Tag Archives: justice

Shit Hole Countries 02.001

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Christmas Eve 2017 Litany

This was the sermon at the Lunenburg Luther Parish Christmas Eve services in 2017.  It’s a 3-voice Litany.  Feel free to adapt, adopt or use.  I just ask that you let me know how it goes!

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A Christmas Eve dramatic reading (2017)

1 – Mary

2 – Joseph

3 – Shepherds

1 – Three witnesses

2 – Three perspectives

3 – Three voices

1 – Calling us tonight

2 – Calling us to the story

3 – Calling us to hear

1 – To pause

2 – To listen

3 – To reflect

All – To respond

[Pause]

1 – Mary

2 – The mother of Jesus

3 – The mother of our Lord

1 – The UN-WED mother of God

2 – A girl, really

3 – Probably no more than 16, and possibly younger

1 – A girl who said “Yes”

2 – “Yes” to God

3 – “Yes” to scandal

1 – “Yes” to risk

2 – “Yes” to the possibility of being ostracized by her family

3 – “Yes” to the possibility of being abandoned by her fiancee

1 – “Yes” to the possibility of being killed for being unfaithful

2 – A girl who said “Yes”

3 – “Yes” to God

1 – Mary

2 – The mother of Jesus

3 – The mother of our Lord

1 – Was no shrinking violet

2 – Placid, submissive, quietly taking what was dealt

3 – Softly sitting in the dark, singing soothing lullabies

All – Not HER!

1 – Mary, the mother of Jesus

2 – Was, in fact, a burning flame

3 – Was, in fact, a prophet of justice

1 – Was, in fact, a voice crying out in the wilderness

2 – Upsetting the apple cart

3 – Overturning the status quo

1 – Heralding the new creation

2 – Where justice and peace are the norm

3 – And foreigners are welcome

1 – Where the hungry are fed

2 – And the rich are turned away

3 – Where the poor are embraced

1 – And the mighty are stripped of their strength

2 – Where the anonymous masses are named by God

3 – And the arrogant are reduced to nothing

[Pause]

1 – Joseph

2 – The father of Jesus

3 – The father of our Lord

1 – Stoic

2 – Quiet

3 – Worker

1 – Provider

2 – Protector

3 – Dreamer

1 – Always in the background

2 – Always the silent partner

3 – Always in the shadows, behind the mother and child

All – However!

1 – He is just as crucial to the story

2 – He is just as important

3 – And he is just as dangerous

All – Yes, dangerous!

1 – Because he, too, said “Yes”

2 – “Yes” to God

3 – “Yes” to scandal

1 – “Yes” to risk

2 – “Yes” to accepting a wife who would be regarded as tainted

3 – “Yes” to public mistrust of his OWN standing and behaviour

1 – “Yes” to having to confront his own jealousies and fears

2 – Joseph, the honourable man

3 – Joseph, the radical lover

1 – Joseph, the over-thrower of the expected

2 – Who refused to let suspicion set his agenda

3 – Who refuse to let fear dictate his response

1 – Also burned with divine flame

2 – Was also consumed with a vision of justice

3 – In which all are welcome

1 – ALL are welcome

2 – No matter how disruptive they might be

3 – Joseph welcomed the Christ-child into his own family

1 – And let go of the need for revenge

2 – And let go of the desire for retribution

3 – And let go of being in control of his life

1 – And lovingly

2 – Faithfully

3 – Dangerously

1 – Embraced his dangerous wife

2 – Embraced her dangerous son

3 – Embraced the dangerous new creation

All – Coming to birth in front of him

[Pause]

1 – Shepherds

2 – The first witnesses

3 – First recipients of the Good News

1 – Glad singers of tidings

2 – Joyful tellers to all who would listen

3 – Praising and thanking God for what they had seen and heard

1 – Shepherds

2 – Biblical symbol of those who care

3 – Protectors of the vulnerable

1 – Leading their flocks

2 – Feeding their sheep

3 – Finding green pastures in which their charges can find rest

1 – But THESE shepherds are dangerous

2 – THESE shepherds upset the status quo

3 – THESE shepherds over-throw what passes for normal

1 – NOT by what they DID

2 – NOT by saying “Yes”

3 – NOT by their singing and telling and praising

1 – These shepherds are dangerous because of what happened TO them

2 – Because of what they were TOLD

3 – Because it was SHEPHERDS who were told it

All – Because of WHO.  THEY.  WERE.

