The Great Commandment for Prayer Beads

Anglican-Prayer-Beads

Anglican Prayer Beads (sometimes known as Protestant Prayer Beads or Christian Prayer Beads) are a relatively new form of prayer, blending the Orthodox Jesus Prayer Rope and the Roman Catholic Rosary. The thirty-three bead design was created by the Rev. Lynn Bauman in the mid-1980s, through the prayerful exploration and discovery of a contemplative prayer group.

Like other prayer bead practices, the rhythm and repetition of the prayers promote a peaceful stillness before a time of silence as we rest in God and/or a time of silence as we listen for God.

prayerbeaddiagramThere are no set prayer patterns for Anglican Prayer Beads. I took that as freedom to compile some of my own. This one is based on a prayer from the Walk to Emmaus Worship Booklet for Pilgrims. The prayer is based on Jesus’ summary of the commandments, what is often referred to as The Great Commandment. (Luke 10:27; Matthew 22:35-40; Mark 12:30-31).

Begin with the cross and invitatory bead. Pray around the circle of cruciform beads and week beads three times in an unhurried manner then exit with the closing prayers for the invitatory bead and cross.

Cross
In the name of God- Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Invitatory Bead
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.

Cruciform Beads
A different portion of the original prayer is offered on each of the four cruciform beads.
1. Loving God, you love us, all of us, and ask in return that we love you with all our hearts and souls and minds. By your grace we will love and obey. Let it be so, now and forever.
2. Loving God, you love us, all of us, and ask in return that we love our neighbors as we love ourselves. By your grace we will love and obey. Let it be so, now and forever.
3. Loving God, you love us, all of us, and ask in return that we forgive and not hold grudges. By your grace we will love and obey. Let it be so, now and forever.
4. Loving God, you love us, all of us, and ask in return that we take up our cross and follow you. By your grace we will love and obey. Let it be so, now and forever.

The Weeks
Save us. Heal us. Strengthen us to serve.
or
Give us eyes to see. Ears to hear. Feet to follow faithfully.

Invitatory Bead
The Lord’s Prayer

Cross
Hallelujah! Bless the Lord! Thanks be to God!

Click here for more on the symbolism, use, and several other prayer patterns to use with Anglican Prayer Beads. Click here for even more prayer bead patterns or consider making one of your own like I did. (If you do, post it below!)

*************
The Great Commandment for Prayer Beads compilation © 2016 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
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.

Brave, Fierce Love- a message for Valentine’s Day

saint valentine brace fierce love
Message: Brave, Fierce Love- a Message for Valentine’s Day
Scriptures: John 15:12-13; Ephesians 5:21-6:9
Offered 2/14/16, at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota FL

Information on Saint Valentine may be found here

John 15:12-13
This is my commandment that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

*****************
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.

© 2016 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Contact the Lisa for posting and publication considerations.

Quotes: Love Your Neighbor as Yourself

love your neighbor sign godMatthew 22:34-40 NRSV
When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

See also Leviticus 19:18; Mark 12:31; Luke 10:27; Romans 13:9; Galatians 5:14, and James 2:8  

Jesus said, “Love your neighbor as you love yourself” not “as much as you love yourself.” We are to love our neighbor in the same way we love ourselves. “We love because God has first loved us” (1 John 4:19). When we accept the unconditional love and undeserved mercy that God offers us—knowing that we are not worthy of it—then we can allow God to love others through us in the same way. It’s God in you loving you, warts and all, and God in you loving others as they are. This is why the love you have available to give away is limitless. As Jesus told the Samaritan woman, “The water that I shall give you will turn into a spring inside of you, welling up into limitless life” (John 4:14). – Richard Rohr

A man is called selfish not for pursuing his own good, but for neglecting his neighbor’s.
– Richard Whately

We hermetically seal ourselves off from the undesired ‘other,’ the stranger, and in doing so, we seal ourselves off from God. By rejecting God in the neighbor, we reject the love that can heal us. -Ilia Delio

“Leave me alone”, is not a good news!
“Let’s be together” is not a bad news.
We were made to be each others keepers.
Let love lead
― Israelmore Ayivor

