Growing in Resilience: Reign and Rain Down, based on Isaiah 45.8

Rain-Room-REUTERS-Lucy-Nicholson-courtesy-of-n1-865x577Growing in Resilience
Day 6, Read Isaiah 45
Reflection: Reign and Rain Down, based on Isaiah 45:8

Shower, O heavens, from above, and let the skies rain down righteousness; let the earth open, that salvation may spring up, and let it cause righteousness to sprout up also; I the LORD have created it.

Reign and Rain down, Glorious One
You alone are God
There is no other

Reign and Rain down, Glorious One
Let all the earth open to your gifts
New life and right relationship springing up
Budding and blooming in our wasteland

Life comes to our mortality
to our frail clay
to our dust
You hold us and wash us and form us
You flood us and fill us
That we may carry this great grace as it carries us

O, the glory of your grace
Grace extending more and more
More and more to us and more and more through us to others
Redeeming and Reconciling
Salvation and Solidarity
The fullness of your unfailing love

Reign and Rain down, Glorious One
Creating power flows from you
Save us
For you alone are God
There is no other

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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. 

Reign and Rain Down © 2018 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Leave a comment for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

Not Us and Them, Only Us- a prayer based on Matthew 15.21-28

us them

Based on Matthew 15:21-28, Jesus and the faithful Canaanite woman

They come from the east and west
From the high places and low
They come begging, “take pity on me son of David.”
They kneel desperate, “Lord help me. Lord have mercy.”

Our first response… Send them away
They are not of us
They are a nuisance, a distraction, an obstacle
Surely his healing and mercy aren’t for them

But look at their faces
Look at their faith
Look at their compassion for their little ones
Their hopes and dreams are the same as ours
Their needs are the same as ours
Their answer is the same as ours
Jesus

Lord give us faith to cling to everything you say
Everything you promise
Everything you are

Give us faith to see how your plan unfolds for all of us
Give us faith to trust there is enough
It’s not Us and Them
It’s only Us
You saving, healing, and loving Us

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Not us and them, only us © 2017 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution.
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Prayer for Difficult Conversations based on Matthew 15.11

speak truthBased on Matthew 15:11
It is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth that defiles.

Jesus, Word of Life, open my lips
Release from me what is of you
Save me from all that defiles and degrades.
Save me from words as weapons
A heart at war

Inspire and guide my words as I have a difficult conversation with ________ today.
We need you.

Lord, open my lips
Release from me what is of you
Let loose what is good and full of truth
Words ringing with your grace and hope
A witness to your mercy and deliverance
An invitation to reconciliation and new life
A call to choose you and your ways and the common good

Lord, open my lips
Release from me what is of you
Send forth your word and your kingdom shall be born in us
Amen

Recommended Resource

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Prayer for Difficult Conversations © 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.

Anointed for Peacemaking, a prayer for unity (Psalm 133)

anointed-oil-pour-on-head

Based on Psalm 133

How good is your unity, O Lord
How rich
How abundant
How merciful

Flowing down over our heads
as blessing and balm
as wholeness and hope

Flowing down over our faces
our eyes, ears, lips
now consecrated for peace

Flowing down over our collars
our shoulders now bearing one another’s burdens
bearing crosses not weapons
Your compassion not strife

Flowing down over our hearts
a holy ordering and ordaining of our desiring

Flowing down over our souls
You alone on the throne, blessed Savior
our Deliverer and Reconciler
the One who makes all one

Flowing down over our hands
instruments of conflict no more
grabbing and hoarding more
now open in welcome
sharing
holding all things sacred.

How very good is your unity, O Lord
How great and glorious your peace
Bring to fulfillment your perfect will
Amen!

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Anointed for Peacemaking, a Prayer for Unity  © 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.

Sermon Recording- God’s End Game, Reconciliation (Genesis 33; 2 Corinthians 5)

Jacob Sermon Series

Sermon Series – Jacob, Punk to Patriarch
Jacob’s journey to faith and accepting his place in God’s plan is full of schemes, betrayal, and family dysfunction. Yet, in the midst of the mess, God remains steadfast- offering relationship, provision, purpose, and new life. In Jacob’s story, we see our own mess and God’s saving grace for us as well.

Message: God’s End Game, Reconciliation 
Scriptures: Genesis 32, Genesis 33
Offered 10/02/16 at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota Florida

2 Corinthians 5:15-19
[Jesus] died for all, so that those who live might live no longer for themselves, but for him who died and was raised for them. From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way. So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us.

