Category Archives: Prayers

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

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

 

 

Advent Candlelighting Liturgy – First Sunday of Advent – Hope

Advent One – Hope

When days shorten and the lights of reason, of reverence are threatened, our hearts cry out in the wilderness. And the Word leaps off the page with encouragement, “You are the ones who will turn swords into ploughshares; who will forge community in the face of assault”. We light this first Advent candle, the candle of Hope, grateful for God’s persistent love.

Light one purple candle. 

Let us pray together:

Holy One, we often cross our fingers wishing life different. Teach us that Hope is a delicate seed that requires our commitment and care. Teach us that Hope is a wild-winged companion intent on justice. This season help us give birth to Hope by our love and labor. Help us say yes to the journey in spite of our fears. Amen.

©November 23, 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

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

 

 

Formation Prayer

photo (13)Formation Prayer

 

Form my heart, O God.

Knead the dough of myself

With the rhythm of your grace.

Massage and stretch potential

Until self-centeredness and fear

Make way for generosity and courage,

Until the yeast of my life

Exudes the aroma of Christ’s compassion.

 

©March 7, 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

Pentecost Poem

Pentecost Stole

 

Wild Goose

Wild Goose, Untamable Mystery,

                                                                                                           Nest in our twiggy hearts.

Birth us ablaze

With raw courage and compassion,

Until we love with windswept abandon.

                                                                                                                                               ©May 6, 2013  Cynthia Langston Kirk