Category Archives: Social Justice

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

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.

IMG_7915 (3)

Go Learning Mercy

IMG_6830IMG_6831IMG_6832

 

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.

Stop

Stop

 

Stop responding with an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth

For soon this nation will be blind and unable to eat.

Quit assessing strangers solely as danger

Instead of future friends.

Stop judging men with dark skin exclusively as threats

Instead of God’s beloved.

Resist inhaling fear and exhaling anger

Instead of marveling with reverence at creation.

Avoid the notion that people are terrorists

Simply because their religious beliefs and practices

Are different from yours.

Relinquish the opinion that anyone ever deserves a bullet

Because they do not fit your theology, philosophy

Or what is known and comfortable to you.

Cease making loaded weapons accessible

To children and hotheads

For tragedy often follows.

Stop allowing individuals with violent track records

Or mental instability

Possession of Uzis, glocks and the like

For tragedy often follows.

Release the perception that a gun under pillow

Equals safety

Ignoring the multitude of family members

Who have accidentally been shot by a loved one.

Do not encourage weapons as play

Then be surprised when someone’s game of life is over.

 

Must our citizens don some shade of orange wherever they go

Wearing the established message of hunters,

“I’m here. Don’t shoot me”?

Will we continue to wring our hands,

Fall on our knees in prayer

With each new story of death by gun?

Or will we acknowledge the death toll far too massive,

Resolving to vote, converse, march, write,

Preach, advocate, educate and

Participate in any peaceful measure to

Stop gun violence?

 

©February 23, 2016  Rev. Cynthia Langston Kirk,

Gun Violence Survivor

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.

Wearing Orange

Bishop orange stole 1 (1)

 

 

Orange may seem like a strange color this time of year. Your home may be sparkling with red and green, blue and silver or just the colors of your daily life.

 

As the anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre approaches, many people across our nation will wear orange as they walk for Gun Violence Prevention this Sunday. They will wear orange because it was a color chosen by teens in Chicago to honor their friend Hadiya Pendleton, the color that hunters wear to send the message “I’m here. Don’t shoot me”.

I’ve read, prayed, listened, pondered, researched and still my heart aches. Most of us, on both sides of the gun conversation, feel desperate and fearful, two emotions that rarely lead to wise actions or grace-filled living.

I come at life from a Christian perspective, but know that most other religions share the same  reverence for life that Christ manifests. Religions are not our problem. It is individuals or groups using their particular view of religion or God as a shield, as a divisive lens, as a justification for beliefs, rhetoric or action that would cause harm to anyone else.

As a mother, grandmother, godmother, wife, friend, minister, gun violence survivor, I cannot be quiet in the face of violence and discrimination. I cannot be silent when people continue to be gunned down in their homes or any public place imaginable. I cannot refrain from writing or speaking when a group, any marginalized group, is threatened because they are likened to extremists or because they do not fit the norm or the known. I cannot be quiet while people incite others to take up their guns and commit murder.

It’s easy to feel that we are each trying to empty the ocean with our own little teaspoon. It is easy to feel paralyzed, but inaction is not effective for change. Talk to someone who believes differently than you. Call your elected officials. Vote. Educate yourself and others.

One little thing I am doing with my teaspoon is making orange stoles for at least ten clergy. He or she can wear the stole on Gun Violence Awareness Day June 2nd.  She or he can wear the stole on any Sunday to lift up awareness and encourage action. Each of the stoles is a simple orange stole with a little triangle of green to represent hope.

The first orange stole I made was for Bishop Robert Hoshibata, our resident bishop in the Desert Southwest Conference of the United Methodist Church. Bishop Bob (pictured) has taken a strong stance on gun violence prevention and is imploring every congregation in our conference to engage in education about the issues.

I will be glad when we no longer need wear orange and work for gun violence prevention. Until then, I’ll keep speaking out, praying, writing, voting, trying to have conversations and buying orange fabric.

December 11, 2015 Cynthia Langston Kirk

 

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

A Welcoming Heart

 

A Welcoming Heart

 

Can you see arms outstretched

To a prodigal child?

Can you envision opening the door

To a zealot like Saul?

Do you know how scandalous,

How full of God’s grace it was

For Jesus to break bread with outcasts?

Be bathed in oil by a woman?

Reach across human-constructed barriers,

Welcoming everyone to the table,

Into worship, into forgiveness,

Into community, into gratitude,

Into healing … even on the Sabbath?

Can you imagine?

 

Your mother tongue is not the crux

Of such matters.

It is your heart that learns how to speak welcome

With joy and delight,

In reverence for the sacred worth of each soul,

Without regard to skin color or politics,

Nationality or sexual orientation,

Theological views or education accrued,

Material wealth or poverty.

 

From the rising of the sun

To the setting of the moon,

Embrace the opportunities that surprise us,

Coloring lives with blessing

As we emulate the hospitality of Christ.

Allow your courage, compassion and faith

To birth a hundred thousand welcomes

That will transform the world.

 

©August 22, 2013 Cynthia Langston Kirk

For Rev. Matt Mardis-Lecroy’s stole

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