Proper 15 (Year C): Litany for Fire

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.
You can find archived litanies here, and purchase my book here.


A note to Patrons: I have made this litany widely available to anyone who wishes to read or use it. I occasionally do this when a litany is particularly resonant for a moment in time. Thank you for your support, which allows me to continue this output and contribution to the prayers of the people.

“Is not my word like a fire, says the LORD, like a hammer that breaks rock in pieces?”

I believe that the message of this week’s Lectionary, of the fire and hammer of God, which are mercy and restorative justice, is THE message our society needs in this moment. We are protecting the gun lobby over vulnerable school children. We are protecting agribusiness over the well-being of the planet and over and above human thriving.* We are protecting corporate profits and political interests to the detriment of the poor and powerless. We are protecting white supremacy and status over our God-given duty to regard every human life, every human black and brown body, as beloved and sacred. This is the story of our country right now. This is the legacy we are living. 

And the cure, the antidote, is the mercy and restorative justice of God. The Fire and the Hammer. The holy fire that Christ says he “came to bring ... to the earth,” and he says, “how I wish it were already kindled!” (Luke 12:49). 

This is a prayer of confession and contrition. This is where we begin. Opening our eyes to our communal complicity, and changing our minds (repenting) about how we will continue on. This is heart-centered work. This in inconvenient work. This is uncomfortable work. Standing in the midst of holy fire is bound to be difficult. 



God, as a society we have turned blind eyes 
And deaf ears to the poor.
We can hear the cries of the needy,
See the struggle of the lowly and destitute.
How the weak and the orphan long for justice!
How the defenseless are in need of rescue (1)!


We confess that we have centered our policies
On the success of profit-margins.
We confess that we have protected the interests of corporations and the wealthy
Over the well-being of Earth’s most vulnerable inhabitants.**
We confess that we have judged unjustly
And show partiality to the wicked (2).
We confess that much of our economy and material wealth
Is due to exploitation of human and natural resources.

We have not done our God-given duty of creation stewardship.
We have not loved our neighbor as ourselves.
We have not upheld righteous standards.
We have not pursued justice and mercy for all. 

Forgive us, oh God, and lead us on the path of peace.
Restore us to your justice.
Bring us into the community of heaven.
Be merciful to us, oh God. 

For your word is like a fire,
Like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces (3). 
Break our hardened hearts;
Burn down our wicked ways.

Let the fire that Christ brings kindle in our hearts (4),
Igniting flames of justice and peace-making,
Of shifting old, unhelpful paradigms,
Of right-action and reform. 

Let the ethics and policies of heaven come to earth. 
Be merciful to us, oh God. Amen



*watch the documentary “Cowspiracy” for more info on this topic

**inhabitants, both human, animal, and plant-life

  1. Psalm 82:3,4

  2. Psalm 82:2

  3. Jeremiah 23:29

  4. Luke 12:49



Proper 14 (Year C): Litany for Doing Good

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.
You can find archived litanies here, and purchase my book here.


It is very rare that I miss a Lectionary litany. But I did last week. Sorry to those who were waiting for it. I had a wicked ear infection, limited childcare, and was bedraggled and behind on everything. I’ll go back and make it up, but in the meanwhile, here’s this week’s offering, available to Patrons at the $3 level.

Coming from Luke 12, Psalm 33, Psalm 50, and Isaiah 1, this one is centered around our work for justice and peace in this world, reflecting the generosity of God. Drop me a line if you use it in your gathering, or in your solo devotions or whatnot. I love to hear how this work is landing.


Oh God, help us to not be afraid.
Help us to have faith in your love.
For we know that with you is every blessing your realm contains,
And you give us good gifts…



Litany for Kneeling

God, here we are:
Skin-cloaked souls
Fragile and vulnerable
Wrapped up in our humanity.

We see from a human perspective,
We judge by limited input.
But you’ve always seen from Love’s vantage point,
High above our vision.

Somewhere along the way
We forgot our true home
Our citizenship in your kingdom (1)
Our first love (2)
Our debt of belonging
Our deepest allegiance...

To Christ
Who knelt to pray
Who emptied himself
Who endured torture
Who lay down in a grave
At the hands of Injustice.

Let those who kneel
Kneel reverently.
Let those who kneel
Kneel passionately.
Let those who kneel
Know to whom they bend.

Help us to see more and better.
Help us to respond to all with Love that listens.

Nations may boast of their tanks, flags, and bombs
But we boast in the name of the Lord and the Christ (3):
The Lord who opposes the proud (4),
The Lord who works justice for the oppressed (5).
We pledge allegiance to Christ and his Kingdom.
We kneel before Christ and his mercy.

Amen

1) Philippians 3:20
2) Revelations 2:4
3) Psalm 20:7, Galatians 6:14
4) 1 Peter 5:5, Proverbs 3:34
5) Psalm 103:6

Litany for a Terrorized City

*I originally wrote this litany as a response to the attack on Brussels on March 22, 2016. I later learned that many other places in the world were attacked by ISIS during the surrounding time period, attacks that never made headline news. This litany can be used to pray for folks in any location that has experienced terrorism. I wish it weren't true that we might have use for a general prayer for terrorized cities. Christ, have mercy.

God, we cry out to You on behalf of the people of [Brussels, Belgium].
     For the families and friends of those killed in the attacks, we cry.
     For those wounded, we cry.
     For the bystanders, those shocked and terrified, we cry.
     For the emergency workers, giving tirelessly of themselves, we cry.
     For those in government and law enforcement, we cry.
     For the residents of the city, stranded and immobilized, we cry.
     For a world beset by evil, we cry.

We commend the souls lost into Your care,
And ask for healing and comfort for those that remain.

These events bring us into a place of questioning:
     Of Your goodness
     Of Your sovereignty
     Of the nature of humanity
     Of the future of the world
     Of how we might move forward.

We commend those questions into Your care,
     Asking You for wisdom
     Asking You for hope
     Asking You for courage to continue on in good work
     Asking You for help in overcoming
     Asking You for comfort in trouble
     Asking You for a heart of love toward our enemies
     Asking You for justice.

We acknowledge that our lives are precious, vulnerable, and often short.
We acknowledge that safety is never guaranteed.
We acknowledge our inability to perfectly follow Jesus’ example
     of meekness, forgiveness, and peacemaking.
We acknowledge that when Jesus took upon himself the wrongdoing of the world,
he took terrorism also.

We look toward the completion of Jesus’ work.
We look toward the fullness of Your kingdom come,
And Your will done on earth as it is in heaven. 

We look toward the day when the whole world is aligned with the law of love.

Be near to the brokenhearted, close in Your compassion and lovingkindness, Generous in Your giving of understanding.

Amen