuel 12: 1-9 and RCL: Matthew 22:15-22

Holy and loving God,
Your very presence in our lives
is so much more than enough,
it is everything.

We give you thanks, for the abundance of your blessing,
for our relationships that enrich our beings,
for this community, and for the ways in which we strive to
be your mercy, love and justice in your world.

Forgive us when we forget
that all we have and that that we are
belongs to You.
Hold us accountable, when in our privilege,
we decide everything belongs to us,
and others suffer because of our disregard and wantoness.
Call us out, humble us…
Remind us that the greatest gift and salvation
is to know that we Belong to you.

Teach us, oh God,
to be persistent
in finding ways to share this Good News
of belonging and abundance
with the places and people and beings of this world
that are lost, sick, lonely,
at war, in desolation,
disgruntled,
and bewildered by stress and loss and pain.

Lead us, giving God,
Open our hearts to your guidance
and may we not rest
until what we have
is shared, measure upon endless measure
with all of your creation.
Amen.

Categories: RevGalBlogPals | 1 Comment

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