Category Archives: Liturgy

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 – 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

 

 

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.

 

 

Advent Candle Lighting Liturgy 2014

Advent Candle Lighting Liturgy 2014   

Focus: Surprised by Christmas

You can have one, two or three people read the parts, with different readers each Sunday. One of the readers or someone in their family can light the candle(s). Prayer can be in unison with congregation, led by one of the readers or read by a reader ending with a congregational Amen.

Advent One – Surprised by Silence. – Zechariah

In this world of constant noise, silence can be disturbing or terrifying. In silence we can experience an exposed vulnerability with ourselves and God. It is in the silence that God can speak to us – naming and loving us – and offering guidance on the way.

We light this first candle of Advent giving thanks for silence and the wisdom we will find there. We light this candle in honor of Zechariah who can teach us that, beyond our initial fear, silence can take us to a deep place of growth.

Let us pray:  God of the Still, Small Voice, help us create and bless silence, the place where we can listen and our hearts can hear what you would have us learn. Give us courage to follow you, even when we are met with skepticism and ridicule. Surprise us again this Advent with your overwhelming love and faithfulness. Amen.

Advent Two – Bewildered, Bothered and Befuddled – Joseph

Dreams can be bewildering messengers. Oft times they grab us around the throat with stories of the unexpected or the impossible leaving us dripping with sweat or filled with puzzlement. Joseph experienced such messengers and was willing to walk into a divine future even with “how can this be?” rattling inside his brain.

We light this candle to remind us that God speaks to us in our dreams. We pray not so much that our dreams will come true, but that we will listen to God’s dreaming our life into a reality of love and compassion.

Let us pray:  Holy Mystery, allow us to believe that the impossible or improbable can happen when we are committed to Christ-like love and action. Continue dreaming us into such people and such a community, we pray. Amen.

Advent Three – Startling News – Elizabeth and Mary

Have you ever had someone trust you with painful or potentially difficult, unsettling news? News of a divorce, or sexual orientation or a life threatening illness? What did you do with that sacred trust? Elizabeth embraced Mary with unconditional love.

This candle represents compassionate listening in the midst of turbulent, worrisome times. We pray that we may be beacons of love and light for those desperate for a safe haven. We are grateful for Christ who listened and loved no matter the person’s status or situation.

Let us pray:  God of Grace, allow us to see the courage it takes for a person to be vulnerable with us. Give us open hearts, hearts of love that treat such trust with gentle care. We pray grateful that you are always listening, ever ready to hear our joys and our struggles. Amen.

Advent Four – Unexpected Guests – The Innkeeper

The innkeeper had no warning of special company when the bedraggled Mary and Joseph, on the brink of parenthood, came knocking. He had no time to prepare hospitality – no time to bake a cake, reserve a room or set his house in order. He had the option of offering them the second best space available or turning them away. He offered the second best place, the stable.

We light this candle celebrating raw, impulsive, heartfelt hospitality. We give thanks for those who stay ready to receive unexpected guests and for those whose hearts are open whether their home is ready or not. We light this candle asking the Holy One to birth such hospitality in each of us.

Let us pray: God of Extravagant Hospitality, we are moved and grateful for kindness and warmth extended to us. May we offer such grace and welcome to others. Help us see the weary traveler, the grieving heart, the one in need of a friend and the one who is rejoicing. May our hearts and homes be as open as Jesus’ example of caring and compassion. Amen.

Christmas Eve – Awestruck by New Life – Jesus

We are caught off guard by the sight of a newborn baby, a giraffe giving birth, or by green leaves after a brutal winter. Understandably we are awestruck by new life. How fitting that Peace Incarnate came as an infant! What better way to get the busy world’s attention!

Jesus offered second chances and clean slates to those he encountered. We light this candle in honor of Christ who still brings life, even in unexpected ways and places. We light this candle joyous of each expression of new life and rebirth in our world and hopeful for each harbinger of life and resurrection on the horizon.

Let us pray: Holy One, help us bear witness to your story and to bring life, even in bleak situations. Let us shine with your grace and mercy that can transform the world. We pray grateful for baby Jesus and the Christ he became who continually offers each of us fresh manifestations of peace, love, hope and joy. Amen.

©November 24, 2014 Cynthia Langston Kirk

To use this or any liturgy written by Cynthia Langston Kirk please include the copyright and Cynthia’s full name 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

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 

 

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 

 

Kin_dom of God

Kin_dom of God

 

 

Leave your zigzag frenzy

Ransacking the gift of time in search of a quick fix,

Striving to decipher all that bombards our senses.

Yearning for monumental answers

That are permanent and impermeable,

Set aside naysaying dispatches

That play in continuous loop.

 

Be still.

Be quiet.

Hear the Holy One’s song,

Marvel at creation.

Listen to your heart.

Look deep within.

Discover the transforming speck of yeast

That expands an idea into loving action.

See of your soul, the pearl that is precious.

Behold that same yeast within our community and world.

Behold that same precious pearl within all.

Witness compassion no larger than a mustard seed

That becomes canopied grace.

©July 22, 2014   Cynthia Langston Kirk

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.

 

For the Door Through Which You Leave Your House

For the Door Through Which You Leave Your House ….. or a Worship Benediction

 

Go into the world in peace.

Be of bold courage.

Hold fast to hope.

Honor all creation.

Pray without ceasing

Return no one evil for evil or pain for pain.

Strengthen the weak, care for the sick

and set the oppressed free.

Speak the truth in love, even to yourself.

Listen deeply; live compassionately and joyfully.

Exude generosity and a welcoming heart.

Love and serve God, rejoicing in the movement of the Spirit.

©September 10, 2013 Cynthia Langston Kirk