Litany for Hagar

This week's Old Testament Lectionary passage is the story of Hagar, whom Abraham cast out into the desert along with her son. But God sneakily rescued her; even though she was a slave and a woman, the lowliest of the low, God valued her and protected her.

 

Creator, Protector of the Lowly
Defender of the Weak:
You do not despise the needy;
You do not cast out those without status.
Your eye is always on the underdog,
And you care for those on the margins.

You rescued the lowly servant girl Hagar
Who had no power, no authority to choose a life for herself.
She served Abraham to the utmost, even bearing him a child.
Abraham cast her out; but you, God, rescued her.
You gave her water in the desert and preserved her life.
Her child grew into a father of nations. (1)

Your ways are not our ways:
     Social Status
     Breeding or family line
     Material wealth
     Race
     Gender
The world categorizes and assigns value to people according to these things,
But you, God, see beyond, to the inner person.

(All:) Hallelujah!

Incline your ear, O LORD, and answer me,
For I am poor and needy.
Preserve my life,
For I am devoted to you;
Save your servant who trusts in you.
You are my God. (2)

Amen

(1) Genesis 21:8-21
(2) Psalm 86:1,2

Pentecost 3 (Year A): Litany for Wonders

The Old Testament text for this third week of Pentecost is Genesis 18, the account of messengers coming to Abraham and Sarah and informing them that Sarah will give birth to a child in her old age. When Sarah hears this, she sees the irony and humor of it - Now? After I’m old and gray and spent my youth hoping and praying for a child? Now? I imagine she laughed for joy and irony and disbelief and the ignorance of men. I imagine if she’d been texting her sister in that moment she’d be like IDK IF THESE OLD DUDES KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT WOMEN. WE ARE NOT ETERNALLY FERTILE. LOL!

But the Lord responds: Is anything too wonderful for me?

And so, old Sarah gets knocked up, gives birth, and names her kid “Laughter.” Wonders never cease.


 

Is anything too wonderful for the Lord? (1)
Nothing is too wonderful for you.
You make wonders bloom from your hands,
And from your imagination spring amazing things.

Your wonders will never cease.
Your wonders will never cease.

Old women bear children. (2)
Trees bear fruit out of season.
Rocks give forth springs of water. (3)
Seas part. (4)
Storms are stilled. (5)
Sickness and disease are cured. (6)
Whole nations are brought out of bondage. (7)
Crowds are fed from your hand. (8)
Dry bones are enlivened. (9)
The dead are raised to life. (10)

Your wonders will never cease.
Your wonders will never cease.

We enter your presence with thanksgiving,
And your courts with praise.
We give thanks to you,
We bless your name.
For you are good; your steadfast love endures forever,
and your faithfulness to all generations. (11)

Amen

(1) Genesis 18:14
(2) Genesis 21:2
(3) Numbers 20:11
(4) Exodus 14:21
(5) Matthew 8, Mark 4
(6) Matthew 10:8
(7) Exodus 20
(8) Matthew 14, 15, John 6, Mark 8
(9) Ezekiel 37
(10) John 11, Mark 5, Luke 8, 1 Kings 17, 2 Kings 4, and many more
(11) Psalm 100:4,5

Litany for The Journey

Holy Spirit, Lover of our souls:
You have set us in this world
Each with intention, destiny, and purpose,
And given us opportunities to know you
To connect with you,
And to become our best selves.

You have given us freedom of choice on this journey.
In love you have allowed us to choose
Whether we will listen and pay attention to you;
Whether we will love you.

We choose you, our Friend and Redeemer.
Make our lives a testament to your love.
We don’t want to settle for surface level
Or for a spirituality that never changes us.

Help us to be patient with the process of growth,
     To even enjoy it;
     To be present with the journey of life, spirit, soul
     To dig deep and uncover whatever is hidden
     And bring it to light (Matthew 10:26).
     To encounter our inner darkness without fear
     To look for beauty, and do its work;
We set our intentions toward life and light.

