Worship Resource: Eyes Open

Christ Icon by Nikola Mihaylov via Wikimedia Commons.

Christ Icon by Nikola Mihaylov via Wikimedia Commons.

Faith is trusting what the eye can’t see.
Eyes see the prowling lion. Faith sees Daniel’s angel.
Eyes see storms. Faith sees Noah’s rainbow.
Eyes see giants. Faith sees Canaan.

Your eyes see your faults. Your faith sees your Savior.
Your eyes see your guilt. Your faith sees his blood.
Your eyes look in the mirror and see a sinner, a failure, a promise-breaker.
But by faith you look in the mirror and see a robed prodigal
bearing the ring of grace on your finger and the kiss of your Father on your face.
– Max Lucado, When God Whispers Your Name

Hebrews 11:1 NRSV
Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

The following worship resource was inspired by a devotion entitled Eyes Open by Steve Garnaas-Holmes and is adapted and published here with his gracious permission. I have found Steve’s work consistently beautiful, thoughtful, and prayerful and look forward to worshipping alongside him through his daily posts on his blog, Unfolding Light. Consider this an enthusiastic recommendation to join me as a subscriber.
– Lisa <><

Worship Resource: Eyes Open
ONE:
On the road to Emmaus,
their eyes were kept from recognizing the Risen Christ.

ALL:
Open my inner eye to see your presence.

ONE:
Thinking the Risen Christ to be the gardener,
Mary Magdalene asked, “Where have you taken him?”

ALL:
Help me see you in all people.

ONE:
The Risen Christ stood on the beach in the morning light,
but the heartbroken fishermen did not know it was him.

ALL:
Help me trust in your presence,
even when I do not feel it.

ONE
Weary and guilt-ridden, Jacob realized,
“Truly, God was in this place and I,
I did not know it.”

ALL:
You have walked with me
even when I did not know it.
Grant me gratitude and trust.
May I ever wonder at your presence
and walk in faith. Amen.

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Eyes Open © 2014 Steve Garnaas-Holmes
adapted with permission by Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution. Please contact Steve and Lisa for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

Prayer from Visions of a World Hungry by Thomas G. Pettepiece

Indian street seller hands displaying green chickpeas. Photo by Jorge Royan via Wikimedia Commons

Indian street seller hands displaying green chickpeas. Photo by Jorge Royan via Wikimedia Commons

Prayer from Visions of a World Hungry by Thomas G. Pettepiece
Lord, I already know the best way to alter my life-style to the best advantage for all — live like Jesus. The Christian existence ideally is to imitate what you do. You send the sun and rain on everyone, you want me to bet back to the basic facts of life, to love without reservation, to distinguish between life’s needs and life itself, and seek first your kingdom knowing you will meet all my other needs.

Still it is easy to trust in the “things” of today and feel like it is up to me to see that humanity survives. Keep me from undue worry and pride. Remind me that life is a gift — not a right, and that my attitude toward the ultimate resources and values in life will determine how the earth’s resources will be handled and provided for those who need them. I have already formed many habits of consuming and acting. Guide me in aligning my personal priorities to conform to my awareness of a world hungry. May my life-style become more compatible with our biosphere and supportive of peoples around the world.

Lord, help me choose a simpler life-style that promotes solidarity with the world’s poor, helps me appreciate nature more, affords greater opportunity to work together with my neighbors, reduces my use of limited resources, creates greater inner harmony, saves money, allows time for mediation and prayer, incites me to take political and social action.

May all my decisions about my style of life celebrate the joy of life that comes from loving you. Amen

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Visions of a World Hungry by Thomas G. Pettepiece. (The Upper Room, 1979)

Prayer: Fully Me, Fully Us (Ephesians 3:14-21)

Ephesians-3-17-19
God keeps bringing Ephesians 3:14-21 before me- in my devotions, in the writing of others. Repetition means pay attention, so it continues to drive my prayers. – Lisa <><

Steadfast and Faithful One,
Your Holy Spirit is at work in all things, even me
Thank you for your persistent, pursuing grace

This is my desire- to trust you more than I trust myself
what I know and what I know how to do
This is my desire- to be full of you
no longer this shallow shadow of me
but me, fully me, in the light of Christ

The power to be fully me is from you alone
What I am when I am at home with myself in the home of your love
Dwell in my very heart
Dwell in my desiring
Dwell in the depth of my soul
that I may grasp the depth of your love
Infinite
Extending in every direction
Surrounding every person and need
A flood of grace
Flood our being
That we may know that we know that we know
We are completely known by you and loved by you

Your love surpasses every plan
Every logic
Every statistic
Every theory and theorem
Every fix and solution and discovery
It is above all we can ask or imagine or know

Your love covers all and conquers all
It makes us us
It makes us your people, your church
Fill us with this love
This power
Fill us with you
Amen

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For another post based on this passage entitled Extending Blessing, click here.

Today’s graphic was found on Deborah “Annie” Ruge’s blog, theOnething1721. Be sure to check out her terrific art, graphics, and upcycling projects.

Fully Me, Fully Us © 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.

