Litany for Reign of Christ (Proper 29, Year B)

This litany is inspired by a reading of the Lectionary passages for Reign of Christ Sunday.

Christ, we honor you,
The faithful witness,
The firstborn of the dead,
The ruler of the rulers of the earth.
You who love us and freed us from our sins -
We honor you  (1).

For you have inspired us and taught us
You have revolutionized our lives.
You have enlivened our hearts.
You have exemplified and embodied Love.

In your wisdom you made us to be a kingdom
A community of priests (2).
And your rule is forever;
Your peace, your goodness, unending.

You came to testify to the truth (3)
The truth of God’s loving nature.
And we who listen to your voice
Also make this testimony
With our voices
With our actions
With our being -
That God is Love.

Love has established the world
And it shall not be moved (4).

Amen

  1. Revelation 1:5

  2. Revelation 1:6

  3. John 18:37

  4. Psalm 93:1

Litany for Emotional Health (Proper 14, Year B)

This litany is inspired by a reading of the New Testament passage for the week (Proper 14, Year B)

God, help us to put away what doesn’t serve us,
What doesn’t serve Love,
What doesn’t offer forgiveness,
What doesn’t fit in your community.

We put away falsehood and dishonesty.
We put away destructive talk.
We put away bitterness and malice.
We put away power struggles.

Instead of repressing our anger,
We choose to examine it;
We choose to feel it,
We choose to release it.

We choose to deal honestly with our emotions,
And our difficult relationships,
And the pain we’ve experienced,
And so come clean to it all.

Help us to observe ourselves unflinchingly,
And to see down to the truth of what is.
For to honesty and truth
We add kindness and forgiveness (1).

Help us, Oh God, to be imitators of the Divine (2),
Living in full freedom, acceptance, and love. Amen

1) Ephesians 4:32
2) Ephesians 5:1

Litany for the Prophets (Year B, Proper 9)

This litany is inspired by a reading of this week's Lectionary passages from Mark 6 and Ezekiel 2.

God, we give thanks for the prophets of the world:
Those who speak the Good News into being,
Those who live out the mercy of Christ in a dog-eat-dog world,
Those who forsake honor and reputation,
Those who speak truth to power,
Those who leave their comfort behind.

For the poets, preachers, and saints,
We give thanks.
For the artists, peaceful protesters, marchers, healers, and humble warriors,
We give thanks.
For those who call out injustice and bring in grace,
We give thanks.
For those whose bodies, whose very lives, reproach the powers,
We give thanks.
For those who bind wounds, create space for lament, and listen deeply,
We give thanks.

We know that, most often, the ones who prophesy to us
Are the ones we ignore.
Most often, the prophets are the marginalized, the scorned, the killed -
Those who follow Christ’s footsteps.

May we be mindful of the prophets.
Soften our hearts, oh God.
May we heed their warnings.
Open our ears, oh God.
May their blood not cry out in vain.
Open our eyes, oh God.
May the bodies of the faithful speak beyond words.
Enlighten our minds, oh God.
May the wakeful awaken us.
Amen.


 

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

 

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

Transfiguration Sunday (Year B): Litany for the Whirlwind

The Lectionary readings for Transfiguration Sunday, Year B converge upon the ascension of Elijah the Prophet in a whirlwind, and the Transfiguration of Christ on the mountain with Elijah and Moses, the “law and the prophets”, present. This litany is inspired by those readings and a prayer for us to experience transfiguration, change toward heaven, in the here and now.
 

God, let your kingdom come on earth.
Let the seed of heaven in our hearts
Grow, spread, and bear fruit.
Whether that manifests as miracles
Or as acts of kindness
Let Heaven and Now converge.

Whether or not we get our own whirlwind
Or chariot of fire;
You are still bearing us onward
Into your glorious reality.

Whether or not our own faces radiate sunshine
Or clouds speak from heaven;
You are claiming us,
Naming us beloved.

You are the source of all light,
The source of all love,
The source of all truth,
The source of all life.

In Christ, you shone as the dawn
As the Morningstar
In Christ, your light culminated
And was complete.

We give ourselves readily
To this ascension and transfiguration,
Which you are working in us,
And fills us with radiance.

Amen


 

Epiphany, Year B (Week 5): Litany for Healing

God, we look to you as Healer.
Heal us, oh God.

We look to the message of Christ for our hope:
The Kingdom, the Way of God is near.
You give power to the faint,
And strengthen the powerless. (1)
You heal the brokenhearted
And bind up their wounds. (2).

From our physical infirmities
Heal us, oh God.
From our spiritual blindness,
Heal us, oh God.
From our emotional woundedness,
Heal us, oh God.
From our weakness and corruption,
Heal us, oh God.
From our mental illnesses,
Heal us, oh God.
From our brokenness and trauma,
Heal us, oh God.
From our carelessness and apathy,
Heal us, oh God.
From our generational burdens,
Heal us, oh God.
From our hatred and violence,
Heal us, oh God.

Those who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength,
They shall mount up with wings like eagles
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint. (3)

We wait for you,
God, our healer.
Amen.

 

  1. Isaiah 40:29

  2. Psalm 147:3

  3. Isaiah 40:31

Epiphany, Year B (Week 2): Litany for Being Seen

The account of the calling of Nathanael in John 1 (Lectionary for Second Sunday in Epiphany) has fascinated me for many years. I’ve never been able to definitively puzzle it out. But the narrative of it draws me in. I can imagine how Nathanael might have felt, waiting, hoping for something; perhaps all his life. Perhaps events in his life made him cynical. Perhaps he chose to watch from the edges, partially hidden. Perhaps he thought he’d never been seen, and had given up hope of being seen. Perhaps he’d lost so much he thought he’d never be found.  It seems like he and Jesus have a secret exchange here, buried in the dialogue. And whatever it is, it seems to be what he needs, because we can feel Nathanael’s heart open and his guard drop, simply from knowing that Jesus has seen him.  It occurs to me that this is part of what Epiphany means: we get in on the secret that God sees us as intimately as Christ saw Nathanael.
 