We know that we are our best selves
When we most aware of your grace towards us.
Walk with us on this journey of life
Now and forever.

Amen

Trinity Sunday (Year A): Litany for Holy Trinities

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ,
The love of Yahweh,
And the communion of the Holy Spirit
Surround us. (1)

On all sides we are surrounded
By a trinity of grace, mercy and love.
Just as Creator, Son, and Spirit
Live in harmony together.
So do Truth, Beauty, and Righteousness
Live in harmony together.

Things we never thought could come together
Have joined in communion.
    Body and Blood have allied with Healing.
    Pain and Brokenness have become Teachers.
    Love and Mercy have fulfilled Justice.
    Servanthood and Kindness have completed Authority.
    Last and First have re-imagined Heirarchy.
    Questions and Freedom have informed Certainty.
    Dirt and Spit have alchemized Life.
    Body and Mind have been enlivened by Spirit.
    Light and Darkness have given shape to Vision.
    Resurrection and Ascension have made way for Presence.
   
Seemingly unrelated, incomplete ideas have been made whole
Holy Trinities abound on this earth, doing good work:
    Bad made good
    Last made first,
    Servant made ruler
    Poor made rich.
    Ordinary made sacred;
In the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Thanks be to God
For the Gift of the Spirit
Which completes and gives life to all things:
Thanks be to God.

Amen

 

(1) 2 Corinthians 13:!3

 

Litany for Spiritual Growth

After writing Litany for Spiritual Power, and Litany for Spiritual Gifts, I felt like they needed at least one more companion prayer, perhaps more. Here's one for ya.

Creator, when we walk with you,
Connected to you,
Plugged in to your love and your life
    Our hearts expand
    Our consciousness expands
    Our perspective expands
    Our reality expands
    Our capacity for love expands.

We admit that we tend to become complacent
And stagnant in our imaginations.
We succumb to inertia
And allow our dreams to wither.

Awaken us now to what is inside us;
Awaken us to the authority you’ve given us;
Awaken us to the potential inside our situations;
Awaken us to the power we can access.

Thank you for the gifts you give us:
The talents, guidance, and purposes,
The grace, freedom, forgiveness, and mercy,
And our unique combinations of strengths and weakness.

Your love is better than life.
Your love is life.
Your highest good is beyond what we can imagine.
Help us to grow into our highest good.

Amen

 

Pentecost: Litany for Spiritual Gifts

Pentecost is the day on the liturgical calendar in which we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit, as recorded in Acts 2, and predicted earlier by Jesus. I've drawn from the Lectionary texts for this week, specifically Acts 2 and John 7, for this piece.

Divine Being,
From whom every miracle has come,
Every artifact and invention of creation,
Every living thing from your imagination:

Pour out your Spirit upon us
That we may dream dreams
See visions
And speak with prophetic imagination*. (1)

Pour out your Spirit upon us,
That we may have the gift of faith,
Rivers of living water
Flowing from our hearts. (2)

Pour out your Spirit upon us
That we may bring your ways here to Earth
Live out the compassion of Christ,
And embody your kingdom.

Pour out your Spirit upon us,
That we may speak to all in ways they can understand
Of your lovingkindness --
The great lengths to which you’ve gone to draw us close.

Pour out your Spirit upon us,
That the world in which we live might be changed
That heaven might be found here
And that hope and life may be realized by all people.

Amen

(1) Acts 2:17
(2) John 7:38

*Prophetic Imagination is Brueggemann’s term, not mine.

Ascension Day: Litany for Spiritual Power

This Sunday is Ascension Day, in which we remember the ascension of Christ into heaven. The week's Lectionary reading contained the word "power" 6 times. The word stuck out to me, and I was thinking about how the church calendar and Lectionary selections are leading up to the next BIG DAY, which is Pentecost. And about how mostly we go around completely forgetful that we have any access to spiritual power at all, that we have been shared power to change things, move mountains, bring healing and peace, offer forgiveness. Seems like a first step to tapping into that might be simply acknowledging it. Just speaking the word aloud seems to bring with it a new energy. So I invite you to pray this prayer with me, as we raise your awareness of our inheritance.

