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

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.


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


Find my book of congregational litanies on Amazon. And follow along via instagram @thelitanist


Lent 5 (Year C): Litany for Wilderness

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.


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

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.


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

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.


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). …

Easter 6 (Year B): Litany for Lasting Fruit

This litany is taken from a reading of John 15, which is part of the Lectionary selection for 5/6/18. In particular this verse:
"You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name." (John 15:16)

 

God, in Christ you let us in on your Grand Plan. (1)
You shared your heart with us,
And invited us in to be part of your agenda:
Part of the healing.

You didn’t set up barriers - not to baptism, nor the table, nor forgiveness, nor community
You tore them down!
You ripped down the temple dividers (2).
You flung open doors.
You set up a new paradigm for faith
And a new benchmark for success:

Which is love.
Always love. (3)

We want to do things for you:
Beautiful things.
We want to create things for you:
Things that last.

So help us, God, to do small things with great love (4),
And great things with great love;
And lasting things that create love,
And creative things that love well and long.

Amen
 

  1. John 15:9

  2. Matthew 27:51

  3. John 15:12

  4. From a quote attributed to Mother Teresa: 'Do small things with great love'

Easter 5 (Year B): Litany for Abiding in Love

This litany is based on a reading of the Lectionary selections for the Fifth Sunday in Easter.

 

God, you put us here on earth as embodied human beings,
For your glory and our learning.
We experience you in all kinds of ways:
    In nature,
    In relationships,
    In community,
    In silence,
    In sacredness.

You dropped a lot of hints about yourself along the way,
     From stone tablets to still, small voices,
     From prophets to angel messengers,
     From rainbows to rescues.
Then you sent Christ Jesus, the epitome of you, to teach us about yourself,
     About your love,
     About forgiveness,
     And about resurrection.

Let us love one another,
Because love is from God;
Everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.
God is Love. You are Love. (1)
As Christ abides in you, and we abide in Christ, ()
So we abide in Love.

We meditate on all we’ve learned of you,
And we meditate on the life and work of Christ;
Asking that we may know more deeply, more fully,
The Love in which we abide.
 

Amen

1) 1 John 4:7,8
2) John 15:4


 

Easter 4 (Year B): Litany for the Good Shepherd

This litany is taken from a reading of the Lectionary passages for the 4th week of Eastertide, Year B. You can also find Litany for Sheep here.


The Lord is our Shepherd
We lack for nothing. (1)
You are the Good Shepherd.
The Good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. (2)

As Christ has laid down his life for us
So we ought to lay down our lives for one another (2).

Beloved, let us love, not in word or speech,
But in truth and action.
By this we will be reassured:
That we believe in Christ Jesus,
And that we love one another
Just as Christ has commanded.

For the Good Shepherd has taught us by his good example:
To share with those in need (3),
To bring the outsider in (4),
To abide in the Spirit (5),
To lay down our own agendas,
To take up Love’s agenda. (6)

Lead us, Good Shepherd,
Into green pastures,
Beside still waters;
And restore our souls to your peace. (7)

Amen


1) Psalm 23:1
2) 1 John 3:16-18
3) 1 John 3:17
4) John 10:16
5) 1 John 3:24
6) John 10:17
7) Psalm 23:1-3

 

Easter 3 (Year B): Litany for the Body of Christ

This litany is drawn from a reading of the Lectionary passages for the Third Sunday in Easter, Year B.

Resurrected Christ, you came to us after your journey through death,
Speaking peace,
Eating and drinking,
Embodied and whole.

And yet, your body still bore the scars of your acceptance,
The marks of your ordeal.
As we, too, bear the scars of our trauma
In this we find hope.

In your body you wear the full arc of humanity:
    It’s struggle and hope,
    It’s birth and death,
    It’s pain and redemption.
Also you carry the full spectrum of divinity:
    Creation’s origin,
    The seeds of the cosmos
    Love’s power.

