Category Archives: Blessing

Go Learning Mercy

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Unlearn fear; Learn / Live Mercy.

Unlearn indifference; Learn / Live Compassion.

Unlearn discrimination; Learn / Live Communion.

 

Bearers of God’s Light

Tramping the shadowed paths of harsh stances that we take,
Apt scholars of division with lines that separate,
Depicting cold indiff’rence, sore lack of reverence,
Who’s in, who’s lost, what matters, and who is known as friend.

Fear, cruelty, hate, judgment, feelings we must unlearn,
Wellspring of Wisdom’s teachings, instruct us to discern,
Lead into holy landscape, that broad and gentle place,
As we live in communion fueled by the Spirit’s grace.

Let unity and healing become our deep concerns,
May mercy be our compass and justice our return,
Compassion mold our hearts with a hope that’s burning bright,
Our praxis – loving-kindness – as bearers of God’s light.
©January 1, 2015 Cynthia Langston Kirk
Can be sung to the tune of
“The Church’s One Foundation” or
“Lead On, O King Eternal”.
Stole created and poem written by
Rev. Cynthia Langston Kirk for Bishop Sally Dyck
to wear as she preaches on Matthew 9:9-13
at General Conference May 13, 2015.

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.

Liturgy for the New Appointment Year

 

Liturgy for the New Year

First Sunday of Appointments/Reappointments in the Desert Southwest Conference of the United Methodist Church 2014

(Note from author: Words in red are for communication only. I have listed samples of clergy, especially if you have a multi-pastoral staff. Please carefully use the title, names, ministry expression etc.  of the pastor(s) in your congregation and use only the pronoun(s) and the singular/plural forms that need to be in your bulletin or on your screens.

 

Lay Leader: This IS a day of new beginnings on which we pause to commit and recommit ourselves to the work of

bringing dreams to life

alleviating suffering

exuding joy

elevating human dignity

repairing creation

nurturing people in our Christian stories

impacting the whole world by our care-full presence

as we partner together in God’s love.

 

Lay Leader or SPRC Chair: We stand on the threshold of a new year and we are filled with hope and curiosity, enthusiasm and a desire to make a difference. We pray for Spirit to guide and energize us, to enlarge our hearts and our understanding of hospitality.

 

Laity: We are thankful for the minister(s) appointed by Bishop Bob to our congregation.

 

            Rev. ________________, ordained elder/deacon in the ___________ Church

Pastor __________________, licensed local pastor in the United Methodist Church.

(Title, name, ministry expression [i.e. ordained/commissioned elder/deacon, licensed local pastor, student local pastor, etc. and their place in the process])

 and we commit ourselves to serving God and neighbor in partnership with this/these pastor(s).

           

Laity: We are thankful for the minister(s) appointed by Bishop Bob to extension ministries who have chosen our congregation as their charge (church home)

 

            Rev. _________________, ordained deacon in the United Methodist Church appointed to serve as chaplain at TMC Hospice.

            Rev. _________________, commissioned elder in the United Methodist Church appointed to ________________________________.

 

            (Title, name, ministry expression and place in the process, extension appointment)

 and commit to not only serving God and neighbor in partnership with these pastors, but also praying for her/his/their extension ministry(ies).

 

Laity: We are thankful for lay persons we have hired to serve in a pastoral role:

             Pastor ____________________,

 and commit ourselves to serving God and neighbor in partnership with this pastor.

 

 Pastors: We are thankful for those affiliated with this congregation and commit ourselves to serving God and all our neighbors near and far with these persons. We commit ourselves to nurture and pray for the people of our appointment and charge, those yet to come and to lead them into the work of transforming the world through God’s love.

PRAYER (ALL): God of New Life and New Possibilities, awaken our hearts and minds to the potential within each of us, including ourselves. Rouse us from any complacency or desire to cling to the past. Give us vision and compassion to witness the needs of the world and the energy and inspiration to connect Christ’s hope and healing to those needs. We pray amazed by your grace and love for each and every person. Amen.

 

 ©July 1, 2014 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: cynthia@piecingstories.com.

 

Teach Us to Pray

Teach Us to Pray

 

Sometimes people believe they must teach children about all manners of the Holy –

Names for God, when to dance divine praise, how to pray and the likes.

Yes, there are concepts to teach and opportunities in which to invite,

But there is much to learn about spiritual matters from the young,

Even those we do not completely understand.

