Young Teacher

 

Young Teacher

 

Eager laundry helper, our godson.

Placing clothes in washer, adding soap, pulling the knob.

Then the dryer!

Cleaning lint trap, adding clothes, pushing start.

 

He’s five.

Our hope is for his never-waning enthusiasm in mundane chores.

Lately his added desire

Has been not only cleaning the screen

But saving the lint for an art project!

How could anyone ignore such a request?

 

Last week we made three linten bowls –

Or Lenten bowls –

With glue, paint, plastic-wrap covered containers and our salvaged goods.

A time-consuming project

With my silent, concluding response:

I’m glad this is done.

 

But, as is often the case with wise teachers and art,

The bowl is not done with me.

 

Flecks of fibers that clog the dryer

Or are tossed into the trash,

Are they not like some people we encounter –

Friends or acquaintances, strangers or co-workers

Who impede our goals or desires?

Are there not some of God’s beloved who we treat as expendable?

As less than?

As suited for the garbage?

 

Holy One, thank you for a little boy

Who can see wonder

In something that I would discard.

Thank you for his unabashed engagement in life.

 

Shake me from busyness and preconceived notions

That I might be awestruck by beauty

Even and especially in unexpected places.

 

©November 18, 2017 Cynthia Langston Kirk

 

 

 

 

 

We Remember

We Remember

 

We remember twenty children, six adults

And far … far … too many gun violence victims before and since.

 

We remember faces, young and old

Brimming with courage and determination,

Radiating mischief and love,

Faces frozen in time on desks and walls.

 

We remember tastes that formed and sustained:

Birthday cakes and Thanksgiving, picnics and potlucks –

Family and friends breaking bread together.

 

We remember joy overflowing,

Laughter reverberating with raucous delight,

Now echoing dimly within.

 

We remember smells – precious, illusive,

That threaten to unravel composure,

Whisking mourners warp speed to a moment in time, as they inhale deeply,

Holding a memory as long as possible.

 

We remember grieving hearts in need of resuscitation

Mouth to mouth, chest-thumping assistance

To make it through each day.

Lost in a lingering limbo of despair

Seeking to find footing and rediscover direction.

 

With each sight, smell, taste, sound

May we remember victims’ dreams and daring

Their curiosity and caring

Striving to honor them with our lives.

May we remember their gifts, irretrievable,

As we pledge to establish a safer world.

 

©December 1, 2016 Cynthia Langston Kirk

Fourth Anniversary of the massacre at Sandy Hook

To use this or any liturgy written by Cynthia Langston Kirk please include the copyright in your bulletin and/or on your screen. If you want to use the writing in any other way than one time worship use, please contact Cynthia at: calkirk@aol.com

Candlelighting Liturgy – Christmas Eve – Sing

Christmas Eve – Sing

It seems that everyone who experiences Christ is moved to sing with their hearts and lives. It began with the angels’ song of announcement, then was heard in a manger-side lullaby and continues even now as we light the Christ candle. In the weeks to come, ask yourself: what words will I sing; what tune will I hum to give birth to God’s love?

Let us pray:

Song of Life, fill our hearts with the music of compassion and our lives with the melody of justice. Write on our hearts the lyrics that will transform despair into hope. May Christ’s bold love, unswerving commitment to the oppressed, and radical heart of welcome be the song that energizes us this year. Amen. 

©December 12, 2016 Cynthia Langston Kirk

To use this or any liturgy written by Cynthia Langston Kirk please include the copyright in your bulletin and/or on your screen. If you want to use the writing in any other way than one time worship use, please contact Cynthia at: calkirk@aol.com

Advent Candle Lighting Liturgy – Fourth Sunday of Advent – Love

Fourth Sunday of Advent – Love

In the midst of grieving, when our hearts feel faint, praise often comes, much to our surprise. In the aftermath of destruction, we can bear witness to God’s life-affirming presence that sustains and guides us. We light the fourth candle of Advent to symbolize God’s enduring love that calls us to liberate, comfort, rejoice and be in community with all God’s creation.