And these are echoed within us, too:
In Spirit’s presence,
In DNA’s intertwined strands,
In Imago Dei. (1)

So we set out to echo, each day of our lives on this earth,
Your “Peace Be With You,” (2)
Your graceful mission,
Your healing presence,
Your hopeful faith,
Your unstoppable love.

Grant that we may reflect the fullness of your beauty
In all we are, all we say, and all we do.

Amen.



(1) Imago Dei is a latin term meaning "image of God" that applies to humans and refers to the relationship between Creator and created.
(2) Luke 24:36
 

Easter Week 2 (Year B): Litany for the Resurrected Christ

This litany follows along with the Lectionary Readings for the Second Sunday of Easter. For more litanies, consider becoming a patron.

Resurrected Christ, as you appeared to your apostles, speaking peace and showing them the evidence of your ordeal and victory,
Appear to us now.
Be with us and among us
As we learn to live resurrected lives.

We see now that you always lived as though resurrection were possible
Even before you had done that work.
Your every breath, step, and touch,
Was a testament to the newness of life.

Breathe on us, Resurrected Christ
That we may receive your spirit. (1)
Breathe on us, Resurrected Christ,
That we may receive your peace.
Breathe on us, Resurrected Christ,
That we may receive your life.
Breathe on us, Resurrected Christ,
That we may be of one heart and soul. (2)

Teach us how to live with the hope and assurance
That new life is just around the corner.
Teach us how to live with the peace and trust,
That what looks to us like death is resurrection’s first act.

And may we walk this earth,
Speaking peace,
Fostering healing,
And living out resurrection.

Amen

1) John 20:22
2) Acts 4:32

 

Easter Day (Year B): Litany for Christ’s Life

God, in human form you lived on the earth,
Doing ordinary things;
But also doing extraordinary things:
Preaching, teaching, healing, calling.
You proclaimed the Good News from a human mouth:
The Kingdom of God is here!

Your good work and proclamation drew the attention of worldly powers
Who perceived it as a threat,
Because it was: The kingdom of God undoes everything it touches
And builds it again newly.

And, by the power of human sin, violence, and confusion -
You were killed -
A fate you did not resist, but instead accepted -
You were buried -
So that you might shame the powers, and teach them a new way:
You were resurrected!

Hallelujah! This changes everything!
Hallelujah!
From the enemies we love, to the suffering we accept -
Hallelujah!
From the violence we reject, to the justice-mercy-healing work we do -
Hallelujah!
This Way-of-God-come-down-to-earth completely rearranges our perspective!
Hallelujah!

For Christ has torn the temple down
And rebuilt it.
The Way of God came down.
The Way of God lives on in us.

Amen

 

Good Friday (Year B): Litany for Christ's Work

I encourage everyone to read the lectionary passages for Good Friday, Year B, before reading this litany.

God, we know that in our darkest hour, when we feel like you have forsaken us
You are with us.
There, in the darkness and pain,
You are with us.
In the grief and disappointment,
You are with us.

We know that the pain is never unending,
Although it consumes us in the moment.
We know that the end of the story is never death
Although we often feel it is.
We know that the darkness of a tomb is never our ultimate home,
Although when we’re there we feel we will never leave.
We know that the Savior, God Incarnate, went willingly to pain, death, and tomb,
To show us the end of suffering.

And in his suffering,
We find hope.
In his going down to darkness,
We find light.
In his succumbing to death,
We find life.

Christ allowed the powers of this world to do their dirty work on him,
So he could teach us about redemption.
And it is on this work, Christ’s work, that we meditate,
To learn something precious.

Amen

Palm Sunday (Year B): Litany for the Passion

This litany follows along with the story of the Passion of Christ in Mark's Gospel. You can also find a litany for the Palms here.

God, you showed us who you are in the incarnation:
Yourself as human,
Coming down to earth, enduring human suffering,
Becoming a servant.

And despite your meekness
You offended the Powers;
You drew the wrath of religious and political establishments
You became their scapegoat.

You endured mocking and scorn,
A crown of thorns,
Brutal violence,
And went to death with forgiveness on your lips.