Sing praises, all the earth, sing praises!
Clap your hands, dance for joy, all you people! (1)
For the Holy One is ruler over all,
Overseeing with majesty, wisdom and love. (2)

The Christ has risen from the dead.
He has scoured hell and overcome it.
The Christ has appeared in life,
Proving himself and his word
The Resurrection and the Life, the Christ,
Has ascended into heaven and is seated at Yahweh’s right hand.
We, who look to Christ as our example and our teacher,
Wait upon his promise of power.

And indeed it has been given to us:
A spirit of wisdom and revelation as we come to know Christ (3)
That the eyes of our hearts may be enlightened
That we may know the hope to which we are called
And the riches of our glorious inheritance,
The immeasurable greatness of his power. (4)

Christ, Help us to know
Help us to listen and understand;
Give us courage to walk in the fullness
Of the power of Christ in us.

Amen

 

  1. Psalm 47:1

  2. Psalm 93:1

  3. Eph 1:17

  4. Eph 1:18-19




     

Easter 6 (Year A): Litany for Abiding Love

The Lectionary passages for the sixth Sunday of Easter (Year A) include Acts 17, John 14, and Psalm 66. I've been contemplating what it might mean to be powered by love, as if divine love were a battery that fuels us. Or as if, when we take the bread and the cup of Eucharist, we ingest love, it becomes part of us, and fuels our activity in the world. How might we train ourselves to run on love rather than on ego? How can we learn to operate on a new system? What spiritual practices might form that pathway in us?


Eternal Divine Love,
Creator and Parent of all,
Ruler of Heaven and Earth
We are your children, your offspring. (1)

You give to all mortals life and breath
And all things.
You allot the times of our existence
And the boundaries of our places. (2)

We confess our blindness to your presence.
Make us aware of you.
We confess the smallness of our concept of you.
Enlarge our knowing.
We confess our ego-driven tendencies.
Power us instead with Love.

We have searched and groped for you
Though you are not far from each one of us. (3)
We cried aloud to you
And you have heard our prayer. (4)
We bless you,
For you have not rejected us nor removed your steadfast Love from us. (5)

Help us to keep your commandments (6)
And to abide in your Love .(7)

Amen

 

(1) Acts 17:28
(2) Acts 17:25,26
(3) Acts 17:27
(4) Psalm 66:17,19
(5) Psalm 66:20
(6) John 14:15
(7) John 14:21

A Litany for Canada

Brian Doerksen, author of such well-known worship songs as "Come, Now is the Time To Worship" and "Refiner's Fire," among many others, wrote this litany for his home country of Canada. He's kindly allowed me to share it with my readers in this space. I especially appreciate the elements of repentance, reconciliation, and inclusiveness in this prayer.

"Faithful Love – A litany for EMCC’s national 2017 convention"
Written by Brian Doerksen

Lord you have been our shelter for generations.*
Thank you for your faithful love.

Before the mountains were born or the earth was formed, from everlasting to everlasting you are God. *
Thank you for your faithful love.

Lord we thank You for giving us a home in this wide great land we call Canada.
Thank you for your faithful love.

Forgive us for the way the first inhabitants of this land were conquered and pushed aside by force.
Forgive us through your mercy.

Continue to bring reconciliation to every corner of Canada that we may be a nation of integrity and peace.
Thank you for your healing love.

Help us welcome the stranger and refugee and share our home of Canada with them.
Fill us with your welcoming love.

Help us share the gospel of love, mercy, grace and truth with all who live in Canada.
Empower us with your Spirit and fill us with Your faithful love.

Lord we look to you for wisdom.
Thank you for your faithful love.
Lord we look to you for provision.
Thank you for your everlasting arms.
Thank you for your faithful love.
 