Let us pray:

Spirit of Grace, help us plant seeds though we may never see the mature trees or lives. Give us your vision, broad and far-reaching, that we will not be undone by matters of the moment. Give us the perspective of the Star with a wisdom born of longevity and its constant commitment to shining in the darkness. Amen.

©December 12, 2016 Cynthia Langston Kirk

To use this or any liturgy written by Cynthia Langston Kirk please include the copyright in your bulletin and/or on your screen. If you want to use the writing in any other way than one time worship use, please contact Cynthia at: calkirk@aol.com

Advent Candle Lighting Liturgy – Third Sunday of Advent – Joy

Third Sunday of Advent – Joy

Happiness is easily shattered by greed, disregard or circumstances, but joy can bloom in the bleakest of situations, confident in God’s faithfulness. Joy looks despair and hatred in the eyes and is moved to action. We light the candle of Joy with Mary’s song about God’s subversive love echoing through the centuries.

(Light two purple candles; then pink/rose candle.)

Let us pray:

Loving Spirit, from generation to generation, you have called us to lift up the downtrodden, feed the hungry and shower the world with your mercy.  Give us the bold courage of that young, dark-skinned, Middle Eastern woman named Mary who risked everything for Love. Equip us to be midwives for a world in pain. And may the world be moved by our rejoicing as vital, diverse communities of care come to life. Amen.

 ©December 5, 2016 Cynthia Langston Kirk

To use this or any liturgy written by Cynthia Langston Kirk please include the copyright in your bulletin and/or on your screen. If you want to use the writing in any other way than one time worship use, please contact Cynthia at: calkirk@aol.com

Advent Candlelighting Liturgy – Second Sunday of Advent – Peace

Second Sunday of Advent – Peace

How often we are blown about by whirlwinds of hatred and division, by the aftermath of grief and storms! We are shaken to the core or stimulated for battle. Before any word is uttered, before long-lasting decisions made, we are invited into the silence. We light the second Advent candle to serve as a reminder of God’s peace that exceeds our comprehension and distress, a peace offered to each of us today.

Light two purple candles.

 Let us pray:

Grace-filled God, soothe our quivering souls. Fill our hearts with peace and resolve; with tenderness and courage. Assist us in speaking truth to power and countering rudeness with kindness. Strengthen us to be harbors of refuge for those who are oppressed and fierce advocates for all people and lands that are threatened. We pray confident in and expectant of the Prince of Peace. Amen.

 ©November 29, 2016 Cynthia Langston Kirk

To use this or any liturgy written by Cynthia Langston Kirk please include the copyright in your bulletin and/or on your screen. If you want to use the writing in any other way than one time worship use, please contact Cynthia at: calkirk@aol.com

 

 

Advent Candlelighting Liturgy – First Sunday of Advent – Hope

Advent One – Hope

When days shorten and the lights of reason, of reverence are threatened, our hearts cry out in the wilderness. And the Word leaps off the page with encouragement, “You are the ones who will turn swords into ploughshares; who will forge community in the face of assault”. We light this first Advent candle, the candle of Hope, grateful for God’s persistent love.

Light one purple candle. 

Let us pray together:

Holy One, we often cross our fingers wishing life different. Teach us that Hope is a delicate seed that requires our commitment and care. Teach us that Hope is a wild-winged companion intent on justice. This season help us give birth to Hope by our love and labor. Help us say yes to the journey in spite of our fears. Amen.

©November 23, 2016 Cynthia Langston Kirk

To use this or any liturgy written by Cynthia Langston Kirk please include the copyright in your bulletin and/or on your screen. If you want to use the writing in any other way than one time worship use, please contact Cynthia at: calkirk@aol.com

 

 

 

Riots of Care

Riots of Care

Incite a riot of care

A holy war of compassion

Acts of the heart with no destruction,

Only solidarity, mending and generosity.