We become neighbors when we are willing to cross the road for one another. (…) There is a lot of road crossing to do. We are all very busy in our own circles. We have our own people to go to and our own affairs to take care of. But if we could cross the road once in a while and pay attention to what is happening on the other side, we might indeed become neighbors.
― Henri J.M. Nouwen, Bread for the Journey: A Daybook of Wisdom and Faith

There are really only two religions, two ways of living, and every moment everyone, religious of every flavor and atheist alike, is choosing which way we go. One is the Religion of Being Right. The other is the Religion of Being In Love.
click here for the rest of this thought provoking log post by Steve Garnaas Holmes entitled Choose Love

For practical ideas on building community in your neighborhood, check out this blog post by Ed Stetzer entitled 10 Ways to Love your Neighbor. In it he interviewed the good folks at Apartment Life, an organization who exists to foster environments where apartment residents can build quality relationships through a renewed focus on community.

Love your neighbor by Steve Garnaas Holmes
Love your neighbor as yourself.

Love your neighbor as deeply,
as instinctively, as surely
as you watch out for yourself.

Love your neighbor knowing
God sees you both alike,
with the same loving delight.

Love your neighbor to be true to yourself,
to discover yourself.

Love your neighbor as you love them,
with your gifts and presence,
not as someone else.

Honor your neighbor’s reality
as real and valid as yours.

Love your neighbor,
who is your self.

Let loving your neighbor
be your self, your life, who you are.

Love your neighbor as yourself.

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

Why this Waste? Worship in Times of Great Need (Matthew 26:6-13)

woman anointing jesus 700xMatthew 26:6-13 NRSV
Now while Jesus was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very costly ointment, and she poured it on his head as he sat at the table. But when the disciples saw it, they were angry and said, “Why this waste? For this ointment could have been sold for a large sum, and the money given to the poor.” But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why do you trouble the woman? She has performed a good service for me. For you always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me. By pouring this ointment on my body she has prepared me for burial. Truly I tell you, wherever this good news is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in remembrance of her.”

The oil is poured
The criticism comes
even while the scent is still thick in the air

Why this waste?

Why worship?
Why take the time?
Why spend the money?
The poor, remember the poor
There’s so much work to be done

Yes beloved, remember
Remember the poor and remember her
The way is And not Or
Worship and Work
Loving God and Loving Neighbor
Looking Up and Looking Out For
The cross-shaped life

The work doesn’t work without the worship
The worship’s unfinished without the work

********
Why This Waste? © 2014 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
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.

Advent Photo-A-Day: Day 23, Neighbors

Back to School Fair CollageThe thought behind the photo:
Our annual back to school fair brings together congregations, businesses, schools, organizations and government to bless our neighbors with story books, a Bible, a haircut, toiletries, a backpack full of supplies, gently used clothes, and a shopping trip to pick out a brand new outfit including shoes. People stay and have great conversations while enjoying the homemade goodies. The relationship building is so beautiful we’re expanding our year-round food pantry to include more services and more opportunities for conversation, prayer and blessing.

The righteousness that we need is not obedience. It’s a loving relationship—and this is not our own doing; it is the gift of God. In repentance we pray toward both God and neighbor, “I am not on my own. I am yours.” – Steve Garnaas Holmes, Prodigal Brothers

Heavenly One,
Your reach extends to every neighbor, every nation
Offering grace, forgiveness, wholeness, and hope
A saving embrace
Drawing us to you and each other

Make us your children
Grateful for a place in your family
Humble before your love and generosity
Faithful in honoring and welcoming all
Joyful in sharing what we have found in you
Amen.
Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia, Make Us Your Children

SCRIPTURE: Galatians 5:13-14 CEB
You were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only don’t let this freedom be an opportunity to indulge your selfish impulses, but serve each other through love. All the Law has been fulfilled in a single statement: Love your neighbor as yourself.

