A Prayer Inspired by the Beatitudes (Matthew 5)

beatitudes 3

Matthew 5:1-12 NRSV
When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:

  • Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
  • Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
  • Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
  • Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
  • Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
  • Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
  • Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
  • Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way, they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Jesus,
We receive your blessings and pray for the Holy Spirit to make them real in our lives.

Renew a right spirit within us, a poor spirit, a spirit which knows our deep need of your grace and deliverance. Free us from trying to save ourselves. Free us for the fullness of your kingdom.

Soften our hard hearts with the gift of tears. Help us mourn our brokenness and the brokenness of our world. Help us feel it fully. Help us welcome the refreshment of your comfort and share it well with others.

Generous Savior, you fill each person with gifts, talents, and strength. Open us to meekness, that we may gladly surrender them to your authority and discipline. In our hands, they are often weapons. With you, they are refined for your glory and the common good.

Bread of Life, sour every false and destructive appetite, that we may hunger and thirst for righteousness alone- a right relationship with you, a right relationship with others and between others, a right relationship with ourselves, a right relationship with your creation.

We bless you and honor you for your unending mercy, a flood of grace, pouring out and spilling over. Make us mercy-full. May all people know you like this.

Suffering One, break our hearts as yours is broken. In the breaking, create in us clean hearts, pure hearts, undivided hearts. Our deepest desire is to see you at work in us and all around us and to one day see you face to face.

In your grace, please don’t stop with our hearts. Re-Birth us fully in the breaking and creating. Named your beloved, your children, forever.

Make us
One with you and each other
One in your great work of peace
One in your words and ways
One in commitment to reconciliation and righteousness
One in facing of falsehood
One in the bloody bonds of persecution
One in your joy
One in your promises
One on earth and one in heaven
Amen

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A Prayer Inspired by the Beatitudes © 2019 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Leave a comment for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

A Prayer Inspired by the Beatitudes (Matthew 5)

beatitudes 3

Matthew 5:1-12 NRSV
When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:

  • Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
  • Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
  • Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
  • Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
  • Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
  • Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
  • Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
  • Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way, they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Jesus,
We receive your blessings and pray for the Holy Spirit to make them real in our lives.

Renew a right spirit within us, a poor spirit, a spirit which knows our deep need of your grace and deliverance. Free us from trying to save ourselves. Free us for the fullness of your kingdom.

Soften our hard hearts with the gift of tears. Help us mourn our brokenness and the brokenness of our world. Help us feel it fully. Help us welcome the refreshment of your comfort and share it well with others.

Generous Savior, you fill each person with gifts, talents, and strength. Open us to meekness, that we may gladly surrender them to your authority and discipline. In our hands, they are often weapons. With you, they are refined for your glory and the common good.

Bread of Life, sour every false and destructive appetite, that we may hunger and thirst for righteousness alone- a right relationship with you, a right relationship with others, a right relationship with ourselves, a right relationship with your creation.

We bless you and honor you for your unending mercy, a flood of grace, pouring out and spilling over. Make us mercy-full. May all people know you like this.

Suffering One, break our hearts as yours is broken. In the breaking, create in us clean hearts, pure hearts, undivided hearts. Our deepest desire is to see you at work in us and all around us and to one day see you face to face.

In your grace, please don’t stop with our hearts. Re-Birth us fully in the breaking and creating. Named your beloved, your children, forever.

Make us
One with you and each other
One in your great work of peace
One in your words and ways
One in commitment to reconciliation and righteousness
One in the face of falsehood
One in the bloody bonds of persecution
One in your joy
One in your promises
One on earth and one in heaven
Amen

****************
A Prayer Inspired by the Beatitudes © 2019 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Leave a comment for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

Growing in Resilience: The New is Coming, based on Isaiah 62.1-3

image-beautiful-lady-white-lace-dress-holding-diamond-crown-fantasy-medieval-period-106222770Growing in Resilience
Day 23, Read Isaiah 62
Reflection: The New is Coming, based on Isaiah 62:1-3, NRSV

For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, and for Jerusalem’s sake, I will not rest, until her vindication shines out like the dawn, and her salvation like a burning torch. The nations shall see your vindication, and all the kings your glory; and you shall be called by a new name that the mouth of the Lord will give. You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God.

The new is coming and everyone will see it
The high and powerful will take notice
Those far away will witness it, too

The new is coming, it will be
Justice shining
Liberation blazing
Light in the darkness
Never overcome

The new is coming
Brilliant
Like jewels in a royal crown
Each chosen, unique, valuable
Carefully, skillfully, beautifully placed
Catching the light of right relationship and hope

The new is coming
Raise your voice, O witness
Shout! Shout, O bearer of Good News
Proclaim the promise: The Eternal is making all things new

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Click Here for more on the Growing in Resilience Reading Plan sponsored by Bishop Ken Carter and the Cabinet of the Florida Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. 

The New is Coming © 2018 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Leave a comment for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

Growing in Resilience: You Carry Me, based on Isaiah 46.3-4

shepherd carry sheepGrowing in Resilience
Day 7, Read Isaiah 46
Reflection: You Carry Me, based on Isaiah 46:3-4

Listen to me, O house of Jacob, all the remnant of the house of Israel, who have been borne by me from your birth, carried from the womb, even to your old age I am he, even when you turn gray I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save.

