Kids’ litanies for lent

A series of litanies that we are using this year at Kensington – led by children of the congregation during Lent. Based on texts from Exodus… Good to have the kids’ voices sharing and leading in worship. Two of them were also done in French (those translations are at the bottom of this post.)

Litany 1 (Burning Bush)

Moses was out in the rocky places taking care
of his sheep, just minding his own business.
     God said: “Now’s a good time to meet Moses!”
Moses went looking for one of his sheep that
had run off somewhere – just out doing his job.
     God said: “This little bush will show my glory.”
Out of the corner of his eye, Moses saw something
different – a light, a fire, a bush in flame.
     God said: “Take off your shoes, take them off
     right now – you are standing on holy ground.”
Moses was amazed – a bush on fire, but not burned up.
God talking to him. He took off his shoes.
     God said: “Moses, I want you to do something for
     me – I want you to help my suffering people.”

God comes close to us and speaks to us, too.
He asks us to help people who are suffering.
     God says: “Live like Jesus, he’s my holy Son.”
In the time of Lent, we discover God is with us
in all our experiences, good and bad. He helps us
live as his family every day.
     God says: “Jesus is with you, all the time.”

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Transparency and Honesty — a little distance goes a long way

Questions of identity preoccupy us – much more than has ever been the case, historically speaking. This is so on account of the leisure time we are afforded, the levels of wealth we have attained, and the public personas we now necessarily create and craft via our social media profiles.

In the contemporary world we have time to develop an interest in particular artists or particular social movements; time and resources to shop for clothing and accessories that project a certain image or style; the ability to mark our bodies (hair die, tattoos, piercings, etc.) in ways that publicly declare our persona; we have online platforms that require us to make decisions about which photos or personal stories or opinions we will share. A few weeks ago I preached a sermon that explored, in part, how our shoes are even, now, a significant feature of this persistent crafting of our image. (See that sermon here.)

This whole exercise in creating and maintaining our image can be an exhausting affair – and it will surprise none of us to hear that some friends or acquaintances have given up Facebook and Twitter and Instagram (etc., etc.) for Lent. Giving up social media, in particular, can be a way to provide ourselves with room to breathe – a way to give up on the never-ending cycle of comparison and projection, instead seeking our identity where it truly and finally resides, by resting in God. Although social media is by no means the only locus in this cycle of self-referential and self-preoccupied identity formation, it is the most difficult to wrestle with given its ubiquity – giving it up no doubt helps puts life in perspective.

But aside from giving up social media, for Lent or otherwise, perhaps another way to humanize and de-pressurize the whole enterprise is through a kind of ironic or transparent naming of our self-preoccupation. A kind of detachment that is willing to examine ourselves – and to let others see us examining ourselves. Continue reading

from ‘Weavings’…

Those who go out weeping,
bearing the seed for sowing,
shall come home with shouts of joy,
carrying their sheaves.

“Psalm 126 tells us that the God of Israel has a passion for new beginnings and that his promise guarantees newness. The words of the prophet remind us that God’s pledge is to work newness precisely when and where there is no evidence of newness on the horizon.” (For the whole article, visit the journal Weavings.)

david and bathsheba…

Well, we come this morning to another of the well-known stories of David – it is the story of David and Bathsheba. The story of David and Bathsheba is one of those stories that has all the compelling elements that makes it stick in our mind. There is a beautiful woman bathing, and a king watching her; there is a sexual liaison; there is a pregnancy, and then a murder of the woman’s husband. Finally, there is that remarkable scene of confrontation between the prophet Nathan and David – in which David unwittingly judges and condemns himself.

We made it clear last week that David is far from perfect. The narratives of First and Second Samuel certainly present David as a remarkable figure, in the best sense of the word. In important ways, David has embodied the strength, the grace, and the hospitality of God. In some profound sense, as one filled by the Spirit of God, David is a man after God’s own heart. Yet in the unfolding of the narrative, we find another David emerging – one who will stoop so low – one who falls so far. Here is a David who can engage in activities that are nothing less than morally outrageous. Continue reading

who are you, really?

My sermon from this past Sunday – the first Sunday in Lent.

__________________________

Do you know who you are? 

Perhaps this strikes you as an odd question. Of course I know who I am. I can answer the question by telling my story. I can tell you about my parents, about my history, my education, my work, my strengths and weaknesses. I can tell you a great deal about myself. Of course I know who I am.

Nevertheless, the question is asked this morning. When push comes to shove, do you really know who you are? Deep down, are you sure of what matters to you, about where you’re going, and about the meaning of your life?

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