You are the Resurrection and the Life, an affirmation and prayer based on John 11

I am resurrection and life 1000x

John 11:25-26
Jesus said to Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

In the midst of
hunger, disease, and great need
You are the Resurrection and the Life

In the midst of
conquest, prejudice, and oppression
You are the Resurrection and the Life

In the midst of
water, bread, and wine
You are the Resurrection and the Life

In the midst of
questions, promises, and prayers
You are the Resurrection and the Life

In the midst of
loneliness, hot tears, and agonizing decisions
You are the Resurrection and the Life

In the midst of
betrayal, saving your own skin, and abandonment
You are the Resurrection and the Life

In the midst of
injustice, brutality, and the misuse of power
You are the Resurrection and the Life

In the midst of
mocking, torture, and excruciating pain
You are the Resurrection and the Life

In the midst of
grave clothes, spices, and stone
You are the Resurrection and the Life

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This affirmation/prayer was inspired by Jesus final hours. It is amazing to me how his situations speak to our modern experience in fresh and relevant ways.

Consider adapting this affirmation/prayer for a group setting by having all present speak “You are the Resurrection and the Life.”

You are the Resurrection and the Life © 2017 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.

A Prayer for Thanksgiving- Most Blessed, Most Beautiful Christ

christus-hand-lds-adapted1 Corinthians 3:21-23 NRSV
So let no one boast about human leaders. For all things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all belong to you, and you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God.

Most blessed, most beautiful Christ,
in you we receive all things

The receiving takes growth, so you give us guiding-
saints and sages and scripture
Thank you for the guiding

The receiving takes others, so you give us the world-
nature and neighbors and nations
Thank you for the world

The receiving takes change, so you give us seasons-
life and death and new life
Thank you for the seasons

The receiving takes time, so you give us time-
present and future and forever
Thank you for the time

Most blessed, most beautiful Christ
You give us yourself
And in you, O Christ
We belong
To you and to God and to all
Thank you for the giving

For a worship setting, consider the following version. One voice prays the portion in regular print while the congregation prays the portion in bold print.

Most blessed, most beautiful Christ,
in you we receive all things

The receiving takes growth, so you give us guiding-
saints and sages and scripture
Thank you for the guiding
in you we receive all things

The receiving takes others, so you give us the world-
nature and neighbors and nations
Thank you for the world
in you we receive all things

The receiving takes change, so you give us seasons-
life and death and new life
Thank you for the seasons
in you we receive all things

The receiving takes time, so you give us time-
present and future and forever
Thank you for the time
in you we receive all things

Most blessed, most beautiful Christ
You give us yourself
And in you, O Christ
We belong
To you and to God and to all
Thank you for the giving
in you we receive all things

The congregation now offers their own prayers of thanksgiving, concluding with the Lord’s Prayer

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Most Blessed, Most Beautiful Christ © 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.

The 2016 TED Talk Experiment – Week 1

TED talk blog graphic 2I’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.

Here’s what I chose for week 1

How I’m Preparing to Get Alzheimer’s
Alanna Shaikh
TEDGlobal, June 2012
My dad has Alzheimer’s. I clicked this link via a Facebook post. The idea for the experiment came from the goodness and vulnerability of this speaker.

How to Stay Calm When You Know You’ll be Stressed
Daniel Levitin
TEDGlobal, September 2015
Ok talk. They won’t all rock my world.

Looks aren’t everything. Believe me, I’m a model.
Cameron Russell
TEDxMidAtlantic, October 2012
Where was this talk when I was a teenager! So much more than a talk on body image. Cameron Russell calls out the legacy of privilege.

How to Make Stress Your Friend
Kelly McGonigal
TEDGlobal, June 2013
Game changing talk for me. How you view stress changes everything and I had a destructive view. Will be watching this one again.

The Transformative Power of Classical Music
Benjamin Zander
TED2008, February 2008
Benjamin Zander’s enthusiasm and joy are infectious. His talk is a parable for so many other aspects of life, including leadership, perspective, and renewal efforts.

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

Prayer for the Discouraged

Ploughman With Woman Planting Potatoes by Vincent Van Gogh

Ploughman With Woman Planting Potatoes by Vincent Van Gogh

Jesus
You give the gifts
You make the way
Encourage all who our discouraged, including your beloved [NAMES]
Grant them persevering faith
Open their eyes to all the blessing and grace surrounding them
Open their ears to the truth of their talents and calling
Open their hearts to the hope
that this season of planting will bring forth beautiful and lasting fruit
The harvest is coming
Keep their hand to the plow
Amen

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Prayer for the Discouraged © 2015 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

 

Two Pockets: Healthy, Faithful Perspective

A well respected and beloved Polish Rabbi named Simcha Bunim used to say,
“Every person should have two pockets.
In one, there should be a note that says ‘for my sake was the world created.’
In the second, there should be a note that says, ‘I am dust and ashes.’”