[Short pause]

1 – We need to remember the truth about shepherds

2 – In spite of all the good PR

3 -And biblical imagery

1 – They were assumed to be lazy

2 – Which might have been true

3 – They were portrayed as dirty

1 – Which was PROBABLY true

2 – They were regarded as smelly

3 – Which was CERTAINLY true!

1 – They were, in fact, viewed as outsiders

2 – As less than important

3 – As undesirable

1 – And THESE shepherds were also UNRELIABLE

2 – Remember what happened when they had their vision?

3 – Remember how they responded?

1 – They RAN!

2 – They LEFT THEIR FLOCK!

3 – They ABANDONED THEIR DUTY!

All – They had ONE JOB!

1 – “Stay with the sheep!”

2 – “Care for the sheep!”

3 – “Don’t leave the sheep!”

1 – And they left

2 – They ran off

3 – Leaving their livelihood

1 – Or possibly, even worse, leaving someone ELSE’S livelihood

2 – In order to see a baby

3 – The child of an un-wed mother

1 – The child of a radical father

2 – Who had been born a nobody

3 – Just like them

All – JUST.  LIKE.  THEM.

1 – Just

2 – Like

3 – Us

[Short pause]

1 – The angels came to shepherds

2 – Lazy

3 – Dirty

1 – Smelly

2 – Unreliable

3 – Shepherds

1 – Saying, “To YOU is born a Saviour.”

2 – To YOU

3 – To YOU

1 – A dangerous

2 – Scandalous

3 – Risky

1 – Saviour

2 – Through whom God says “Yes”

3 – To shepherds

1 – And outsiders

2 – And strangers

3 – And everyone who is considered “Other”

[Pause]

1 – Mary

2 – Joseph

3 – Shepherds

1 – Three witnesses

2 – Three perspectives

3 – Three voices

1 – Calling us tonight

2 – Calling us to the story

3 – Calling us to hear

1 – To pause

2 – To listen

3 – To reflect

All – To respond

1 – Respond to the flame of justice burning within

2 – Respond to the new creation being born in front of us

3 – Respond with joy to the Good News being sung to us

1 – The lowly are regarded with favour

2 – The fearful are shown mercy

3 – The weak are lifted up

1 – The hungry are fed

2 – The outsiders are welcomed

3 – And the dangerous

1 – Scandalous

2 – Risky

3 – Promise of love

1 – Is fulfilled

[Short pause]

2 – In you

[Short pause]

3 – This night.

[Short pause]

All – Amen.

A Christmas Eve Litany

This was used last year (2016) for the opening of the Christmas Eve services in the congregations of the Lunenburg Lutheran Parish, in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.  It’s for three voices, and probably most effective when done at the start of the service, before anything has been announced or sung.

It is attempting to be real.  Therefore, some will perceive it as dangerous.  But such is the way with Incarnation…

Feel free to use (and let me know how it goes!), or simply reflect on it for your own devotional practice.

Pax….

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A Christmas Eve dramatic reading (2016)

1 – In the towers of power,

2 – The people of power play their games,

3 – Treating people like pawns in a chess match.

1 – Expendable.

2 – Replaceable.

3 – Forgettable.

1 – Un-named.

2 – Un-noticed.

3 – Un-important.

1 – Valued only when it’s time to vote.

2 – Needed only when it’s time to pay taxes.

3 – Called upon only when it’s time to go to war.

1 – Consulted only if it will benefit the tower,

2 – And the power people inside,

3 – And their never-ending power games.

1 – Passing laws that others must obey.

2 – Passing laws which benefit the power people.

3 – Passing laws about who counts,

1 – Who is included,

2 – And even more importantly,

3 – Who is NOT.

1 – Making speeches about who is OUT,

2 – Who doesn’t BELONG,

3 – Who doesn’t FIT

All – With US!

