The Visitation- Christmas Reflections for Mary and Elizabeth (Luke 1)

old and young hands

Based on The Visitation, Luke 1:39-56

There They Stand
Mary entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth.
– Luke 1:40

There they stand
breathless
belly to belly
the maid and the elder cousin
full of grace and truth

John leaps for joy
Covered in the flesh of Elizabeth
Unborn, yet already at work
In the wilderness of her womb
He will not wait to make the Way known

Elizabeth extends her arthritic hands
One wrapping Mary in welcome
The other in blessing
Encompassing the inexperienced traveler
in affirmation of faith

Worship overwhelms worry
In the sanctuary of her solace
Mary is safe enough to sing

As You Have Said
Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said… The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.” – Luke 1:38, 49

Revel and Rejoice
Praise and Proclaim
Magnify
Glorify
Adore

Our Steadfast Savior
Mindful of our frailty
Looks on our lowliness
and responds with greatness
Great grace and Greater grace
for us and for all

Holy, Holy, Holy Lord
God of power and might
Heaven and earth are full of Your glory
It is as you have said

Your mercy extends
Floods and Flows
Through time and place
Through need and pain
Body and Soul to
Soul to Soul to Soul to…

You show true strength
Bringing down those who bow the knee to no one
Scattering those who set up their own kingdoms
be it castle or corporation
Revealing it to be ashes
and emptiness

You show true strength
Lifting up those bowed low
Face in the dirt
Bearing the weight of excess and greed
Buried beneath crushing injustice

You show true strength
Raising up
Filling up
Faithful, Covenant Keeper
Remembering and
Re-membering

Revel and Rejoice
Praise and Proclaim
Magnify
Glorify
Adore

It is and will be
as You have said
Holy, Holy, Holy Lord

Believe by Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment
of what was spoken to her by God. —Luke 1.45

This time of year we’re told to “believe.”
But what does that mean?
Judging from the movies to believe
means to believe in magic, or Santa, or romance,
to be optimistically wishful and naïve.
In many Christian circles to believe means
to think, as in believing certain doctrines are true.
But the word “believe” comes from old English,
rooted in German, belieben—to love.
In scripture to believe means to give your heart:
to lovingly entrust yourself, not to an idea but to a person.

Blessed is she who trusts God, and the power of love.
Blessed is she who trusts
that God’s promise will be fulfilled in her.
Blessed is she who trusts
that her love is more powerful than empires.
Blessed is she who entrusts herself
to the One who births her,
and who is in her, and whom she births.
Blessed is she who trusts her worthiness,
that her calling is sure and her gift is needed
and her voice carries weight.
Blessed is she who gives herself over
to the divine work of bearing love into the world.

Blessed are you,
and blessed is the fruit of the womb of your heart.

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There They Stand © 2010 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
As You Have Said © 2014 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution.
by Lisa Degrenia (www.revlisad.com)
Please leave a comment for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

Prayer for Labor Day

The Carpenter by Nathan Greene

A hundred times a day I remind myself that my inner and outer life depend on the labors of other people, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the full measure I have received and am still receiving. – Albert Einstein

An extended quote from All for Jesus by Charles Spurgeon
To a man who lives unto God nothing is secular, everything is sacred.

He puts on his workday garment and it is a vestment to him.

He sits down to his meal and it is a sacrament.

He goes forth to his labor, and therein exercises the office of the priesthood. His breath is incense and his life a sacrifice.

He sleeps on the bosom of God, and lives and moves in the divine presence.

To draw a hard and fast line and say, “This is sacred and this is secular,” is, to my mind, diametrically opposed to the teaching of Christ and the spirit of the gospel…

Peter saw a sheet let down from heaven in which were all manner of beasts and four-footed creatures, which he was bidden to kill and eat, and when he refused because they were unclean, he was rebuked by a voice from heaven, saying, “What God hath cleansed that call not thou common” [Acts 10:15; 11:9].

The Lord hath cleansed your houses, he has cleansed your bed chambers, your tables… He has made the common pots and pans of your kitchens to be as the bowls before the altar – if you know what you are and live according to your high calling.

