Monday Prayer

IMG_0920Another week
Another set of seven
Another glimpse of God at work
Another time to pause
Reflect awhile with me…

What happened to you last week?
Where did the time go?
Who did you see, what did you talk about, where did you find God in those small things?
What?! You didn’t?
Well, pause awhile with me as we look together.
For in every moment, whether we realise it or not, God is with us, at work in us, inspiring words and conversations.

So, as this new week starts… Pause.
I cannot emphasis this enough!
PAUSE……….

Precious Holy
We pause, and in this moment we invite you in.
In to this day
In to this week
In to every conversation, meeting, email, transaction, planning session, yes! Everything!

We pause and invite and pray and ask and seek and search and, and, ahhhh…. again, I am trying too hard, filling the lists. When all I really need is to pause.
Pause

Pause

Breathe

Sigh

Breathe
Sigh
Thank you

Pause

Amen

 

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Sunday Prayer: Hopeless

I have some not-so-polite things to pray today, God,
starting with:

You suck.

.

Also:

You’re falling down on the job.

.

Where is your balm to the brokenhearted
when pain is looped publicly on video
for voyeurism and ratings?

.

Is there no more freedom
your Spirit can breathe upon those
most strangled, most strained, most encumbered
by centuries of hatred?

.

Where is your fulfillment of justice
in heaven or on earth?
Have the stars taken all your attention
in resolving their quarrels with far-flung moons?

.

Did you stop helping
after you fulfilled your promise to Jacob?
Were you too tired after the journey across the wilderness?
Was it just too much when they killed Christ?

.

Have you kept faith forever
to yourself while we cast around
looking for hope worth holding onto?

.

The prisoners are on strike,
the hungry are desperate,
the ignorant feel righteous,
the bowed down are drowning,
the strangers are turned away,
but sure: let’s carry on with loud praises to
the God who teases us across generations.

.

on Psalm 146

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Rachel G. Hackenberg is a United Church of Christ (US) minister, soccer mom, blogger, and author. Her book Sacred Pause plays with words to refresh our relationship with The Word.
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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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Saturday Prayer – praying for the planet

For what can we pray?
we ask the grieving person,
the sick person,
the desperate person.

And they answer
comfort or
healing or
help.

For what can we pray?
we ask the grieving planet,
the sick planet,
the desperate planet.

And she answers
comfort and
healing and
hope.

Creator of all, make us comforters, healers and hope bringers, not just with our words but with all we do and are. Amen.
planet

 

Photo credit

 

Rev. Jennifer Garrison Brownell is pastor at First Congregational UCC in Vancouver Washington. She is the author of the not-really-about-a-triathlon memoir Swim Ride Run Breathe: How I Lost a Triathlon and Caught My Breath and a contributor to There’s a Woman in the Pulpit. She sometimes writes for Stillspeaking Daily Devotionals.

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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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11th Hour Preacher’s Party: Transforming stories

image

I’ve spent part of this week at a conference for women in ministry. There were lots of stories of gender injustice and discrimination alongside stories of resourcefulness, subversion and transformational love.

Our texts this week also offer narratives of triumph against the odds. In the NL, dreams, differences and deceit give way to forgiveness and reconciliation. In the RCL, isolation and poverty give way to inclusion and acceptance within the abundance of the love of God.

Narratives that speak powerfully into our world today. Which texts speak into your context? How will you use these texts to proclaim another way, the way of a God who is love?

We invite you to share your pain and your struggle as you seek to bring a message of hope for our world and for our communities today. And, against the odds, together we will speak of and reveal transforming love.

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 Festival: In the Wee Small Hours

13f6d-analog-clock-scoreboardStill Friday for some of us, already Saturday for others. Around the world, RevGalBlogPals write and read and blog and work at all hours — within our own timezones and ’round the clock collectively. Today’s Friday Festival is a collection of the sorts of thoughts that keep us up at night, distract us at dawn’s first light, or grip our hearts throughout the day:

  • “In the wake of yet more shootings of unarmed Black men by police officers, this time in Tulsa and Charlotte, I am begging you to open your eyes to what is happening all around us. The Body of Christ is bleeding and dying and we are carrying on as if we don’t need serious medical attention.” Keep reading Rachael Keefe’s A Letter from a Tired Pastor.
  • “We never really get over loss. It doesn’t matter what it is. We always remember what it was like when we had something that we no longer have. Yet the loss of one thing is opportunity for something else to enter in.” Read Deirdre Whitfield’s short reflection, Broken Open.
  • “How often in our churches do we use outdated technology and communication methods that only reach certain people? Maybe we are using the best technology but forgetting that not everyone has access to it or uses it in the same way.” Read Shannon Karafanda’s post, How are we communicating?
  • “The question which has been tugging at me – What if the idea of the autonomous individual is a myth? The ideal of the ‘self-made man’ pulling himself up by his bootstraps is at best joke and at worst a cruel impossibility held up to the poor as a shaming spectre.” Read Mags Blackie’s reflection, All of us or none of us.
  • “Sometimes feelings change and our own reactions to things we have done with joy in the past may change…and when that happens, it’s okay to think about it, pray about it and talk with friends about it as you figure out what happens next.” Read the full story in Pastor Jen’s post, A trip, a fall and a break.

