Wednesday Prayer

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Sometimes, God
This work, this calling, the things we do called vocation is just a little bit puzzling and confounding.  Just being honest.

There are times I wonder whatever meeting or conversation or task that I just attended, shared or completed has to do with Good News, Love, Justice, Mercy, Peace, your Kin-dom.

Maybe they don’t.

I guess my prayer is that You lead me to places of meaning in my heart and mind, and help me clear the way for your Heart to beat with resonating life in all that you call me to do and be.

And remind me to not get stuck in the weeds.

Amen.

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Rev. Karla Miller is Minister for Community Life at Old North Church UCC in Marblehead, MA, a lovely seaside village on the North Shore of Boston.  She is a contributor to the RevGalBlogPals book, “There is a Woman in the Pulpit”.

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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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Categories: clergy, clergy women, clergywomen, RevGalBlogPals, Wednesday Prayer, women | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

All. The. Changes. – Last Wednesday Festival – at least for now

Good Morning Friends!1mUxhM

We are making a change on the blog  *drum roll please* The Wednesday Festival is moving to Friday! Thanks be to God that there are no book boxes to tote around. In case you play along at home and are wondering, the Friday Five will become a Facebook event every Friday, but will not be posted on the blog. This allows people to participate who do not have a blog – they can play along right on the FB thread. For many of us, the Friday Five was our first experience of playing along with RevGalBlogPals, and we are hoping that will be true for many more who never otherwise comment or join in the community of 3000+ there.

The Wednesday Festival will hereafter be known as the Friday Festival. It is a round-up of some of the blog writing that has caught the eye of whomever the curator is that week. I believe this may be my last time to write it regularly (by my own request) so instead of trying to find a theme, I am going to go all willy-nilly nuts and point you to some of the posts that will stay with me, long after this last Wednesday Festival:

Jan Edmiston points out some of the potential joys in closing a church,

“Congregations who make the spiritually mature decision to close – because it’s time – are to be appreciated and honored.  It’s not a sign of failure.  It’s a sign of faithfulness.  And it’s an excellent opportunity to allow resurrection to happen.”

Kids remind of us of such profound ideas, as highlighted by Becky Ramsey,

“Kids are the best because they are EXPERTS at experiencing genuine wonder, which to me is the same as an involuntary, instinctual praising of God, even if they’ve never heard of God.”

Bonnie Jacobs taught me something new this morning; I had no idea that When I am an Old Woman, I Shall Wear Purple is an entire book of poetry about the life stages of women.

“This collection of writings and photographs challenges stereotypes of older women in America.” (Amazon can just take my money now.)

Carol Howard Merritt is challenging the ideas about what most consider healthy stewardship,

“Go therefore and make money in all nations. Then hoard it in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Do not spend it feeding the hungry, or sheltering the homeless, or spreading the good news. Because that would be bad stewardship. And remember, I am with you, as long as you have a healthy endowment, because then you shall have institutional existence.”

Mary Beth Butler has a challenging post on how laity can support clergy,

“This is my church, and that of the others in the congregation. I am, we are, responsible for its growth, support, and success. [The clergy] will leave us eventually, and that is right and proper. Even if I don’t love everything about a particular clergyperson, I’m not huffing off mad. This is my church, my community, my spiritual home. “

RevJMK has really good advice for those of us who know someone dealing with hair loss related to chemo, but really for walking along anyone going through a major life change due to health issues,

“Watch how I talk about my hair, my cancer and anything else, and match my mood and expressions. If I’m making jokes, you can too. If I’m serious, go there.”

It didn’t seem like there was a theme, but as usual one has emerged – how to tell the Good News in new ways: some are posts about how to claim loss as resurrection, some are how to be in community with other humans and appreciate the gifts that all bring, some are a combination and an indication of this glorious path we all walk.

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Amy Haynie is an Episcopal priest in Fort Worth, Texas serving at Trinity Episcopal Church directly across the street from Texas Christian University. Go Frogs!

