Litany for Self-Love

This litany was originally written to accompany a sermon I preached at Peace of Christ church. You can find the sermon here. The sermon uses this week's Lectionary reading from Romans 7.

Loving Creator, we confess that, in general, we are bad at loving ourselves.
Help us, oh God.
Many of us have been criticized mercilessly and have simply accepted the habit of it.
Help us, oh God.

Help us to regard ourselves with the same kindness and patience
With which you regard us.
Help us to lay down our judgements of ourselves and others
And to leave the judging to you.
Help us to see ourselves and everyone around us in the light of love,
Which is your own light.
Help us to feed, nourish, care for, and live into our True Self,
Which is your love in us.

We acknowledge that we live among tensions and paradoxes that are not always easy to parse out:
    Good and evil
    Light and darkness
    Flesh and spirit
We acknowledge that our enemies are mostly unseen,
And sometimes hidden within ourselves.
We acknowledge that we must both accept ourselves as we are
And work toward transformation.
We acknowledge that you have given us authority and power over evil,
And we take hold of them in the name of Christ.

Hallelujah! For you have looked upon us with eyes full of grace
Grace is air we breathe.
Grace is the ocean we swim in.
Grace is our resting place.


Litany for An Anxious Moment

God, we invite you into this moment
In which our feelings are overwhelming us.
Our breath is shallow,
Our muscles tensed.

We can’t foresee what will happen,
But we know that there are many possibilities,
Both good and bad.
If we’re honest, we tend to dwell on the bad.

Help us to exist in this moment without judgement
Of ourselves
Or of the unknown future.
Help us to observe quietly
And allow our feelings to pass over us
Without taking hold.

With deep inhales
And full exhales
We give the feelings a push.

We take this opportunity to discipline ourselves to remember:
     Your great goodness,
     Your great love,
     Your great strength,
     The peace we find in your presence;
To remember that nothing can separate us from You.

Our feelings are worth considering, but not definitive.
Our perspective is but a small fragment of the whole.
Our reality is but a shadow of Your kingdom.
Our experience is meant to grow us.
Our beings resonate with Your divinity.
Our lives are encompassed in Your life.

Re-orient us now
     Away from imagined distance
     Toward present union with Christ.
Re-orient us now
     Away from fear
     Toward Love.

We are yours, feelings and all.


Litany for Endurance

The Lectionary text from the Gospels for November 13, 2016 is Luke 21:5-19. The Lectionary is for me a rich source of inspiration on this Election Day Eve.

God, Help us to remain calm in troubled waters,
When things to fear are real or imagined.

When we are tested (1),
Help us to endure.
When we are criticized,
Help us to endure.
When we are misunderstood,
Help us to endure.
When we miss the mark,
Help us to endure.
When things are loud around us,
Help us to endure.
When peace seems impossible,
Help us to endure.
When common ground feels like compromise,
Help us to endure.
When we are thwarted,
Help us to endure.
When discouragement seems like the only reasonable response.
Help us to endure.
When we are tempted to prepare our defense (1),
Help us to endure.
When those we love feel like enemies,
Help us to endure.
When our enemies are hard to love,
Help us to endure.

We know that we gain our souls
By quiet, uncomplaining endurance.
We know that endurance
Expands our souls.

In all things,
May we have the mind of Christ.


(1) James 1:2-3  “testing… produces perseverance.”

(2) Luke 21:14 “Make up your minds not to prepare your defense in advance.”


Litany for Identity

Recently, in the songwriting group I lead and host in my home, we had a long discussion about identity; about how so many of us are in various ways asleep to who we are, asleep to who God is, and how our identity is so central to the gospel of Jesus. But for many of us, it feels elusive - who am I again?

When I became a mother I had an identity crisis that lasted a year or more. I didn't DO any of the stuff I used to DO, and I had a hard time finding myself in the midst of all the new and unfamiliar stuff I did DO. Where had I gone? Who was this tired person with an entirely new set of priorities and schedule? Figuring it out was long work, in part because I am trained to believe that what I DO is who I AM. Disabusing myself of this idea is an uphill battle.

Identity is a huge idea, and this prayer only begins to scrape the crust of it. But for those of us who struggle, either because of our temperament or a season of life that has forced the issue, I'm hoping this prayer might be a good start.

Creator God, You formed us.
We are fearfully and wonderfully made.
In You we live and move
And have our being.

We acknowledge that many voices try to tell us who we are,
     Who we are not.
Many voices tell us our value is based upon
     Social status

Many would have us believe that our Doing is more important than our Being.
We renounce these voices.
We are Your Children, the work of your hands,
Unique and beloved by You.

May we become more awake to Your love,
Which has no limits.
Your love,
Which defines us.
Your love,
Which begins us and completes us.

