A few weeks ago, in Zoom worship, someone popped on the screen while on a walk. She had been walking the whole service around her neighborhood while still being present for worship. It made me giggle but it also reminded me how much innovation has happened in worship since this pandemic began.
You are a part of that, dear pastor. You have innovated and made amazing things happen. You are still doing that and I give thanks for your faithfulness and creativity. You are a gift to me and to the people who are lucky to call you pastor.
Every so often, I like to offer some thing that allows for you to take a break from preaching. This is one of those weeks where I wanted to offer something a little more than a couple of prayers. This is not a complete service but it hopefully allows for you to create a space rather than a sermon. I also know that there are some weeks where it is easier to write a sermon that attend to all of the details that these special worship opportunities offer so feel free to use these prayer stations as they inspire and support your worship experience this Sunday.
Though prayer stations are most often done in a space of communal worship and not on Zoom, I wanted to avoid that assumption. It may well be that you are worshipping on Zoom and so there’s no need or elaborate set-up or long supply lists. Instead, I would invite the members of your faith community to go for a walk this week before Sunday morning. Go for a walk and collect stones. If you use these prayer stations while still preaching, have them look for something in these stones that relates to the things you are already thinking about in your sermon.
The last prayer station requires permanent markers in one or more colors. I am hoping that that is something that folks might have at home in their junk drawers. I have lots in mine anyway.
I had this Easter litany in my head when I started these meditations on stones. It’s for Easter and we are a few weeks away from Advent so it probably won’t work but I still love it. Then, I found this quote from the wonderful poet Joy Harjo and so I made a slide for that too. Why not?
Please download these slides and use them as they fit your worship experience on Sunday or in the days ahead. Could this also work for that Sunday in Advent when we wade into the Jordan River with John the Baptizer? Maybe if there was another couple of stations on water. Maybe with a few more edits so that it more closely ties to those gospel words.
It has come to my attention that it is near impossible to copy and paste from this site which is kinda a big problem because that’s the point of these pandemic prayers. I’m trying to trouble shoot that but I would love if you would comment and let me know if this is easier or harder. This week is a little different as I wanted to offer prayer stations and I gave images instead of copied text which may be super annoying or really nice to pull for your powerpoint presentation. Or this is what I hope anyway.
My newsletter went out last week with ideas for Advent. If you missed it, you can sign up here and there is a way to look in the archives. I’d shared that the collaboration I was looking forward to released with the talented Jo Owens of Vibrant Church Communications wasn’t going to happen — but some things changed and well, stay tuned. I can’t say for sure yet but there might be some good stuff coming your way soon. I’m also hard at work on a special service for the first few weeks in January with something I’m calling New Year Epiphanies.
You can find a brief summary in my kitchen as well as the other materials I’ve created for Advent and Christmas. I pray all of these things help your planning for the upcoming season that I know you are busy imagining with great love.
I am praying for you, dear pastors, liturgists and musicians. I’m praying for you so much.