You, Great Heart, have shamed the Powers that killed you:
Exposed violence,
Eschewed vengeance,
And by acceptance, defeated death.

In refusing to repay violence with violence,
You showed us the Path of Peace.
In forgiving your enemies and abusers,
You demonstrated love the world had never seen.

Hosanna!
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!

Lent 5 (Year B): Litany for Losing

Today's litany comes from the Lectionary text in John 12 for week 5 of Lent (Year B).


God, it’s an upside-down, unexpected world you’ve made.
We can’t assume we understand anything.
Your imagination is unfathomable;
We can spend our whole lives exploring your ways.

To gain status
We must become lowly.
To grow up
We must root down.
To be glorified
We must embrace death. (John 12:24)
To gain life
We must lose it. (John 12:25)
To gain assurance
We must embrace paradox.

We all face loss in this life:
   Loss of loved ones
   Loss of status
   Loss of fortune
   Loss of certainty
In loss we choose: hope or misery.

For in your unfathomable mystery, what was lost
Is found.
What was buried in death
Is planted.
What was useless
Is glorified.
What was old
Is new.
What was hopeless,
Is full of possibility.

Help us to remember the hopelessness of Christ
As he lay in the tomb;
How in his stillness, in his loss,
Lay the seeds of life.

Amen

Lent 4 (Year B): Litany for Sickness

This week's Lectionary selections include the account of Moses raising up a bronze serpent in the desert for the healing of the Hebrews, then the later comparison in John 3 of Christ being raised up; so that all who see him can receive healing.
 

God we are sick in so many ways -
     Some from trauma,
     Some from our own sinful ways,
     Some from hardship,
Not a one of us unaffected
By humanity’s broken choices.

As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness (1)
So was Christ lifted up (2);
That, by seeing him and becoming awake to his work
We might be healed (3).
For in him there is no condemnation
But healing for the nations (4).

By grace we have been rescued
It is the gift of God (5) --
From sickness and death
To wholeness and life --
You have raised us up with Christ
And seated us with him in the heavenly places (6).

We thank you, God, for your steadfast love
For your wonderful works to humankind:
You sent out your word to heal us
And delivered us from destruction (7).
We were asleep through our sickness.
You are making us awake with Christ (8).

Amen

  1. Numbers 21:8

  2. John 3:14

  3. John 3:15

  4. John 3:16,17

  5. Ephesians 2:8

  6. Ephesians 2:5,6

  7. Psalm 107:20,21

  8. Ephesians 2:1,5

Lent 3 (Year B): Litany for Anger

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This week in the Lectionary, we read the account of Jesus clearing the temple of corruption in John 2.  We get the idea that the sellers and moneychangers who had set up shop there are perhaps doing some corruption, and Jesus is mad about it. Using religion for economic gain, perhaps? Exploiting the poor in the name of religion? Wielding economic power unjustly? Maybe confusing the economic interests of a wealthy few with the good of all? Or maybe confusing their "rights" with their responsibility to care for the poor and dependent?

Whatever it was, Jesus wasn't having it. He got angry and caused a ruckus. He turned tables and dumped moneyboxes, and had himself a good cathartic outburst. I wonder how long he'd held it in before he finally let it boil over?

And this scripture is timely. I think a lot of us are angry. Some of us, because we feel threatened and defensive in light of the justice movements happening in our culture. Some of us, because we've been victimized and justice still hasn't come. We need the contemplative mind, the self-reflective mind, the non-reactive mind, to help us through angry times
.


God, we are angry:
Angry at injustice,
Angry at violence,
Angry at empire.

Some of us are angry and acting out
Some of us are asleep to our anger
Some of us are stuck in anger.
Some of us have buried our anger.
Some of us are angry because we feel threatened.
Some of us are angry because we feel victimized.

We wait for the day when we are at peace
When mercy reigns
When all hearts are filled with love
When we don’t need anger anymore.

