Creation Praise 2

Galaxy NGC 1569 as imaged by the Hubble Space Telescope. Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

This is the fourth of four creation themed worship resource posts in honor of Sunday’s Earth Day rallies and celebrations. For more information on the Christian understanding of the care of creation, click here.

Worship Resource:
Creation Praise 2

ONE VOICE:
Psalm 148:1-2 (NRSV)
Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord from the heavens;
Praise him in the heights!
Praise him, all his angels;
Praise him, all his host!

ALL SINGING:
Traditional setting: All Creatures of our God and King
United Methodist Hymnal #62, verse 1
Contemporary Setting: All Creatures of our God and King
David’s Crowder’s version, verse 1 (CCLI Song #3608102)

ONE VOICE: Psalm 148:3-6 (NRSV)
Praise him, sun and moon;
Praise him, all you shining stars!
Praise him, you highest heavens,
and you waters above the heavens!
Let them praise the name of the Lord,
for he commanded and they were created.
He established them forever and ever;
He fixed their bounds, which cannot be passed.

ALL SINGING:
Traditional setting: All Creatures of our God and King
United Methodist Hymnal #62, verse 2
Contemporary Setting: All Creatures of our God and King
David’s Crowder’s version, verse 2 (CCLI Song #3608102)

ONE VOICE: Psalm 148:7-10 (NRSV)
Praise the Lord from the earth,
You sea monsters and all deeps,
Fire and hail, snow and frost,
Stormy wind fulfilling his command!
Mountains and all hills,
Fruit trees and all cedars!
Wild animals and all cattle,
Creeping things and flying birds!

ALL SINGING:
Traditional setting: All Creatures of our God and King
United Methodist Hymnal #62, verse 3
Contemporary Setting: All Creatures of our God and King
David’s Crowder’s version, verse 3 (CCLI Song #3608102)

ONE VOICE: PSALM 148:11-13 (NRSV)
Kings of the earth and all peoples,
Princes and all rulers of the earth!
Young men and women alike, old and young together!
Let them praise the name of the Lord,
For his name alone is exalted;
His glory is above earth and heaven.

ALL SINGING
Traditional setting: All Creatures of our God and King
United Methodist Hymnal #62, verse 7
Contemporary Setting: All Creatures of our God and King
David’s Crowder’s version, Alleluias (CCLI Song #3608102)

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For more information on United Methodist beliefs regarding the natural world, click here.

compilation © 2012 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution. Please contact Lisa for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

For more information on use of the art, scripture translation and this post in other settings, please refer to the copyright information page.

God Who Brings the Cleansing Rain

Fresh morning dew on a Water Horsetail (Equisetum fluviatile) by Luc Viatour / http://www.Lucnix.be. Photo via Wikimedia Commons

God Who Brings the Cleansing Rain
by Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Meter 77.77
Suggested tune: THE CALL
(United Methodist Hymnal #164)

God who brings the cleansing rain
Saturate our thirsty bones
With the milk of mercy sweet
With the blood that brings us home

God who rules the fiery sun
Kindle now our brittle hearts
Set ablaze our tender lives
Forge our ways till sin departs

God who rides the winds of change
Anchor us against its wrath
Set our face toward holy ends
Fix our walk upon your path

God who sends the silent snows
Quiet us against your breast
Cover us with hope-filled wings
Whisper soft your word of rest

God who steps into our time
Take away this needless fear
Turn our lives to songs of praise
Play us for your world to hear

© 2010 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution. Please contact Lisa for information and permission to publish this work in any form. Lisa is especially interested in collaborating with someone to set this text to music.

For another original hymn text on creation themes entitled Bless Christ Through Whom all Things are Made, click here

This text is one of four of Lisa’s original hymn texts found in Courageous Spirit: Voices from Women in Ministry

This is the third of four creation themed worship resource posts in honor of Sunday’s Earth Day rallies and celebrations. For more information on the Christian understanding of the care of creation, click here.

Bless Christ, Through Whom All Things are Made

Fresco of Christ creating the sun, moon and stars from the St. Paraskevi Shrine, Greenlawn, NY

This is the second of four creation themed worship resource posts in honor of Sunday’s Earth Day rallies and celebrations. For more information on the Christian understanding of the care of creation, click here.

This hymn text was born a decade ago during some quiet time spent with Colossians 1:15-18.

Jesus is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—all things have been created through him and for him. He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything. (NRSV)

In this passage, creation is described as an ongoing act. The fullness of Trinity is found: Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer; yet all things are created and are held together through Christ, the Word spoken in creation, the eternal Word made flesh.

This text was selected to be part of a new United Methodist worship resource entitled Worship and Song. Each lyric or liturgy I write feels like a gift. I am excited and thrilled that this gift will be shared with so many.

