2 Prayers based on the Creation Story (Genesis 1.1-2.3)

seashore under white and blue sky during sunset

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

How Great you are, Creator God
Bringer of Light and Life!

How glorious!
How powerful!
How generous!
How good!

You create and you sustain
Season after season, ever faithful

Fill me with your creative power
to bring your goodness to this land and people

Sustain me with your generative grace,
that I may persevere in your love and will,
one of unnumbered souls revealing you and your gifts.
Amen.

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Creative, Powerful God
Generous Author of Life
You make
You bless
You give
You call us to care and tend for your gifts
You call us to receive and rest in your presence
We hear you
It is good, very good
You are Good, Very Good
Your mercies are everlasting
Hallelu! Glory, Hallelu!

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2 Prayers Based on the Creation Story © 2019 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Leave a comment for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

The 2016 TED Talk Experiment- Week 13

TED talk blog graphic 2

The Magic Ingredient That Brings Pixar Movies to Life
Danielle Feinberg
TED Talks Live New York City, November 2015
Science and art working together. “We use science to create something wonderful. We use story and artistic touch to get us to a place of wonder.” 

Try Something New for 30 Days 
Matt Cutts
TED2011 Long Beach California, March 2011
Delightful. Encouraging. Big ideas- 1. You can build courage 30 days at a time. 2) Small, sustainable changes stick.

Success, failure and the drive to keep creating
Elizabeth Gilbert
TED2014 Vancouver BC, March 2014
Watch this talk! It took 6 years of failure before Elizabeth Gilbert was finally published. Why did she continue to put herself through that pain? “I loved writing more than I hated failing at writing. Which is to say I loved writing more than I loved my own ego. Which is ultimately to say I loved writing more than myself.” Writing is her home. She returns to it again and again in failure or success. “I will always be safe from the random hurricanes of outcome as long as I never forget where I rightfully live.” What is your home? 

Wisdom From Great Writers on Every Year of Life
Joshua Prager
TEDActive 2015 Whistler BC, March 2015
Interesting project. “Like art and like color, literature helps us to remember what we have experienced.”

TED’s Secret to Great Public Speaking
Chris Anderson
TEDStudio New York City, March 2016
“Ideas are the most powerful force shaping human culture.” Ideas shape us and change us now. We carry this change into future attitudes and behaviors. 

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I’m trying an experiment in 2016. Maybe you’d like to try it with me.

Here’s where I am
I’m tired of the spin. I’m tired of ideas, news, and entertainment really being one long sales pitch for profit or power.

I’m longing for creativity, curiosity, and inspiration. I’m in search of passionate people willing to speak to the truth and complexity of living with a heart of hope. I want to hear from authentic humans who are in the trenches working for the greater good.

I think I’ve found them in the TED community.

“TED is a global community, welcoming people from every discipline and culture who seek a deeper understanding of the world. We believe passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and, ultimately, the world. On TED.com, we’re building a clearinghouse of free knowledge from the world’s most inspired thinkers — and a community of curious souls to engage with ideas and each other, both online and at TED and TEDx events around the world, all year long.”

TED’s been around for 30 years. I’ve heard about them and even watched a couple of talks, but I’ve never spent any concentrated time mining the good stuff. So….

Here’s the plan
Watch 5 enthusiastic, inspiring TED Talk presenters a week for a year.
Apply and share the goodness.

The 2016 TED Talk Experiment- Week 12

TED talk blog graphic 2

It’s Performing Arts Week. May the creativity inspire your own. – Lisa <><

The Genius Puppetry Behind War Horse
Handspring Puppet Company with Adrian Kohler and Basil Jones
TED2011 Long Beach California, March 2011
Simple resources become theatre magic in the hands of these creators and performers. 

Watch me play … the audience!
Bobby McFerrin
World Science Festival, June 2009
The pentatonic scale is our world language

An 11-year-old prodigy performs old-school jazz
Joey Alexander
TED2015 Vancouver BC, March 2015
A young man with a whole bunch of swing and style. 

The dancer, the singer, the cellist … and a moment of creative magic
Bill T. Jones and TED Fellows Joshua Roman and Somi
TED2015 Vancouver BC, March 2015
Creative collaboration born in the moment. A joy to watch them respect and enjoy one another. The sum is greater than it’s parts. 

