Prayer: Make Us Like You (Acts 6-7)

WalkLikeJesusThis prayer comes in response to reading Acts 6-7, the witness and murder of Stephen, who again and again responds as Jesus would. – Lisa <><

Jesus, make us like you
We ask this nobly, with great sincerity
But we do not really know what we are asking
It is a fearsome prayer

In our eagerness, we forget
A burning heart comes with a tear stained face
Royal dignity comes with a basin and towel
Transcendent understanding comes with accusing shouts
suspicious whispers
Divine companionship comes with a kiss of betrayal
Arms open in welcome come with nail pieced hands

Even so, make us like you
Embodied Love
Steadfast and Supple
One with our Father
Made manifest in compassion and new life
Bodies made whole
Minds made whole
Our world made whole
Your Holy Spirit flowing in us and through us
In wonder and wisdom and truth
Clarity, communion and peace

Even so, Jesus
Make us like you

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Prayer: Make Us Like You © 2014 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.

Prayer: The Hidden Net (Psalm 31:1-5)

Frodo captured by the spider, Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

Frodo captured by the spider, Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

Psalm 31:1-5 NRSV
In you, O Lord, I seek refuge; do not let me ever be put to shame; in your righteousness deliver me. Incline your ear to me; rescue me speedily. Be a rock of refuge for me, a strong fortress to save me. You are indeed my rock and my fortress; for your name’s sake lead me and guide me, take me out of the net that is hidden for me, for you are my refuge. Into your hand I commit my spirit; you have redeemed me, O Lord, faithful God.

There is a net that is hidden
It lies in the shadows
Blends in to the background
Covert
Camouflaged
It waits patiently

It is just for me
It knows my weakness
Grabbing my attention
Snaring me in misinformation
Entangling me in self sufficiency
Wrapping me like a fly in a web
Sticky and shrouded in doubt and despair

Deliver me, my Refuge
Hear my cry, my Rock
My Righteous Redeemer

Through the power of your Son and Spirit
Liberate me from this entombing trap
Free me to your will and way

I seek You
You alone
Into Your hand I commit my spirit

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When I first read this Psalm, I imagined a fishing net hidden in murky water. The feelings of entrapment and terror took me to the scene from Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King when Frodo loses his way in the shadowy cave and is captured by the spider’s deadly web.

In the midst of his greatest need Frodo is both swaddled like a baby (birth) and wrapped like a mummy (death). Sam, his faithful companion, later delivers him, for he was not himself and could not save himself. How like the deliverance of our faithful God, who companions us and champions us. Consider Lazarus bound for death but called forth from the tomb by Jesus, the victorious resurrection of Jesus himself, and the promise of new life for all who believe. (Romans 6:3-4) – Lisa <><

Prayer: The Hidden Net © 2014 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.

Poem: Romans 12:12

sprout in dry soilRomans 12:12 NRSV
Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer.

Rejoice in hope!
Celebrate!
Shout!
Dance with our Maker!
Play in the dappled sunlight
Echo the sweet song of brook and bird
Laugh with all the children of God’s good earth
Feast on The Promise
Who alone is steadfast
Who alone satisfies and strengthens

Be patient in suffering beloved
Pain clouds the truth
Perspective will hide, so be patient
Christ is still near, weeping with you
Let the tears wash the ashes from your eyes
Let them cleanse the confusion
Remember and Re-joy
Suffering comes to all
it prunes
it breaks open
Like Christ, we die to live
We too are buried only to burst forth in spring green growth

Persevere in prayer
Keep your hand to the plow, the Spirit at the lead
Drive to the Source
Drive deep
Learn to be loved, to be love
Quick to know the will of the Known and the Knowing
Go deep
Go often
Go to the Source
Why unplug your fire power?
Why exchange it for something frail, false, passing?
God’s fire does not destroy, it burns away
so you may be full of Light

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Romans 12:12 © 2014 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.

Prayer: Most Blessed, Most Beautiful

christus-hand-lds-adapted1 Corinthians 3:21-23 NRSV
So let no one boast about human leaders. For all things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all belong to you, and you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God.

Most blessed, most beautiful Christ,
in you we receive all things

The receiving takes growth, so you give us guiding-
saints and sages and scripture
Thank you for the guiding

The receiving takes others, so you give us the world-
nature and neighbors and nations
Thank you for the world

The receiving takes change, so you give us seasons-
life and death and new life
Thank you for the seasons

The receiving takes time, so you give us time-
present and future and forever
Thank you for the time

Most blessed, most beautiful
You give us yourself
And in you, O Christ
We belong
To you and to God and to all
Thank you for the giving

For a worship setting, consider the following version. One voice prays the portion in regular print while the congregation prays the portion in bold print.

Most blessed, most beautiful Christ,
in you we receive all things

The receiving takes growth, so you give us guiding-
saints and sages and scripture
Thank you for the guiding
in you we receive all things

The receiving takes others, so you give us the world-
nature and neighbors and nations
Thank you for the world
in you we receive all things

The receiving takes change, so you give us seasons-
life and death and new life
Thank you for the seasons
in you we receive all things

The receiving takes time, so you give us time-
present and future and forever
Thank you for the time
in you we receive all things

Most blessed, most beautiful
You give us yourself
And in you, O Christ
We belong
To you and to God and to all
Thank you for the giving
in you we receive all things

The congregation now offers their own prayers of thanksgiving, concluding with the Lord’s Prayer

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Most Blessed, Most Beautiful © 2014 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.

Poem: In My Beginning

The Spirit Hovering by Nicora Gangi

The Spirit Hovering by Nicora Gangi

In my beginning
Formless
Chaotic
Swirling nothingness
Murky, inky emptiness

You are there

Your Spirit moves in the silence
Expectant
Brooding

You breathe
You speak

Light begins
Life begins

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I was overwhelmed recently by memories of life before knowing God. It reminded me of the chaos and emptiness of Genesis 1:1-3. Thankful those days are no more and that God offers light and life to all, even me. – Lisa <><

For more information on today’s featured artist, Nicora Gangi, and her comments on her work click here. Please consider patronizing her work and the work of other artists at Spark and Echo Arts.

In My Beginning © 2014 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.

Blessing the Calling

anointing confirmationPsalm 133 (NRSV)
How very good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity!
It is like the precious oil on the head,
running down upon the beard, on the beard of Aaron,
running down over the collar of his robes.
It is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion.
For there the Lord ordained his blessing, life forevermore.

Precious oil
A luxurious, extravagant outpouring
Running, skipping upon your head
Flowing down your face
Pooling on your clavicle
Seeping into your bones
Signifying to all your calling
Reminding you of you
God’s chosen instrument
God’s anointed beloved
God’s fragrant presence
Being made holy
and whole
Overflowing with all that you have found
With all that has found you
Bearer of Blessing
Forevermore

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For a devotion and prayer based on Psalm 133 entitled Psalms of Peace, click here

Blessing the Calling © 2014 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.