For a PDF of the hymn as it will appear in the Worship and Song pew edition, click here Bless Christ, Through Whom All Things are Made

Bless Christ Through Whom All Things Are Made
by Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
a hymn text based on Col. 1:15-18
Meter 88.88 (LM)
Suggested Tune- POXON

Bless Christ through whom all things are made.
Join seen and unseen in their praise
of One who both creates, sustains
who goes before, in justice reigns.

Who makes the lion and the lamb
the farthest star, the smallest hand
dominions, rulers, and their pow’rs
the steadfast mount, the fleeting hours?

Who made the ore for blood soaked nails?
Who made the thorns and whipping tails?
Who made the sun that would not shine
and made the tree on which Christ died?

Who makes the waters of our birth?
Who makes the dust where we return?
Who makes the way for us to die
and rise to everlasting life?

Bless Christ though whom all things are made.
Join seen and unseen in their praise
of One who both creates, sustains
who goes before, in justice reigns.

© 2000, revised 2009
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution.
Please contact Lisa for information and permission to publish this work in any form.
Lisa is especially interested in collaborating with someone to set this text to music.

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For more information on the use of the scripture translation, art and this devotional in other settings, please refer to the copyright information page.

Reflection and Worship Resource: Creation Praise

A Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum) in the Portland Japanese Garden. Photo by Jeremy Reding via Wikimedia Commons.

On April 22, 1970, the first Earth Day rallies were held in America. Many mark this day as the birth of the modern environmental movement. Public and political awareness from these rallies led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of legislation such as the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts.

As Christians, we understand our calling to care for the earth as originating far earlier than 1970. God empowered humanity to care for creation in sustainable and just ways right from the start. Our care is rooted in the following beliefs:

Ilia Delio, in her book Christ in Evolution, affirms that last point in this way:
The world is created as a means of God’s self-revelation so that, like a mirror or footprint, it might lead us to love and praise the Creator. We are created to read the book of creation so that we may know the Author of Life. This book of creation is an expression of who God is and is meant to lead humans to what it signifies, namely, the eternal Trinity of dynamic, self-diffusive love (Christ in Evolution, p. 62).

The United Methodist Statement on Environmental Stewardship puts it this way:
All creation is under the authority of God and all creation is interdependent. Our covenant with God requires us to be stewards, protectors, and defenders of all creation. The use of natural resources is a universal concern and responsibility of all as reflected in Psalm 24:1: “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.”
Since Earth Day falls on a Sunday this year, this week’s posts will include worship resources for celebrating God, our Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer. I pray they are helpful to you as you pray, adore, and fulfill your calling to care for God’s creation.

Worship Resource: Creation Praise
ONE VOICE: Psalm 19:1-4a (NRSV)
The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night declares knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words; their voice is not heard; yet their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.

ALL SINGING
Verses 1 and 2 of Beautiful by Phil Wickham
CCLI Song #5124024

ONE VOICE: Psalm 108:1-4 (NRSV)
My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and make melody. Awake, my soul! Awake, O harp and lyre! I will awake the dawn. I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples, and I will sing praises to you among the nations. For your steadfast love is higher than the heavens, and your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.

ALL SINGING
The remainder of Beautiful by Phil Wickham
CCLI Song # 5124024

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For more information on United Methodist beliefs regarding the natural world, click here.

compilation © 2012 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution. Please contact Lisa for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

For more information on use of the art, scripture translation and this post in other settings, please refer to the copyright information page.

The Wounds of Christ

John 19:31-34 (NRSV)
Since it was the day of Preparation, the Jews did not want the bodies left on the cross during the sabbath, especially because that sabbath was a day of great solemnity. So they asked Pilate to have the legs of the crucified men broken and the bodies removed. Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who had been crucified with him. But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. Instead, one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once blood and water came out.

Extended quote from Dancing Standing Still: Healing the World from a Place of Prayer by Richard Rohr 
The significance of Jesus’ wounded body is his deliberate and conscious holding of the pain of the world and refusing to send it elsewhere. The wounds were not necessary to convince God that we were lovable; the wounds are to convince us of the path and the price of transformation. They are what will happen to you if you face and hold sin in compassion instead of projecting it in hatred.

Jesus’ wounded body is an icon for what we are all doing to one another and to the world. Jesus’ resurrected body is an icon of God’s response to our crucifixions. The two images contain the whole message of the Gospel.

A naked, bleeding, wounded, crucified man is the most unlikely image for God, a most illogical image for Omnipotence (which is most peoples’ natural image of God). Apparently, we have got God all wrong! Jesus is revealing a very central problem for religion, by coming into the world in this most unexpected and even unwanted way. The cross of Jesus was a mirror held up to history, so we could utterly change our normal image of God.

John 20:19-20 (NRSV)
When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.