Amen

 

*Psalm 90:1,2


 

Litany for the Divine Feminine

I considered writing a litany for Mother's Day. But then I realized that I am frustrated because Mother's Day tends to be the only day of the year that your average Jesus-y church talks AT ALL about the feminine. So I've written this prayer to hopefully inspire us to a larger perception of the Divine, and to lift up my sisters who have been told by their religion or faith-culture that they are Less-Than or Other because of their gender.


God, we know that you made us, male and female
All in your image.
You are above all, throughout all
And in all.

Your image can be found in fathers,
And your image can be found in mothers.
In brothers and sisters, in servants and rulers,
In shepherds and sheep, in adults and children;
In men and in women
The truth of the divine is reflected.

Human society has relegated that image of you that is feminine
To the Less-Than and the Other.
We have worshipped the male
And maligned the female.
We have worshipped the warrior,
And overlooked the nurturer.
We have worshipped the fact,
And ignored the question.

Forgive us for only assigning value to a part of you
And making an idol of it;
All the while closing our perception off
From a broader picture of your goodness.
Restore to us an understanding of you
That encompasses the sacred feminine,
And that helps in turn lift up all of us
Whose identities reflect your feminine image.

Our desire is to know you
Fully and well,
And to see you in the vastness
Of your beauty and majesty.

Amen

Easter 5 (Year A): Litany for Looking at Christ

Here are the Lectionary passages for this Sunday, May 14, Year A. I have utilized the 1 Peter 2 and John 14 passages.
 

Eternal Christ, Out-poured Heart of God,
Merciful One,
Originator of Forgiveness,
Author of Peace:

It is to you that we can look
When we want to see God.
It is to you that we can draw near
When we want to be close to God.
It is you that we can imagine
When we want to understand God.
It is to you that we can turn
When we need to take refuge in God.
It is through you we can go;
You’re a direct route to God. (1)

You were with us all along,
But we kept on rejecting you. (2)
Now, just in the nick of time,
We are wrapping our arms around you. (3)

We rely upon your gracious promise:
That if we ask for anything in your name, you’ll do it. (4)
We ask to join you,
To be part of that divine communion --
You in God, God in you, (5)
Us, dancing and working along with you.
Where you are,
There may we be also (6)

Amen

 

(1) John 14:6
(2) 1 Pet 2:7
(3) 1 Pet 2:10
(4) John 14:13
(5) John 14:10
(6) John 14:3

 

Litany for Knowing God, Even in Suffering

Here is this week's Lectionary-based litany, containing elements from Psalm 23, John 10, and 1 Peter 2. I threw in the Hosea cause I felt like it worked.

 

God, you are the Shepherd and Guardian of our souls (1)
We want to become more aware of you (2)

We hold as our example the Christ, who suffered
But did not threaten;
The Christ, who endured abuse,
But did not return abuse; (3)
The Christ, who bore pain -
By his wounds we are healed!... (4)

Because Christ revealed the heart of God.
You desire mercy not sacrifice (5).
Because Christ has shamed the principalities and powers.
You desire the knowledge of God, not offerings (5).
Because Christ has torn the veil and made way to the Holy of Holies (6)
You desire rich relationship with us, your creations.

Come, let us press on to know the Lord
His appearing is as sure as the dawn (7).
We hear your voice -
You call to us and lead us out (8).
Wherever we go, you are with us,
Comforting, loving, restoring, guiding (9).

Be near to us, Lord, in whatever darkness or suffering we must encounter in this life,
Help us to see every pain redeemed in the light of Christ’s love.

Amen
 

 

(1)1 Pet 2:25
(2) 1Pet 2:19
(3) 1 Pet 2:23
(4) 1 Pet 2:24
(5) Hosea 6:6
(6) Matthew 27:51
(7) Hosea 6:3
(8) John 10:3
(9) Psalm 23:4


 

 

Litany for 45

I was at an event recently in which someone asked the speaker, who happened to be Michael Wear, this question: What we should pray for 45?  I thought what a good question it was, and resolved to try to answer it.

