WEEKLY UPDATE: BABY DEDICATIONS, SUMMER BBQS & GARAGE SALE
Abbey Kosterman helps write much of our church's children's curriculum and serves on the team of liturgists that writes our Sunday prayers. This week, she reflects on the mysterious work of putting words in the mouths of our congregation.
I have often struggled with prayer, and my approach is generally try-not-to-think-about-it-too-much. While I would be more than content to leave this struggle private, prayer is one of those annoying things that people ask you to do out loud and in community.
So about two years ago I joined the team of people who write call and response prayers for our Sunday morning liturgy. My inclination was to approach this task from a distance. I wanted my prayers to be relatable and pithy, so I would try to articulate general things that people seem to struggle with. My personal prayers would be too dramatic and angsty for others.
About a year later at a team meeting, one of the other writers was sharing an insecurity she had about putting her own personal sin in prayers for the entire congregation. Was she putting untrue words on others' lips? I internally rolled my eyes. I had figured this out ages ago.
But Pastor Mark's response to this insecurity was not the eye roll that I would have liked to give her. He replied that any prayer that was true for one of us was true for us corporately as the body of Christ. So personalize to your heart's content.
My approach to writing the confessional portion of our weekly liturgy has since changed rather dramatically. Now, when I read the scripture being preached, I let it paint a picture of me.
Staring Jesus in the face in this way inevitably does two things. First, the gospel of Jesus Christ without fail paints the loveliest, most dignifying picture I have ever seen of myself. That's a picture of Jesus. But immediately after, almost at the same time, the ugliest, most foul picture I have ever seen of myself pops right up next to it, and I am left to reckon with the two. This reckoning is what I submit, and we pray together on Sundays.
These prayers are always my best prayers, and I love praying them with you. It's hard to forget who you are when your church family is praying your sins out loud together. It almost feels like we don't belong to ourselves, and we get to remember who we do belong to together.
This week, our members voted on our 2019 Budget Proposal and it has passed unanimously. Our new fiscal year will begin on September 1, 2018. Thank you for voting!