The Visitation- Christmas Reflections for Mary and Elizabeth (Luke 1)

old and young hands

Based on The Visitation, Luke 1:39-56

There They Stand
Mary entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth.
– Luke 1:40

There they stand
breathless
belly to belly
the maid and the elder cousin
full of grace and truth

John leaps for joy
Covered in the flesh of Elizabeth
Unborn, yet already at work
In the wilderness of her womb
He will not wait to make the Way known

Elizabeth extends her arthritic hands
One wrapping Mary in welcome
The other in blessing
Encompassing the inexperienced traveler
in affirmation of faith

Worship overwhelms worry
In the sanctuary of her solace
Mary is safe enough to sing

As You Have Said
Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said… The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.” – Luke 1:38, 49

Revel and Rejoice
Praise and Proclaim
Magnify
Glorify
Adore

Our Steadfast Savior
Mindful of our frailty
Looks on our lowliness
and responds with greatness
Great grace and Greater grace
for us and for all

Holy, Holy, Holy Lord
God of power and might
Heaven and earth are full of Your glory
It is as you have said

Your mercy extends
Floods and Flows
Through time and place
Through need and pain
Body and Soul to
Soul to Soul to Soul to…

You show true strength
Bringing down those who bow the knee to no one
Scattering those who set up their own kingdoms
be it castle or corporation
Revealing it to be ashes
and emptiness

You show true strength
Lifting up those bowed low
Face in the dirt
Bearing the weight of excess and greed
Buried beneath crushing injustice

You show true strength
Raising up
Filling up
Faithful, Covenant Keeper
Remembering and
Re-membering

Revel and Rejoice
Praise and Proclaim
Magnify
Glorify
Adore

It is and will be
as You have said
Holy, Holy, Holy Lord

Believe by Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment
of what was spoken to her by God. —Luke 1.45

This time of year we’re told to “believe.”
But what does that mean?
Judging from the movies to believe
means to believe in magic, or Santa, or romance,
to be optimistically wishful and naïve.
In many Christian circles to believe means
to think, as in believing certain doctrines are true.
But the word “believe” comes from old English,
rooted in German, belieben—to love.
In scripture to believe means to give your heart:
to lovingly entrust yourself, not to an idea but to a person.

Blessed is she who trusts God, and the power of love.
Blessed is she who trusts
that God’s promise will be fulfilled in her.
Blessed is she who trusts
that her love is more powerful than empires.
Blessed is she who entrusts herself
to the One who births her,
and who is in her, and whom she births.
Blessed is she who trusts her worthiness,
that her calling is sure and her gift is needed
and her voice carries weight.
Blessed is she who gives herself over
to the divine work of bearing love into the world.

Blessed are you,
and blessed is the fruit of the womb of your heart.

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There They Stand © 2010 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
As You Have Said © 2014 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution.
by Lisa Degrenia (www.revlisad.com)
Please leave a comment for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

Two Prayers Based on Psalm 19.7-14

grayscale of photo of man

Photo by Luis Quintero on Pexels.com

based on Psalm 19:7-14

Prayer: Words and Ways
Your words and ways are
Perfect
Sure
Right
Clear

Your words and ways are
Pure
True
Righteous
Every one

Their value, beyond price
Their goodness, beyond delight
Their counsel, enduring blessing

Place in me a longing
To desire them
Become them
Every one

Prayer: Rock and Redeemer
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.
– Psalm 19:14

Revive my soul
Make me wise
Re-joy my heart
Enlighten my eyes

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.
– Psalm 19:14

Grant me holy reverence
A desire for you
And your goodness, alone

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.
– Psalm 19:14

Clear me of hidden falsehood
Making way for your ways
Your innocence, reborn

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.
– Psalm 19:14

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Words and Ways © 2021 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Rock and Redeemer © 2021 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.

A Prayer for Restoration

abstract art artistic autumn

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

A Prayer for Restoration by Rev. Macon Armistead
God our Creator, who from nothing made all things, You are the source of life and love. In You we find our deepest longing to be re-created, re-formed, and made new. Create in us, O God, a heart for love and grace. May we now lift up to You those in need of love and grace.

Say their names silently or aloud

God our Redeemer, You became flesh in Jesus Christ. You lived among us as one of us, and came near to the hurt and brokenness of our world. Through Your love and grace, You brought us into deeper community with You and with one another by restoring all creation on a cross. Redeem us, O God, so that we might find healing, justice, and forgiveness. May we now lift up to You those in need of healing, justice, and forgiveness.

Say their names silently or aloud

God our Sustainer, You hold together all life through the in-breaking of Your Holy Spirit in us. Through mighty winds and fire, or your still small whisper, Your Spirit is among us, calling us to be a part of Your mission, to continue Your restoration for all the earth. Sustain us, O God, so that we might discover Your purpose and peace for us. May we lift up now to You those in need of purpose and peace.

