Speaking Peace in the Face of the Storm

Quotefancy-806355-3840x2160As I write this, Hurricane Ian is gaining strength and making its way to Florida. I have family and friends in the Tampa Bay area. I serve a congregation located beachside between the Atlantic Ocean and the intercoastal waterway, Coronado Community Church in New Smyrna Beach. We have 10 sister churches in Cuba.

There’s much to warrant true concern. There’s much that is unknown. In the midst of it all, God is near. God’s well of hope, safety, and belonging is deep and it is for you. Love one another, make the best decisions you can, pray and trust God. You are not alone.
Your sister and servant in Christ- Lisa <><

Jesus, we see You calming storms
Storm tossed seas and stormy lives
Extend Your power and grace again,
Upon us and all in need

Speak peace and healing over bodies and spirits
overwhelmed by the crashing waves of circumstance
Jesus, speak peace.

Moment of silence

Speak peace and perspective over minds and hearts
adrift in confusion or drowning in fear
Jesus, speak peace.

Moment of silence

Speak peace and hope over people, families, and communities
swamped by danger and loss
Jesus, speak peace.

Moment of silence

Speak peace and truth over the media.
Inspire them to use their influence
to build hope and goodwill rather than stir up anxiety
Jesus, speak peace.

Moment of silence

Speak peace and protection over first responders –
firefighters, law enforcement, medical personnel,
power workers, government workers, and shelter workers-
as they risk their lives to keep people safe
and help those who are suffering.
Jesus, speak peace.

Moment of silence

Speak peace and belonging over those who are displaced by evacuation –
those in shelters, those stranded on highways,
those in hotels, those far from loved ones.
Keep them safe.
Jesus, speak peace.

Moment of silence

Speak peace and well-being over those who are hunkering down-
the well prepared, the foolish, and the vulnerable,
especially those who are poor or alone.
Jesus, speak peace.

Moment of silence

You are the Prince of Peace.
You are the Resurrection and the Life.
You are strong to save.
Our hope and trust are in You

Offer your own prayers. Conclude with the Lord’s Prayer.

If you are using this prayer in a group setting, one person reads the light print and everyone reads the bold print. 

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Speaking Peace in the Face of the Storm © 2017, updated 2022 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution.
Leave a comment for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

Three Prayers based on Hebrews 11

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I’m blessed, challenged, and encouraged by the writing ministry of Rev. Steve Garnaas-Holmes, a retired United Methodist pastor. I’m grateful for permission to pass along many of them on my blog.

Consider subscribing to his blog, www.unfoldinglight.net. When you do, his prayers will appear in your inbox Monday through Friday. – Lisa <><

Hope by Steve Garnaas- Holmes

Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
—Hebrews 11.1

Hope is not optimism, not wishing,
not a bet on the future,
but trust in what is already present, unseen.
I hope in the sunrise because the earth is already turning.
My faith is not that God will intervene
and make things better or fix problems;
my faith is that love is at work.
I trust in hidden love even as injustice runs loose.
I believe in our Oneness even as war and racism wound us.
I know our Belovedness even as we assault each other.
Even though we damage the earth,
though the violent rage and the rich oppress the poor,
still this world is born of Goodness,
and grace flourishes even in bad places,
and Love holds us in aching but untiring arms.
Even when the way is not well lit, I live in hope.

Homeland by Steve Garnaas-Holmes

People who speak of faith make it clear that they are seeking a homeland.
— Hebrews 11.14

Beloved Dark Mystery,
among the places I have gone, the places I have stayed,
the places I long to see—
I am seeking a homeland.
A place of deep belonging, of rest and safety,
where my story is part of the story,
my life is part of the beauty.
Whether a native in my native land
or an immigrant still rooting or a ceaseless nomad,
I know my true home, my original soil, is you.
I am at home in you.
You are my womb, my earth, my people, my root.
You, Love that births all being,
you are my homeland,
and I am always coming from you
and traversing you and returning to you.
Here is my gratitude, my peace, and my belonging.
Thank you.
Amen.

Tender by Steve Garnaas-Holmes

When I am weak, God,
let me be weak,
without resistance to your grace.

When I am powerless
may I be empty of all
but your power.

When I am angry
let my anger melt into its fear,
my fear rise into trust.

When I am outraged
let my passion for justice
be benevolent and steadfast.

When I despair
root my longing in your presence,
my desire in your hope.

Loving God, by your sure hand
keep me fearlessly tender,
mercifully strong.

Help me Pick a Cover Color

Greetings Dear Ones!

Things have been quiet here for several months. I hope you’ve been able to find some meaningful worship resources using the search box.

Several things have kept me away, including working on a guided spiritual journal. This journal is specifically designed for folks taking a pilgrimage to the Holy Land or other location found in the scriptures.

