What Kind of King? a reflection and prayer based on Psalm 96.10-13

crownPsalm 95:10-13
Proclaim to the nations: ‘God is king.’
The world He made firm in its place;
He will judge the peoples in fairness.

Let the heavens rejoice and earth be glad,
Let the sea and all within it thunder praise,
Let the land and all it bears rejoice,
All the trees of the wood shout for joy at the presence of the Lord for He comes,
He comes to rule the earth.

With justice, He will rule the world,
He will judge the peoples with His truth.

What kind of King is God?

  • Creator/creative
  • A fair and truth-full Judge
  • Present and Coming
  • A just Ruler of all the earth

Prayer
Lord God, King of all Creation
Ruler of planets and peoples

Receive our rejoicing
For your abiding presence and redemptive return

Receive our shouts of gladness
For your justice, your fairness, your truth victorious

Strengthen and inspire
So we may persevere in proclaiming and praise

We labor and yearn for your glorious day
Your kingdom come
Your will be done
Amen

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What Kind of King? © 2019 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Leave a comment for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

The Songs of Christmas: Good Christian Friends Rejoice (John 3)

Sermon Series song music christmas 1110 x 624

Do You Hear What I Hear? The Songs of Christmas
December 8: Good Christian Friends Rejoice (14th Century Latin)
Also known as Good Christian Men Rejoice
Scripture: John 3:1-21
Theme: Born Again

This medieval folk song was originally sung in both Latin and German. It was used in celebrations outside of worship and accompanied by instruments and dancing.

Good Christian Friends Rejoice (14th Century Latin)
Good Christian friends, rejoice with heart and soul and voice;
Give ye heed to what we say: Jesus Christ was born today.
Ox and ass before him bow, and he is in the manger now.
Christ is born today! Christ is born today!

Good Christian friends, rejoice with heart and soul and voice;
Now ye hear of endless bliss: Jesus Christ was born for this!
He has opened heaven’s door, and we are blest forevermore.
Christ was born for this! Christ was born for this!

Good Christian friends, rejoice with heart and soul and voice;
Now ye need not fear the grave: Jesus Christ was born to save!
Calls you one and calls you all to gain his everlasting hall.
Christ was born to save! Christ was born to save!

John 3:1-3 NKJV
There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

Let Christ Be Born in You from Alive Now (2003)
Let Christ be born in you!
Let hope be born,
Let love be born.

Let newness of heart be born in you!
Let gentleness be born,
Let truth be born.

Let concern for the poor be born in you!
Let generosity be born,
Let compassion be born.

Let close communion with God be born in you!
Let prayer be born,
Let action be born.

Let the faith to take up your cross and follow be born in you!
And let it lead you in the ways of our Lord,
For the sake of our Lord. Now and always. Amen.

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CLICK HERE for a pdf of the Christmas Song Devotional Readings.

The Christmas Story is full of singing. Mary sings. Zechariah sings. Simeon sings. The angels sing. Over the centuries we’ve continued to celebrate with songs of our own, songs born from the joy of Christ’s coming.

This holy season, to prepare our hearts again for the coming of Christ, we’ll reflect on the poetry of these meaningful songs. Some will be old friends. Others will be new. My prayer is that their beauty and power draw us closer to Jesus, the babe of Bethlehem, the Risen King. And that the grace of drawing near fulfills in us Christ’s power of new life.

Suggestions for Reflection on Each Song Lyric in the Christmas Devotion:

  • Find a quiet place to sit. Take a couple of deep breaths.
  • Read the song lyrics several times slowly, savoring the words.
  • Ask yourself:
    • What is the big idea?
    • Why is it important?
    • How does this truth connect with my life?
  • Have a conversation with God about this truth.
  • Invite God to use this truth to birth something new in you this holy season.

Additional Ideas:

  • Journal your reflections
  • Draw, paint, or create some other kind of art based on your reflections
  • Find a scripture or two which inspired the song or where brought to mind by the lyrics
  • Sing or listen to the song
  • Share the song or just the lyrics on social media or face to face

I look forward to hearing your comments. – Lisa <

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O Come O Come Emmanuel reflections © 2018 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Leave a comment for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

Retreat or Rejoice: Responding to God’s Presence (Psalm 114)

Detail of a photo from a set of photos of the Sinai 100 years ago.

Detail of a photo from a set of photos of the Sinai 100 years ago.

Psalm 114 NRSV
When Israel went out from Egypt,
The house of Jacob from a people of strange language,
Judah became God’s sanctuary, Israel his dominion.
The sea looked and fled; Jordan turned back.
The mountains skipped like rams, the hills like lambs.
Why is it, O sea, that you flee? O Jordan, that you turn back?
O mountains, that you skip like rams? O hills, like lambs?
Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob,
who turns the rock into a pool of water, the flint into a spring of water.

