Proper 11 (Year C): Litany for Reconciling All Things

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This week's Lectionary passages contain many themes, but the one that stood out to me most was this idea of Christ "reconciling all things" from Colossians 1. I was just having a discussion with friends about having a posture of life that "accepts what is," as the Buddhists put it; but that theme resonates in Christ's work of forgiveness and reconciliation also.

We can observe that the people we meet who have the most resilience and ability to accept suffering and change seem to be the ones who can tap into this quality of forgiving what is, accepting reality, and lovingly working within it. That's where my mind is in this litany, in the reconciling of all polarities, dualities, and seeming contradictions. I hope it resonates for you and your community also.

God, we are learning that life is full of unexpected challenges
And unexpected gifts.
With you, there’s surprise in deepest disappointment
Hidden beauty even in trial…

Proper 10 (Year C): Litany for Showing Mercy

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This week’s Litany brings in themes from various parts of this week’s Lectionary selections: the Colossians, Deuteronomy, Psalms, and Luke passages. The Gospel story is that of the Good Samaritan showing mercy to the stranger. I love seeing how the themes intertwine some weeks. This one is coming right at the perfect time for us as a national and global community. 


God, we know that your word is not too hard for us
Nor is it far away,
And that we have been transferred into the community
Of your beloved Son, Christ Jesus,
In whom forgiveness is abundant
And mercy is foremost

Litany for Faith Renovation

This past Sunday at Peace of Christ Church, I preached a word about moving our framework for evaluating our faith paradigms from a metaphor of “Deconstruction” to a metaphor of “Renovation”. I shared my personal “4 pillars of conviction” that hold my spirituality and faith up these days, after many years of renovation. You can hear the sermon here.

This litany accompanies that sermon. I’m happy to share the full litany freely here with you. Please read, pray, and share the link with people for whom it might be helpful. If you use my liturgies regularly or would like to help support my ongoing work, https://www.patreon.com/franpratt.

God, we are thankful for the freedom we have to live authentically.
To choose how we live and what we believe,
To determine how to put our faith into practice,
And to select the practices that best serve us and the world.

We thank you for the gift of the Spirit of God in us,
Who leads and guides us,
Who fills our eyes with a vision of wholeness for all,
And fills our hearts with super-human love.

We know we have work to do
To renovate our own souls,
To learn to live from a place of contemplation and compassion,
To reject our ego and it’s traps;
So that we may send out into the world redemptive love,
Justice work,
Christ-consciousness,
Peace-making.

We know that the healing of the world starts in our own souls,
Begins with an inner posture of humility,
Grows with curiosity and risk-taking faith,
And from there, moves mountains of pain.

Love and suffering are our teachers here*,
And we embrace our mission to grow and learn.
Help us as we do the work of renovation
Of our faith, our practice, and our understanding.
Keep us to your Way, which you’ve shown us in Christ’s body.
And wrap us all in your transforming love.

Amen

*this is an oft-repeated idea in many of Richard Rohr’s books.


Litany for Liberation

This week we celebrate Juneteenth, or Freedom Day. On June 19th 1865 the last remaining slaves were freed after the end of the Civil War. It’s a day in which we remember the suffering of enslaved Black people in this country, celebrate their emancipation, and also see afresh how far freedom has yet to go here. Police and vigilante brutality, the Prison-Industrial Complex, income and wealth inequality, maternal health outcomes for Black women - just a few of the markers by which we know that Shalom has not yet arrived in full. So we keep working.

Those slaves, and those unjustly imprisoned today were and are in overt bondage. But the powers that cause those bondages are subtler. And the ways those same forces have a stranglehold on society are subtler, and affect us all. We aren’t free until we’re all free.

This week’s Gospel selection is that of the Gerasene Demoniac, whom Jesus frees from a legion of demons who elect to go into a pack of pigs rather than into the void. As a result, the community loses a profitable asset and food source and are upset. Instead of celebrating the freedom of their brother, they are grumbling about the loss of their bottom line. Jesus offers them a new paradigm, a new value system in which Shalom might thrive, but they’re too affronted to see it. So they ask Jesus to go away; they don’t want his brand of freedom.

