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)


How to Properly Attribute a Litany

Attribution is a tricky subject. The internet makes it even more complicated. And I've had a few instances where I've encountered my litanies not being attributed correctly. So today I'm trying to make attribution rules clear. And I'm grateful to the folks who've asked for clarity on this.

I want people to pray good prayers. I want love to flow in this world, and for people to connect to the Divine, and for our collective consciousness to be raised. For these reasons I allow my litanies to be used by church congregations and other non-profit groups, so long as my name and website are clearly referenced.

If you're using a litany of mine, whether it’s one that is freely available on the internet or via subscription on Patreon, please use this attribution tag alongside the title of the litany, anywhere a litany is projected or printed:

©Fran Pratt franpratt.com Used with permission

Please do not post or reproduce my litanies in their entirety on social media. A little snippet or quote is fine (even helpful in terms of getting the word out) as long as it's linking back to my website. It's also helpful if you share links to specific litanies on my website on social media. But please, don't post a photo of a printout or a screenshot of an entire litany. Driving traffic to my website helps me get the word out about my work, and about my book.

I encourage churches and organizations to subscribe to my Patreon. Especially if you are using my work regularly. Obviously I can't force you to do this, nor will I necessarily even be aware if you're using my work. You are on the honor system and I trust the Spirit in you. I spend a great deal of time creating liturgy and it is the creative work the Spirit has given me to do in this season. If you benefit from the work I do, especially on a regular basis, I don't think 3 bucks a month is too much to ask in return for a regular liturgical contribution to your community - it's a small amount that helps make the work sustainable for me to continue.

Finally, this is grassroots art. I know it's going to take on a life of its own. Everyone isn't going to follow attribution rules perfectly. I just ask for people who genuinely appreciate this work to please have my back in this small way.

Thanks. I love you and I'm grateful for you.

-Fran


Lent 2 (Year C): Litany for Loneliness

Hi! As you may have noticed,
I’ve moved much of my work over to Patreon.
This is part of my effort to make 2019 a #yearofwritingsustainably
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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). …

Lent 1 (Year C): Litany for Weakness

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I got waylaid by a terrible flu for the last 7 days. And still my brain is not entirely online. I find it so interesting how the Lectionary seems to coincide with my own real-life events. Here I have been in a fog of weakness, reliant on help from others just to get through. And the Lectionary brings me this story.

In Luke’s account of the temptation of Christ, we see Christ refute the devil’s efforts at getting him to “prove” himself. If you make bread from stones, you’ll show us all. If you worship me I’ll make them know your authority. If you jump off the temple room, the angels will be forced to carry you, and everyone will know you’re the real deal.

Isn’t this what we are always feeling like we have to do as humans? Prove ourselves? We feel like we have to prove that we’re strong, or invincible, or in control, or knowledgeable, or, at the very least NOT WEAK. I can tell you I have had not one shred of control over anything in the last week. Every plan canceled. Every intention thwarted. Every task put off.

And Jesus refuses the whole game. He goes willingly to the physical weakness of hunger and deprivation. He goes willingly to the vulnerability of harsh desert. He doesn’t retreat to a well-stocked fortress, but an empty wasteland of weakness.

I guess this is a lesson we learn from Lent: that weakness is strength. That proving ourselves is a game the ego plays, not the Christ-consciousness.




Oh God, we come to Lent to face ourselves:
Our desperate need to prove our worth,
Our hunger for reputation, wealth, and influence;
Our ego’s power over us…



Transfiguration Sunday (Year C): Litany for Impatience

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I’ve moved much of my work over to Patreon.
This is part of my effort to make 2019 a #yearofwritingsustainably
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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

Epiphany Week 8 (Year C): Litany for the Hard Teachings

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PS: There are 9 days left to get a special by-request litany from me!