You housemaids, you cooks, you nurses, you ploughmen, you housewives, you traders, you sailors, your labor is holy if you serve the Lord Christ in it, by living unto Him as you ought to live.

The sacred has absorbed the secular.

Prayer for Labor Day
VOICE ONE: Almighty God, Maker of Heaven and Earth, you declared your work good and so do we. Empower us to continue your good work through the labor of our minds and hands.

VOICE TWO: This Labor Day Weekend, pour out again your blessing and strength on all who work. On those who make it possible for us to have food on our tables:
Farm workers, truckers, grocers, cooks, and restaurant employees
ALL: Bless and strengthen, O Lord

VOICE ONE: On those who work to keep us healthy:
Doctors, nurses, technicians, researchers, and medical manufacturers
ALL: Bless and strengthen, O Lord

VOICE TWO: On those who inspire us and lead us to greater good:
Inventors, explorers, religious leaders, teachers, writers, artists, and mentors
ALL: Bless and strengthen, O Lord

VOICE ONE: On those who facilitate needed products and services:
Office workers, managers, and administrators
Retail workers, bankers, lawyers, politicians, and accountants
ALL: Bless and strengthen, O Lord

VOICE TWO: On those who make our lives easier and safer by the sweat of their brow:
Warehouse workers, construction workers, janitors, and sanitation workers
Police officers, fire fighters, and those who serve in the armed forces
ALL: Bless and strengthen, O Lord

VOICE ONE: On those who work with the poor, the abused,
the dangerous and the dying
Social workers, counselors, and therapists
Hospice workers and corrections officers
Those who work in shelters, soup kitchens, and halfway houses
ALL: Bless and strengthen, O Lord

VOICE TWO: Gracious God, help all workers, especially those in authority over other workers, to carry themselves with honor and integrity. Keep them safe from harm, prejudice, and injustice. Provide the opportunities, benefits, and pay needed to sustain them and their loved ones.

Those who are looking for employment are invited to stand. Persons may also stand on behalf of a friend or loved one who is looking for employment. Those seated around them lay a hand of blessing and support on them for the remainder of the prayer.

VOICE ONE: Strong and Merciful One, we also commend to your blessing and care those who are unemployed or underemployed. Guard them against discouragement and discrimination. Relieve them of worry and anxiety. Meet their needs for home and health. Come quickly with a living wage at a fulfilling job with a trustworthy employer.

VOICE TWO: God of Life, deliver us and all people from greed, corruption, and predatory business practices. Open eyes to sustainable and just solutions so workers of all nations will mutually prosper. Lead us as we work, so nothing we do is for self alone, but for the common good and for your glory.

VOICE ONE: We ask all this in the strong name of Jesus, the Carpenter of Nazareth, the Rabbi of Galilee, who taught us to pray

Close with all praying the Lord’s Prayer

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Click here for an excellent Labor Day Prayer by Steve Garnaas Holmes.

Click here, for more information on the beautiful work of today’s featured artist, Nathan Greene

Prayer for Labor Day © 2011 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution. Please leave a comment for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

Come, Sup with God- a prayer poem

bread wine salami

Image by Mandy Fontana from Pixabay

A prayer/poem/lyric based on Matthew 22:1-14, The Parable of the Wedding Banquet. It also includes themes from John 6.

Come Sup With God
by Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Meter 88.88 (LM)
Suggested tunes:
HURSLEY (United Methodist Hymnal #339) or
GIFT OF LOVE (United Methodist Hymnal #408)

*I’d be very interested in working with a composer to set this to music

Come, sup with God all you who thirst
All you who hunger be the first
Feast on Christ’s Body and his Blood
O taste and see this meal of Love

Come, children, elders, blind, and spent
Come, foolish, able, indigent
Confess, repent, and then receive
Forgiveness flows abundantly

Come often, friend, for here is grace
made manifest in time and place
Christ’s mercy floods our brokenness
with healing balm and righteousness

Come to be changed. Come to be fed.
Come savor Christ, the Life, the Bread.
Drink deep the gift of healing poured
and leave a vessel of our Lord.