What deep thoughts are you thinking? What wondrous words and curious questions are simmering within your spirit? Join these RevGalBlogPals bloggers in conversation by commenting on their posts. Add your own reflections and/or blogpost links here in the comments to share with others!

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Rachel G. Hackenberg is a United Church of Christ (US) minister, soccer mom, blogger, and author. Her book Sacred Pause plays with words to refresh our relationship with The Word.
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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 Prayer: At the End

Holy One-

There came a time when Greece knew she was done. The lamp that was Rome blew out and was no more. The Holy Roman Empire had its days. Dynasties rise and fall- Jin, Tang, Ming. Shores are sheltered and then breached. The sun did set on the British Empire.

In the waning days, when those with power panicked at the grains slipping through their hands? What did You do, oh Lord? Did You watch, weeping and wrenched? Did You dispatch Jonah after Jonah, who fled again and again? When You cast your holy hand around- was all simply lukewarm, with all passion and abstinence spent and melded?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Photo by Julia (Dunlap) Seymour, December 2005

As the sunsets on empires deepened and the powerful reached out and began to increase the pain, increase the violence, increase the oppression- how did You brace the believers, the seekers, the uprights? Does the Spirit work overtime? Are additional angels dispatched? Is the meeting of the beloved more efficacious in this time?

I am not asking for a friend. I am not even asking on behalf of a country. It’s me, O Lord, standing in the need of this prayer. It’s me who sees the fade of an empire and the blood that is sweeping out the end of days of glory that were only ever really for some, never for all. It’s me who stands, impotently grieved, and wants to know: what did You do before, so I know how to look for it now?

The preservation of the faith tells me that You have acted in history. So what will it look like and how will I know? There are fights to fight, spoons to wield, forgiveness to seek, and reparations to be made. When the city on the hill shines its beacon into its own streets, strewn with bodies, there is nothing left but the cross, the community, and compassion, but we haven’t reached this level of acceptance. We aren’t there. We are still fighting as though there was a greatness to be achieved again. What never was, never will be.

If You had lapels, I would grasp them as I shout this prayer. If You were holding my hand, Your fingers would be pinched in my grip. If we were at coffee, I might have chipped the dish, setting the cup down a little too hard.

We need equipping for the last days of an empire. You have done it before. Do it now.

Selah.

 

The Reverend Julia Seymour serves Lutheran Church of Hope in Anchorage, AK. She blogs at lutheranjulia.blogspot.com. She contributed 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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Wednesday Prayer

2dQNbjo

All right, God.
I have started this prayer a million times.
Trying to find the right and perfect words.
But you know what?  There are none.

Things are pretty sucky right now, for a lot of people in a lot of places.
Frankly, we need your Sense more than ever.
And it is time that your Justice rolls down like a raging river, and your Righteousness like ever flowing Niagra Falls.

Amen.

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The Rev. Karla Miller is a UCC pastor serving Old North Church of Marblehead, MA as Minister for Community Life.   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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RevGals Anti-Racism Project: “Trouble I’ve Seen,” Week 3

After we discard the white, elite, Western Jesus, a human construct used for sociopolitical domination, we open ourselves up to the divine revelation of the poor, oppressed, Jewish, and ultimately crucified Messiah. And in a life of disciple ship, we will find the way that can dismantle and dis-align the racial hierarchy and order upon which our lives are built. Drew G.I. Hart, Trouble I’ve Seen: Changing the Way the Church Views Racism, p. 59

The Jesus I remember from White Sunday School

The Jesus I remember from White Sunday School

In Chapter 3, “Leaving Behind the Whitened Jesus,” Dr. Hart opens a door not to a Victorian image of a gentle white man who would be non-threatening to the pious establishment, but rather to a subversive force whose life, teachings, death and resurrection upended the authority not only of temporal power structures but of death itself. This chapter may present a new concept of Jesus to the reader, although to our community of clergy, it may resonate with things we learned during our theological education, particularly in reading liberation theology. Hart points out the contrast between the Jesus of the Bible, a poor person in an oppressed community, with our American use of Jesus and Christianity as a reinforcer of hierarchical systems that privilege white people.

...the life of Jesus was so subversive and radical that he repeatedly undermined and clashed with the status quo establishment. p. 65

Hart takes us through a study of Luke’s gospel and particularly Jesus’ remarks about Jerusalem and Herod. The city that should have been an ideal was instead an example of earthly kingdom power. Those who ran it would execute Jesus because he posed a threat to the status quo. Hart asks the reader to consider what power truly is; do we consider God to be a “super-sized” Caesar? If so, we are missing the point of Christ crucified.