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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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Revised Common Lectionary: Once Every Three Years!

Philemon! This is the week we get to hear Philemon, the only time this letter shows up in the 3-year lectionary cycle! Given this letter’s history of being used to justify slavery, and considering racial and socioeconomic conflicts that seem to be ever-increasing in our society, a re-interpretation of Philemon for the modern-day Christian could be a wonderful sermon path. You might visit Eric Barreto’s excellent commentary on Working Preacher for additional ideas. Even if you don’t use Philemon as your sermon text, I hope you consider re-reading it as you prepare your sermon for this week, and reading in its entirety in worship on Sunday. It’s the shortest book in the Bible, it won’t take you long.🙂

Philemon word cloud

Philemon word cloud

Psalm 1 and Psalm 139 are both beautiful, and could be used as a litany to begin worship, to stand in for a confession, or as a prayer during the service sometime. Most preachers shy away from sermons on the Psalms, which means that many worshippers have never heard a sermon on a Psalm. I love using Psalm 139 for the children’s sermon, bringing a knitting project and explaining how each stitch takes effort, and that’s the level of care that God used when creating us! What will you do with the Psalm this week?

For the Old Testament lesson, there are choices from Jeremiah or Deuteronomy. Which lesson will you use – if any? Have you been following one track or the other through the summer for a lectionary preaching series? If so, please share your themes and insights! If not, this might be something to consider for future years in ordinary time.

This week’s Gospel from Luke doesn’t sound much like good news at first blush. Thankfully, this is also the only time this passage shows up in the three-year lectionary cycle! (There is a partial parallel in Matthew 10 that the lectionary gives us in year A, but that passage has a different theme overall.) In Luke 14, Jesus tells his followers that they must hate their families and life itself if they’re going to be his disciples. Moreover, being a disciple is pricey work, and you had better count the cost and be willing to sacrifice all your possessions if you want to follow Jesus. Give up family and possessions and life itself to follow Jesus? It’s a tough sell. How can you translate Jesus’ extreme call to discipleship for your congregation?

If you’re in the USA, you may be expecting small crowds since it’s Labor Day weekend and many folks will be traveling or simply doing other things over the long weekend. A quick Google search tells me that Australia and New Zealand are celebrating Father’s Day this Sunday, and Vietnam’s Independence Day is Sept 2! What is going on in your community? Where are the RCL texts leading you? Which Bible passages and what theme will your sermon address? Please share questions, brainstorms, blog posts and resources below. Happy writing!

 

*Note: this post was scheduled a few days early, as I am currently on vacation and offline. Many thanks to Monica Thompson Smith for following up to comments in my absence. And apologies if I have missed some relevant current events due to advance scheduling this post. I trust you all to discuss as needed below!

 

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canoeistpastor is Katya Ouchakof, co-pastor at Lake Edge Lutheran Church in Madison, WI, part-time hospital chaplain, and certified canoeing instructor. She is a contributor to There’s a Woman in the Pulpit, and has recently given her blog a facelift: Provocative Proclamation.

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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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Tuesday Prayer: To Pray

Dear Friend,

If I understand it correctly, at a bare minimum, my job is to pray.

I have to pray for those I love, those I know tenderly,

the names I call out in worship: the ones whose health and joy are mine to hold.

I have also to pray for those I do not love. Those who cut me off in traffic, who tailgate

(while my snarky profane side is not quite there…I’m working on it)

the ones who have hurt people I love

Those who have behaved awfully badly.

Earlier this summer, a Famous Christian Writer proposed that she needed to pray

for a certain political candidate whom she did not admire.

And I thought, “that’s how I get through this.”

So I pray for that candidate each day, and for the rival, and for other candidates,

and also for those who currently govern.

Some days some of those prayers taste bad in my mouth.

Some days I want to pray, “Well, bless their hearts!”

(where I grew up, that means something else.)