Quotes: Reconciliation and Peacemaking

One of the statues of the Reconciliation Triangle by Broadbent Studio. For more information, see the link below.

One of the statues of the Reconciliation Triangle by Broadbent Studio. For more information, see the link below.

2 Corinthians 5:17-19 (NRSV)
So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us.

Reconciliation is the physical demonstration that God is at work in the world. Any fool can put people at odds. Only God – one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all – can bring those opposed to one another together as sisters and brother. When we lose reconciliation, we lose the purposes of Jesus.
– Sean Palmer, Missing the Point

Running throughout our sacred texts, traditions, and experience is the thread of God’s desire for union, inclusivity, non-violence, trust, patience, and healing.– Richard Rohr

Forgiving and being reconciled to our enemies or our loved ones are not about pretending that things are other than they are. It is not about patting one another on the back and turning a blind eye to the wrong. True reconciliation exposes the awfulness, the abuse, the hurt, the truth. It could even sometimes make things worse. It is a risky undertaking but in the end it is worthwhile, because in the end only an honest confrontation with reality can bring real healing. Superficial reconciliation can bring only superficial healing.
– Desmond Tutu

We have not come to compete with one another.
We have come to complete one another. – Bill McCartney

Extended quote from Compassion in Practice: The Way of Jesus by Frank Rogers Jr.
Radical compassion in the face of violence invites the offender into a right and appropriate relationship. Jesus yearns for reconciliation – the estranged will be reunited, enemies will heal their differences, and perpetrators of violence will be restored to the communities that they betrayed. Radical compassion hopes for such reconciliation, and invites it even with those who act egregiously.

Reconciliation, however, is neither naive nor cavalier. Reconciliation has conditions. It requires the following:

  • Repentance. The violent or abusive person repents and admits the wrong he or she committed.
  • Remorse. He or she shows remorse for the pain his or her actions caused.
  • Restitution. He or she makes restitution, if only symbolically, in an attempt to restore that which was lost.
  • Rehabilitation. He or she commits to take steps toward his or her recovery so that further violation no longer occurs.

The response to injustice is to share.
The response to despair is a limitless trust and hope.
The response to prejudice and hatred is forgiveness.
To work for community is to work for humanity.
– L’Arche Founder Jean Vanier, Community and Growth

Violence, no matter how dramatic, doesn’t change anything. The world is already full of it, and more of it is just more of it. What actually changes the world is when the violence stops. It’s when the wounds and fears that drive our violence are healed. It’s when people who are bitter or afraid are reconciled. It’s forgiveness, kindness and nonviolence. What changes the world is the slow, quiet, gradual work of mending the human soul.
Steve Garnaas Holmes, Conspiracy

The only Hebrew Scriptures that [Jesus] quotes are those that move toward mercy and justice and inclusivity. There are scriptures that present God as punitive, imperialistic, or exclusionary, but Jesus never quotes them in his teaching. In fact, he speaks against them…. Jesus was not changing the Father’s mind about us; he was changing our mind about God—and thus about one another. If God and Jesus are not hateful, violent, punitive, torturing, or vindictive, then our excuse for the same is forever taken away from us. – Richard Rohr, What Jesus Says about God

John 14:27 NRSV
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.
I do not give to you as the world gives.
Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.

Give me peace by Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Terrible things have happened.
God, grant me acceptance.

People have been hurtful.
Give me forgiveness.

I am not done being hurt by what has happened.
Help me let go.

I also have done terrible things.
Forgive me.

I am afraid of my own guilt.
Heal me of my shame.

I want so desperately to be “good” that I need others to be “bad.”
Release me from judging.

I am angry because I feel powerless.
Give me peace.

I am afraid of my vulnerability.
Give me peace.

I am addicted to my fear and anger.
Give me peace.

In fear, I desire more violence, that others bear my pain.
Give me peace.

My anxiety, like a gun, makes me feel safe and powerful.
Give me peace.

This world is in need of healing.
Give me your peace, that I may be healing,
for this alone is your desire.
Amen.

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The Reconciliation Triangle consists of three memorials in three different cities confessing their role in human trafficking, asking for forgiveness, and vowing to continue to work for justice in this matter. Click here for more details of this powerful project.

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

Receive and Rejoice (1 Peter:1-9)

Rose window from a Catholic church in Germany, St. Maria and Potentinus

Rose window from a Catholic church in Germany, St. Maria and Potentinus

A psalm of praise and invitation based on 1 Peter 1:1-9 (NRSV)

Receive and Rejoice!
Rejoice with an indescribable joy
Inexpressible
Unspeakable
A joy greater than words
A great and glorious joy
Loose
Liberated
Boundless

Receive and Rejoice!
A joy worthy of new birth
Of a living hope
A joy anchored in the imperishable
The Eternal
Undefiled and Unfading

Receive and Rejoice!
This joy was chosen for you
Destined for you
Sanctified, sprinkled and saved for you
By the Merciful One
God… Father of grace and glory
God… Son and Savior
God… Spirit and Sustainer

Receive and Rejoice!

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Receive and Rejoice! © 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.