A dance in a hurricane of paper, wind and light
Aakash Odedra
TEDGlobal2014 Rio de Janiero, October 2014
Cool concept stretched into too long a piece

BONUS-
An electrifying organ performance
Qi Zhang
TEDxUSC Los Angeles California, March 2009
A WOW player and programmer of a rare WOW of an instrument. 

******************
I’m trying an experiment in 2016. Maybe you’d like to try it with me.

Here’s where I am
I’m tired of the spin. I’m tired of ideas, news, and entertainment really being one long sales pitch for profit or power.

I’m longing for creativity, curiosity, and inspiration. I’m in search of passionate people willing to speak to the truth and complexity of living with a heart of hope. I want to hear from authentic humans who are in the trenches working for the greater good.

I think I’ve found them in the TED community.

“TED is a global community, welcoming people from every discipline and culture who seek a deeper understanding of the world. We believe passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and, ultimately, the world. On TED.com, we’re building a clearinghouse of free knowledge from the world’s most inspired thinkers — and a community of curious souls to engage with ideas and each other, both online and at TED and TEDx events around the world, all year long.”

TED’s been around for 30 years. I’ve heard about them and even watched a couple of talks, but I’ve never spent any concentrated time mining the good stuff. So….

Here’s the plan
Watch 5 enthusiastic, inspiring TED Talk presenters a week for a year.
Apply and share the goodness.

2016 TED Talk Experiment- Week 5

TED talk blog graphic 2
Here’s what I chose for week 5. I found them under the heading Hidden Gems on the TED website.

The Shared Wonder of Film
Beeban Kidron
TED Salon London, Spring 2012
What a fantastic idea- using great films like great literature to broaden experience, encourage understanding, and spark thoughtful discussion on a variety of important topics.  Where do I sign up?

How I Became 100 Artists
Shea Hembrey
TED2011, March 2011
Hembrey is the poster child for cleverness, imagination, and creativity. I didn’t know whether to giggle as he spoke of his fictional artist personas like they were real people or wonder at the breadth of voices,  subject matter, and mediums. I think both.

Love- you’re doing it wrong
Yann Dall’Aglio
TEDxParis, February 2014
In earlier ages, persons secured their love/value by fulfilling their role in traditional, communal structures. The freedoms of modernity changed this in radical ways. “On the free market of individual desires, I negotiate my value every day.” Thus the drive of consumerism isn’t materialism, it is actually the acquisition of “seduction capital” to prove and enhance our desirability. This creates incredible anxiety. The speaker encourages us to embrace humility and tenderness as another path to love of self and others.

Fashion and Creativity
Isaac Mizrahi
TED 2008, February 2008
Here’s the nugget of wisdom I found in this very random talk: Give yourself permission to try many different things and to chase random moment of inspiration.

The Surprising Thing I Learned Sailing Solo Around the World
Dame Ellen MacArthur
TED 2015 Vancouver BC, March 2015
1. This is one of the most exciting, adventurous, and focused persons I’ve ever encountered 2. Thank God she’s now working for all of us- to help establish a sustainable, circular global economy which will make the best possible use of our very finite resources

******************
I’m trying an experiment in 2016. Maybe you’d like to try it with me.

Here’s where I am
I’m tired of the spin. I’m tired of ideas, news, and entertainment really being one long sales pitch for profit or power.

I’m longing for creativity, curiosity, and inspiration. I’m in search of passionate people willing to speak to the truth and complexity of living with a heart of hope. I want to hear from authentic humans who are in the trenches working for the greater good.

I think I’ve found them in the TED community.

“TED is a global community, welcoming people from every discipline and culture who seek a deeper understanding of the world. We believe passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and, ultimately, the world. On TED.com, we’re building a clearinghouse of free knowledge from the world’s most inspired thinkers — and a community of curious souls to engage with ideas and each other, both online and at TED and TEDx events around the world, all year long.”

TED’s been around for 30 years. I’ve heard about them and even watched a couple of talks, but I’ve never spent any concentrated time mining the good stuff. So….

Here’s the plan
Watch 5 enthusiastic, inspiring TED Talk presenters a week for a year.
Apply and share the goodness.

Rest = Sabbath Re-creation

Lily Cousins by Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia. My photography hobby helps me to slow down and appreciate life. What hobbies or practices help you to Sabbath?