Every day I approach You and try.

Thanks for helping me to be willing to try.

Amen.

Mary Beth Butler is an Episcopal layperson in North Texas. She is a retired university administrator, paving contractor, and occasional blogger.

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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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candles

 

 

 

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The Pastoral is Political: Don’t Tell Us How to Dress!

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Imagine if you were at a beach, wearing a bathing suit that made you comfortable. The government had just passed an ordinance that women were not allowed to wear tops at the beach. While many women would be absolutely comfortable with this new law, most would feel uneasy baring one’s top. Police got wind of you being at the beach wearing a traditional two-piece bathing suit. They order you to remove your top. You refuse as you know you would feel extremely vulnerable allowing your breasts being uncovered. After your refusal, the police then rip off your top allowing your chest to be bare to anyone who walks by.

When I see the photographs of the Muslim woman at the beach in Nice, France being forced to remove the outer covering of her Burkini so that her arms and neck were bare, this is how I imagine she may feel. I can imagine that she felt violated by both officials and the eyes of the people around her. To her, having her arms uncovered by the Powers That Be is the same as if officials came and forcefully removed the tops off of many of us.  Just like the woman on the Nice beach, we would be ogled at our most vulnerable.

But criticism is also focused at those who dress less modestly as well.

Each year, at least one story floats around online about how a teen girl is told by her school that their dress to prom is inappropriate.  She is instructed to leave the prom, missing one of the most important moments of her young life. Sometimes, the criticism focuses on a detail of her dress that most of us would find insignificant: her straps show too much of her shoulders or her dress is too short.

Criticism of women also extends to our sisters who are breastfeeding or those who are wearing inappropriate clothing for their aging body or after weight gain.  When all is said and done, we might as ask ourselves, will we as women ever stop being criticized for what we wear?

Nothing is new under the sun; women have always been critiqued for what they wear. 1 Timothy 2:9 states “the woman should dress themselves modestly and decently in suitable clothing, not their hair braided, or with gold, pearls, or expensive clothing…” Likewise 1 Peter 3 notes “Do not adorn yourselves outwardly by braiding your hair, and by wearing gold ornaments or fine clothing.”  While it does say that beauty comes from within (“let your adornment be the inner self with the lasting beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in God’s sight.”), this text does not give permission to the woman to dress in the way that she herself feels the most comfortable.

Men’s restrictions on their dress in the Bible are quite minimal compared to the dress codes for women. As we continue to navigate ourselves in the 21st century, those who identify as male are restricted even less than those who identify as female.

But if men and women are both made in the image of God, why do we hold women to such different standards? Shouldn’t women be allowed to wear what they want as well?

While all women are vulnerable to attacks on their appearance and the ideal balance of appropriate outfits, the intersection of gender with race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, gender expression and gender identity is required to be recognized.  For instance, our African American sisters’ hair is often criticized and even limited in some work situations.  Even males who are racial minorities, religions besides Christian, and gay, transgender and queer are criticized more than males who are cis-gender white, heterosexual and Christian.

Ultimately, I believe that God is calling us to be our most authentic selves in the way we dress.  Romans 12:1-2 says:

“I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

Maybe it’s our job as the church to help each person in the world find their most authentic style without being shamed.  Whether a woman is dressed in a beautiful burkini or very baring two piece, maybe we should honor wherever she is today, helping her understand grace when others are throwing shame her way.

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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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The Rev. Michelle L. Torigian is the Pastor of St. Paul United Church of Christ, Old Blue Rock Road in Cincinnati.  Her essay “Always a Pastor, Never the Bride” was in the RevGalBlogPals book There’s a Woman in the Pulpit.  Torigian blogs at www.michelletorigian.com.

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Monday Prayer

Good morning God!!

How are you today?
Good & bad is what I see…
tragedies and celebrations all wrapped up together
buzzz, buzzz, buzzzzz……

Good morning God!
Can we sit awhile?
Chew the fat; shoot the breeze; share some thoughts…
reflect on all that is going on in the world
buzzzzz, buzzzzzz, buzzzzzzzzz…….

