Prayer for a Dying Teenager

Will there be cars in heaven?
Will there be motors to tinker with and fix,
mechanical problems to figure out?
Will there be siblings to tease?
Will there be dogs to run with?
Will there be a familiar landscape
that feels like home, like this home?
Will there be parents who love me?
Will there be a body that works 
and doesn’t hurt?
Is dying like a great leap
from the diving board of life,
or a quiet settling 

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Coming to the City Nearest You

Jesus comes to Jerusalem, the city nearest you.
Jesus comes to the gate, to the synagogue,
to houses prepared for wedding parties,
to the pools where people wait to be healed,
to the temple where lambs are sold,
to gardens, beautiful in the moonlight. 
He comes to the governor’s palace.

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Step One

On the journey with Jesus

there is always the first step;

the first prayer,

the first self-less act,

the first encounter with scripture,

the first true repentance,

the first enemy loved,

the first sin renounced,

the first gift discovered,

the first falling away,

the first return to a God waiting

with open arms.

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A Psalm for George Floyd

God the Almighty longs for justice
and confronts the sin of white supremacy.
God gathers the souls of the murdered,
their blood cries out from the ground.
God hears the cries of the oppressed,
and comes to their aid.
Jesus kneels with the protestors,
he stands in solidarity with the downtrodden,
he cradles the broken bodies of the persecuted.
The Holy Spirit broods over the bent world,
blowing the winds of change,
propelling the rushing winds of hope….

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God chooses face-time

We’re always calling God.

Where are you God?

Why don’t you pick up?

The phone rings and rings,

echoing in that heavenly chamber.

We check the number,

this has got to be right.

Finally God’s answering machine clicks in.

We hear God’s voice,

“Why are you calling me?

I’m standing right beside you.”

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Newborn at Christmas?

This Christmas can we find
a newborn love for Jesus?
Can this baby disarm us;
agendas, busyness and grudges
dropped on the ground?
Will we follow some sweet inner voice
urging us to go and see?
Can we go wondering,
unsure what we will find?
As we pass by all the places
we would expect to see God,

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Darkness on Christmas Eve Poem

On the darkness of the road
a couple walks, bone-weary,
seeking a sanctuary
where new life can be born.

In the darkness of the womb
a baby stirs and turns,
unaware of a destiny
and a coming birth day.

In the darkness of the night,
Herod looks out at his kingdom

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Dark Imaginings

ight time brings with it
a host of fearful thoughts crowding;
sickness striking and life changing forever,
debts looming and bills that can’t get paid,
governments floundering and security teetering,
nature hurling storms and earthquakes everywhere,
humankind falling, evil actions blighting all that’s good.
Scrolling the news in my cozy bed,
I rehearse this night time litany too many times to count,
adding it all up, building a tower of catastrophe,
and I pace its floors obsessively.
But then the moonlight touches my cheek,
recalling me to life

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Mothering Mended

It’s not easy to trace the tears,
the gaping holes where mothering
went wrong.
I can point to the withering look
that day at the dinner table
when I took my father’s attention.
Or maybe the stoney face
accusing me of losing something precious,
my protests unheard.
Or the subtle manipulations;
the distaste for what I wore,
the way I looked, laughed, talked.
I saw you coming to the front door,

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About Carol Penner

I am a Mennonite pastor currently teaching theology at Conrad Grebel University College in Waterloo, Ontario. I’ve served congregations in Ontario and most recently, Alberta.

I love to write and to lead worship! If you are finding my writing helpful, I would love to hear from you! Feel free to use or adapt the material here, it is all written by me. If printing material, please credit “Copyright Carol Penner www.leadinginworship.com” (and say whether you modified it). If publishing, please contact me for permission. Contact me at carol@leadinginworship.com

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