I’d love your help choosing a color for the cover of the journal. The title, photos, and layout are finalized, but not the color. Leave a comment below with your favorite choice. I’d also love to know why this one is your favorite.

Peace be with you – Lisa <><

Three Prayers for Ukraine

Benn-(Benejou-Rabinowicz--1905-89)--Psalm-120-7_900

Psalm 120:7 “I am for peace, but when I speak they are for war” From a French publication of paintings by Benejou Rabinowicz based on the Psalms entitled Benn

PRAYER: Hear Our Cry
Holy One, we recognize the deep pain of our world, in Ukraine and so many other places.⁠ We join those who mourn the tremendous loss of life and home, those who mourn the loss of freedom. ⁠

ALL: Holy One, we trust you weep with us. ⁠Your healing, saving work continues. ⁠

Hear our cry for those running to a new home in a new place. Bless and provide for all who are welcoming the refugees, especially the children separated from their parents. ⁠

ALL: Holy One, we trust you welcome them. ⁠Your healing, saving work continues. ⁠

Hear our cry for those resisting the destruction and violence of the invasion, for those in Russia and Ukraine pushing back against evil, revealing truth from falsehood, for those trained to lay down their lives for love and justice and for civilians taking up arms to defend their beloved land.

ALL: Holy One, we trust you never abandon. Your healing, saving work continues. ⁠

Hear our cry for your work of peace to be fulfilled.⁠
No more war⁠
No more tears⁠

No more separation⁠
⁠No more tyrants

No more devastation⁠
No more death⁠

Jesus, save your beloved from overwhelm⁠ and occupation
Strengthen faith, hope, and compassion
We trust the triumph of your goodness and grace.⁠
For you are the Resurrection and the Life. ⁠
Amen. ⁠

PRAYER: Choices
Holy One,
Your word provides examples
Examples to follow and examples to avoid

You do not sugarcoat life
You reveal the destructive consequences
of vain, self-serving lives
You reveal the vicious injustice
of fear-full, pride-full, impulsive choices

We see this right now in Ukraine
and far too many other places in our world

We call on your mercy and healing
for faith-full living
Grant us and all people
compassionate, courageous, teachable spirits,
so we may choose your way and life
no matter the cost

In Jesus’ name we trust and pray
Amen

PRAYER: Calm Our Hearts
God our Refuge, calm our hearts when evil abounds
They run to lonesome places, screaming an alarm
Calm our hearts so we can find you above the fear

God our Strength, calm our hearts when evil abounds
They race to revenge, pounding with anger
Calm our hearts so we can hear you above the hammering

God our Help, calm our hearts when evil abounds
They rush to human strength, grasping for control
Calm our hearts so we can hold
to your way, your truth, and your life

Calm hearts in Russia and Ukraine
soften and open hearts
encourage and strengthen hearts
turn hearts to goodness and life

Calm hearts
So they may beat in unison with yours
So healing may flow into all brokenness
So hope may fill all devastation
So compassion and peace and unity may rise up among all people

God our Strength, our Refuge, our Help
We entrust our lives to you
We step forward with you in your saving work
Amen

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Three Prayers for Ukraine © 2022 You are welcome to use the original portions of this work 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 this work in any form.

Strong, Fierce Love – a St. Valentine’s Day reflection and prayer based on Song of Solomon 8.5-7

matches-heart-2

Who is that coming up from the wilderness,
leaning upon her beloved?

The strong, fierce love of God in Christ Jesus
leads us out of the dry, barren places
bears weight, we can lean on it

Under the apple tree, I awakened you.
There your mother was in labor with you;
there she who bore you was in labor.

The strong, fierce love of God in Christ Jesus
opens, quickens
is more intimate than our first breath

Set me as a seal upon your heart,
as a seal upon your arm;

The strong, fierce love of God in Christ Jesus
makes a lasting impression
a tattoo of everlasting grace

for love is strong as death,
passion fierce as the grave.

The strong, fierce love of God in Christ Jesus
comes for us all
an unrelenting longing for our good

Its flashes are flashes of fire,
a raging flame.
Many waters cannot quench love,
neither can floods drown it.

The strong, fierce love of God in Christ Jesus
is unchanging
unquenchable
unstoppable

If one offered for love
all the wealth of one’s house,
it would be utterly scorned.

The strong, fierce love of God in Christ Jesus
is precious
priceless

Will you accept the gift of God’s love?

Rabbi Jesus
Promised Messiah
Son of the One, True, Living God
Fill me with your Spirit
Make me your love

It is your command
It is your way
It is your gift
It is You and your work

Yes, make me your witness
And yes, make me your will
But first and always, make me your love

Pause in silence to receive

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Strong, Fierce Love © 2019 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution. (by Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia, revlisad.com) Please leave a comment for information and permission to publish this work in any form.