Matthew 11:28-29 The Message
Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion?
Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life.
I’ll show you how to take a real rest.

The practice of Sabbath is an essential spiritual discipline due to its origin as a command (God requires us to observe sabbath) and to its therapeutic value (we cannot continue to work or serve without rest). At its best, the sabbath is an opportunity for prayer and play, self-denial and celebration. The practice of sabbath is also an act of trust and witness: God is able to act in the world apart from human effort or achievement. In this sense the sabbath can become a sign of God’s grace. … In a culture that affirms activity and busyness, the gift of sabbath is both a challenge to our lifestyles and a means of God’s saving grace in our lives.
– Kenneth H. Carter, Jr., Alive Now, July/August 2012

The sacrament of Sabbath—keeping a chosen time sacred (though all time is holy; there is no distinction or division between profane and sacred!)—was offered by the Jewish people as a gift for all of humanity. And in our busy, technology-driven culture, it is especially important that we intentionally seek rest and re-creation. It might be saying that at least one-seventh of life must be about non-performance and non-egocentric pursuit, or we forget our life’s purpose. – Richard Rohr

Grant me grace this day
to rest and remember
that there is nothing I have to do,
nothing I have to buy or sell,
nothing I have to produce or consume
in order to become who I already am:
your beloved creation.
May your overworked creation
and those who cannot rest today
come to know the liberation of your sabbath.
– Sam Hamilton-Poore, Earth Gospel: A Guide to Prayer for God’s Creation

Perhaps you need to consider a retreat because you were made for both engagement and withdrawal–engagement with the world and life and withdrawal to be renewed and re-created. In the Creation story, this profound truth is modeled in the action of God who labored for six days and rested on the seventh. What kind of Superman or Wonder Woman would it take to say, “God may need withdrawal and rest, but I don’t!”
– Ben Campbell Johnson and Paul H. Lang, Time Away: A Guide for Personal Retreat

Some of us need to discover that we will not begin to live more fully until we have the courage to do and see and taste and experience much less than usual … And for a man who has let himself be drawn completely out of himself by his activity, nothing is more difficult than to sit still and rest, doing nothing at all. The very act of resting is the hardest and most courageous act he can perform. -Thomas Merton

Mark 6:31 NRSV
Jesus said to them, “Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat.

There is more to life than increasing its speed.
– Mohandas K. Gandhi 

Sometimes the most urgent thing you can possibly do is take a complete rest.
-Ashleigh Brilliant

Sometimes the most important thing in a whole day is the rest we take between two deep breaths, or the turning inwards in prayer for five short minutes. – Etty Hillesum

I do not know what restores you, where you take your rest, how you find the sustenance that enables you to meet those who wait for you with their insistent hungers. But whatever it is, whatever soothes you and brings you solace, may you find it in the rhythm of this day, as close as the beating of your heart, as quiet as the space between the beats. – Jan Richardson, Come Away and Rest

Prayer for Rest
Cleansing breaths are incorporated into this prayer as a means to help us slow down and clear away the distractions that keep us from deep communion with God.

Breathe in…. Breathe out…

Jesus
Lord of the Sabbath
Prince of Peace
You invite me to come away with you and rest a while

Breathe in…. Breathe out…

My world is so fast
So noisy
So needy
So full
Help me rest

Breathe in…. Breathe out…

Reveal the fears that drive me
Free me from false pressures and priorities
Renew a right spirit within me

Breathe in…. Breathe out…

Cover me with your healing wings
Surround me with your refuge and grace
Fill me with your peace and hope and home
Till my being finds complete rest in you

Breathe in…. Breathe out…
Rest in God’s presence…

For another breath prayer/poem entitled Rest a While by Steve Garnaas-Holmes, click here

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Prayer for Rest © 2012 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution. Leave a comment for posting and publication considerations.

For a reflection and worship resource entitled Claiming Sabbath and the Bread of Life, click here

 

Bless Christ, Through Whom All Things are Made

Fresco of Christ creating the sun, moon and stars from the St. Paraskevi Shrine, Greenlawn, NY

This is the second of four creation themed worship resource posts in honor of Sunday’s Earth Day rallies and celebrations. For more information on the Christian understanding of the care of creation, click here.

This hymn text was born a decade ago during some quiet time spent with Colossians 1:15-18.