The December 23, 2013 devotion from http://umrethinkchurch.tumblr.com 
SCRIPTURE: Psalm 80:4-7, CEB
Lord God of heavenly forces, how long will you fume against your people’s prayer?
You’ve fed them bread made of tears; you’ve given them tears to drink three times over!
You’ve put us at odds with our neighbors; our enemies make fun of us.
Restore us, God of heavenly forces!
Make your face shine so that we can be saved!

Someone’s not happy. The familiar cry, “How long?” is echoed here. And according to the psalm, it’s not the people at fault. It’s God. The people see no sign of God’s presence in the midst of the turmoil they are experiencing. They are being made to look ridiculous in front of their neighbors. They are hurt and scorned.

How long, O Lord?

When was the last time you admitted these raw feelings to God? When have you screamed, asking, “Why, God?”

This Advent season, what is it you lament? What is it you are asking God to restore?

**********
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 <><

Photo Quote: Whenever People Love Each Other

Buechner on love 21 John 4:15-16 NRSV
God abides in those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God, and they abide in God. So we have known and believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them.

This piece was created using PicMonkey, a free, online picture editor. It’s super easy to use and has lots of great fonts, filters and other editing goodies. Someone with limited artistic abilities (like me) can feel very accomplished very quickly. – Lisa <><

The picture: Reconciliation (originally named Reunion) is a sculpture by Josefina de Vasconcellos located in the ruin of Coventry Cathedral.

7 Letters of Revelation: Make God Your First Love

Revelation 2:1-7 NRSV
The Risen Christ says, “To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands: I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance. I know that you cannot tolerate evildoers; you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them to be false. I also know that you are enduring patiently and bearing up for the sake of my name, and that you have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember then from what you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. Yet this is to your credit: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches. To everyone who conquers, I will give permission to eat from the tree of life that is in the paradise of God.”

What a splendid church the Christian community in Ephesus seemed to be! It appeared to be a model church in every way. Its members were busy in their service, patient in their sufferings, and orthodox in their belief. What more could be asked of them? Only one thing was lacking… Love, then, is the first mark of a true and living church. Indeed, it is not a living church at all unless it is a loving church. The Christian life is essentially a love-relationship to Jesus Christ. “Jesus captured me,” wrote Wilson Carlile, founder and “chief” of the Church Army. “For me to know Jesus is a love affair.” – John Stott, What Christ Thinks of the Church: an Exposition of Revelation 1-3

The gospel is absurd and the life of Jesus is meaningless unless we believe that He lived, died, and rose again with but one purpose in mind: to make brand-new creation. Not to make people with better morals but to create a community of prophets and professional lovers, men and women who would surrender to the mystery of the fire of the Spirit that burns within, who would live in ever greater fidelity to the omnipresent Word of God, who would enter into the center of it all, the very heart and mystery of Christ, into the center of the flame that consumes, purifies, and sets everything aglow with peace, joy, boldness, and extravagant, furious love. This, my friend, is what it really means to be a Christian. ― Brennan Manning

1 Corinthians 13:1-3 NRSV
If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Late have I loved you, beauty so old and so new: late have I loved you.
And see, you were within and I was in the external world and sought you there,
and in my unlovely state I plunged into those lovely created things which you made.
You were with me, and I was not with you.
The lovely things kept me far from you,
though if they did not have their existence in you, they had no existence at all.
You called and cried out loud and shattered my deafness.
You were radiant and resplendent, you put to flight my blindness.
You were fragrant, and I drew in my breath and now pant after you.
I tasted you, and I feel but hunger and thirst for you.
You touched me, and I am set on fire to attain the peace which is yours.
– St. Augustine, Confessions

Deuteronomy 30:6 NRSV
Moreover, the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, so that you will love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, in order that you may live.

God of Life, your risen Son has gathered us into the church, nourished us with his body and blood, and poured out upon us your Holy Spirit. Grant that we may receive the blessing of your grace, so that we may love you with all our hearts, and gladly feed your sheep on the name of Christ. Amen. – Steve Garnaas-Holmes

**********
This is the first of seven posts based on themes from Revelation chapters 2-3. In these scriptures, Jesus reveals the timeless message of what His church should look like.

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