For my friends who love Trump, this will perhaps be easy for you to pray, and a good reminder to do so. But for my friends for whom Mr. Trump presents a fair degree of stress and difficulty, I hear that, and I'll say this: you don’t have to like him to pray this prayer.

In fact, praying this prayer (or one like it) is in itself an act of hopeful resistance. It is for some of us a tangible living-out of Jesus command in the Sermon on the Mount "love your enemies; pray for those who persecute you." It is a step toward embodying Jesus' best and most subversive ideas. It is moving in the direction of flooding the world with forgiveness.

Extra bonus points for praying this alongside someone with whom you disagree.

It may feel like sandpaper on your skin or sound like nails on a chalkboard at first. Sometimes the Good News does that. But I think it's a path to peace.




God, as you have made yourself known to men and women, over countless generations all over the world
So, make yourself known to Donald Trump.
As you have inspired good works, loving actions, peacemaking, and depth of feeling and thought in the hearts of humans,
So inspire Mr. Trump.

We ask for your merciful guidance on the 45th President of the United States.
Be to him a light.
Set his feet on the path of peace,
And his mind on selfless love.
Give to him a wide perspective and listening ears,
That he may seek the good of all whom he governs.

Instill in him a strong desire to do justly,
A love for mercy,
Humility,
Discernment,
Curiosity,
Willingness to learn,
Strength of character,
And wisdom from heaven.

Surround him even now with wise women and men of depth, character, experience,
And above all, of unflinching honesty and integrity.
Strengthen him even now with energy and zeal for doing good, robust heart,
And willingness to endure sacrifice for others.
Let the leader of this nation abound in compassion and integrity,
And all the people of the nation prosper under just government.

Where he is weak
Make your power apparent.
Where he is needy,
Provide for him.
Where he is vulnerable,
Protect him.
In the depths of his soul,
May he be filled with your love.

Amen


 

Litany for Meditation

Meditation has become in the last couple of years the single most spiritually enriching practice I do. Many Christian traditions refer to it as Centering Prayer. It takes patience to learn, but pays for itself many-fold. I don't intend for this litany to be a stand-alone meditation. I mean for it be a preamble to silent meditation/prayer. You can obviously do what you will with it, but this is what I envision.

We are beings, existing in the Universe,
Beholding God.

We can see you in the design of Nature,
     The cosmos,
     The creatures,
     Each other,
     Ourselves.

Let us go to our inmost being
And be as we are:
     Deeply spiritual
     Deeply human
     Temporally minded
     Eternally conscious

Let us connect with the spark of you that is there
Waiting to be rediscovered
Waiting to be fanned into flame.

Set us aright
In our connection to you, loving Life-giver, Instigator of Goodness;
Plus us in to the circuitry of your Spirit.

Set us aright
As conscious souls in the midst of a conscious universe
Created by a Great Intelligence: You, the Force of Love.

Set us aright:
Among creation, among ecosystems, climates, and cultures,
As participants, care-givers, co-creators.

Set us aright:
As spiritual beings inside corporeal bodies, dust and breath.
Give to us health and connectedness, wholeness, and joy in existing.

Set us aright:
As a human family,
Making peace and learning to love another despite earthly differences.

Set us aright:
As members of the Body of Christ on Earth;
As a productive, cohesive unit, desiring love and wisdom for all.

Set us aright:
As reflectors of you;
As God-bearers, God-perceivers, and God-receivers.

Set us aright:
Here in our inmost beings,
Still and quiet before you --
Opening to your light.