It strikes me how similar we are in U.S. society: unwilling to give up profit, comfort, security, predictability, etc. in order to reach a new level of liberation and Shalom for all. Willing to let a brother wither away in the tombs. Go away Jesus, we’d rather keep our addiction to fossil fuels, our cheap labor, and our corporate profits, than make sure the marginalized are cared for and the poor are fed and the prisoners are freed. We are the Gerasenes who send Jesus packing. Kyrie Eleison.

So that’s where I’m coming from with this litany. Thinking about the forces that subtly bind us, keeping us from God’s peace.


God, we realize we are bound in so many ways,
By powers and forces we can’t always see or touch,
But which pressure and confuse us anyway.
This world is full of prisons of humanity’s own making.

Christ, in his love, comes along willing to free us,
But we aren’t always willing to be freed. ..


Pentecost (Year C): Litany for Oneness

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The Day of Pentecost in the Church Calendar marks the beginning of a new season: The season of Pentecost. From Eastertide and resurrection, to Ascension (the feast of Ascension was this past week), and now to the revealing (in a more public way than was revealed in John 20) of the Spirit and the spirit's loving essence of inclusion and enfolding of many into divine Oneness. Just exactly as Jesus had prayed in last week's Lectionary Gospel passage: "that they may be one."

This litany is drawn from John 14 and Psalm 104, Lectionary selections for Pentecost, Year C.

God, you have always been showing us what Oneness looks like
First in Nature.
Then in Christ.
Now in the Spirit. 

Eastertide 7: Litany for Resurrection Unity

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I’m ruminating on Jesus prayer/plea to Yahweh in John 17 (this week's Lectionary Gospel selection) for unity among his followers and among future generations of followers. I believe that, as Christ requested, we are one with God, invited into the Trinity, included in action and the love. In Christ, we learn what God looks like: relational, loving, unifying, inclusive. So I’m inviting us to pray into Jesus’ vision for unity and a new paradigm of being together in the world. And into the "right action" that true unity and shared love will reliably provoke us to.


God, we know that with the beginning of Resurrection,
Whose first fruit was Christ Jesus,
A new paradigm was established and articulated in the world -
A whole host of new possibilities -
One of the best of which is the hope of unity
Which Christ prayed and advocated for

Eastertide 6 (Year C): Litany for Resurrection Glory

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Now here’s a Christian-ese word: glory. Ok. If you are off-put by this word because it has lost its meaning for you, let me tell you how I think of it: Beauty and Light. That’s all. The intense beauty and light that emanates from the Source of all that is.  

God, the light of your glory shines on all humanity
And on all creation.
The beauty and light that you generate
Lights our path,
Shines on our faces,
Glows from within us…

Eastertide 5 (Year C): Litany for Resurrection Belonging

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I’m being bowled over newly by this week’s Lectionary selection. In part because I’m also simultaneously reading Richard Rohr’s newest book _The Universal Christ_, so I’m already riding Saint Peter’s wave in Acts 11. Peter has a dream that God tells him to eat food (animals, in this case) that his Jewish faith considers unclean or taboo, and subsequently gets a lesson in the universality of God’s love and presence. No race or people group is outside the scope of the Creator’s love and image. 

And then the Psalm for the week (149) reinforces the message, lumping in the heavenly bodies, the weather phenomena, landscapes, animals and creepy crawly things; with people of all descriptions, ages, and power-levels - in short EVERYTHING - together as things that reflect the divine image. Things that “praise” God. 

Stones sing God’s song. Animals and earth sing God’s song. People sing God’s song. Black people. Brown people. White people. Male people. Female people. Non-binary people. Industrialized people. Nomadic people. Indigenous people. And on and on. Every unique characteristic is glory. Everything belongs inside resurrection. 


God, we know that the Christ was already here,
Even before Jesus came along (1).
And now that Christ was revealed in human form,
We know he’s in us….

Litany for Breaking Down Walls

This litany was originally posted on Godspace. I wrote it for their very timely Lenten series on Breaking Down Walls. May it inspire you to embrace wall-breaking as a spiritual practice.

As always, if my work resonates with you I invite you to
become part of my Patreon, and to pick up a copy of my book of litanies.

God, for centuries we have imagined that between us and you
Were distance and difference,
Silence and judgement,
And ultimately, walls.

But now we’re learning that wall-building
Is a uniquely human response
To fear,
To pain,
To vulnerability,
To a feeling of separation.