This week’s Lectionary covers 1 Corinthians 15, and a continuation of Luke 6, the Sermon on the Plain. Like the Beatitudes in Matthew 5, Luke’s account contains some of Jesus’ most radical and counter-cultural teachings… themes religion has historically not applied or taught well. Instead of embracing non-judgement and non-duality, the church became famous for condemnation. Instead of loving enemies, the church aligned itself with warring powers.

These are hard teachings, especially for Western ears to hear. Especially for wealthy, privileged Americans to hear. We need these universal spiritual teachings in front of our eyes and in our ears, penetrating our consciousness anew in these times.




God, some of the teachings we received from Christ are difficult
Asking us to practice counter-cultural ways of being.

So much of us must die
To become alive.
So much of what we desire must be let go
For us to truly receive it…



Epiphany Week 7 (Year C): Litany for Loving Kinship

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This week’s Gospel reading includes Luke’s account of the Beatitudes. This account is also known as “blessings and woes,” as it differs from Matthew’s Beatitudes significantly. However, the spirit is the same, and they are incidentally not dissimilar to Mary’s Magnificat from a few chapters earlier in Luke. “Woe to you who are rich,” echoes Christ’s Mother’s words from years earlier: “he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty” (1).

I’ve been exploring themes of privilege and connectedness in this Epiphany series, and this week’s “blessings and woes” fit right in. Woe to you who are privileged, for your privilege blinds you. Blessed are you who who understand that we are all connected - by suffering, by need, by humanity… and that we are the very ones we judge to be lowly.

If we let them, this teaching of Jesus has the capacity to awaken us from our deadness, our un-compassion, our judgement, and into acceptance, forgiveness, and love. May it be so, and may we pray with humility and willingness to be transformed.


God, help us to cast aside all judgement,
All fear of Other,
All attachment to privilege,
All lack of compassion;
And to step instead into the glorious abundance of your community…

Love and Gratitude,

f

1) Luke 1:5







Epiphany Week 6 (Year C): Litany for Breaking Nets

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I’ve moved much of my work over to Patreon.
This is part of my effort to make 2019 a #yearofwritingsustainably
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This litany is inspired by a reading of the Lectionary Gospel passage for the fifth Sunday of Epiphany, Luke 5:1-11. Jesus advises weary disciples who've fished all night to lower their nets just one more time...


God, we’ve been stuck in cycles of scarcity.
You bring us into abundance.
We’ve worked our fingers to the bone in our own power.
You invite us into the ease and flow of yours….

Epiphany Week 5 (Year C): Litany for Confronting Our Privilege

Hi! As you may have noticed,
I’ve moved much of my work over to Patreon.
This is part of my effort to make 2019 a #yearofwritingsustainably
So thanks for reading and subscribing.


The gospel reading this week comes from Luke 4. Jesus has just quoted Isaiah 61 in the synagogue on a Sabbath, stating that his mission is the same; that God “has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners…” and so on. “Today, this has been fulfilled,” he says (Luke 4:21). His mission is freedom and deliverance and grace.

And then in the section we’re given this week, Jesus goes on to speak a bit more about his mission. He gets more specific. As Karoline Lewis puts it, Jesus “...reveals for whom [he] has come -- the widows, the lepers, the outsiders. Jesus’ whole ministry will be for the least of these, over and over again. Moreover, Jesus is for everyone” (2). And with that revelation, he is promptly driven out of town, his life threatened, and he must escape by (presumably) miraculous means.

Why were those folks so enraged by Christ’s words there? Back to Dr. Lewis: “Jesus’ sermon in Nazareth is a prophetic message. Jesus tells the truth about the realities of our world, where the lowly are looked down upon, where the poor sleep in cardboard boxes under freeways, where the captives remain in their prisons, where the rich live exceedingly full lives.”  Jesus confronts their, and our, privilege.

The outcast, the forgotten, the marginalized, those who exist in the liminal spaces - those are always the ones at the center of Christ’s gospel. And we do well to hear, and to allow the spirit to work her grace on us as we confront our own privilege as hearers, to allow ourselves to give up the prized place of centrality in the narratives we tell ourselves.