The American god of dominant culture seems foolish and weak once we realize that God has chosen to especially restore, liberate, reconcile, and transform our world from below. p. 71

  1. Jesus, reconstructed by forensic anthropologists, in light of his ethnicity

    Jesus, reconstructed by forensic anthropologists, in light of his ethnicity, one of the images I used.

    A decade ago, I brought to church a dozen different art images of Jesus, portrayed in different cultures, with different skin tones, and shared them in worship. Adults expressed surprise, and a few were offended, but most children accepted the images with a matter-of-fact curiosity. What images of Jesus did you see as a child? What images do the children see in your church?

  2. If Jesus had been born in the twenty- first century, what would the story have been like? Where might he have been born? Who might his parents have been? Where would they have stayed the night? Who may have come to visit them?*
  3. We are living in a time of ongoing protests against and clashes with the “status quo establishment,” from athletes taking a knee during the National Anthem to silent protests to more physical encounters between citizens and law enforcement that include violence. Are you talking about this in the life of your church? Can you see the subversive energy of Jesus Christ in the movement?
  4. Is any of the thinking Hart shares about Jesus in this chapter new to you?
  5. A poster from Tarrice Love's photography show, 2011

    A poster from Tarrice Love’s photography show, 2011

    Take a look at this image of Jesus as a Black man, then do a Google image search for “Black Jesus.” Does a different image of Jesus change your thoughts about him? How does it feel to leave Jesus’ whiteness behind, even for a few minutes?

Find our post about Chapter 1 here and our post about Chapter 2 here. You may comment here, or join the conversation in our Facebook group.

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About the RevGals Anti-Racism Project: As a majority white organization incorporated in the United States, the leaders of RevGalBlogPals feel called to confront systemic racism in the U.S. As a global ministry, we feel called to oppose minority oppression and racial injustice in all nations. We hope this book discussion will be a step toward awareness and away from unconscious centering of whiteness.

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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.

*Some questions will be taken from Herald Press’s study guide for Hart’s book.

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Revised Common Lectionary: In the Bosom of Abraham

While in seminary, I preached a sermon on this Gospel lesson that I still remember as one of my more mediocre moments in worship leadership. While the sermon itself could have used some improvement, I think that the point I preached holds true: we are all Lazarus. And we are all the rich man. Or at least, we have been at some point or another in our lives. Sometimes we are the poor person, desperately hoping for the goodwill of another to help make our lives a little easier. Sometimes we are the self-absorbed rich man, unwilling to see the need right in front of us, and even less willing to inconvenience ourselves with a response. Sometimes we are Lazarus, welcomed warmly into God’s presence, and sometimes we are the person finding ourselves unexpectedly in a place of torment.

richmanlazarusgebhardt

Where are you today in relationship with this Gospel passage? Where is your congregation? What message does your community need to hear this week?

Other interesting points to note about Luke 16:19-31 are that the rich man is never named, even though the poor man is. Does this say something about God’s sense of who is truly important or valuable in the world? What does it mean that the man who is embraced by Abraham after death has the same name as the man Jesus raised from the dead? Perhaps there is no connection – or perhaps the name “Lazarus” is meant to remind us of that other man by the same name, who was so beloved by Jesus that he wept at his tomb and raised him back to life. Additionally, this parable is unique to Luke. How does this story fit in with Luke’s overarching themes of wealth and justice for the poor, and inclusion for all people?

Other RCL texts for this weekend include a passage from Jeremiah 32 that would frighten even experienced lectors! If you can get past all the complicated names of people and places, you hear the good news that it is time to settle in and buy some land, because God is going to restore the people to Judah. Psalm 91 gives beautiful imagery of God’s protection and salvation to all who “abide in the shadow of the Almighty.”

The RCL also offers a choice from Amos 6, prophesying the demise of the wealthy who avoid the poor in their midst. Psalm 146 sings praises to God, listing some of the highlights of God’s interaction with humankind.

1 Timothy 6 carries a possible connection to the Luke passage, reminding us that we brought nothing into this world and can take nothing out of it. Rather than money, faithful people are to pursue godliness, love, gentleness, and all kinds of other admirable characteristics. A lofty goal but a good one – so how can you encourage folks to work towards it?

Where are you headed with the texts this week? How might they resonate with your community? Please share your ideas and comments below. Blessings in your writing and worship preparations!

 

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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: What words?

grieving

Image “Victim” by Dez Pain from rgbstock.com 

Oh, friend,

what words can there be?

another murder in the U.S.

and we try and try and try to push back

to remake our world

to be Your people in a world that makes no sense

sometimes we just have to sit right down and cry.

Sit with us, we beg, surround us

and when it’s time

give a hand up

put your great big arm around us

and help us step forward.

Thank you.

 

 

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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