In the presence of God
Do you flee like the Red Sea?
Back away like the Jordan?
Repelled by The Holiness
Cowering amongst your own shortfall, sin, and brokenness
in the presence of The Judge

Or

In the presence of God
Do you rejoice with the ancient mountains?
Skipping and dancing like spring lambs?
Quaking with excitement at Your Creator’s companionship
Shuddering in surprise
at the deliverance
the grace
the nurture
of the Divine One
Who makes of you a sanctuary
and home

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Today’s featured photo and many more will be found at Go Tell it on the Mountain, a blog from the mountains of the Sinai

Retreat or Rejoice: Responding to God’s Presence (Psalm 114)
© 2015 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution.
Contact the Lisa for posting and publication considerations.

Receive and Rejoice (1 Peter:1-9)

Rose window from a Catholic church in Germany, St. Maria and Potentinus

Rose window from a Catholic church in Germany, St. Maria and Potentinus

A psalm of praise and invitation based on 1 Peter 1:1-9 (NRSV)

Receive and Rejoice!
Rejoice with an indescribable joy
Inexpressible
Unspeakable
A joy greater than words
A great and glorious joy
Loose
Liberated
Boundless

Receive and Rejoice!
A joy worthy of new birth
Of a living hope
A joy anchored in the imperishable
The Eternal
Undefiled and Unfading

Receive and Rejoice!
This joy was chosen for you
Destined for you
Sanctified, sprinkled and saved for you
By the Merciful One
God… Father of grace and glory
God… Son and Savior
God… Spirit and Sustainer

Receive and Rejoice!

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Receive and Rejoice! © 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.

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.

#LukeActs2014: Rejoice Wisely (Luke 10:1-24)

rejoice-romans 5 2Based on Luke 10:1-24, Jesus sending the seventy two,
especially Luke 10:19-20 NIV

Jesus said, “I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

Jesus
You entrust us with your greatness
Lips to proclaim your peace
Your Kingdom drawing all, drawing near
Hands to heal
Freedom of simplicity
Authority over evil
Power over the enemy

It’s so easy to lose you among the wonders and signs
In thinking your attention, your affection
Only offered for results (Look Jesus!)
In celebrating ourselves instead of you (Look what we did!)

It’s so easy to lose you in the crush of refusal
In the lack of fruit though the sewing was faithful
In the grumbling, the apathy
The sand sticks to our sandals
and our souls

It’s so easy to lose you
Our worthiness tied to the work

Remind us again and again, Son of Righteousness
Rejoice only in The Relationship
Your name written on the Family Tree
On the palm of God’s hand

Teach us, Jesus
A hallelujah in every season
For we are yours

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Rejoice Wisely © 2014 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are very welcome to use this in a worship or group setting with proper attribution.

Reading for the week of March 9: Luke 10
Click Here for more information on the #LukeActs2014 Reading Plan

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

Pray Without Ceasing

pray without ceasing1 Thessalonians 5:16-19 (NRSV)
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances;
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit.

Prayer is a request for what is good, offered by the devout of God. But we do not restrict this request simply to what is stated in words. We should not express our prayer merely in syllables, but also through the attitude of our soul and in the virtuous actions we do in our life. This is how you pray continually — not by offering prayer in words, but by joining yourself to God through your whole way of life, so that your life becomes one continuous and uninterrupted prayer. – Basil the Great

Extended quote by Steve Harper from Let us Pray: The Essence of Prayer
Here is my distilled essence of prayer. First, prayer is attitude. This means it includes occasional acts, but it is actually an ongoing disposition of the heart, not limited to fixed times of devotion.

Second, prayer is abandonment. It is taking every moment and saying, “Not my will but thine be done.” It is the surrender of egotism and the offering of our lives to God–what Saint Francis called being “an instrument of Your peace.”

And third, prayer is attentiveness, so that God can communicate with us as much in the ordinary moment as in the spectacular ones.

Almost everything else about prayer emerges from one of these three elements. In them we find the foundation for both personal and corporate prayer.

Extended quote by Augustine of Hippo from his Discourse on Psalm 37
And all my desire is before you (Ps 37:10)… This very desire of yours is your prayer; and if your desire is continual, your prayer is continual too. It was not for nothing that the Apostle said: “Pray without ceasing” (1Thes 5:17). Can we unceasingly bend our knees, bow down our bodies or uplift our hands, that he should tell us: Pray without ceasing? No; if it is thus he bids up pray, I do not think we can do so without ceasing.

But there is another way of praying, interior and unbroken, and that is the way of desire. Whatever else you are doing, if you long for that sabbath, you are not ceasing to pray. If you do not want to cease praying, do not cease longing.

Your unceasing desire is your unceasing prayer. You will lapse into silence if you lose your longing. Who did lapse into silence? Those of whom it has been said: “Because iniquity hath abounded, the charity of many shall grow cold” (Mt 24.12). The coldness of charity is the heart’s silence; its glowing ardor, the heart’s outcry. If charity is always present, you are ever crying out; if always crying out, you are ever longing; if longing, you have not forgotten the everlasting repose.

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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.