Sing Praise to Christ our Host and meal
Whose saving work provides the seal
for us once bound, now freed from death
to live for Christ with every breath

_________________________

Come, Sup with God © 2000 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution.
Please leave a comment for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

Independence Day Prayer for Unity (Psalm 133)

Psalm 133 Ben Shahn

Psalm 133 by Ben Shahn

Psalm 133
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.

On this Independence Day, I long for our neighborhoods and nation to experience the freedom of this psalm- the freedom of true unity. I long for the dividing walls to come crashing down. I long for an end to destructive division.

In this Psalm, the goodness of God-breathed unity is compared to the anointing of Aaron as high priest and dew on the mountains of Hermon and Zion in Israel.

True unity is precious, like sacred, costly oil or a trusted source of water in the wilderness.

True unity brings abundant blessing to an entire community. It is generous and lavish. There is so much oil it runs down Aaron’s beard and on to his robe. There is so much dew it can sustain plants, animals, and people on a rugged mountainside.

True unity means goodness for all. It is pervasive, crossing unjust boundaries. The anointing oil is mixed with spices so the aroma pervades the gathering. The dew makes way for fragrant flowers, fruits, and crops which are enjoyed by the whole community.

True unity is holy and unique. The oil is set apart for the ritual anointing of a priest or king. It is used for no other purpose. Mount Hermon is set apart for its height and snow, the highest point in the region at over 9,000 feet. Mount Zion in Jerusalem is set apart for the worship of God. True unity sets a group of people apart, a rare and beautiful light in our world.

Holy God
One yet Three
Reach into the abundance of your companionship
Bring forth unity and healing in our land
Pour out peace on violent homes and hearts
Shower compassion on selfish and short-sighted motives
Rain down justice, generosity, and goodness
so all are covered in blessing and harmony and life
Forevermore
Forevermore
Amen

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Independence Day Prayer for Unity © 2021 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Leave a comment for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

Worship and Sermon Resources for Trinity Sunday

trinity window

1. PRAYER: Holy Trinity, Community of Love by Lisa Degrenia
Holy Trinity, Community of Love,
Draw us together in your creative light

Root us in the ground of your being,
Vulnerable before one another,
Unashamed in your presence and each other’s

Make us joyful in the ways you gift each of us:
Quick to celebrate, serve, and share
Quick to live your love
Amen.

This prayer was inspired by the story of the creation of humanity found at the end of Genesis 1 and the beginning of Genesis 2.

2. PRAYER: Prayer to the Holy Trinity by Lisa Degrenia
Holy Trinity:
Creating Love
Saving Love
Sanctifying Love

You welcome us to your unity
Your community
You do not condemn
but make the way to new life, eternal life, with you through Christ
Hallelujah!

Grant us grace to receive the fullness of your mercy and healing and transformation.
Free us from all things that block living your love fully,
so we may be joyful and faithful in all things,
so we may speak your words with truth and fruitfulness,
so we may live and lead wisely,
so we may be your instruments of peace and hope,
so we may love as you love.

Glory to you, forever!
Honor to you, forever!
Praise and blessing to you, forever!
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Amen!

3. PRAYER AND HYMN: Joyful Praise
Great for opening a worship service. Combines verses of the hymn Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee with a prayer from I, Francis by Carlo Carretto

4. CALL TO WORSHIP: Receive and Rejoice by Lisa Degrenia
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!

Based on 1 Peter 1:1-9 (NRSV)

5. RESOURCES: Trinity, Community, and Love
Quotes, an original prayer, plus an original poem/song lyric

6. REFLECTION: Holy Trinity by Steve Garnaas Holmes

7. PRAYER: a prayer from the Eastern Church

Glory to the Father, our true and only hope
Glory to the Son, our true and only refuge
Glory to the Holy Spirit, our true and only protection
Glory to the Holy Trinity, our true and only light
Now and to the ages of ages, Amen

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© 2021 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.