Good morning God!
It’s me again.
Here I am.
I’ll just be quiet now…
Shhhhh……



Ahh….
Thanks for listening
Thanks for being
Thanks for everything
Amen.

candy-JRen

Julie Rennick is a Church of Scotland minister, serving a rural community in the village of Earlston in the Scottish Borders. She recently married and is getting used to a new name. She blogs at A Country Girl, writes for Spill the Beans and contributed to the RevGals book, There’s a Woman in the Pulpit

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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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A Sunday Prayer

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We seem to be living in a time, Holy One,

where instead of offering mutual concern or care,

we wander through days filled with expressions of self-righteous anger,

smug polarities, staking claims of correctness and accusing wrongness,

a warring mood, heavy and surrounding.

 

The banquet of life is set before us,

and rather than sharing in the beautiful bounty,

we clamber for the best seats, knocking others out of the way simply with our silence,

choosing not to help others, including one another, to the table.

 

You have placed within us

a deep capacity for love,

and a wide ability to welcome.

Loosen us from what holds us back from being that grace and mercy upon the world.

May we faithfully risk all of who we are

to be unfettered love

to the lost, the lonely, the suffering, the stranger…

may we dare to be your people of courageous compassion and peace.

 

With all of who we are and are not, we pray,

Amen.

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

11th Hour Preacher’s Party:Make Room edition

 

 

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We’ve been enjoying some fairly dramatic sunsets recently. The right amount of cloud and the right amount of light have conspired to produce stunning effects. I’ve enjoyed taking time out at the beach to simply enjoy these nightly shows. The only draw back is that sunset is getting earlier and earlier here in Scotland -a reminder that summer in this part of the world is slipping away. That means, too, that our church programmes will soon be getting into full throttle.

Are you back in gear yet? Ready to tackle the Lectionary again? Or are you off on some other track?

Whether you’re ready for the season to change or not, Sunday’s coming and there is a word to be preached. Lets help each other get there. Just like the banquet prepared in the RCL Gospel reading, there is room for allsorts here. We can help each other from the table and together find and preach the good news that abounds in our text today.

Check out the blog post from earlier in the week for more inspiration.

Liz Crumlish is a Church of Scotland Minister currently working on a National Renewal Project. A Board Member of RevGalBlogPals, instigator of Spill the Beans and contributor to There’s a Woman in the Pulpit, Liz blogs at journalling

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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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Friday Five: Back to School

I happily affirm that I love school. I loved going to school. I love that our children are old enough to go to school. I know that not everyone, including some people in my household, have the same experience or love for school, but this time of year always fills me with new energy and hope. crayons

Five questions, then, about school.

  1. What was your favorite thing about school?
  2. Who was your most memorable teacher?
  3. With whom did you sit at lunch?
  4. What is/was your favorite school supply?
  5. What do you think “kids these days” are missing out on?

You may answer in the blog comments, on the facebook post, or post a link to your very own blog post (it’s not complicated; just copy and paste the address of the particular post).

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Monica Thompson Smith is a Presbyterian Church (USA) minister, serving as a pulpit supply preacher in South Central Texas. She is a contributor to There’s a Woman in the Pulpit.

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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

Darling one,
I used to pray
that you would know
that you are loved.
But over these years of loving you,
I have learned…
There is a difference between knowing you are loved and accepting that love.
So now I pray,
and pray,
and pray,
that you will find a way
to accept love.
To accept the love that your Creator created just for you.
To accept that you are so very loved,
by God,
and by the community that God called together
to love you.
More than you can imagine.
More than you can know.
Amen.

 

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The Rev. Erin Counihan serves as pastor at Oak Hill Presbyterian Church (PCUSA) in St. Louis, MO and blogs occasionally at http://www.somewhatreverend.wordpress.com.

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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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