What Must I Do? a prayer based on Matthew 19.16-22

Based on Matthew 19:16-22,
Jesus and the Rich Young Ruler.

Lord, what must I do?
What must I do to truly live,
to live forever?

There are better questions beloved
Better questions which bring better answers

How shall I love?jm_200_NT2.pd-P20.tiff
Honor the sacred gift of life
Honor committed relationships
Honor what belongs to others
Honor the truth

Who shall I love?
Honor family
Honor the other

See the richness of God’s blessing
daily bread and daily companions

See the preciousness of life
all life, every life

Treasure people as God treasures you
especially those who are unlike you
especially those far from comfort and influence
Love them more
Love them most
Love your neighbor as yourself

Expand your soul
Open your arms
Empty your purse
Let nothing keep you from the fullness of love

Lord hear our prayer
Lord make it so

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What Must I Do? © 2017 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.

How Large Your Heart, a call to worship based on Matthew 18.21-35

GOD is love, i john 4 7 8Based on Matthew 18:21-35, parable of the unforgiving servant

How large your heart, my King
How great your forgiveness
How generous your mercy

How large your heart, my King
How deep your compassion
How quick your charity

How large your heart, my King
How extravagant your grace
How present your hope

Glory to your Holy Name!

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How Large Your Heart © 2017 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.

Take Up The Cross, a prayer based on Matthew 16.24-28

take-up-your-cross-0022Based on Matthew 16:24-28

Merciful Jesus, give me the courage to deny privilege
To lay down favor and safety
in order to take up the cross of opportunity and justice

Merciful Jesus, give me the courage to deny consumerism
To lay down convenience and gratification
in order to take up the cross of sustainability and generosity

Merciful Jesus, give me the courage to deny prejudice
To lay down apathy and segregation
in order to take up the cross of diversity and true love

Merciful Jesus, have mercy on me
Show me what to pick up and what to lay down
that I may lose and loose
in order to find and bind
all that is of you
that I may bear all that leads to life
and give me the courage to help others do the same
Amen

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Take Up the Cross © 2017 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.

Prayer- Come, Good Gardener (John 15, Matthew 5)

vineyard grape vine

Based on John 15:1-17 and Matthew 5:38-42

Jesus,
we live, move, and have our very being
in the vineyard of your abundant grace

Grow in us
your vulnerability, generosity, and mercy
that we may join you
in breaking the cycle of retaliation and revenge

Come, Good Gardener
For the honor and glory of your name we pray
For the hope of a new humanity we follow
Amen!

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Come, Good Gardener © 2017 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.

Prodigal Son, Prodigal Father, Prodigal God

honore-daumier-the-prodigal-son

Study for The Prodigal Son by Honore Daumier

Day after day, week after week, I’m blessed by the wisdom and beauty of God passed along by Steve Garnaas Holmes on his blog Unfolding Light. Consider subscribing to the goodness.

Steve most often bases his posts on his walks through the beauty of Colorado or on the week’s Gospel reading from the Revised Common Lectionary. As such, this week Steve’s been writing on themes from Luke 15:11-32, most commonly known as the parable of the prodigal son.

These writings have been extraordinary, so I’ve gathered them here with Steve’s permission. May they challenge you and inspire you to more and more embody the wasteful, reckless, extravagant love of our God in Jesus. – Lisa <><

Click here for the Younger Son’s Prayer (2016)
Click here for the Older Son’s Prayer (2016)
Click here for the Prodigal Father’s Prayer (2016)

The word “prodigal” does not mean “wayward,” as many believe (based on our tendency to join the brothers in making judgments). It means wastefully or recklessly extravagant, extraordinarily generous, giving “prodigiously.” The term was meant to refer to the younger son’s lavish living—but it’s really the father who’s prodigal, isn’t it? The father extends generous grace and love to both sons when neither of them “deserve” it.
Steve Garnass-Holmes, Prodigal Father (2013)

Excerpt from Prodigal People by Steve Garnaas Holmes (2013)
The prodigal father extends love and blessing to both his sons. No demands, no qualifications, no judgments, no favoritism. He sets aside any judgment of either son, simply wanting to be in relationship with them. He loves them both, offers himself to them both, and invites both of them to share his joy.

If our Prodigal God is this generous, forgiving and inclusive, how can we be otherwise? If God declines to judge and punish, how can we? Jesus embodies God, giving himself for the sake of the poor, welcoming the outcast, taking his place among the condemned, offering nothing but love and life. And we seek to follow him, to be godlike in the same way.

A Prodigal People’s Prayer by Steve Garnaas Holmes (2016)
O Prodigal God, wastefully loving,
recklessly extravagant with grace,
excessively generous with forgiveness,
liberal with tender mercy and compassion,
lavish with hope and delight:
you shower us with love
that we are not prepared to receive.
You know the hurt beneath our fleeing,
the fear enclosed in our anger
and our clutching of what is deserved.
You embrace us freely and passionately,
free from our past, knowing and healing our pain,
in the present moment, celebrating.

