Category Archives: God’s Faithfulness

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

 

 

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

 

Come Closer

Come Closer

 

Do you smell the delicious fragrance of forgiveness

Emanating from my pores?

 

A thousand moons or more ago I awakened to the stench of bitterness,

No longer willing for another person’s actions

To imprison my soul.

I departed from that place called Poison

Where I feasted on anger, plotted revenge.

I prayed for the brokenness … both yours and mine.

I prayed for release and reconciliation.

 

Come closer – where nothing can stand between us.

Come closer – taste my tears of joy.

Discover Freedom.

 

©August 11, 2014 Cynthia Langston Kirk

Based, in part, on Genesis 45:1 -15

 

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.

Miraculous Engagement

Miraculous Engagement

 

Open your heart to miracles.

Not rabbits in hats,

Scarves up a practiced sleeve,

Or a quarter from your ear,

But God’s transforming touch,

Amazing grace that surprises lives

Connecting people because of who they are

And in spite of who they are.

Spirit whose breath stirs us

Into beauty and compassion.

Open your heart to miracles

That manifest in 100,000 ways:

A memory-filled, fractured relationship – mended,

Unexpected smiling face at an open door,

Sharing that offers food enough for everyone.

No competition this.

No my miracle is better than yours

Or my encounter of the Holy outshines yours.

It is in the sharing of our daily lives

And the sharing of our experiences with the Divine

That love is multiplied,

Our lives enriched beyond price.

Take care, remembering that extravagant, often sacrificial sharing

Is nothing shy of miraculous.

 

©July 29, 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

Awaken Your Heart

Awaken Your Heart

 

What if your heart had eyes?

Would they live in a permanent squint

Seeking to block out every ray of hope and illumination?

Would you don sunglasses at all times

Intent on keeping the world dark

And yourself hidden?

Would they be scale-shackled

Viewing the world through distant hurts

Or through zeal bent on life your way?

Or would you walk this journey

Praying for eyes wide open

To see the pain of the world

And offer relief,

Witness the miracle of creation

And rejoice?

Awaken your heart to sure-footed Grace

Pulsing its rhythm throughout the universe.

Marvel that Radiance cannot be extinguished

No matter how bleak your soul’s song.

 

Oh, awaken your heart to sure-footed Grace

Be swept up in Love’s tender arms.

Know the comfort that only Hope brings

Come, dance to God’s sacred song.

 

©April 24, 2014 Refrains Cynthia Langston Kirk

©April 29, 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.

Including Cynthia’s (or any liturgist’s) name is giving appropriate credit just as a composer is named in a bulletin or any quoted author in a research paper. It also allows worshippers to read more of someone’s writing just as they might if a quote and author are mentioned during a sermon.

 

I Know Two Little Girls

I know two little girls. Sisters.Twins.They are chatty, energetic, 21-month olds whose parents are smitten by them. Their parents are intentional about all aspects of parenting: reading, networking, always seeking to nurture and provide for the girls in the most meaningful ways. This includes everything from good nutrition to being examples of involved citizens who care deeply for the world and people around them.

I had the great, good privilege of helping care for the girls one day a week much of the first year of their lives. And, if you knew me, you’d know that after I have held a baby that much, I could not love them more. If ever there was an emergency in the middle of the night and grandparents could not be reached, their girls’ parents know that I’d get to their house as quickly as I could.

Not many families have twins, but in many ways this family has similar concerns and interests as any young couple. Both parents work outside the home.  Play, dinner, reading, baths and abundant laughter comprise much of the weeknight rituals and weekends are filled with parks, grocery shopping, zoo, friends, much more laughter and such. Like many of us, they know the stress of investing in a home; the grief of mourning a beloved dog and the joy of celebrating a brother and sister-in-law’s wedding and new daughter.

But unlike me and many of you, their marriage – their loving commitment to each other – is not recognized in every state, including our state of Arizona. Both of these mothers and these two darling girls deserve to all be legally connected to each as they continue being a beautiful family together.  Imagine for a moment what it would be like- all the ramifications- if you were not legally connected to your child.

As a Christian pastor, I believe in the sacred worth of each person. I believe Jesus’ ministry was one of blessing, tearing down walls and turning those considered by some as “outcasts” into friends. And I believe that when two adults want to pledge themselves to each other in a loving, committed marriage, they should be allowed.

May love prevail.

©March 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.

 

Curious

Curious

photo (12)How often are we curious?

Not for the sake of personal advancement,

Or busy-body snooping on others,

But open to the universe.

Wonder taking us by the hand

Inviting us to be still and drink in Mystery

Further, further into the galaxies

Caught up in a fern unfolding

Or a bird’s singing (whose song was that?),

Without preconceived notions or goals.

Just following where creation takes us

To by fed by Transforming Love.

 

 

©March 6, 2014 Cynthia Langston Kirk

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hope ~ Poem

145

 

Hope

 

Dry bones aching for connection

Whispered prayer in the darkness

Stone hearts longing to beat again

A solitary bud in winter

This is hope

The deep, unfathomable belief

That God can blaze a way

In every pathless place

This is hope

That receives the inspiring, infusing, reviving

Breath of the Holy

This is hope

Green, wild and miraculous

©May 2010 Cynthia Langston Kirk

Always There ~ Epiphany Poem

Always There

 In the splendor of creation

In the artwork of the stars

In a child’s delightful babble

God is there.

In the kindness of a stranger

In each act that knits us kin

On the path to understanding

Light of Life, always there.

 

In the struggle of the waiting

In the silence that follows prayer

In stark abyss called loneliness

God is there.

In the years of expectation

In the hours of all grief

In the minutes that stand frozen

Light of Life, always there.

 

In the longing for encounter

In global hunger for a sign

In the desert labeled hopeless

God is there.

In the flash of revelation

In the aha of our souls

In the mystery of the cosmos

Light of Life, always there.

©January 12, 2013  Cynthia Langston Kirk