It may make us mad at first. It may make us want to run Jesus, or whomever the prophet confronting us happens to be, out of town or off a cliff (3). But if we’re following Jesus authentically, we will have to confront our own privilege, grow some compassion, and get outside of ourselves. Here is a prayer for that process.

God, we know from the message and example of Christ
That the poor and helpless are beloved by you,
That the outsider and outcast occupy your heart,
That the lonely and the prisoner have your attention…

Epiphany Week 4 (Year C): Litany for Parts of a Whole

I find it interesting that the Lectionary always seems to speak so keenly to the current moment. The past few days I’ve contemplated the state of things, and Dr. King’s legacy, and how the Church (capital C) is doing, and how the country is doing. And I attended an MLK memorial/celebration march and service at a local sibling church, which was inspiring in some ways, but sobering in others. We have so far to go with dismantling white supremacy in this country, and within the American Church; and that is not a new or disputable fact.

What I’m learning from listening to and reading BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) activists is that we white people need to listen humbly, educate ourselves and our communities, and support the work. And a great way to support the work is by financially contributing to organizations that uplift BIPOC communities and meet their needs. I’m doing this as I can, and I encourage my white siblings to as well. Here are a few I’m particularly inspired by*:

Equal Justice Initiative
Million Hoodies
A Voice for the Unheard
Black Women’s Health Initiative
Partnership with Native Americans

I’ve written this week’s litany with the Lectionary selections in mind, which remind us of our unchangeable status as parts of a whole, as siblings, and as co-laborers. What hurts one sector of our Beloved Community, hurts us all. What uplifts, uplifts us all. Christ’s stated mission in Luke 4 is our mission, too. And…


We are all part of each other.
Our connectedness is unbreakable.
Any separation is only imagined.

If you’re looking for other litanies surrounding these topics, please check out
Litany for Justice and Equality
Litany for MLK Day
Litany for Addressing Racism
Litany for Embracing Race

*Even small amounts matter. But I know, not everyone can contribute financially. Do what you can, educate yourself via the multitude of free resources in local libraries and the internet, be curious, be humble. And may God bless your efforts.

2 Fun Bits of News

Bit #1:

Today on Patreon I’m sharing something new: tips for getting started writing prayers and liturgy for your own congregation. Teaching liturgical writing is a new frontier for me, but seems to be a theme coming up for 2019. I’ve learned a lot these last few years, and turns out, I have a lot to say on the subject. So head on over to Patreon, and if you aren’t already a patron, it’s easy - a few clicks and you’re done.

Bit #2:

Speaking of teaching, I’ve been invited to team up with Brian Doerksen and Cindy Rethmeier to teach at a summer retreat for songwriters and liturgists. It’s in August in Abbotsford, B.C. There are 12 spots, and they’re by audition only. Check it out!


Have a great week, and leave me a comment on Patreon!

Epiphany Week 3, Year C: Litany for the Party

This week’s Lectionary readings include the account of Christ performing his first recorded miracle: turning water into wine at a wedding. Also known as the time Jesus BROUGHT THE PARTY. There are so many interesting and fun details about the story: the way his mom talks him into it. The way the people react. The way he tries to keep it on the DL. His reluctance (I imagine a twinkle in his eye). The way he nonchalantly instructs them to “draw some out,” no big deal. 

And the most endearing part, to me, is what it says about celebration. That celebration is worth doing. That Jesus is able to look at this world, see it for what it is, accept it, forgive it, and still think it’s worth partying. 

And this is the lesson that Christ is teaching us:
That just when we think the party is over
And all our resources have run out,
There is abundance yet…

For the full text of this litany, go ahead and …

You’ll get access to Weekly Lectionary litanies, plus other content I post on a weekly basis, and various other liturgy-related goodies. Many thanks to all the new folks who have come on board in the past couple weeks. The party has only just begun!