Jesus is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—all things have been created through him and for him. He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything. (NRSV)

In this passage, creation is described as an ongoing act. The fullness of Trinity is found: Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer; yet all things are created and are held together through Christ, the Word spoken in creation, the eternal Word made flesh.

This text was selected to be part of a new United Methodist worship resource entitled Worship and Song. Each lyric or liturgy I write feels like a gift. I am excited and thrilled that this gift will be shared with so many.

For a PDF of the hymn as it will appear in the Worship and Song pew edition, click here Bless Christ, Through Whom All Things are Made

Bless Christ Through Whom All Things Are Made
by Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
a hymn text based on Col. 1:15-18
Meter 88.88 (LM)
Suggested Tune- POXON

Bless Christ through whom all things are made.
Join seen and unseen in their praise
of One who both creates, sustains
who goes before, in justice reigns.

Who makes the lion and the lamb
the farthest star, the smallest hand
dominions, rulers, and their pow’rs
the steadfast mount, the fleeting hours?

Who made the ore for blood soaked nails?
Who made the thorns and whipping tails?
Who made the sun that would not shine
and made the tree on which Christ died?

Who makes the waters of our birth?
Who makes the dust where we return?
Who makes the way for us to die
and rise to everlasting life?

Bless Christ though whom all things are made.
Join seen and unseen in their praise
of One who both creates, sustains
who goes before, in justice reigns.

© 2000, revised 2009
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.
Lisa is especially interested in collaborating with someone to set this text to music.

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

Ash Wednesday Prayer Experience: Station 3

Photo by Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia

Ash Wednesday Prayer Experience
Station 3: Relate and Respond

The Setting
One half of a medium sized room with medium lighting. Art inspired by the character of God or Biblical stories is placed on easels or hung on a wall. (Our display included five paintings.) If the art was inspired by a scripture passage, display the reference to that passage with the art. Chairs face the art with a Bible on each chair. Consider having some of the chairs behind tables with pen and paper available for journaling or simple art supplies for drawing/sketching.

The Experience
1. As persons enter the room, they read the following: As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go to meet with God? (Psalm 42:1-2 NIV) The life, death, and resurrection of Jesus express the heart of God. How will you respond to a love this great? Some laugh, some cry, some worship or bow down, others paint. These paintings are responses to Jesus’ love story for us. What will your response be?

2. Persons may sit or stand for their time of reflection and prayer. Some will want to look up the Bible passages for one or more of the paintings. Some will want to journal or create a simple work of art themselves.

Tree of Life

My Experience
My eye was immediately drawn to the warm colors of the Tree of Life painting. (Revelation 22:1-6) It spoke to me of boundary breaking- the roots breaking through the dry soil, the trunk breaking open the surface of the ground, the branches breaking through the world’s box of legalistic religion and our tendencies to label who is inside and who is outside of God’s grace. It spoke to me of God’s ultimate triumph- the healing of the nations. The beauty and diversity of God’s people, fruitful and whole, one with each other and one in the Light of the Lamb.

How is God calling you to bring the healing of God’s Kingdom on earth, as it will be in heaven? What destructive boundaries need to be broken?

Aside
God first spoke to me through art. In my case it was through singing African American spirituals in school choirs. Later it was through worship music and church choirs.

After I became a pastor, I was introduced to spiritual journaling. This pattern of scripture reading and response deepened my walk with God dramatically. Journaling addressed a key problem I was having with my prayer time, staying focused. My mind wandered when I prayed. Journaling also opened me up to being more honest with God and to hearing God more clearly. I am often surprised where the conversation leads as pen touches paper. Journaling led to creative writing as a devotion practice. (liturgies, prayers, song lyrics and poetry) This blog was born so I could share it with others.

In 2010, I began to discover sacred visual art. (painting, collage, photography, mixed media, etc.) I realized how the use of color, space, and image could shape a small group or worship experience. The visual expression would often express things words alone could not. This is one of the reasons why we were so motivated to include an art related prayer station in this experience.

How does God speak to you through the arts?

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A huge THANK YOU to our friends at Orange City United Methodist Church in Orange City, Florida for lending us their sacred art.

This station is the third of four prayer stations designed for use on Ash Wednesday. They could of course be used anytime when the themes for self-reflection and prayer include our mortality, our sorrow for our sin, and recommitment to living in alignment with God’s holy will.

© 2012 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia and Nicole Sallee. 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.

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