Call to Worship- We are not the first to come this way

walk path water sunThis call to worship was commissioned for the opening worship service of the 2016 Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference of the United Methodist Church. The call includes a person from each conference holding a container, each with a different type of soil from their home conference. At the end of the liturgy, they pour the soils into a single container as a symbol of God’s power to bring unity in diversity. 

VOICE ONE
As we gather on your good earth,
in the light of your love and hope
We honor your holy name and remember

ALL
We remember

ONE
We are not the first to come this way
We walk the path of native ancestors
Who respected your land, your creatures,
and their place in your world

ALL
We remember
Thank you for their lessons
Teach us to care for your creation, including each other

ONE
We are not the first to come this way
We walk the path of colonizers
Who disrespected your children, stole from your children,
bought and sold your children

ALL
We remember
Their legacy haunts us still
Free us from slavery to sin and death

ONE
We are not the first to come this way
We walk the path of immigrants and refugees
Who cross desert and mountain, river and sea
in search of safety and opportunity, freedom and home

ALL
We remember
We share their story, their hopes and dreams
Show us how to welcome and share

ONE
We are not the first to come this way
We walk the path of Coke and Asbury
Who loved your word, took up their cross,
and spread your Good News across this region

ALL
We remember
Their witness calls us to faith and action
Fill us with your holy fire

ONE
We remember we are made in your image
We remember we are dust and to dust we shall return

ALL
We remember
Common soil, common ground
Make us one in our humility
Make us one in our diversity
Make us one in you

Everyone sings Make us One by Carol Cymbala (CCLI #695737) as the sand is poured

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We are not the first to come this way by Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia © 2016
You are welcome to use this in a worship setting with proper attribution.
Please contact Lisa directly for publishing and posting consideration.

Prayer of Confession- Break Through (Matthew 13; Psalm 103)

flower breaking through concreteThis prayer of confession was commissioned for the opening worship service of the 2016 Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference of the United Methodist Church. It borrows imagery from Jesus’ Parable of the Sower, found in Matthew 13.

ONE:
As we gather on your good earth,
before the bounty of your Word and Table,
and the majesty of your holy presence,
We remember and repent

ALL:
Forgive us, Abiding One,
We keep you at a distance
We defy your bidding
We make it harder for people to know you

Forgive us, Saving One,
We deny our weakness
We wallow in our weakness
We take advantage of the weakness of others

Forgive us, Holy One,
We refuse your counsel
We waste your gifts
We withhold your compassion from others

Break through
Break through our hardened views,
lest the evil one win the day
Break through our gravelly hearts
lest we have no root and wither to nothing
Break through our thorny ways
lest our agendas and fears
choke the promise of your word
and smother a harvest worthy of your Name

Silent Confession

ONE: Psalm 103:8-14 CEB
Hear the good news-
The LORD is compassionate and merciful,
very patient, and full of faithful love.
God won’t always play the judge;
he won’t be angry forever.
He doesn’t deal with us according to our sin
or repay us according to our wrongdoing,
because as high as heaven is above the earth,
that’s how large God’s faithful love is for those who honor him.
As far as east is from west—
that’s how far God has removed our sin from us.
Like a parent feels compassion for their children—
that’s how the LORD feels compassion for those who honor him.
Because God knows how we’re made,
God remembers we’re just dust.

ALL:
We remember and rejoice.
Glory to God! Amen!

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Prayer of Confession- Break Through by Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia © 2016
You are welcome to use this in a worship setting with proper attribution.
Please contact Lisa directly for publishing and posting consideration.

Sermon Recording: Why Care for Creation? (Genesis 1)

plant seedsMessage: Why Care for Creation?
Scripture: Genesis 1-2:3
Click here for the reader’s theatre script for Genesis 1-2:3 used in this recording.

Offered 4/26/15, the Sunday after Earth Day, at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota FL

I’m indebted to Richard Rohr’s blog post, The Story That Defines Us, for his rich discussion of the Biblical creation story as compared to the Babylonian creation story found in the Enuma Elish.

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I’m excited to now offer mp3’s of my Sunday messages. A huge thank you to Leon and my brothers and sisters at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota for all their help in making this possible. If you’re ever in Sarasota, please drop by for worship Sundays at 9am or 10:30am, or drop by during the week for a chat or small group. You and those you love are always welcome.

© 2015 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Contact the Lisa for posting and publication considerations.

Reader’s Theater: The Days of Creation (Genesis 1)

The Days of Creation by Edward Burne-Jones

The Days of Creation by Edward Burne-Jones

Reader’s Theater: The Days of Creation
Scripture: Genesis 1:1-2:3, adapted from the New Revised Standard Version
Parts: 3 Narrators

NARRATOR 1
In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. Then God said,

ALL NARRATORS
Let there be light

NARRATOR 1
and there was light. And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.

NARRATOR 2
And God said,

ALL NARRATORS
Let there be a dome in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.

NARRATOR 2
So God made the dome and separated the waters that were under the dome from the waters that were above the dome. And it was so. God called the dome Sky. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.

NARRATOR 3
And God said,

ALL NARRATORS
Let the waters under the sky be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.

NARRATOR 3
And it was so. God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good. Then God said,

ALL NARRATORS
Let the earth put forth vegetation: plants yielding seed, and fruit trees of every kind on earth that bear fruit with the seed in it.