Litany for Growing

Hello, and Happy New Year!
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join me on Patreon,
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At the turn of the year, many of us set aside time to reflect and set intentions for the coming year. How do we want to be? What do we want to carry forward? What do we need to let go of? What changes do we want to see made in the world that we might be part of.

I personally have a going list of hopes, dreams, and intentions. There are things I want to accomplish, changes I want to make, goals I want to meet, and ways I know I need to grow and evolve. My intentions range from the physical (improve fitness level, etc), to career (make my writing practice sustainable!), to spiritual, emotional, and relational; to collective and societal.

So, if you are on that journey of looking forward and speaking and imagining new things into being, I invite you to pray this prayer asking for patience to play the long game.


God, we stretch out our arms,
Reaching toward heaven.
We stretch out our hearts,
Reaching toward the timeless.
We stretch out our vision,
Reaching beyond our horizons.

There’s so much to be done.
So much change to be made.
That sometimes it’s hard to remember
That everything is as it should be:
Collectively, we are growing.
We are evolving.
And despite evidence to the contrary,
Things are progressing.

So we ask for help in being still and present
When the world is hectic;
And we ask for help in taking right action
When we are overwhelmed.
We lay ourselves bare before you
Nothing kept hidden or held back,
Trusting you to meet us in our need
And provide for us in our process.

May all we do,
And all we work toward,
Every imperceptible expansion,
Every slow millimeter of growth,
Make your community more welcoming,
And the world more truly peaceful (1).

.
Amen.

  1. Jeremiah 6:14

Litany for Year-End Reflection

God, in everything that’s happened this year,
Both good and bad,
We know that you were with us,
Always loving and present.

We’re spending time looking backwards, in hindsight,
Assessing our own progress and growth;
What worked, what didn’t,
What helped, what hindered.

And we’re spending time looking forwards, toward the new year,
Setting intentions and voicing our hopes
What we’d like to accomplish and improve,
What we’d like to experience and enjoy.

But we are also learning
To be in this moment,
To breathe deeply into our bodies
Right here, right now.

Because we know that the doorway to the Community of Heaven
Is right now -
Accessible always, no matter the circumstance,
Timeless and reliable.

And so we celebrate the year -
Its beginnings and its endings,
Its triumphs and its failures,
Its gifts and its receipts -
By turning our attention to you, Great Present,
Divine Attention, Conscious Now,
And leaning into the eternal flow of Love
As Christ has taught us.

We offer gratitude for each experience
For each person,
And we put our hope in the continued revealing
Of the peace, joy, and love of God.

Amen

Litany for Christmas Eve (Year C)

From a reading of Luke 2, the Lectionary gospel for Christmas, Year C.

God, we can’t help but feel a bit scandalized
About the way the Son of God was born to earth:
There was no room
There was no bed
There was no midwife
And no fine baby blankets

And when the Mother had finished her work
She wrapped her babe -
The hope of nations -
In strips of homespun cloth,
And laid him to sleep in a manger,
The humblest of corners.

But still, whenever we think about that night
We sigh with relief;
Because we know that for you,
We don’t have to put on a show,
We don’t have to fake anything,
We don’t have to hide the truth of ourselves,
We don’t have to have everything spotless and together,
Before you come in our door.

The most monumental works are done in the smallest increments.
The most glorious hymns are sung by the croakiest voices.
The most brilliant cathedrals are built by the roughest hands.
The most fervent prayers are prayed by the gentlest souls.

Even as the tiniest baby,
The Christ was telling the glory of God.
The highest heights are made low for you.
You level the roughest terrain (1).

Amen

1) Isaiah 40:4







Litany for Christmas Spirit

Today I’m offering my patreon subscribers an extra-special Christmas litany. If you’d like to get extra content from me, you can join the fun on Patreon for less than the price of a latte!

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And if you haven’t ordered yourself (or your pastor, priest, worship leader, small group leader, or bestie) a copy of THE BOOK, there’s still time to get it before Christmas.

cheers y’all,
Fran