Until that day, help us oh God, to handle our anger with care;
To not be consumed by it
To funnel it into justice and mercy,
To temper it with strong love,
To be angry without sin,
To do justly without vengeance.

Let the words of our mouths
And the meditation of our hearts
Be acceptable to you, O LORD,
Our rock and our redeemer. (1)

Make of us,
By prayer, fasting, and charity,
By spiritual practice and discipline,
A people filled with love.

Amen

1) Psalm 19:4

Lent 2 (Year B): Litany for Memento Mori

A few months ago I purchased an ornamental skull and hung it on a wall. It’s gilt, and made to look like the skull of some kind of bull. I didn’t really know why I did this, except that there was something about the skull that was compelling to me; something edgy but true. In other words I didn’t do this strictly for decorative reasons. I hung it in the bathroom, which freaked the children out a little, but now everyone sees the skull whenever they do the business that living people do.

Weeks later I learned, quite by accident (from Sister Theresa Aletheia on twitter), about the ancient tradition of Memento Mori (1), Latin for “remember death.” It’s the practice of intentionally remembering that death is unpredictable and imminent, to remind us to live well, do what matters, not waste time on vanities. Many people practice Memento Mori by keeping a skull in view, so that they are reminded to live well whenever they see it. I had inadvertently stumbled into my own Memento Mori practice.

So this is what I thought of when I read this week’s Lectionary reading from Mark 8. Jesus informs his followers that he will have to endure suffering, rejection, and death; and then after that he’ll rise again. Some of the apostles, particularly Peter, just can’t deal with this idea. I can just hear him: "What’s this about death? Death has no part of this equation we are working on here! Death is far away, an abstract idea! We don’t have to think about that now! How humiliating that you would even think of letting death take you, Jesus!" And Jesus rebukes Peter, telling him that in his utter denial of death having any part in the narrative, he is “setting [his] mind not on divine things but on human things” (2).

In the season of Lent we are invited to remember our mortality, and our immortality. We are given permission to contemplate what is humanly (but not divinely) considered morbid. We begin by admonishing one another: “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” And we end by celebrating the life that comes after the dust, after the death.



God, we know from the narratives and themes within scripture
That the road to life is fraught with death
That the road to safety is fraught with peril
That the road to light is fraught with darkness.

We know from the narratives and themes within nature
That to get to spring we pass through winter.
That to get fertile soil, there must be compost and decay.
That to get to bloom we pass through buried seed.

We know from the narratives and themes within our own lives
That mistakes and failures teach us
That wisdom comes from experience, and often from hardship and loss
That growing up means learning hard lessons.

Death follows us everywhere we go in this life.
Nothing living is immune.

As Christ went down to death for three days
So we must follow:
Down, past death
    Death to self (3)
    Death to assumption
    Death to expectation
    Death to control
We are brought low by this humility.

And in turn, out past death we find a mystery:
What we thought was lost is found (4).
Death has hatched something altogether new:
Glorious life!

So, we accept our mission:
To live well,
To face death,
And learn the lesson of resurrection.

Amen

  1. More info about Memento Mori

  2. Mark 8:33

  3. Mark 8:34

  4. Mark 8:35


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Lent 1 (Year B): Litany for Dust

God, we humble ourselves before you.
You are our creator.
We remember that we are dust
And to dust our bodies will someday return. (1)

We have made a mess of things here on earth
Have mercy on us.
Our humility cannot be too great,
Nor can your mercy.

Help us now as we do the inner work
Of repentance.
Help us now as we do the necessary work
Of lament.
Help us now as we do the quiet work
Of belief.

And may the lenten work we do: fasting, prayer, giving (2)
Go toward healing the earth.
May the repentance that starts in our hearts
Grow outward.
May our inner transformation bring with it
Heaven on earth:

Where violence and murder are no more.
Where injustice is no more.
Where poverty and hunger are no more.
Where pain and prison are no more.

Let us, mere dust,
Join with you in transforming the world.

Amen

  1. Genesis 3:18

  2. Matthew 6:2,5,16