NARRATOR 3
And it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation: plants yielding seed of every kind, and trees of every kind bearing fruit with the seed in it. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the third day.

NARRATOR 1
And God said

ALL NARRATORS
Let there be lights in the dome of the sky to separate the day from the night; and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years, and let them be lights in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth.

NARRATOR 1
And it was so. God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars. God set them in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth, to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.

NARRATOR 2
And God said

ALL NARRATORS
Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the dome of the sky.

NARRATOR 2
So God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, of every kind, with which the waters swarm, and every winged bird of every kind. And God saw that it was good. God blessed them, saying,

ALL NARRATORS
Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.

NARRATOR 2
And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day.

NARRATOR 3
And God said

ALL NARRATORS
Let the earth bring forth living creatures of every kind: cattle and creeping things and wild animals of the earth of every kind.

NARRATOR 3
And it was so. God made the wild animals of the earth of every kind, and the cattle of every kind, and everything that creeps upon the ground of every kind. And God saw that it was good. Then God said

ALL NARRATORS
Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.

NARRATOR 3
So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them, and God said to them

ALL NARRATORS
Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.

See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.

NARRATOR 3
And it was so. God saw everything that he had made,

ALL NARRATORS
and indeed, it was very good.

NARRATOR 3
And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

NARRATOR 1
Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all their multitude. And on the seventh day God finished the work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all the work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all the work that he had done in creation.

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Adapted from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Reader’s Theater: The Days of Creation © 2015 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution.
Contact the Lisa for posting and publication considerations.

Worship Resources for Earth Day, April 22

Praise in Bloom by Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia

Every year, thousands of people gather on April 22 to celebrate Earth Day. May these resources draw you closer to the One who is Maker of Heaven and Earth and inspire you to better care for the wondrous world we share. – Lisa <><

Prayer for Earth Day
A short, simple prayer

Morning Prayer by Steve Garnaas Holmes
A joyful prayer incorporating images of sunrise and nature. Reminds me of All Creatures of Our God and King by Francis of Assisi.

Lauds by Steve Garnaas Holmes
A beautiful, rich prayer which would be especially powerful if prayed outdoors as the sun rose.

The Story That Defines Us
A rich theological reflection by Richard Rohr on the Biblical creation story compared to another creation story of the ancient world.

Reader’s Theater: The Days of Creation
A multi-reader version of Genesis 1:1-2:3

Sermon Recording: Why Care for Creation
Based on Genesis 1-2:3.

Protecting the Earth 
A collection of scriptures and quotes with a link to a nine-day creation-themed prayer cycle

Creation Praise
A short reflection on the Christian understanding of creation care followed by a prayer combining scripture and song. (Psalm 19:1-4a; Psalm 108:1-4; Beautiful by Phil Wickham)

Creation Praise 2
Another prayer combining scripture and song (Psalm 148; All Creatures of Our God and King)

Prayer Litany for Thanksgiving
Originally designed for Thanksgiving celebrations, this combination of prayer, reflection, and song also works well for Earth Day.

God Who Brings the Cleansing Rain
an original hymn text which may be sung or spoken

Bless Christ, Through Whom All Things are Made
an original hymn text which may be sung or spoken

Psalms of Nature: A Reflection on Psalm 148

Psalms to God’s Glory: A Reflection on Psalm 19

You are God – not me, not us;
help me to remember this simple fact each day.
You are the Center of creation – not me, not us;
help me to recognize my place within the orbit of your grace.
You are the Source of all life – not me, not us;
let me find in you my kinship with all creation.
–Sam Hamilton-Poore, Earth Gospel

You are welcome to use any of these works in a private or public worship setting with proper attribution. Please leave a message for information and permission to publish any of these works 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)

Worship Resources for Earth Day, April 22

Praise in Bloom by Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia

Every year, thousands of people gather on April 22 to celebrate Earth Day. May these resources draw you closer to the One who is Maker of Heaven and Earth and inspire you to better care for the wondrous world we share. – Lisa <><

Prayer for Earth Day
A short, simple prayer

Morning Prayer by Steve Garnaas Holmes
A joyful prayer incorporating images of sunrise and nature. Reminds me of All Creatures of Our God and King by Francis of Assisi.

The Story That Defines Us
A rich theological reflection by Richard Rohr on the Biblical creation story compared to another creation story of the ancient world.

Protecting the Earth 
A collection of scriptures and quotes with a link to a nine day creation themed prayer cycle

Creation Praise
A short reflection on the Christian understanding of creation care followed by a prayer combining scripture and song

Creation Praise 2
Another prayer combining scripture and song

Prayer Litany for Thanksgiving
Originally designed for Thanksgiving celebrations, this combination of prayer, reflection, and song also works well for Earth Day.

God Who Brings the Cleansing Rain
an original hymn text which may be sung or spoken

Bless Christ, Through Whom All Things are Made
an original hymn text which may be sung or spoken

Psalms of Nature: A Reflection on Psalm 148

Psalms to God’s Glory: A Reflection on Psalm 19

You are welcome to use any of these works in a private or public worship setting with proper attribution. Please contact Lisa for information and permission to publish any of these works in any form.