Litany for Deborahs

This week’s Lectionary reading includes an excerpt from Judges 4, in which we meet Deborah the judge, who leads her people to victory and freedom from oppression. This one is for the Prophets, the Preachers, the Unconventional Leaders, the Unexpected Authorities; the ones not subsidized by major organizations, who are doing their work despite difficulty, and caring for difficult people; the ones who are re-imagining the world.

God, these times are sifting wheat from chaff; separating sheep from goats; and differentiating true leaders from corrupt imposters.
The foundations of society rumble beneath our feet.
We lift to you those who can envision a future of justice and peace,
And will humbly lead in its direction.

For those who judge justly in these times
We pray to the Lord.
For those who keep faith alive when everyone else is locked in fear
We pray to the Lord.
For those who hold the hands of their people and stay with them as they fight
We pray to the Lord.
For those who know the enemy is already vanquished
We pray to the Lord.
For those who remain calm and steadfast in danger
We pray to the Lord.
For those who move boldly forward while other leaders linger in the past
We pray to the Lord.
For those whose leadership has come at great cost
We pray to the Lord.
For those who have had to defy convention to live out their calling
We pray to the Lord.
For those whom society disqualifies, but have risen up anyway
We pray to the Lord.
For those to whom resources come scantily or not at all, and must rely upon the hand of God
We pray to the Lord.
For those whose authority is constantly questioned and tested
We pray to the Lord.
For those who have known abuse and subjugation, and the depth of our need for justice
We pray to the Lord.
For those working day after day, quietly and without fanfare
We pray to the Lord.
For those whom the margins tried to edge out
We pray to the Lord.
For those who choose not to cast stones, but shine lights
We pray to the Lord.
For those who are imagining and embodying New Creation
We pray to the Lord.

May the Spirit of God be present with the prophets of our time.
May they have the Mind of Christ.



Litany for Hagar

This week's Old Testament Lectionary passage is the story of Hagar, whom Abraham cast out into the desert along with her son. But God sneakily rescued her; even though she was a slave and a woman, the lowliest of the low, God valued her and protected her.


Creator, Protector of the Lowly
Defender of the Weak:
You do not despise the needy;
You do not cast out those without status.
Your eye is always on the underdog,
And you care for those on the margins.

You rescued the lowly servant girl Hagar
Who had no power, no authority to choose a life for herself.
She served Abraham to the utmost, even bearing him a child.
Abraham cast her out; but you, God, rescued her.
You gave her water in the desert and preserved her life.
Her child grew into a father of nations. (1)

Your ways are not our ways:
     Social Status
     Breeding or family line
     Material wealth
The world categorizes and assigns value to people according to these things,
But you, God, see beyond, to the inner person.

(All:) Hallelujah!

Incline your ear, O LORD, and answer me,
For I am poor and needy.
Preserve my life,
For I am devoted to you;
Save your servant who trusts in you.
You are my God. (2)


(1) Genesis 21:8-21
(2) Psalm 86:1,2

Litany for International Women’s Day

March 8 is International Women's Day.

Oh God, who has created all human beings with dignity and love:
We lift to you the women of the world
Our mothers, daughters, sisters, and friends
Worthy human beings, beloved by You.

Speak deeply into the souls of women and girls today
Tell them their worth, value, and strength.
So many women have been dis-empowered
Abused and enslaved
Pushed to the margins of societies worldwide,
Their voices never heard.

But you, Lord, have redeemed the lowly.
You have scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts (1)
You have lifted up the humble (2)
The Mighty One has done great things for us (3).
Even now, you are bringing justice for women,
Wave upon wave over the earth.
Even now women of wisdom are rising to leadership
In churches, organizations, governments, and arts.

Give courage to the women working
For equality and the good of their sisters and brothers.
Keep them from temptation and evil. (4)
And may the next generation rise up freer than the last.


(1) Luke 1:51
(2) Luke 1:52
(3) Luke 1:49
(4) Matthew 6:13