 

His language not completely his own invention

Hatful of words are as clear as a pane untouched by his adventurous hands:

Mama, Daddy, no, yah – verbal skills in process.

We wait … and listen,

Eager to understand this mono dimple-cheeked boy.

Phrases repeated oft in chant-like fashion

Sounding like a foreign, incomprehensible tongue,

But he knows, yet remains somehow unperturbed by us

And our slow-to-understand ears.

Vocabulary sprouts daily

Words linked for phrases, expanded to stories.

His joys are simple:

Strawberries, being chased, filling every room with laughter, his sister,

Family gathered ‘round the table to eat,

Loved ones holding hands before table grace,

Praying…. and praying …. and praying again.

Before-the-meal prayer offered by an older person,

But when the Spirit moves him

He cues diners to clasp hands again.

His face morphs to instant serene; his non-stop body holds still;

Only his lips move with hardly an audible sound projected.

He prays and those gathered are caught up, taught, inspired.

He prays for God-only-knows what –

Berries? World peace? People who love him? The child who bit him?

When he is finished – for the moment –

He concludes with his version of Amen and a delighted-with-the-world smile.

He prays and with less than two years on his life calendar

Does what many with theological degrees long to do

He leads people to God.

 

©Father’s Day (June 14) 2014 Cynthia Langston Kirk

 

 

The Blessing of Children

 

photo (16)

This past Sunday, the first Sunday of Lent, the K – 2nd grade Sunday school children immersed themselves in the story of Jesus blessing the children and his admonishing the disciples (and others) not to distance children from him and spiritual growth. After considerable discussion, I told them that I was going to anoint their heads with oil and bless them. They got to choose between almond oil and grapefruit oil. Most chose grapefruit.

I made the sign of the cross on each head and said something like, “_______________ (each name), you are blessed by God’s love to be a blessing for others”. When the last child had had hands laid on him, I asked Neill to anoint my head with oil and bless me. Immediately, each of the children exclaimed her or his desire to bless me. One by one they stood before me with oil on a finger and made the sign of the cross on my head (without any prompting or instruction by me) and repeated the phrases I spoke.

Think about that for a minute – all those little hearts and fingers blessing me. Describing it as powerful and transformative does not do it justice.

“There’s nothing magical about the oil,” I told the children, “but we need to be reminded of God’s love for us and how we are to love others as often as possible. The oil is a reminder.” One first grader inquired, “Should we put oil on our heads every hour?” “That’s a very good question, I replied. (Which one of you readers could not use a reminder every hour or so?) Closing my eyes and putting my hand on my forehead, I said, “Any time we want we can just hold our forehead, remember the oil, and think God’s love for us and how we are called to love others. I opened my eyes and every child had their eyes closed and a hand on their forehead…. remembering.

 

A Welcoming Heart

 

A Welcoming Heart

 

Can you see arms outstretched

To a prodigal child?

Can you envision opening the door

To a zealot like Saul?

Do you know how scandalous,

How full of God’s grace it was

For Jesus to break bread with outcasts?

Be bathed in oil by a woman?

Reach across human-constructed barriers,

Welcoming everyone to the table,

Into worship, into forgiveness,

Into community, into gratitude,

Into healing … even on the Sabbath?

Can you imagine?

 

Your mother tongue is not the crux

Of such matters.

It is your heart that learns how to speak welcome

With joy and delight,

In reverence for the sacred worth of each soul,

Without regard to skin color or politics,

Nationality or sexual orientation,

Theological views or education accrued,

Material wealth or poverty.

 

From the rising of the sun

To the setting of the moon,

Embrace the opportunities that surprise us,

Coloring lives with blessing

As we emulate the hospitality of Christ.

Allow your courage, compassion and faith

To birth a hundred thousand welcomes

That will transform the world.

 

©August 22, 2013 Cynthia Langston Kirk

For Rev. Matt Mardis-Lecroy’s stole

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: cynthia@piecingstories.com

 

Baby Blessing Song

This blessing song was written for two sets of twins born to friends of ours within a month of each other. You can change the plurals to singular, if singing to just one baby or child. 🙂

Babies’ Blessing Song

Can be sung to tune of “Braham’s Lullaby”

 

 You are love, you are joy

You are grace overflowing

 Full of goodness, full of charm

Precious miracles you are

 Drink in love, drink in joy

Grow in wisdom and grace

 Drink in love, drink in joy

Grow in wisdom and grace

   ©March 2012 Cynthia Langston Kirk