1 – In the towers of power,

2 – The people of power play their games,

3 – Listening to money,

1 – Listening to themselves,

2 – Listening to their cravings

3 – For more.

All – For MORE!

1 – More power,

2 – More wealth,

3 – More control.

1 – But wait.

(Pause)

2 – Because,

(Pause)

3 – Something has happened.

(Pause)

1 – GOD has happened.

2 – OUTSIDE the towers of power,

3 – OUTSIDE the power games of the power people,

1 – OUTSIDE of strength,

2 – OUTSIDE of wealth,

3 – OUTSIDE of control.

1 – God has happened,

2 – In weakness,

3 – In helplessness,

1 – In love.

2 – In love,

3 – In love.

1 – Come to claim the expendable.

2 – Come to embrace the replaceable.

3 – Come to remember the forgettable.

1 – To name the un-named.

2 – To see the un-noticed.

3 – To be with the un-important.

1 – To live among God’s chosen,

2 – Those outside the tower,

3 – Those excluded from power.

1 – God has happened,

2 – To the casts offs,

3 – To the lepers,

1 – To the foreigners,

2 – To the refugees,

3 – To the children,

1 – To the addicts,

2 – To the misfits,

3 – To everyone who is outside.

1 – To proclaim that they belong.

2 – They matter.

3 – They are welcome.

1 – A baby is born.

2 – Outside.

3 – And angels sing.

1 – Outside.

2 – And shepherds rejoice.

3 – Outside.

1 – Where God has happened.

2 – Where God is happening.

3 – Where God comes.

Prayer of the People for the Fourth Sunday after Pentecost, July 2, 2017

Filled with promise, empowered by love, and inspired by hope, we offer our prayers for the world, the church, and all in any need.

[Short pause]

God of creation, for our planet home, and for the resources it provides, we offer our thanks.  For the abuse of this good gift which we perpetuate, we ask forgiveness.  For the wisdom and courage to change direction, we ask your guidance and strength.  God of justice,
Hear our prayer.

God of the nations, for the
Aboriginal people of this LAND/AREA/REGION,
OR
NAME OF THE LOCAL ABORIGINAL PEOPLE of this LAND/AREA/REGION,
(e.g. Mi’kmaq people, first to inhabit this unceded and unsurrendered territory);
for their continuing presence among us, and for their witness to another way of being in the world, we give thanks.  For the oppression and continuing neglect of them to which your church has been party, we ask forgiveness.  For an increased desire and ability to work for right relationships between all people, we ask your inspiration.  God of justice,
Hear our prayer.

God of this nation, for 150 years of struggle, for immigrants from everywhere who have enriched this mosaic country, for the Parliamentary system of government which gives us a voice, we give thanks.  For the abuse of power which comes so easily to all of us, for self-serving priorities which demand that others make the sacrifices, and for turning a blind eye to thousands of years of history which came before Canada, we ask forgiveness.  For the willingness to examine ourselves, and for the openness to welcome other voices, we ask for your grace.  God of justice,
Hear our prayer.

God of the poor, for the resilience you give to single parents who continue to get up in the morning, for the hope that miraculously springs from the dry ground of chronic unemployment, and for the determination to make a difference that you inspire in the most unlikely corners, we give thanks.  For our acceptance of the status quo, and our avoidance of hard questions and difficult answers, we ask forgiveness.  That we may embrace the discomfort of giving up our privilege for the sake of each other, we ask for increased faith.  God of justice,
Hear our prayer.

God of the church, for the promise of your good intentions for this good creation, for the story of your oppressed people freed by your outstretched hand, for the coming of Jesus who lived your presence in the midst of an occupied and exploited nation, we give you thanks.  Acknowledging that we have too often sided with the rich and powerful for our own benefit, regardless of the cost to those we are sent to serve, we ask forgiveness.  That we may cling to your promise that repentance is possible, we ask your help.  God of justice,
Hear our prayer.

God of our days, we give thanks for your presence among us.  Open our ears to hear your call, open our hearts to love more fully, and open our hands to share the abundance of your gifts.  Keep us on the path toward the world you envision.  We pray all this in the name of Jesus, the Christ.
Amen.