You have recklessly given us your love:
may we spread it wantonly, give it all away,
spend it on the unlovely, waste it on the unworthy.
May we set aside our pride and practice delight.
May we claim again the siblings we have spurned,
and gladly celebrate those we have excluded.
May we offer hospitality to the unlovely,
forgive where it is unwarranted,
and love when it is unreasonable.

In your love may we love lavishly,
without exception or measurement.
Yes, it will break our hearts;
we shall be taken advantage of, and worse—
we shall be crucified, and only your love will remain.
And then for us, who have died and are alive again
you will give a great feast.
By your grace may this life be a reunion,
a celebration, a resurrection,
that in prodigal love we may know your joy,
your giving, dancing, feasting, running, embracing joy.

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Steve Garnaas Holmes retains the copyrights to his work referenced and posted here. Contact him directly for posting and publishing considerations.

Generosity: There is Enough. I am Enough.

fear of missing out fomo mojo brene brownPsalm 23:5 (NRSV)
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

It is good to remember that a part of you has always loved God. There is a part of you that has always said yes. There is a part of you that is Love itself, and that is what we must fall into. It is already there. Once you move your identity to that level of deep inner contentment, you will realize you are drawing upon a Life that is much larger than your own and from a deeper abundance. Once you learn this, why would you ever again settle for scarcity in your life? “I’m not enough! This is not enough! I do not have enough!” I am afraid this is the way culture trains you to think. It is a kind of learned helplessness. The Gospel message is just the opposite— inherent power.
– Richard Rohr

John 10:9-10 NRSV
Jesus said, “I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”

There’s enough for everyone’s need but not enough for everyone’s greed.
– Ghandi

Jesus taught us that if we share, if we combine our resources with trust in God, there is enough — the abundance mentality. This perception that there is enough connects directly to our willingness to share compassionately. It flows naturally from being detached from our possessions; when we want less, we have enough.
– Christopher Maricle, The Jesus Priorities

Mark 12:41-44 NRSV
Jesus sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the crowd putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which are worth a penny. Then he called his disciples and said to them, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”

True poverty and riches are in our hearts,
not our pockets.

Fear is the only prison that prevents us
from loving deeply,
from giving freely,
from living richly.

Generosity is the power that sets us free.
It melts the prison bars.
It fills the coffers of our hearts.

In generosity, regardless of circumstances,
even the penniless are not poor,
even the destitute are not alone,
even the flat broke are not afraid.

Give everything you have,
all you have to live on,
and you will be free
and unafraid.
Generosity by Steve Garnaas Holmes

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Advent Photo-A-Day: Day 13, Justice

Micah 6:8 by Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia.

Micah 6:8 by Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia.

The thought behind the photo:
SCRIPTURE: Micah 6:8 NRSV
He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

Do justice and love kindness and walk humbly with your God
It’s all about the “and”. – Lisa Degrenia <><

Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief.
Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now.
You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.
-The Talmud

Encourage by Steve Garnaas Holmes
The blind receive their sight, the lame walk,
the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised,
and the poor have good news brought to them. – Matthew 11.5

Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees.
Say to those who are of a fearful heart,
“Be strong, do not fear! Here is your God.
The Holy One is coming in triumph, with unassailable justice.
– Isaiah 35.3-4

Isaiah promises a world in which “sorrow and sighing will flee away.” For those who know grief or despair, who suffer oppression or abuse, who face injustice or violence— dare they hope for such a day? And if they do, what could give them that hope?

Maybe it will be you. You be the one. God has sent you, a messenger, to prepare a way. Every choice you make, ask yourself, does this give hope or make life better for the powerless? Live your life in such a way that each moment is an act of encouragement for the poor and outcast, for those who wait. In all that you do, be a light in their darkness. God’s grace is in you to do this.

The December 13, 2013 devotion from http://umrethinkchurch.tumblr.com 
SCRIPTURE: Psalm 72:1-5 NRSV
Give the king your justice, O God, and your righteousness to a king’s son. May he judge your people with righteousness, and your poor with justice. May the mountains yield prosperity for the people, and the hills, in righteousness. May he defend the cause of the poor of the people, give deliverance to the needy, and crush the oppressor. May he live while the sun endures, and as long as the moon, throughout all generations.

It’s been said that if you want to judge the effectiveness of a leader, or the values of a society, look at how they “defend the cause of the poor” or “give deliverance to the needy” [verse 4].

What characteristics do you desire in a good leader? Are these the characteristics you may also find in yourself?

Verse 18 goes on to say, “Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, who alone does wondrous things.” But we each are called to participate in these wondrous things. What it looks like for each of us varies.

“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love,” Mother Theresa once wrote. What are those things you are called to do with great love so that justice, righteousness and peace might reign?

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Thank you Rethink Church for a great way to make preparing for Christmas more meaningful. Join me and thousands more in setting aside time to reflect, focus, and literally picture the deep themes of Jesus’ birth.

Click here for more information on Advent Photo-A-Day from Rethink Church.

Click here for a master list of links to my submissions. Lisa <><