From the Walk to Emmaus Worship Booklet for Pilgrims
Loving God, you love us, all of us,
and ask in return that we love you with all our hearts and souls and minds.
Loving God, you love us, all of us,
and ask in return that we love our neighbors as we love ourselves.
Loving God, you love us, all of us,
and ask and return that we forgive and not hold grudges.
Loving God, you love us, all of us,
and ask in return that we take up our cross and follow you.
And by your grace we will love and obey.
Let it be so, now and forever. Amen

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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.

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

Quotes: Reconciliation and Peacemaking

One of the statues of the Reconciliation Triangle by Broadbent Studio. For more information, see the link below.

One of the statues of the Reconciliation Triangle by Broadbent Studio. For more information, see the link below.

2 Corinthians 5:17-19 (NRSV)
So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us.

Reconciliation is the physical demonstration that God is at work in the world. Any fool can put people at odds. Only God – one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all – can bring those opposed to one another together as sisters and brother. When we lose reconciliation, we lose the purposes of Jesus.
– Sean Palmer, Missing the Point

Running throughout our sacred texts, traditions, and experience is the thread of God’s desire for union, inclusivity, non-violence, trust, patience, and healing.– Richard Rohr

Forgiving and being reconciled to our enemies or our loved ones are not about pretending that things are other than they are. It is not about patting one another on the back and turning a blind eye to the wrong. True reconciliation exposes the awfulness, the abuse, the hurt, the truth. It could even sometimes make things worse. It is a risky undertaking but in the end it is worthwhile, because in the end only an honest confrontation with reality can bring real healing. Superficial reconciliation can bring only superficial healing.
– Desmond Tutu

We have not come to compete with one another.
We have come to complete one another. – Bill McCartney

Extended quote from Compassion in Practice: The Way of Jesus by Frank Rogers Jr.
Radical compassion in the face of violence invites the offender into a right and appropriate relationship. Jesus yearns for reconciliation – the estranged will be reunited, enemies will heal their differences, and perpetrators of violence will be restored to the communities that they betrayed. Radical compassion hopes for such reconciliation, and invites it even with those who act egregiously.

Reconciliation, however, is neither naive nor cavalier. Reconciliation has conditions. It requires the following:

  • Repentance. The violent or abusive person repents and admits the wrong he or she committed.
  • Remorse. He or she shows remorse for the pain his or her actions caused.
  • Restitution. He or she makes restitution, if only symbolically, in an attempt to restore that which was lost.
  • Rehabilitation. He or she commits to take steps toward his or her recovery so that further violation no longer occurs.

The response to injustice is to share.
The response to despair is a limitless trust and hope.
The response to prejudice and hatred is forgiveness.
To work for community is to work for humanity.
– L’Arche Founder Jean Vanier, Community and Growth

Violence, no matter how dramatic, doesn’t change anything. The world is already full of it, and more of it is just more of it. What actually changes the world is when the violence stops. It’s when the wounds and fears that drive our violence are healed. It’s when people who are bitter or afraid are reconciled. It’s forgiveness, kindness and nonviolence. What changes the world is the slow, quiet, gradual work of mending the human soul.
Steve Garnaas Holmes, Conspiracy

The only Hebrew Scriptures that [Jesus] quotes are those that move toward mercy and justice and inclusivity. There are scriptures that present God as punitive, imperialistic, or exclusionary, but Jesus never quotes them in his teaching. In fact, he speaks against them…. Jesus was not changing the Father’s mind about us; he was changing our mind about God—and thus about one another. If God and Jesus are not hateful, violent, punitive, torturing, or vindictive, then our excuse for the same is forever taken away from us. – Richard Rohr, What Jesus Says about God

John 14:27 NRSV
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.
I do not give to you as the world gives.
Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.

Give me peace by Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Terrible things have happened.
God, grant me acceptance.

People have been hurtful.
Give me forgiveness.

I am not done being hurt by what has happened.
Help me let go.

I also have done terrible things.
Forgive me.

I am afraid of my own guilt.
Heal me of my shame.

I want so desperately to be “good” that I need others to be “bad.”
Release me from judging.

I am angry because I feel powerless.
Give me peace.

I am afraid of my vulnerability.
Give me peace.

I am addicted to my fear and anger.
Give me peace.

In fear, I desire more violence, that others bear my pain.
Give me peace.

My anxiety, like a gun, makes me feel safe and powerful.
Give me peace.

This world is in need of healing.
Give me your peace, that I may be healing,
for this alone is your desire.
Amen.

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The Reconciliation Triangle consists of three memorials in three different cities confessing their role in human trafficking, asking for forgiveness, and vowing to continue to work for justice in this matter. Click here for more details of this powerful project.

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

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.