If we can forget the idea of separation,
Perhaps we can stop building walls on its behalf.
Oh God, may we let love have free reign
To build something more imaginative than walls.

See, we think our separateness is a given,
But you are constantly urging us toward a different perspective:
That nothing can separate us from you
Nothing created, nothing imagined, nothing contrived -
That you are, always and forever, for better and for worse,
In every circumstance, in every situation
Together with us.
You are God-With-Us.

And that togetherness, that persistence,
That in-it-for-the-long-haul relentless with-ness,
Is part of your personality, a characteristic of you;
Part of your everlasting love,
That is always building new spaces
And breaking down walls.

Amen




Liturgy for Mother's Day

Hello friends,

If you’re looking for liturgy for Mother’s Day (May 12), I have a few offerings that suit a Divine Feminine theme well.*

The first is one of my favorite litanies I’ve ever written, “Litany for the Midwives.
Another is “Litany for God Our Mother
And we can’t forget “Litany for the Divine Feminine”

And finally, for my lovely Patreon subscribers, I’ve written something new: “Litany for Mother.”

Whatever liturgy you decide to use, I would encourage and hope that it is sensitive. Mother’s Day is tough for many people - some who wish to be mothers but aren’t, some who’ve lost mothers, some who’ve lost children, some who never had good mothering, some whose mothers were harmful. Mother’s Day can be triggering and painful for a wide variety of people. Passing out flowers to moms in your congregation is not sensitive to that wide variety of experiences.

Good liturgy can be sensitive and empathetic. One way we have found to avoid some of the pitfalls of Mother’s Day, is to use it as an excuse to lean in to God’s Divine Feminine aspect. We like to incorporate feminine imagery and energy, in homage to God’s gender-full nature.

I love to hear stories from your churches. What are my readers doing? How do you incorporate the Divine Feminine into your liturgical year?

love,
f

*Although, Mother's Day isn’t the only day it’s appropriate to explore and expose your congregations to the Divine Feminine aspect of GOD. You can do this any old day. Or half the Sundays. Or just AT. SOME. POINT. Because most churchy people get no exposure whatsoever and that is a shame and a travesty and we need to teach our people to have a more robust understanding of the Divine.

Eastertide 2, 3, 4 (Year C)

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Hello folks,
I’m preparing ahead for some upcoming travel and conferencing, so Lectionary litanies for the second thru fourth Sundays of Easter are up on Patreon. I’m really liking how this “Resurrection” Series is turning out.

LITANY FOR RESURRECTION FLOW
LITANY FOR RESURRECTION WORK
LITANY FOR RESURRECTION PROGRESS
LITANY FOR RESURRECTION EXPANSION

I think I’m perhaps doing some of my best work. You can tell me what you think if you’d like to hop on my Patreon train.

Litany for Religious Bigotry

Latest death toll from the Sri Lankan terrorist attacks is at 290, with nearly 500 injured. Many of those victims were attacked while attending Easter Services. And Last month on March 15, 50 people were shot and killed by a white supremacist while praying in their Mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand. Closer to home here in the US, just a few weeks ago three Black churches in Louisiana were burned down by a white terrorist. And last year in Pittsburgh 11 people were murdered while praying in a gathering at Tree of Life Synagogue. I’m sure there have been other, less publicized incidents of religious violence and bigotry as well that I am unaware of.

We pray for this violence to end. We pray for the root causes of religious and racial bigotry to end. We pray for terrorism and the hate that fuels it to end. I have written many litanies about terrorism and war, and the fallout and grief that follow them. But today I’m offering this prayer and reflection, in hopes that they may find their way out into the world, to soften hearts, to open ears and minds, and to bring us all closer in to Love’s consciousness.

Love has no bounds. Love sees race and religion, admires their precious beauty and diversity, and flows on regardless. Love encounters each human being with an open heart. Love accepts and embraces all.


God, our hearts break for those killed in the terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka, New Zealand, Louisiana, and Pittsburgh*
The world reels from this violence.
Love has no room for violence and killing.
In fact, Love repudiates violence.

As Christ on the cross has shamed and rebuked death and violence,
So we rebuke these violent attacks,
Instead proclaiming a gospel of peace
And an ethic of reconciling Love.