Rabbi Bunim went on to say one must know how to use the notes, each one in its proper place and at the right time.

He knows us well

When misused, we hunker down in one pocket and make a home
We use a note to justify, judge, and deflect self examination

For my sake the world was created- I’m all that and a bag of chips
I am dust and ashes- Eeyore is my best buddy

But, when we open to the wisdom of the notes, we accept we are not one or the other. We realize we are both notes. Both pockets. We see the wisdom of the notes in the wisdom of God’s Word which goes back and forth, naming us and reminding us who we are- beloved and dust. We are both and we need both.

I am dust and ashesWhen we are too proud, too entitled, too full of ourselves, too self-sufficient, we reach in a pocket and remember anokhi afar va’efer, I am dust and ashes
I am small
I am worthless
I am mortal
I am unclean
I miss the mark, I stray from the path- that’s what the word sin literally means in Greek
I am like everyone else who has ever lived and who will live
I need a savior

Psalm 90:3 NRS
You turn us back to dust, and say, “Turn back, you mortals.”

Ecclesiastes 3:20b NIV
All come from dust, and to dust all return.

Luke 9:41 NRSV
“O unbelieving and perverse generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you and put up with you?”

In Luke 3, John the Baptist is right to remind us we are a “brood of vipers” and of our need of repentance, to turn back to God’s path, not just with our words but our actions.

for my sake was the world createdThen, when we are discouraged, overwhelmed and losing faith (when we feel like dirt) we reach in the other pocket and remember bishvili nivra ha’olam, for my sake was the world created.
I am a unique and beloved child of the King of kings
Christ loved me enough to die for me and raise me to new life
I am fearfully and wonderfully made
I am called
I am gifted
I am empowered by the Holy Spirit to do great things for God
God is using me in the salvation and transformation of the world

Psalm 8:4-8 NRSV
What are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them? Yet you have made them a little lower than God, and crowned them with glory and honor. You have given them dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under their feet, all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas.

Psalm 139:14 NRSV
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; that I know very well.

We stand with Jesus in our baptism, water washed, anointed with the fiery dove of the Holy Spirit, named and claimed by God as beloved children.

Jesus stepped into the water not out of his need but of ours
To remind us of our great need- I am dust and ashes
To remind us who we are in Him- For my sake the world was created

Prayer for Perspective
Eternal and Beautiful God,
The One who births us and names us
Grant us perspective
A holy centering
of truth, humility and our belovedness

Not too high that we fall away from you
our need of you
our need of others

Not too low that we fail to trust
to reach out for you
to reach out with you

In you, with you, for you we are
humble and powerful
unique and alike
common and regal
priceless and dust

Grant us perspective, Merciful One
A holy centering
Let no voice be too loud
Or too soft
So we may persevere in faith
in hope
in following
in becoming
Amen

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I am indebted to Rabbi Jack Moline for a blog post which provided much of the information and inspiration for this reflection.

Two Pocket Devotion and Prayer for Perspective © 2014 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are very welcome to use this in a worship or group setting with proper attribution.

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

Poem: Romans 12:12

sprout in dry soilRomans 12:12 NRSV
Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer.

Rejoice in hope!
Celebrate!
Shout!
Dance with our Maker!
Play in the dappled sunlight
Echo the sweet song of brook and bird
Laugh with all the children of God’s good earth
Feast on The Promise
Who alone is steadfast
Who alone satisfies and strengthens

Be patient in suffering beloved
Pain clouds the truth
Perspective will hide, so be patient
Christ is still near, weeping with you
Let the tears wash the ashes from your eyes
Let them cleanse the confusion
Remember and Re-joy
Suffering comes to all
it prunes
it breaks open
Like Christ, we die to live
We too are buried only to burst forth in spring green growth

Persevere in prayer
Keep your hand to the plow, the Spirit at the lead
Drive to the Source
Drive deep
Learn to be loved, to be love
Quick to know the will of the Known and the Knowing
Go deep
Go often
Go to the Source
Why unplug your fire power?
Why exchange it for something frail, false, passing?
God’s fire does not destroy, it burns away
so you may be full of Light

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Romans 12:12 © 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.