Like our sister Mary, an Affirmation of Faith for Advent and Christmas

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Like our sister Mary, we say yes

Yes to your favor
Your presence
Your blessing

Yes that we are enough just as we are
Where we are

Yes to your calling
and the power of the Holy Spirit coming upon us to fulfill it

Yes to bearing and birthing
Your Word and your Promises and your Kingdom
in this time and place

Yes to all things being possible with you

Like our sister Mary we say
Here I am, the Lord’s humble servant
As you have said, let it be done to me
in me
through me

Like our sister Mary we sing and celebrate you
Our God, Our Liberator
For though we are your humble servants
You have noticed us

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This affirmation is offered for all, but especially for those who lead God’s people during the holy-days of Christmas. It can be an weary and stressful time. It’s easy to miss the wonder and grace of God’s intimate presence with so much responsibility. The stakes feel sky high. Breathe, trust, receive brothers and sisters. The promises are for you as well.

We use this as our Affirmation of Faith during Advent by adding the following
ONE:
God is calling, inviting. Christians, what is your answer?
ALL:
Like our sister Mary, we say yes…

Happy Advent and Merry Christmas! – Lisa <><

Like our Sister Mary © 2017 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in devotional settings with proper attribution.
by Lisa Degrenia (www.revlisad.com)
Please leave a comment for information/permission to publish this work in any form.

Based on Luke 1:26-48, The Voice translation

A Prayer for Veterans

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Korean War Veterans Memorial, photo by Agamitsudo via Wikimedia Commons

Let us pause to honor, thank, and remember all who served in the military, living or dead.

Speak or comment below the names of veterans you know, including yourself if you served in the military.⁠⁠

Jesus, we hear your words, “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13, NRSV)⁠

Jesus, we are grateful for those who are like you, those who sacrifice and serve for a greater good. Strengthen all we have mentioned and thousands more who put the welfare of others ahead of their own safety.⁠

Help all military personnel to serve with honor, wisdom, and compassion. Guard them against hard-heartedness, despair, and evil. ⁠

Bring help and healing to all who still struggle in body, mind, and spirit because of what they have experienced.⁠

Strengthen and bless military families, especially when they are separated one from another. Console and comfort military families, especially those who continue to grieve loved ones who made the ultimate sacrifice. ⁠

Surround us all with your protection. Fill us all with your grace. Lead us all with your truth and light.

Micah 4:1-4 NRSV
In days to come the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be raised up above the hills. Peoples shall stream to it, and many nations shall come and say: “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth instruction and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He shall judge between many peoples, and shall arbitrate between strong nations far away; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more; but they shall all sit under their own vines and under their own fig trees, and no one shall make them afraid; for the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken.

God of All, it is your will for the nations to seek you and to know you.
It is your will for us to live together in peace, provision, and equity.

End the selfishness.
End the mistrust and misinformation.
End the violence.

Bring wholeness and hope to every system, relationship, and person broken by war.

Empower us all to pray and work for your promised peace.
Give us the courage to act and your wisdom to know what to do.

We ask this in the strong name of Jesus
Our Savior, our Lord
The Prince of Peace
Who taught us to pray…

Conclude with the Lord’s Prayer

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A Prayer for Veterans © 2019 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Leave a comment for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

Worship and Sermon Resources for Thanksgiving

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WORSHIP RESOURCES
A Prayer for Thanksgiving- Most Blessed, Most Beautiful Christ
This prayer may be voiced by one person, two persons, or one person and the congregation.

God of Abundance, Provision, and Plenty
A prayer based on Genesis 13

A Steward’s Prayer
A prayer based on Matthew 24:42-51

Your Eternal Goodness
A prayer of thanksgiving and praise based on Psalm 65

Make Us Your Sanctuary
A prayer based on Ezekiel 37:26, “I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them, and I will bless them and multiply them and will set my sanctuary among them forevermore.”

Prayer Litany for Thanksgiving
This worship resource includes verses of the hymn All Creatures of Our God and King plus time for silent reflection and prayer.

Thanksgiving Reflection
For centuries, Christians have been reading scripture, followed by a time of prayer. Thanksgiving Reflection is designed in this way, with readings from Deuteronomy 8 followed by prayer prompts for silent reflection. The sequence could be printed or projected on a screen. The post also includes a beautiful altar table display idea for a Thanksgiving or Harvest themed worship service.

Call to Worship: Way, Truth, Life

Your Eternal Goodness, a prayer of thanksgiving and praise based on Psalm 65

SERMON RESOURCES
Enough, A Thanksgiving Message from Psalm 23

A Thanksgiving Reflection Based on Deuteronomy 8

Gratitude and Glory Sightings, a Thanksgiving Message (Luke 13)

A Reflection on Three Psalms of Thanksgiving (Psalms 75, 106, 136)

Satisfying and Silencing: A Reflection and Prayer for Thanksgiving based on Psalm 65
The prayer in this resource is for a solo voice with a congregational response. It could also be a prayer in two voices.

Daily Bread (Matthew 6)
A sermon from a sermon series on The Lord’s Prayer

Prayers, Quotes, and Reflections on Gratitude

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You are welcome to use any/all of these resources in a worship setting with proper attribution. (by Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia, http://www.revlisad.com) Please leave a comment for information and permission to publish any of these resources in any form.