Prayers of the People for August 14, 2016, Pentecost 13, Ordinary 20

Embracing the ministries to which we are called, we offer our prayers for the world God loves, the church God calls, and all people according to their needs.

[Short pause]

Fire us up, O God.  Fire us with hope, so we may address the very real hopelessness which threatens to overwhelm our society and world.  God of our baptism,
May we respond to your call.

Fire us up, O God.  Fire us with faith in your promise, that we may remember who we are in the face of the fear that surrounds us.  God of our baptism,
May we respond to your call.

Fire us up, O God.  Fire us with love for the stranger, that we may welcome those who are different, who challenge us, who make us uncomfortable.  God of our baptism,
May we respond to your call.

Fire us up, O God.  Fire us with determination to follow your path, knowing that nothing will separate us from your love.  God of our baptism,
May we respond to your call.

Fire us up, O God.  Fire us with compassion for those who suffer, that we may offer your healing touch to all in need, especially [NAMES, AND] those we name before you.
[Long pause]
God of our baptism,
May we respond to your call.

Fire us up, O God.  Fire us with faith, that we may engage this messy world, and point to your loving grace.  God of our baptism,
May we respond to your call.

We offer all these prayers, as well as the unspoken longings of our hearts, to you, loving God, in the name of Jesus, who taught us to pray, Our Father in Heaven….

Prayers of the People for Pentecost 9, Ordinary 17, July 26, 2015

Filled with promise, and empowered by love, let us offer our prayers to God.

[Short pause]

God who is present, we live every second of our lives in your light. Open our eyes to see you; open our hands to share what you have given. Remind us, loving God,
It’s all about the world.

God who comes to the needy, desperation does not keep you away. Keep us from acting like some people are more deserving than others. Remind us, loving God,
It’s all about the world.

God who feeds the hungry, we have a hard time believing that we have more than we need. Show us how rich we really are; show us how generous we can really be. Remind us, loving God,
It’s all about the world

God who comforts the afflicted, we offer, not just our words, not just our prayers, but our very selves for all who are ill, shut-in, isolated and lonely, including [NAMES, AND] all those whom we name before you. [LONG SILENCE] Remind us, loving God,
It’s all about the world.

God who afflicts the comfortable, help us trust that your reign has already begun, and then use us to proclaim this truth to the world, to those in power, and any who will listen. Remind us, loving God,
It’s all about the world.

God who refuses to leave us alone, inspire us to follow your promptings, and to accept the fact that you are not finished with us yet. Remind us, loving God,
It’s all about the world.

Trusting in the promise of unbounded love, we pray in Jesus’ name.
Amen.

Prayers of the People for the Fourth Sunday of Advent, 2014

Trusting the coming of God’s reign, and believing that we are a part of it, we offer our prayers for the world, the church, and all in need.

[Short pause]

God who comes, open our eyes to your presence among us, and show us how to share what we see.  Hear us, O God.
Come to us and save us.

God who speaks in the quiet and the small, open our ears to hear what you are saying through the poor, the outcast, the stranger.  Help us to listen for your voice.  Hear us, O God.
Come to us and save us.

God who overthrows the powerful and raises up the powerless, fill our hearts with compassion for those who don’t count.  Give us the courage to join them in working for a more just world.  Hear us, O God.
Come to us and save us.

God who calls us to serve, open us to face what happens in this world in the name of security, in the name of priviledge, in the name of control.  Fill us with the Spirit of your outrage at injustice, and send us out to live your life-giving priorities.  Hear us, O God.
Come to us and save us.

God who restores, you come not to punish, but to heal.  Enable us to embrace those around us who need our care, who need our presence, who need our prayers, especially all those whom we name before you [INCLUDING NAMES].
[Long pause]
Hear us, O God.
Come to us and save us.

God who comes, make us aware of your coming today.  Open us to the possibilities which your promise creates.   Hear us, O God.
Come to us and save us.

We offer these prayers, as well as the silent yearnings of our hearts, to you, loving God, in the name of Jesus.
Amen.