May we walk in the sureness of our identity,
In the confidence of Your love.
May all we do come from the core of who we are:
Loved, and made of love.


Litany for Rest and Balance

Because I am a thirty-something mom whose main daily job is to take care of two small people, I end up talking to a lot of other thirty-something moms in a similar grind. The refrain I hear over and over again is: "I need rest. I need balance." We are all trying to figure out how to balance our responsibilities to our families, our household responsibilities, our relationship needs and responsibilities, our community responsibilities, our career responsibilities, and still find time for some self-actualization, soul care, and body care in the midst of it. It's tricky. I realize it's not just moms who are preoccupied with this problem either, nor is it just parents. I predict that this won't be the last prayer I write about rest and balance, but here it is, the first.

God, we hear your invitation to us:
“Come to me, you who are weary and heavy burdened. I will give you rest.”

We acknowledge our souls’ need for rest and quiet nourishment.
We lay down our burdens.
We acknowledge our souls’ need of connection with You.
We turn our intentions toward You now.

We confess our tendency to overlook rest as a necessary part of soul and self care.
We confess our pride in thinking that our work is so important that we may not set it down.
We confess our readiness to believe that what we do determines our worth.
We confess our obsession with productivity, results, measurable progress.
We confess our neglect of the good soil of our souls.
We confess our tendency to forget that it is in You that we live and move and have our being
   and that Your love is better than life.

We ask now for body, mind, spirit, whole-person nourishment.
  For rest and resurrection,
  For new life,
  For healing and consolation of our souls.
We ask for help managing our time and activities so that our
  Keep up with our

Where we have overspent ourselves
Refresh us.
Where we have misplaced our priorities
Re-arrange us.
Where we have said yes when we should have said no
Remind us.

We thank You for meaningful work; for blessings and burdens.
We thank You for rest.
May we become present to our great need for
Daily bread: the presence of Christ in our lives.



Litany: A Meditation on Love

Oh God, open our hearts now;
Grant that we may become a people fragrant and suffused with LOVE
     The unforgettable Love of God.
We set aside our own agendas in favor of Love’s agenda,
And desire that the Love of God may live and move within and among us
     Saturating us so that excess spills out wherever we go.

Re-orient us around LOVE
Our God is LOVE.
Refashion us to LOVE’s image;
Our way is LOVE.

By love, Christ came into the earth.
By love, Christ humbled himself to become human.
By love, Christ preached God’s kingdom.
By love, Christ healed and fed multitudes.
By love, Christ was led, a lamb to slaughter
By love, Christ absorbed within himself the wrongdoing of all people.
By love, Christ shortened the distance between ourselves and God
By love, Christ absolved his tormentors.
By love, Christ put death to rest.
By love, Christ rose up into glorified life.
By love, Christ commissioned the spreading of the Good News of Love.
By love, Christ re-imagined humankind.
By love, Christ ascended into heaven, promising to be with us always.
By love, Christ gave the Holy Spirit as our helper.

The Love of God became fulfilled in Christ Jesus.
The Love of God floods out over the earth, over His kingdom.
The Love of God is the new order, our paradigm for living.
The Love of God fills our hearts, changes our lives, remakes our beings.

May Love shatter us and rebuild us anew.
May Love encompass us and protect us.
May Love reform us from violence and power-seeking.
May Love make us compassionate.
May Love teach us to walk in the new way, the beautiful way.

May we be liberated from expectations placed on us by religions, societies, empires, cultures;
And delivered into Love’s hands,
    Following Love’s direction,
    Under Love’s authority,
    Helpless to but to fall under Love’s sway.


Litany for the Disqualified

Gracious, Loving God:
We whose hearts desire to serve You, to minister in Your kingdom,
     and to follow the loving example of leadership that Christ set forth;
We look now to You.

Many of us have been told, in various ways, by ourselves and by others
That we are disqualified from service.
Some of us have been told that we are
     the wrong gender
     the wrong age
     the wrong race
     the wrong class
     not holy enough
     not experienced enough
     not enough.

We seek now to have our minds transformed;
To have our presumptions set right;
Our slates wiped clean.

Give us courage
     to walk in the calling You have placed on us,
     to overcome those forces that would have us be ineffective,
     to listen to Your voice above the voices that would have us disqualified.

May we take our example from the meekness of Christ, His gentleness
     but also His assertiveness and steadfastness of purpose.
For he too was disdained, regarded as weak,
     not enough of a warrior to be a King.

Teach us the ways of Your kingdom
     the way of peace
     the way of love
     the way of beauty.
Empower us by Your Holy Spirit.
Provide for us with the abundance that is the hallmark of Your generosity.

May we know deeply that You have qualified us in Christ Jesus,
     and that, in Him, we are enough.