All Saints Day Remembrance for Home or Gathered Worship

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1 Corinthians 1:2-3, NRSV
To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, together with all those who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ

The followers of Jesus in Corinth had some serious problems, infighting and immorality to name a couple, yet Paul calls them saints. A saint is not a perfect person. Saints are simply persons who know their deep need of God. The recognize their need of wholeness and forgiveness, yet they don’t set up house there. They keep trying and growing and trusting in the marvelous grace of God in Jesus Christ.

Let us remember who we are in Jesus-
Beloved, Wounded Healers,
Saints set apart by God and for God

Let us remember our purpose-
To lead a devoted life of compassion, generosity, justice, and hope
A life worthy of the calling to which we have been called
A life which inspires faith in others

Let us remember and recommit ourselves to this life,
by first honoring the lives of those who have inspired us
The heroic and humble who ran the race before us
The martyrs who sacrificed all for the sake of Jesus
And especially those who we have known and loved
who led us to Jesus and encouraged us to deeper faith and service

Name those persons out loud now… pause

Blessed are you, O Lord our God
You surround us with witness after witness to your transforming love
Inspire us and empower us to endure
Fill our hearts with courage

Blessed are you, O Lord our God
You weep with us in our personal heartbreak and loss
Name those you are grieving out loud now… pause
Comfort us and protect us in our mourning
Fill our souls with hope

Blessed are you, O Lord our God
You weep with us in our communal heartbreak and loss
COVID… Fires… Storms… Division… Injustice… Death
Comfort us and protect us in our mourning
Fill our souls with hope

Blessed are you, O Lord our God
You cry out in victory over sin and the grave
Raise us and release us to fulfill your calling to be saints
Fill our lives with faithfulness and good works
Honor and hope
In Jesus’ Name and for His Glory, who taught us to pray…

Conclude with the Lord’s Prayer

Consider lighting candles or lumineria, tying ribbons to a branch or wreath, or placing flowers in a vase or stream following the prayer. 

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All Saints Remembrance 2021 © 2021 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution.
by Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia (www.revlisad.com)
Please contact Lisa for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

Two Pockets: Healthy, Faithful Perspective

A well respected and beloved Polish Rabbi named Simcha Bunim used to say,
“Every person should have two pockets.
In one, there should be a note that says ‘for my sake was the world created.’
In the second, there should be a note that says, ‘I am dust and ashes.’”

Rabbi Bunim went on to say one must know how to use the notes, each one in its proper place and at the right time.

He knows us well

When misused, we hunker down in one pocket and make a home
We use a note to justify, judge, and deflect self examination

For my sake the world was created- I’m all that and a bag of chips
I am dust and ashes- Eeyore is my best buddy

But, when we open to the wisdom of the notes, we accept we are not one or the other. We realize we are both notes. Both pockets. We see the wisdom of the notes in the wisdom of God’s Word which goes back and forth, naming us and reminding us who we are- beloved and dust. We are both and we need both.

I am dust and ashesWhen we are too proud, too entitled, too full of ourselves, too self-sufficient, we reach in a pocket and remember anokhi afar va’efer, I am dust and ashes
I am small
I am worthless
I am mortal
I am unclean
I miss the mark, I stray from the path- that’s what the word sin literally means in Greek
I am like everyone else who has ever lived and who will live
I need a savior

Psalm 90:3 NRS
You turn us back to dust, and say, “Turn back, you mortals.”

Ecclesiastes 3:20b NIV
All come from dust, and to dust all return.

Luke 9:41 NRSV
“O unbelieving and perverse generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you and put up with you?”

In Luke 3, John the Baptist is right to remind us we are a “brood of vipers” and of our need of repentance, to turn back to God’s path, not just with our words but our actions.

for my sake was the world createdThen, when we are discouraged, overwhelmed and losing faith (when we feel like dirt) we reach in the other pocket and remember bishvili nivra ha’olam, for my sake was the world created.
I am a unique and beloved child of the King of kings
Christ loved me enough to die for me and raise me to new life
I am fearfully and wonderfully made
I am called
I am gifted
I am empowered by the Holy Spirit to do great things for God
God is using me in the salvation and transformation of the world

Psalm 8:4-8 NRSV
What are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them? Yet you have made them a little lower than God, and crowned them with glory and honor. You have given them dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under their feet, all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas.

Psalm 139:14 NRSV
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; that I know very well.

We stand with Jesus in our baptism, water washed, anointed with the fiery dove of the Holy Spirit, named and claimed by God as beloved children.

Jesus stepped into the water not out of his need but of ours
To remind us of our great need- I am dust and ashes
To remind us who we are in Him- For my sake the world was created

Prayer for Perspective
Eternal and Beautiful God,
The One who births us and names us
Grant us perspective
A holy centering
of truth, humility, and our belovedness

Not too high that we fall away from you
our need of you
our need of others

Not too low that we fail to trust
to reach out for you
to reach out with you

In you, with you, for you we are
humble and powerful
unique and alike
common and regal
priceless and dust

Grant us perspective, Merciful One
A holy centering
Let no voice be too loud
Or too soft
So we may persevere in faith
in hope
in following
in becoming
Amen

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I am indebted to Rabbi Jack Moline for a blog post which provided much of the information and inspiration for this reflection.

Two Pocket Devotion and Prayer for Perspective © 2014 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are very welcome to use this in a worship or group setting with proper attribution.