Category Archives: Community

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

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

 

 

 

 

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.

 

Grief-stricken God

Grief-stricken God,
We are silent out of respect for the 49 killed and the 53 wounded and because no word is sufficient for a time such as this. We are heart-broken for lives cut far too short and for families, friends and our nation that will never recover fully from their loss and their injuries.

You have deemed and named each of us beloved. We were created out of love, for love and yet we are often as drawn to judgment and labeling as a moth is drawn to flame. Open our eyes and hearts to the beauty of each person. Remind us that the way of love is challenging and demanding, but only love can transform the world for the good.

Holy One, help us to search deep within our hearts and actions to see how we are complicit in these murders. Who do we judge? Who do we hate? Of what person or group are we ignorant? O God, forgive us our narrow vision of love that is puny instead of bold and courageous and all-encompassing.

Help us to move from our delightful conversations with people we know and trust to dialogues in neighborhoods and homes and churches with people who are different from us. Help us have difficult discussions with people about matters that are dividing our nation because if we continue erecting walls with bricks or words, death in all manners of expression will continue.

Help us not to stay silent when the massacres of our Native brothers and sisters are forgotten. Help us not to stay silent when our children and young people fear to go to the grocery store or a movie or dancing. Help us not to stay silent when our African American brothers and sisters fear to go to a park or be pulled over or go to church. Help us not to stay silent when our Muslim brothers and sisters are targeted and hated because of their religion. Help us not to stay silent when our LGBTQ brothers and sisters are feared, despised, marginalized and attacked.

O God, empower us to be your people; to not only say we follow the Prince of Peace, but to live and act and vote as if we do.

God, in your mercy, hear our prayers, Amen.

 

©June 15, 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.

 

 

Love’s Journey

Love’s Journey

 

  • Watermarked and named beloved

Ancient touchstone raining grace

Sacred worth each person’s birthright

Wellspring blessing joy-filled days

 

Chorus

Stirred by hope to work for justice

Mercy’s care God’s constant call

Fueled by feast of rich communion

Larger tables, no more walls

 

  • Bring deep longing to the desert

Open hearts hear Holy voice

Let sweet silence be the teacher

Time for awe, time to rejoice

 

  • Spirit serenades the summons

Hospitality’s embrace

Loving all as Christ still loves us

Ev’ry gender, ev’ry race

 

 

©January 18, 2016 Cynthia Langston Kirk,

Poem can be sung to the tune of “Joyful, Joyful”

Poem written and banner created by Cynthia Langston Kirk (Piecing Stories) for Bishop Robert T. Hoshibata

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.

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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.

Longest Night Experiences

Longest Night Experiences

Does it seem to you that the whole world has gone mad with joy? You are in the midst of grief over the death of a loved one, have a loved one who is approaching death, perhaps you’ve lost a job or hope in your future. All the while you are bombarded with ads for gifts ideas, cheerful music and memories of traditions that are impossible to you now and your aching heart just wants to escape.

Please join us at St. Francis at 4:00 p.m. on the winter solstice (December 21st) for our Longest Night service. We would like to offer you a safe place, a time to be gentle with your heart. There will be reflective music, readings and opportunities to light candles, if you wish. Feel free to invite a family member, friend, co-worker or anyone you think might benefit from this time.

For Children:

We will offer a Longest Night experience for children from 3:45 – 5:30. Through candle making, stories and more we will explore loss, God’s creation at night and that the night can shine. Limit: 20 elementary children, 10 preschool children.

Child Care:

Child care will be provided for infant through 2 year olds.

There is no charge for child care or the children’s experience, but we need each child to be registered by December 15th.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Longest Night Service – 4:00 p.m., in The Center, Refreshments afterward

Children’s Longest Night Experience – 3:45 – 5:30

Preschool – Rm 41, Elementary – Rm. 30-31, Snacks provided

Child Care – 3:45 – 5:30 – Room 10

St. Francis in the Foothills United Methodist Church

Northwest corner of River and Swan

 

Who is Really Losing?

Who is Really Losing?

How easy it is to sit around the Christmas tree

Counting gifts and eyeballing whose boxes are largest.

How simple it is to look from a distance

Believing another person’s life is without bumps and bruises.

How effortlessly we convince ourselves that our gifts

Are not enough or, perhaps, are too much for us to handle.

We are afraid of trying, failing, losing –

Losing a nest egg, loosing face, losing it all

So we conceal the gifts that are our blessing.

Dig a hole, erect a wall, bury our heads and hearts

While the world is deprived of the difference we can make.

©November 5, 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: calkirk@aol.com