Maybe some of our scars won’t follow us into resurrection, I don’t know. But Jesus had scars on his resurrected body. On his hands, on his feet, on his sides. Scars that proved that he lived, and that he loved. Scars that remind me of who he is and how he loves. He let Thomas touch them. Maybe someday he’ll let me touch them.
– Jordyn Osburn, I have stretch marks

The Lord showed his wounds to convince them beyond a doubt that it was not a fantasy or an apparition. A week later he shows his wounds to Thomas. The resurrected body still bore these proofs of his suffering and love. Sixty years later, when John, at Patmos, saw the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, he beheld “a Lamb as it had been slain.” Perhaps our Lord in glory continues to bear the marks of the cross. Perhaps these will forever, as we gaze in glory, remind us of the story of our redemption. – B. W. Johnson

Rather than Thomas should suffer from unbelief, Christ will let him take great liberties. Our Lord does not always act towards us according to his own dignity, but according to our necessity; and if we really are so weak that nothing will do but thrusting a hand into his side, he will let us do it. Nor do I wonder at this: if, for our sakes, he suffered a spear to be thrust there, he may well permit a hand to follow. – Charles Haddon Spurgeon, The Evidence of Our Lord’s Wounds

Caravaggio’s painting illumines a point that the Gospel writers are keen to make in the post-resurrection stories of Jesus. They want to make sure we know that the risen Christ was no ghost, no ethereal spirit. He was flesh and blood. He ate. He still, as Thomas discovered, wore the wounds of crucifixion. That Christ’s flesh remained broken, even in his resurrection, serves as a powerful reminder that his intimate familiarity and solidarity with our human condition did not end with his death. Perhaps that’s what strikes me so about Caravaggio’s painting: it stuns the viewer with the awareness of how deeply Christ was, and is, joined with us. The wounds of the risen Christ are not a prison: they are a passage. – Jan Richardson, The Painted Prayerbook

Our scars tell part of the story of who we are, what has mattered to us, what has happened to us, the risks we’ve taken, the gifts we’ve given.  And as we are reminded in the story before us in John’s Gospel, this was surely also so with Jesus, too. Which is why Thomas insisted he needed to see, no more than that, feel the scars in his hands and put his own hand in Jesus’ side to be sure that it was him.  One would think he would have recognized him with from the features of his face or the sound of his voice, but no, for Thomas, Jesus had become something more since that long walk to the cross a week before.  Jesus’ very identity was now defined by the sacrifice he had made in our behalf.  A sacrifice made most visible in those wounds that by then could have only begun to heal. – Janet H. Hunt, Scars and Stories, Doubt and Faith

Isaiah 53:5 (NLT)
He was wounded and crushed for our sins.
He was beaten that we might have peace.
He was whipped, and we were healed!

Only in the context of grace can we face our sin; only in the place of healing do we dare to show our wounds; only with a single-minded attention to Christ can we give up our clinging fears and face our own true nature. – Henri Nouwen, The Way of the Heart

Jesus invites each one of us, through Thomas, to touch not only his wounds, but those wounds in others and in ourselves, wounds that can make us hate others and ourselves and can be a sign of separation and division. These wounds will be transformed into a sign of forgiveness through the love of Jesus and will bring people together in love. These wounds reveal that we need each other. These wounds become the place of mutual compassion, of indwelling and of thanksgiving. We, too, will show our wounds when we are with him in the kingdom, revealing our brokenness and the healing power of Jesus. – Jean Vanier, Drawn into the Mystery of Jesus through the Gospel of John

Our wounds and scares become the icons of grace. – Paul Young

With a kindly countenance our good Lord looked in to his side, and he gazed with joy, and with his sweet regard he drew his creature’s understanding into his side by the same wound; and there he revealed a fair and delectable place, large enough for all mankind that will be saved and will rest in peace and in love. -Julian of Norwich

The Anima Christi is a medieval prayer to Jesus in the tradition of the Roman Catholic Church. This translation is by Cardinal John Henry Newman.
Soul of Christ, be my sanctification
Body of Christ, be my salvation
Blood of Christ, fill all my veins
Water of Christ’s side, wash out my stains
Passion of Christ, my comfort be
O good Jesus, listen to me
In Thy wounds I fain would hide
Ne’er to be parted from Thy side
Guard me, should the foe assail me
Call me when my life shall fail me
Bid me come to Thee above
With Thy saints to sing Thy love
World without end. Amen.

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Click here, for Steve Garnaas-Holmes meaningful prayer on Thomas’ encounter with the Risen Christ entitled A Prayer to St. Thomas. Also consider his posts entitled, Thomas’ Prayer and The Mark of the Nails

For more quotes and scriptures on Christ’s broken body, click here or click here

For another devotion and original hymn text entitled Tell Me Dear Tree, click here

For another devotion and an original poem entitled The Taste of Death, click here

For another devotion and an original poem entitled You Understand my Pain, click here