We pray for the families of the deceased,
That their hearts may draw ever closer to Love.
We pray for the spiritual communities dealing with the aftermath,
That they may be good homes for healing.
And we pray and stand in word and action against religious bigotry,
Offering up Love’s redeeming alternative.

Let us each, in our hearts, cultivate peace,
Each day as we practice prayer,
Engage in service,
Do justice and mercy,
And heed the voices of the suffering oppressed.
Oh God, help us to be Love.

In Love there is no Other.
There is only One.

Amen

*Add other locations of violence as you are aware of them, or God forbid, as they occur.


Easter Sunday (Year C): Litany for Resurrection Flow

Hello! I’m happy to be sharing my Easter Sunday, which I happen to really like this year. If you haven’t taken advantage of my Patreon, it’s easy to jump in. Thanks for reading. And may the Peace of
Christ be upon you this Holy Week.

Oh God, we can feel the joy and wonder of Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary (1)
As they shared the story of the empty tomb.
We share in their excitement, not because of pious ideas about personal salvation,
But because the resurrection they preached is still happening now!

Good Friday (Year C): Litany for Entering the Shadow

Hello! Today I’m making this year’s Good Friday litany publicly available. Most litanies appear in my Patreon for subscribers, but I try to make one or two per month available here. Please consider joining my Patreon, especially if you or your community are using my work regularly - by doing that you help make this work sustainable for me and my family. $1 - $3 is all it takes for your community to get access to my weekly offerings.

Hopefully you’ve been immersed in the journey of Lenten self-reflection. In Lent we clear space for exploring our inner selves, light and shadow, our complicities in systemic injustice, our addictions and unhelpful behaviors. This is all leading up to Good Friday, when Christ himself enters the shadow; when together we observe holy silence in following him on that journey.

I’m deriving this litany primarily from the John 19 narrative, which is the Lectionary prescription. But Pilate washes his hands in Matthew 27 and not in John 19.


God, today we remember the crucifixion of Christ,
His betrayal, suffering, death, and burial.
As we contemplate the narrative of Christ’s trial,
We imagine ourselves within it.

As we realize the ways we, like Peter, have denied the Christ,
In thought, in word, and in deed;
We observe a holy silence.

- Silence is kept -

As we observe the ways we, like Pilate, have washed our hands in pretense
But been complicit in evil’s unfolding;
We observe a holy silence.

- Silence is kept -

As we contemplate the ways we, like the mob, direct retribution toward one: a scapegoat,
And refusing personal responsibility,
e observe a holy silence.

- Silence is kept -

As Christ went down into darkness and shadow,
A breathless tomb, a soundless silence,
We follow faithfully, into shadowy places inside ourselves
We leave no stone unturned; no tomb unexamined.

We give way to the silence, and to conviction,
Waiting in hope of redemption.
We wait,
And we remember.

Amen



Palm Sunday (Year C): Litany for Shouting Stones

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This week is Palm Sunday, and the Lectionary offers two options. I'm using Liturgy of the Palms references for this prayer. Enjoy, and if you have a second, please let me know how this Lent series has gone for you and your community. Thanks!

God, we throw down our cloaks
And raise up shouting praise
Because of the beauty of Christ
And his deeds of power


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Lent 5 (Year C): Litany for Wilderness

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This week's litany follows along with the Lectionary texts for week 5 of Lent. A strong theme of wilderness, persistence, and joyful homecoming threads through these texts. I hope you're all leaning in to the Lenten journey in some way this year - letting the wilderness Christ leads you into shape your soul and your practice, offering you a new way of being. 


In Lent, we follow Christ out to wilderness places.
We deny ourselves the comforts that numb us.
We rid ourselves of the distractions that consume us.
We stand aside to let you realign us to your way…

Thanks for following along. If you haven’t grabbed a copy of my book, may I suggest that it makes a great Easter gift :) Also, I’m on instagram @thelitanist ! come join in the contemplative fun going on there! Much love to all you readers and pray-ers out there embodying Divine Love and Light.

f

Lent 4 (Year C): Litany for Wandering

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Hey friends!
Before I get into the litany for this week, I want to say thank you thank you thank you for being on this journey with me. March has been the biggest month ever for me in terms of new patrons, and I am so stinking grateful. Welcome to new friends in this space! May it be a blessing to you! May it throw you a life-raft on a sinking day! May it jolt you with encouragement in a distressing moment! May it offer you sustenance when you're empty! Amen, Amen. Also, thanks for your patience while I was on vacation last week. After a rough month, I needed the break to stoke my curiosity and creativity, and hallelujah the LORD provides.