Easter 3 (Year A): Litany for the Road to Emmaus

The Lectionary texts for the third week of Easter (Year A) include the account in Luke of Jesus walking with some disciples on the road to Emmaus. Shortly after Jesus' resurrection, they were walking along discussing all the things that had happened. Jesus joins them, but they don't recognize them, even though the "disappearance" of his body is what they're discussing. With a great deal of patience, Jesus walks along with them and expounds the whole story of how he got to be there, starting with Moses. But the disciples don't realize its him until dinnertime, after they've invited him in to eat, when he takes bread and breaks it and serves it to them - only then do they understand that it was him all along, explaining everything.

God, you are always being kind to us,
Always loving us toward yourself;
Just as Christ showed his wounds to doubting Thomas
With grace and kindness;
Just as Christ shared his story to the men walking the road to Emmaus
With patience and generosity.

It is this deep grace,
     This boundless giving,
     This patient character,
     This kind regard for all;
That inspires our hearts,
And by which we recognize you.

Relentlessly, you give of yourself
So that we might know and understand you.
Over and over again, you kindly explain the story
In words we can take in.
We know you instantly, the moment you break bread with us --
We can see you in your glorious reality.

Make our hearts ready for more:
     More understanding
     More responsibility
     More of your kingdom;
And graciously work with us where we are confused
So that we may see you in your full beauty.

Amen


 

Litany for Song

This litany was written by special request, specifically for an event put on by friends in Kentucky. It may be my favorite litany I've ever written.


God, it was your voice, the vibration of your words, that set the first molecules into formation and motion.
You sang the universe into being.
Your breath first nudged planets and atmospheres into existence, by the rasp and melody of your speaking.
You sang the world into being.
Like the cascade of waterfalls, the rumble of thunder, the whir of wind, and the soft breath of infants - so is the beauty and power of the voice of our God.
You sang creation to life.
You moved air through lungs of dust and called us Beautiful, named us Beloved, and shared with us your energy and your art.
You sang humanity to life.

When we say that we live and move and have our being in you, God, we mean that from wave to particle to atom to molecule to cell to organ to body - you are within and throughout.
Your voice makes us.
You are love, and Love set the earth spinning and the stars shining and our hearts beating.
Your voice makes us.
Love that sings and vibrates, dances and gyrates; Love that never stops being and becoming.
Your voice makes us.
Love that energizes and ennervates, uplifts and invigorates; Love that multiplies and amplifies.
Your voice makes us.

In Christ, Love put on a human face; took on vocal cord, consonant, resonance, and sustain.
Hallelujah!
In Christ, Love decided that dying was dancing and resurrecting was to be expected.
Hallelujah!
In Christ, Love said that loss is gain and death is life and power is weakness and dissonance is harmony, and then proved it.
Hallelujah!
In Christ, Love is re-making every broken thing; every off-key note and accidental, every counterpoint, coda, and hum is arranged to beauty.
Hallelujah!
In Christ, Love is singing again, and still singing: a song of redemption, invitation, and new creation.
Hallelujah!

Amen


 

Easter 2 (Year A): Litany for Fear

The Lectionary passage from the Gospels for the second Sunday in Eastertide is from John 20, in which Jesus appears to the disciples in the house where they are huddled up after the crucifixion, terrified for their lives, afraid the Jewish authorities will connect them with the rebel Jesus who was put to death over the weekend. The doors are locked, windows barred; I imagine everyone is tiptoeing trying to be quiet, trying not to need to use the outhouse.

Jesus, ignoring the locked doors, appears among them, right into the midst of their terror, offering them peace. He graciously lets them see his wounds. And then he breathes on them the gift of the Spirit. It's quite the entrance.



God, we are caught up in fears
Of things known and unknown
As the disciples huddled in a house, fearful after Christ’s death
So we tend to lock our doors.

We forget that when we lock our doors, nothing can enter
Neither the bad nor the good.
But Perfect Love doesn’t need a door -
Christ has appeared among us, even so!

Into our darkest, most fearful places
Jesus has walked right in!
Into our most doubtful moments
Jesus has spoken Peace. (1)
We saw in his wounds, the evidence of death and pain upon him,
Our worst fears realized in his flesh.

