Category Archives: Gratitude

In the Midst of It All – Joy

In the Midst of It All – Joy

 

Sometimes you move with saffron steps to the tune of the sunrise,

Dew-blessed beginnings, fresh starts

Like sharpened pencils in the Fall,

Uttering “I do” with your soul mate,

Unpacking in a new home.

Joy is within and around you

Like electricity

Energizing your gifts,

Arousing your gratitude.

 

You leap through lush fields,

Your verdant heart singing.

Exploring forests and fern,

Praying … with the rhythm … of the ocean,

Stunned repeatedly by stark deserts

Adorned with sunsets which captivate your soul;

Giving thanks for every piece of nature

That bathes you in joy.

 

Raging red of boiling emotions

Spews forth when you are

Dismissed, oppressed, cursed,

Or when such is done to loved ones.

Joy seems nowhere to be found.

Molten anger within your heart

Appears to have covered her for good.

Suddenly Joy’s ember emerges unscathed.

Even amidst the fury,

She is there.

 

Somber grey, subdued, dismal,

Suppressing all energy to be engaged,

Seeking to rob you of wisdom

Even as you claw toward the Light.

Whispering “you don’t matter”,

“All is hopeless”,

“You are forever lost”.

Joy sits with you,

Whispering Hope.

 

Grief knocks down the door

Filling every pore with indigo darkness.

Spilling over with endless tears

Until your eyes dry-heave agony.

If you had the energy to pull the covers over your head,

You would.

But loss brings paralysis

Depleting you of inspiration and drive.

Joy is there

In precious memories,

A friend’s silent presence,

Deep within you

Bidding you forward.

 

In the midst of life’s beauty and gore

Move with joy, move to joy,

Not just the shallow waters of happiness –

Things accumulated, positions gained,

But the core deep,

Hope-propelled, grace-filled

Foundation of Living Love.

Befriend joy,

Celebrating the fact that she dwells within each of us,

Inviting us to dance.

 

©October 8, 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 

 

Blue-Eyed Celebrant

(at least a beginning about the) Blue-Eyed Celebrant

I know a blue-eyed boy who lives a communion life. He’s a growing two-year-old who moves full speed from breakfast to snack to discovery to lunch to a tumble to snack to snack to peals of laughter to adventure and so on.

Always, he shares any food set before him. This boy will hold out the first grape of the bunch on his plate and say, “Want a grape?” It is asked in question form, but it isn’t really an inquiry. He is offering family or friend the first and best of what he has. He is offering relationship in one of the ways most natural to him. It never occurs to him that being in relationship is an option.

If he has a cracker, the blonde will break it into, cock his head to the side and ask, “Want cracker?” And whether hungry or not, the recipient will take the bread broken for them, give thanks for the grace of God and for the transforming love of a boy who lives communion.

©August 19, 2014  Cynthia Langston Kirk

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

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.

 

Swept Up

Swept Up

 

We watched the black dot dip and circle –

A hawk! She knew.

Closer the feathered majestic flew.

Closer, closer,

Until overhead, its prowess magnified

Against the cloudless, blue autumn sky.

Girl of five (almost six) stepped onto the sitting wall

Nearer her friend.

She raised her arms and gently flapped,

Up … and … down, up… and… down

At one with nature.

Teach us, wise one,

Show us the way

To be swept up,

To be as one.

©October 11, 2013   Cynthia Langston Kirk

Open Your Heart

 

 

Open Your Heart

 

Absorb the sacredness of the Universe.

Allow the smells of the earth to make you dizzy

With its sea spray and creosote, peonies and vegetables-on-the-vine perfume.

Delight in skin tones and freckles,

In the long and short of humanity

And all people in between.

 

Be transformed and propelled by friendship, mentorship,

By the gracious word or gentle touch of a stranger,

By all who have paved the way,

And those who left memory etchings for us to savor.

 

Bow in thanksgiving

For the life and health of friend, of friends, of family

For all who live and lament, dance and dream,

And for the Holy One who is our Home.

 

When wild gratitude comes knocking inside and out –

Whisper-soft or geyser-erupting –

For all these gifts and more,

Open your heart

So she is free to come and go.

 

©July 17, 2013 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