Stand with indigenous people

In the freezing cold

Washing dishes, bearing witness.

Wear a safety pin, if you choose

A simple gesture of welcome

To transgender, lesbian, gay

Filled with fear for just reason.

Wear it for our dark-skinned brothers and sisters

Reflecting the belief that “Black Lives Matter”.

Wear it for immigrants who fear the lady’s lamp

Is not lit for them.

Wear it for people of other religions

Or no religion

Standing with people and the belief

That this country was founded on religious freedom.

Wear it for gun violence prevention and for the earth

That the killing and damage cease.

Whether or not you attach a pin to your chest

Pray for civility, for some purpling of the nation

Through the sharing of our stories.

Find support, be support.

Become educated on facts, increase your knowledge.

Become involved, increase involvement in protecting others,

In caring for the outcast, the stranger, the planet.

Be loving. Be bold.

For ultimately relationship and reverence overcome bigotry,

Kindness defeats fear,

And loves conquers hatred.

©November 3, 2016 Cynthia Langston Kirk

One row of beads strung from my safety pin:

Deep, iridescent purple – one on top and bottom

Blue and red coming together enough for people to be safe and

welcome

Iridescent green – Earth

Deep orange – Gun Violence prevention

Two brown beads, different shades – people of color, Black Lives Matter

Iridescent pale green – Immigrants

Red, yellow, green, Blue, purple – L,G,B

Pink, white, blue – Transgender people

Gold – people of different faith beliefs

Deep iridescent purple

Cynthia Langston Kirk, calkirk@aol.com

 

 

 

 

Communion of Saints

Communion of Saints

 

Courage profound and grace-filled ministries

Used by the saints to weave faith tapestry

And generations still the beauty see

Alleluia, Alleluia

 

God, bless the saints who show to us Your way

O make us like them for these gifts we pray

Compassion tender birthing brand new day

Alleluia, alleluia

 

Broken and dying people in the cold

We long to touch them yet have fears untold

Help us bring mercy may we be so bold

Alleluia, alleluia

 

Community of faith, communion sweet

Diverse our thinking, but in Christ we meet

Bless now these symbols of the grapes and wheat

Alleluia, alleluia

 

Sung to the tune of “For All the Saints”

© October 4, 1997      Cynthia Langston Kirk

 

The Call on Our Lives

The Call on Our Lives

 

We stand on any mountaintop, binoculars pressed to our eyes,

Ears to the ground,

Seeing, hearing the groans of creation,

No longer able to fully avert disaster’s course.

Do you see the next generation? The next seven?

Who will be a voice for the Earth and the galaxies?

 

We stand in the gap between ignorance and relationship,

Between fear and bold love.

Who is willing to climb into another’s skin

And stay long enough

To be moved by empathy to action?

Who will be an advocate for justice?

 

We stand on the enormous tower of privilege:

Education, race, gender, and more.

Our task, our calling is to be watchful

Of our motives and posturing,

Of those with no privilege

And those who have toiled and clawed

For a place at the table and in the work force.

Who will release their grip on power for the sake of others?

 

We stand on one side of the great chasm of disparity:

The have or the have-nots,

We the people versus me the individual.

Who will cut past rhetoric and fallout?

Who will do more than shine a light on atrocities?

Who will lay their life down as a bridge over the divide?

 

Each moment we stand on the brink of choice,

Ruah’s breath hot on our necks,

Holy One’s mandate touching our hearts:

“Watch and listen;

Then be moved to Love”.

 

©June 28, 2016 Cynthia Langston Kirk

To use this or any writing by Cynthia Langston Kirk, please include the copyright and Rev. Cynthia Langston Kirk’s full name in your bulletin and/or screen. If you want to use the writing in any other way than one-time worship or one-time retreat/small group, please contact Cynthia at calkirk@aol.com.