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Two Creative Litanies for Stewardship Sunday

How to get creative when everything has been said a thousand times before
by Faith+Lead | October 18, 2021

By Sarah Are Speed

What do you say on Stewardship Sunday to your congregation that hasn’t been said a trillion times before? Here are two different liturgy options to use in your worship service. 

Thank You on Repeat: A Litany for Stewardship Sunday

This litany is designed for more than one reader. Invite two, three or four people to read, assigning each voice a line, in rotation. Want to include the congregation? Invite them to read the last stanza with you, placing the words “How do we respond?” in the bulletin as a prompt, and bolding everything that comes after. 

God gave us starry nights and sunsets that take our breath away. 

God gave us summer rainstorms and the crunch of fall leaves. 

God gave us grocery store clerks that carry bags to our cars and miraculously memorize the number for every avocado and tangerine we place in our basket. 

God gave us the sound of music—choirs singing in harmony, the swell of the violin, the satisfying ripple of the snare. 

God gave us blueberry pancakes, Vermont maple syrup, and coffee—that holy bean water that wakes our bones.

God gave us feather down blankets, fall scented candles, and sacred worn down slippers that slide onto weary feet. 

God gave us grandmothers that slip candy into our hands and grandfathers that smell like peppermint and books. 

God gave us toddlers that bounce up and down to music and smash food into their open mouths like baby birds- with palms flat. 

God gave us new years of life, marked by embarrassing renditions of “happy birthday” in restaurants and the extinguishing of a candle on a glorified pastry. 

God gave us nurses and doctors, who cover shots with colorful band aids and keep lollipops in their scrub pockets. 

God gave us welcome mats and nametags and all manner of things that help us feel at home in a place. 

God gave us cats that curl up next to us to lend their warmth and dogs that run and slide to the front door to welcome us home. 

God gave us old familiar blue jeans that feel like home, and sweaters pulled over hands that feel like security. 

God gave us church—this imperfect clump of humanity that gathers week after week, striving to be better, striving to do good in the world. 

God gave and gave, and gives and gives;

and how do we respond?

We say thank you.

We give what we can.

We let it feel like a joy, not an obligation.   

We let it feel like a gift, not a burden. 

We show up in this space. 

We believe these gifts can somehow make a difference, 

and we refuse to give up on this world. 

Thank goodness for a God that forever outgives. 

Thank goodness for the opportunity to say thank you for it all. 

Amen. 

If You Ask Me Why I Give: Stewardship as Re-orientation, A Poetic Confession 

This poem is designed for one voice. It could be used as a prayer of thanksgiving following the offering, as an opening reflection at the start of the service, or as a prayer of confession in a busy world.  

I am more and more convinced 

every day 

that the world is spinning faster;

do you feel it? 

There are a million and one 

things that pull on my attention, 

that distract and discourage;

so in the fast moving blur of it all

my mother tells me to take a deep breath. 

My father tells me to remember who I am. 

My gut tells me there is something more here, 

and they are right. They are all right. 

So on Sundays, I reorient myself. 

I pull prayers from my pockets and give them to God,

because fear cannot stand when it’s standing in the light. 

I pull money from my pockets and give it to God

because cynicism cannot grow when it is met with hopeful action. 

I pull doubt from my pockets and give it to God 

because doubt met with love cannot stay where it started. 

And bit by bit, I move to holy ground. 

The world is spinning slower now. 

This ritual of giving reorients me,

in an off-kilter world, it helps me see. 

I give and am returned to the center of me, 

to the center of God, to a place that is free. 

Thanks be to God for the reorienting. 

Thanks be to God, again, on repeat. 

Your Turn

Discuss these litanies and more in the Faith+Lead Learning Lab, our private social network for church leaders like you. Join now for free.

About the Author
Sarah Are Speed is the new Associate Pastor for Young Adults and Membership at Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church in New York City. Sarah was married this past August and serves as the liturgy and poetry writer for A Sanctified Art LLC. 

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