God, we are all hoping you’ll come looking for us,
Though our hearts might be hard --
Or maybe we have been running and hiding for a long time...
We want you to see us.

We want the Creator to pay attention to us
We want to be seen.
We want Someone, Something powerful to take an interest in us.
We want to be known.

Our deepest longing,
Our secret hope,
Our shadowy leaning,
Our mundane pain,
Our hidden dream,
Our forgotten spark:
These are things we long for a savior to save
For a flame to kindle.

You saw us all along:
Quietly observing
Keenly attending
Actively loving.

No matter what fig tree we hide beneath (1),
You see us.
No matter what bravado or sentiment we hide behind (2),
You see through.
We can rely on you to know the truth of us.
We can trust your mercy.

And, when we finally become aware of your merciful regard
We have seen the truth of you.
So, with gratitude and awe
We reflect your love.

Amen

1) John 1:48
2) John 1:46

Christmas Year B: Litany for Light in Darkness

This litany contains references from the Lectionary selections for the First Sunday after Christmas Day, Year B, plus an additional reference from Christ's words in John 8.


God, we celebrate the season of Christmas
When darkness outweighs light,
When the year is steeped in dimness,
When day is overshadowed by night.

Even so, our eyes have seen your salvation (1)
Which you’ve prepared for us all --
From oldest to youngest,
Biggest to smallest,
Richest to poorest,
Healthiest to sickest,
Smartest to simplest,
Greatest to least --
The light of revelation
Has come for us all. (2)

Our inner thoughts will be no longer secret (3)
What is hidden will be revealed in its beam.
Our vindication shines out like the dawn,
Our salvation like a burning torch. (4)
All the earth
Is turning toward the light.

The light which came down from heaven
Is the Christ.
The light of the world has come
That we may never walk in darkness. (5)

Amen


1) Luke 2:30
2) Luke 2:31
3) Luke 2:35
4) Isaiah 62:1
5) John 8:12


 

Advent, Year B: Week 4: Litany for Deep Love

God, in the waiting and the tension
You are teaching us
The characteristics of True Love
Like a prism, it has many faces:
Patience,
Courage,
Gentleness,
Honesty,
Kindness,
Freedom, and more.

For years, for generations, we said
“God is Love,”
When what we really thought was
“God is Wrath.”
We thought of you as moody and prickly,
Distant and disembodied.

We know better now.
The Christ has taught us.

We like to imagine the night Love became Incarnate:
Clear,
Still,
Peaceful;
Perfect conditions for Love’s emergence
Perfect timing for Love’s expansion.

It’s in quiet that love has its purest voice.
It’s in stillness that love finds its rhythm.

And indeed, Love smiled upon us that day
Its every face beaming
A tiny voice bawling out love’s insistence
A tiny heart beating out love’s cadence.

Shhh, we can still hear it:
I love you. I love. I am love.

Amen

Advent Year B: Week 3: Litany for Deep Joy

God, all kinds of feelings pass through us in this life:
From happiness to sorrow and everything in between.
We can look around and see all kinds of reasons not to feel joyful
Until we learn:
Joy is not felt
Joy is found.

We straighten our spines,
Posturing ourselves toward joy;
Needing constant rediscovery
Until it becomes our nature.

Joy in pain
Joy in transformation
Joy in journeying
Joy in growth
Joy in parting
Joy in waiting

This is the joy that wells up from us:
The intentional song
The thoughtful gift
The word of comfort
The broken thing mended
The belly filled.

This is the joy given to us:
To love and be loved
To sacrifice and be blessed
To be lost and found.

Joyful, Joyful!
Rejoice, Rejoice!

Amen

 

Advent Year B: Week 2: Litany for Deep Peace

God, we are longing for a silent night --
For a reprieve
From noise and anxiety and hurry;
For a moment
Of space and time, empty yet full.
Gift us the gift of quiet.

This is the Peace:
Of baby’s breath
Of feathered wing
Of rustling leaf
Of sphere’s turn
Of light beam.

The heavenly peace in which we long to rest
To sweetly sleep
In safety and freedom
In certainty and repose.

We can smell the peace
Coming on the wind.
We can feel the peace
Arriving with the morning.
We can taste the peace
In the bread and cup.

We look in your direction, God
The Place from which peace comes;
For you are its Author and the home of its Prince,
And in your peace we dwell.

Amen

Advent Year B: Week 1: Litany for Deep Hope

God: as the light of day fades in the evening
We hope for the sunrise.
As leaves journey toward earth mulch
We hope for good soil.
As the winter deepens around us, hollowing to slumber
We hope for springtime.
As all around us sleep the sleep of the wrecked
We hope for healing.

We wait in wakefulness
Eyes open,
In readiness and expectation
For you to come;
For you to call us on a journey --
We wait awake.

On the dawn
Goodness comes.
With green shoots
Goodness comes.
From earliest darkness
Goodness comes.
From darkest soil
Goodness comes...

The Goodness that is dung and straw and lamb and shepherd and angel
Our God-With-Us;
The Goodness that is fresh babe -
Our Holy One;
The Goodness that is Messiah
Our humble king.

Year after year, winter after winter,
For Goodness we wait.

Amen