Say their names silently or aloud

God speak to us now. Reveal to us, Your Church, how we might be with and for another in this world, as You are with and for us. May we be co-agents of Your love and grace, Your healing, justice and forgiveness, Your purpose and peace, so that all the earth might be made new, redeemed and restored, through You — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

And now, let us pray the prayer Jesus taught us, saying:
Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name.
Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread
and forgive us as our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the Kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever and ever.
Amen.

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A Prayer for Restoration © 2021 Rev. Macon Armistead
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.

Bless Christ, Through Whom All Things are Made

Fresco of Christ creating the sun, moon and stars from the St. Paraskevi Shrine, Greenlawn, NY

This hymn text was born during my seminary days during some quiet time spent with Colossians 1:15-18.

Jesus is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—all things have been created through him and for him. He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything. (NRSV)

In this passage, creation is described as an ongoing act. The fullness of Trinity is found: Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer; yet all things are created and are held together through Christ, the Word spoken in creation, the eternal Word made flesh.

I woke up this morning surprised to be reminded of this song. I haven’t thought about it in years, but it wants to accompany me this holy week. I pray it is a welcome companion to you as well. – Lisa <><

Bless Christ Through Whom All Things Are Made
by Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
a hymn text based on Col. 1:15-18
Meter 88.88 (LM)
Suggested Tune- POXON

Bless Christ through whom all things are made.
Join seen and unseen in their praise
of One who both creates, sustains
who goes before, in justice reigns.

Who makes the lion and the lamb
the farthest star, the smallest hand
dominions, rulers, and their pow’rs
the steadfast mount, the fleeting hours?

Who made the ore for blood soaked nails?
Who made the thorns and whipping tails?
Who made the sun that would not shine
and made the tree on which Christ died?

Who makes the waters of our birth?
Who makes the dust where we return?
Who makes the way for us to die
and rise to everlasting life?

Bless Christ though whom all things are made.
Join seen and unseen in their praise
of One who both creates, sustains
who goes before, in justice reigns.

This text was selected to be part of a United Methodist worship resource entitled Worship and Song. Each lyric or liturgy I write feels like a gift. I am excited and thrilled that this gift will be shared with so many.

For a PDF of the hymn as it will appear in the Worship and Song pew edition, click here Bless Christ, Through Whom All Things are Made

© 2000, revised 2009
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution. (by Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia, http://www.revlisad.com) Please leave a comment for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

Two Prayers Based on John 20-21

For the past few months, a couple of thousand folks have been reading and discussing a chapter a day from the Gospels as part of Summer in the Scriptures, sponsored by the Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church.

I’ve been supplying a prayer for each day’s reading. 98 chapters = 98 prayers. Wow! Some have been brand new, but many were curated from prayers written over the last eleven years of this blog’s life. Again, wow! It’s not often I have a chance to see what seems to me small, isolated offerings come together like this.

Thanks for going on this journey with me. I pray it was blessing and goodness for you. Postings will be less frequent now that the project is finished.

Thanks also for being part of our community here. You are always welcome, wanted, and appreciated. – Lisa <><

Summer in the Scriptures John (18)Based on John 20:24-29
Thomas and Jesus

Jesus, you give me what I need
What I need to believe
What I need to live

Like my brother Thomas,
I lay the doubting down
You come for me
You want me as well
You want us all

The gift of your presence is for me
The gift of your peace is for me
So too the power of your Spirit
The very Breath of Life
Abundant Life in your name

Jesus, you give me what I need
Seeing
Signs
Spirit
Wounds
Words
Wonder
Peace
Power
Sending

Oh, My Jesus
My Lord and My God

Summer in the Scriptures John (19)Based on John 21

Cast your net again,
We know this familiar foolishness
So we cast it…
we cast it wide, drag it deep, sweep it around the sea
Suddenly! So many fish!

The cry goes up with our hope
It is the Lord! It is Jesus!

He sank down to the bottom
Down to the mud and the darkness
Down to the pain and the brokenness
Down to our level

Until he was lifted up- lifted up on a cross
Up went the fists
Up went the mocks
Up went the stares
Up went the sign
King of the Jews

Down came the hammer
Down came the tears
Down came the blood
Down came the love
Down to our level
buried beneath waves of fear and injustice and sin
Buried beneath earth

He did as he promised!
He is lifted up from the earth!
Up from the grave
Up goes the shout
Up goes the sun with the Son

Cast your net again, my Jesus
Cast it wide, drag it deep, sweep it around the sea
Draw us up from the bottom with you
Draw us up from the mud and the darkness
Draw us up from the pain and the brokenness
Draw us up from the selfishness and the loneliness
Draw us up from the fear and the hate and the sin and the death
Draw us up from the bottom with you

Cast your net again into the sea of humanity
Cast it wide, drag it deep, sweep it around the sea
Draw us up
Draw us in
We are caught in your saving embrace

Jesus says, “Now follow me.”
“Come, cast the net
Cast the net again and again and again and we will find some more
Cast it wide, drag it deep, sweep it around the sea
So many, so different, so beautiful
Use all your strength to bring them in
Have no fear, the net will not break.”

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What I Need © 2020 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Cast Your Net Again © 2000 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution.
Please leave a comment for information and permission to publish this work in any form.