Ok, this week's Lectionary is juicy! The prodigal son. Psalm 32. The beautiful "new creation" language in 2 Corinthians 5. Week 1 we explored Weakness, week 2 Loneliness, week 3 Longing, and now Wandering. (preview: next week we're pondering "Wilderness.) So basically the hard parts of the life of faith. Which is what Lent is for - uncovering our blindness, exposing our need and vulnerability, urging us toward repentance. It's not supposed to be fun, but it is necessary for our growth.


God, like the prodigal son we have wandered far
From Love’s Center (1).
We are prodigal children,
All of us…

Also, if you’re unsure how to properly attribute a litany when you’re using it congregationally, please check out this post. And if you haven’t already snagged a copy for yourself, a minister, or a friend, you can purchase my book here. 

May you find more joy, peace, and love during your Lenten journey.
Fran


Lent 3 (Year C): Litany for Longing

Hello all.  I'll be on spring break vacation with my family next week and away from my desk. So here is next week's Lent litany. Leaning into the longing of the Lenten Lectionary :) 


O God, you are our God,
We seek you, our souls thirst for you;
Our flesh faints for you,
As in a dry and weary land where there is no water. (1)


Lent 2 (Year C): Litany for Loneliness

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In this week's Lectionary, I'm struck by the sense of loneliness in the passages. I keep thinking how exhausting and draining it must have been for Christ to always be on the run, moving from place to place, never pausing at home, always faced with someone wanting to kill him. And I'm struck that Lent is a time for us to face our own loneliness with intention. If ever there were a time to seek out solitude for self-reflection, Lent is it. 

It's true, we are spiritual beings having an embodied human experience here on earth (at least that's my belief), and there is something inherently lonely about that. But also, the community of humanity is bright and diverse and available - and I think part of why we're here is to make connections and realize our connectedness on both a human level and a spiritual level. Those two ideas exist in tension. And I imagine they created tension for Christ as well.

It seems like we have a few ways to combat loneliness: by realizing our oneness with God, deep in our innermost selves, often via solitude; by realizing our spiritual citizenship in heaven, that we are part of something more vast than what we can see; and by realizing community with other spiritual humans on earth. We have these means, but I think we are still going to feel lonely sometimes - it's just part of the human experience. One that has a lot to teach us if we are willing to listen. 


God, we know that we are citizens of heaven first (1)
Sent to earth to learn lessons and build outposts.
But this is sometimes lonely work
That tests our resolve and our stamina.
Citizens of heaven
Aren’t always earth’s favorite people (2). …

Transfiguration Sunday (Year C): Litany for Impatience

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A number of things are informing this week’s litany. One is the newest climate change news. Another is the UMC General Conference, which I’ve been following intently. And of course there’s the rest of the news in general. So as I read these Lectionary passage for the week, gosh I feel impatient! Ready for justice to be served. Ready for righteousness to prevail. Ready for the earth to be set right. I hear Jesus’ words “You faithless and perverse generation! How long must I be with you and bear with you?!” and I resonate with them. I resonate with that feeling of mixed longing and exasperation that I hear in those words.

This week is Transfiguration Sunday. We pay attention to the similarities between the story of Moses coming down glowing from Mount Sinai (Exodus 34) and of Christ’s transfiguration on the mountain, when he glows with light, and the voice of God from heaven affirms him (Luke 9). The text says that the disciples were “weighed down with sleep,” but somehow they manage to stay awake and glimpse the glory of Christ’s glowing light. And we pray for the courage, patience, and fortitude to stay awake long enough, and for our consciousness to be expanded enough, to see it in our time.



God, we are heavy with sleep,
Struggling for a glimpse of your glory (1).
We are impatiently and desperately waiting
For heaven to come on earth. ..

Thanks so much to all who’ve jumped into the fun on Patreon! Know that you’re contributing to keeping the lights on here at franpratt.com. If you prefer to support my work in another way, you can grab a copy of my book and give it a positive review. I’m sending you love, gratitude, hope, and peace, regardless.
-f