Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Being a birthing Church: litany in times of change

God in stories of change was the devotional theme for our winter block course. Where is God in change? Who are humans in change? How then might we respond, as humans, as interns? Every morning we gathered around these questions, with interns being invited to engage a set of Scriptures

1 Thessalonians 2:6b-12
Genesis 18:1-14 (Sarah)
Genesis 16: 1-14 (Hagar)
Genesis 18:1-14 (Abraham)
1 Samuel 1:1-20 (Hannah)
Luke 1:39-45 (Elizabeth)
Luke 1:39-45 (Mary)

A key resource in the choice of Scriptures was Margaret Hammer, Giving Birth: Reclaiming the Biblical Metaphor for Pastoral Practice. It explores ministry through the lens of birthing narratives in the Christian tradition and offers a rich set of resources.

pregnant-1435168-1279x964 The link between change and birthing made sense first, of the fact that a third of our interns are experiencing changes with birth. A very healthy happening! Second, the call to be the people of God in this season, of which change is normal.

After devotions ended today, I wrote a Litany (a series of petitions, usually recited with call and response in a recurring formula). I wanted to capture key themes gifted to us by each intern in their devotion and provide some sort of thread to bind the days together.

In Paul, Silas, Timothy
The nursing mother cares
The father encourages
ALL: We might suffer (as church)
Yet the mission gives birth

In three strangers
The door of hope opens
As Abraham looks up
ALL: We might laugh (with Sarah)
Yet the barren give birth

In domestic discord
God sees:
Speaks, protects
ALL: We might despair (with Hagar)
Yet the vulnerable give birth

In Eli’s challenge
Amid despairing prayer
And heartfelt honesty
ALL: We might weep (with Hannah)
Yet the faithful give birth

In adolescent haste
Christ dwells
Spirit fills
ALL: We might hurry (with Mary)
Yet young and old give birth

Posted by steve at 07:11 PM


  1. Steve, thank you ~ this is profoundly apt.

    Comment by Nel — June 28, 2016 @ 7:15 pm

  2. Thanks Nel. I’m also using it tomorrow to introduce fresh expressions as a participation in Gods birthing.


    Comment by Steve — June 28, 2016 @ 8:13 pm

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