Faithful One
You carry me before my first cry
You cradle me in my mother’s womb
You make me me and bless me with life

Faithful One
You carry me into my becoming
You bear me into a wider world
You inspire me and bless me with purpose

Faithful One
You carry me into maturity
You hold me as my flesh falters
and fails
You assure me and help me pass on your blessing

Faithful One
You carry me into forever
You draw me to your breast
You save me and bless me with the fullness of you

I am born
I am borne
I am born again
You carry me through

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Click Here for more on the Growing in Resilience Reading Plan sponsored by Bishop Ken Carter and the Cabinet of the Florida Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. 

You Carry Me © 2018 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Leave a comment for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

John Day 23: Jesus Predicts His Death

rebirth_by_rev_donald_suigii_liu

Rebirth by Rev. Donald Suigii Liu

Gospel of John Reading Plan
Day 23 Reading
: John 12:20-50

Bringing the Word to Life
Spend some time with your hands in the dirt.
Plant seeds if possible.

Pastor Lisa’s Journal
Scripture
Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.”
-John 12:20 (NRSV)

Christ was in the tomb; the whole world was sown with the seed of Christ’s life; that which happened thirty years ago in the womb of the Virgin Mother was happening now, but now it was happening yet more secretly, yet more mysteriously, in the womb of the whole world. Christ had already told those who flocked to hear Him preach that the seed must fall into the earth, or else remain by itself alone. Now the seed of His life was hidden in darkness in order that His life should quicken in countless hearts, over and over again for all time. His burial, which seemed to be the end, was the beginning.
– Caryll Houselander

Observation
With just a few days before his death, Jesus continues to proclaim his mission. He will choose to die for the salvation of the world.

Application
I have often read this passage as part of graveside services. It is hard to describe the poignancy of hearing these words while encountering the darkness of the cavity, the descent of the casket/urn, the scraping sound of the shovel, and the smell of earth as the hole is covered. Lowering a loved one into the ground is a time of profound sorrow. For some, this is the moment where the death finally becomes real.

In this passage, Jesus tries to make his impending death real to his disciples. He uses images of seeds and soil, a softer image than bodies and graves, but the point is clear. Jesus is facing his death and the disciples can’t imagine it to be true. In his dying, there is sorrow and loss and Jesus wants them to be ready.

Jesus also wants them to be ready for the good of his death. In his dying, there is a loss but there is also gain- forgiveness, reconciliation, unity, salvation, resurrection, new life… That’s how the redeeming love of God works. Good out of evil. Hope out of despair. Life out of death. The gain from Jesus’ death is for now and forever- for us, for others, and for the redemption of all creation. He wants them to be ready for that as well.

In this world sow seeds of righteousness,
and in the Resurrection gather them in.
– Ephraem the Syrian

In Christ, our dying is now like his. Yes, it remains full of human loss, but it is not in vain because of the gain. A Godly gain- divine, eternal, whole. This is true not just in our final dying, but also the dying to self in the present in order to become more Christ-like. What needs to die in me that the fullness of Christ might be gained?

Now we begin to see why repentance is a uniquely Christian path of liberation from self. All great religious traditions recognize that the deepest desire of the human heart is for freedom from inner oppression. We feel “conditioned”: bound by the chains of our habits and compulsions, our likes and dislikes, our fears and guilt, our inability to love. Our great tragedy is that we so often mistake these habits and compulsions for our true self. … Our false self must die, so that we can find our true self, the self which God meant us to be and which he created in his image and likeness. -Irma Zaleski, The Way of Repentance

Prayer
Jesus, what needs to die in me? What needs to be buried forever; planted in the soil of your sacrifice so it will grow into something good that can be shared? Come Good Gardener; use the end of your cross to break open the earth in my soul. Dig deep. In your grace, I surrender to the pain and loss. In your grace, I trust you to bring forth a harvest of forgiveness and new life. How can I thank you enough for redeeming rather than condemning! How can I love you and praise you enough! My hope is grounded in you, now and forever. Amen.

Click Here for a prayer of surrender and hope based on this passage by Steve Garnaas Holmes entitled Seed

Now the Green Blade Riseth by John Macleod Campbell Crum
United Methodist Hymnal #311

Now the green blade rises from the buried grain,
wheat that in dark earth many days has lain;
Love lives again, that with the dead has been:
Love is come again like wheat that springs up green.

In the grave they laid him, Love whom had been slain,
thinking that He never  would awake again,
laid in the earth like grain that sleeps unseen:
Love is come again like wheat that springs up green.

Forth he came at Easter, like the risen grain,
Jesus who for three days in the grave had lain,
Quick from the dead my risen Christ is seen:
Love is come again like wheat that springs up green.

When our hearts are wintry, grieving, or in pain,
Jesus’ touch can call us back to life again,
fields of our hearts that dead and bare have been:
Love is come again like wheat that springs up green.

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For more information on the Gospel of John Reading Plan, click here