What we learned is that our worst fears are not the end:
Life has overcome death;
Joy has overcome pain;
Love has overcome fear. (2)
The one who went before us, straight into the heart of darkness --
The Risen Christ has overcome the world. (3)

Breathe upon us, Lord Christ:
The breath of hope and peace,
The breath of Perfect Love,
The breath of the Spirit of God. (4)

Amen

(1) John 20:21
(2) 1 John 4:18
(3)
John 16:33
(4)
John 20:22

Resurrection Sunday (Year A): Litany for the Story

Here are the Lectionary texts for Easter morning, Year A. I have tried to draw elements from each text, plus an additional reference from John 2. Hallelujah! He is Risen!

 

God, You have loved us with an everlasting love;
You have continually been faithful (Jeremiah 31:3)
You are our strength.
You are our salvation. ((Psalm 118:14)

This is the story of Jesus of Nazareth:
He was anointed with the Holy Spirit and with power.
He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed.
He was put to death on a cross and his body laid in a tomb. (Acts 19:38,39)

“Tear this temple down,” he said,
“In three days I will rebuild it!” (John 2:19)

And so it is:
On the third day,
As the disciples Mary and Mary Magdalene have seen:
Christ’s tomb is empty! (John 20:1)
An angel has rolled away the stone: (Matthew 28:2)
He is not there.
He is risen!
He is risen, indeed!

We celebrate the story of Jesus Christ:
Birth, work, death, resurrection.
And we have been raised with Christ,
Who is our life. (Col 3:1,4)

Amen



 

Good Friday: Litany for Scapegoats and Surprises

The texts for Good Friday (Year A) are expansive and rich. In the end, I had to veer away from them specifically to get a better overall picture. I could have written a whole litany on Peter resorting to violence (scolded by Jesus) and then denying Jesus. I could have written a whole litany with imagery from Psalm 22, which Jesus quotes in his last breath. I could have written a whole litany on "approaching the throne... with boldness" from Hebrews 10. It was just too much to pull together into a bite-sized congregational litany. Alas.

Hallelujah to the Lamb of God
Who was sacrificed;
Who was Scapegoat,
Who willingly went to death,
Who gave himself over to principalities and powers
So that they could be undone.

Everything we thought we knew about justice,
Everything we thought we knew about God
All our expectations of power and force
Our preconceived notions of victory
Were overturned in Christ
The old ideas are shadows.

Christ, who went to death
To prove life;
Who went to defeat
To prove victory;
Who went to darkness
To prove light.
Who went to pain
To prove joy.

We wait with you, Son of God, in mourning and quiet,
In the darkness of Good Friday,
Until the day dawns
And the Morning Star surprises our hearts. (1)

Amen

(1)2 Pet 1:19

Maundy Thursday (Year A): Litany for Dinner and Foot-washing

The Lectionary texts for Maundy Thursday include the account of the commands concerning Passover remembrance in Exodus, of Christ's celebration of Passover in 1 Corinthians, and the story of Jesus washing feet after dinner from John 13. Jesus brings the Passover story right back to himself, and then ties it up with a bow of down-and-dirty servanthood.


God, we receive the love of Christ.
We receive his great example,
We receive the power and work he demonstrated by your spirit;
And we receive the commands he has given.

This is Christ’s command:
That we love one another (John 13:34)
Just as Christ loved his disciples and others he met.
As Christ has done so must we do.

This is Christ’s example:
Washing the feet of his friends; (John 13:14-15)
Humbly doing the work of a servant
Becoming vulnerable, laying down his life.

This is Christ’s legacy
Which we receive as the gift of heaven:
Where once there was sacrifice,
Now there is mercy.  (Hosea 6:6)
Where once there was flesh and blood,
Now there are bread and wine. (1 Corinthians 11:23-26)

The mercy of God has been made known in the body of Christ.
The character of God has been made known in the work of Christ.
He has shown us a way forward,
And we will follow the path of peace.

Amen