Prayer: Bring a Saving Work

Window from Kirche Enge in Zurich Switzerland. Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

Window from Kirche Enge in Zurich Switzerland. Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

Merciful God, bring
a peace that passes understanding
a unity beyond any human creating
a love that dispels all hate and fear
a hope centered in your resurrection
a persevering rooted in your promise of new life
a humility that breaks down dividing walls
a strength that binds up the brokenhearted

Bring a saving work, Holy One
a healing and wholeness
that goes far beyond all we can ask or imagine

All for your glory
All for your glory
All for your glory
Amen

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Need more prayers? Click here for Steve Garnaas Holmes honest and hopeful Psalm for the Brokenhearted. 

Prayer: Bring a Saving Work © 2014 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are very welcome to use this in a worship or group setting with proper attribution.

Click Here for more information on today’s photo from Wikimedia Commons

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: Luke 6

Luke 6Reading for the week of February 9: Luke 6
Click Here for more information on the #LukeActs2014 Reading Plan

I decided to pick a few verses from this week’s reading to memorize. Some of my artist friends illustrate verses in various mediums as part of their devotional time, so I thought I’d give that a try, too. I used PicMonkey, a free, online picture editor, and really enjoyed the process.

Advent Photo-A-Day: Day 16, Strong

cross of peopleThe thought behind the photo:
Jesus loves me this I know.
For the Bible tells me so.
Little ones to Him belong.
We are weak but he is strong.

Jesus loves me still today,
Walking with me on my way,
Wanting as a friend to give
Light and love to all who live.
– Anna B. Warner and David Rutherford McGuire

SCRIPTURE: Isaiah 40:28-31 NIV
Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

The December 16, 2013 devotion from http://umrethinkchurch.tumblr.com 
SCRIPTURE: Isaiah 35:4-7, The Message
Tell fearful souls,
“Courage! [Be strong!] Take heart!
God is here, right here,
on his way to put things right
And redress all wrongs.
He’s on his way! He’ll save you!”
Blind eyes will be opened, deaf ears unstopped,
Lame men and women will leap like deer,
the voiceless break into song.
Springs of water will burst out in the wilderness,
streams flow in the desert.
Hot sands will become a cool oasis,
thirsty ground a splashing fountain.
Even lowly jackals will have water to drink,
and barren grasslands flourish richly.

Good preaching and interpretation is able to take old texts for new situations and helps us see things in scripture we may have missed before.

In this season of Advent, how are you seeing this poem of invitation?

How are these promises and call to action to “Be strong!” and “Take heart!” resonating with you this Advent?

There are a number of longings we hear in this text: changes in ability, the flourishing of dry land, songs for the voiceless.

What are your prayers and longings this Advent?

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Thank you Rethink Church for a great way to make preparing for Christmas more meaningful. Join me and thousands more in setting aside time to reflect, focus, and literally picture the deep themes of Jesus’ birth.

Click here for more information on Advent Photo-A-Day from Rethink Church.

Click here for a master list of links to my submissions. Lisa <><

Advent Photo-A-Day: Day 7, Ready

Ready! Pregnant Preparation circa 1992.

Ready! Pregnant Preparation circa 1992.

The thought behind the photo:
The idea of being ready or making ready led to the idea of preparation which led to the quote below about active waiting. As a mother of two, it’s easier for me to connect to images of active waiting, pregnancy, and midwives than some of the other Advent images. (i.e. preparing a road in the wilderness, making ready for battle, apocalypse) I’m especially drawn to the idea of breathing with someone as they labor in birthing new life. Lamaze class and two unmedicated births will drive that home.

This season and every season, we have the privilege of joining Christ in intimate, creative, labor. Incarnational, Compassionate, Companioning.
How else would you describe it? – Lisa <><

Advent, meaning “the coming,” is a time when we wait expectantly. Christians began to celebrate it as a season during the fourth and fifth centuries. Like Mary, we celebrate the coming of the Christ child, what God has already done. And we wait in expectation of the full coming of God’s reign on earth and for the return of Christ, what God will yet do. But this waiting is not a passive waiting. It is an active waiting. As any expectant mother knows, this waiting also involves preparation, exercise, nutrition, care, prayer, work; and birth involves pain, blood, tears, joy, release, community. It is called labor for a reason. Likewise, we are in a world pregnant with hope, and we live in the expectation of the coming of God’s kingdom on earth. As we wait, we also work, cry, pray, ache; we are the midwives of another world. – Shane Claiborne, Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, Enuma Okoro, Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals

SCRIPTURE: James 1:16-22 NRSV
Do not be deceived, my beloved. Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. In fulfillment of his own purpose he gave us birth by the word of truth, so that we would become a kind of first fruits of his creatures. You must understand this, my beloved: let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger; for your anger does not produce God’s righteousness. Therefore rid yourselves of all sordidness and rank growth of wickedness, and welcome with meekness the implanted word that has the power to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves.

SCRIPTURE: 1 Peter 1:8-9, 13-16 NRSV
Although you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, for you are receiving the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls….Therefore prepare your minds for action; discipline yourselves; set all your hope on the grace that Jesus Christ will bring you when he is revealed. Like obedient children, do not be conformed to the desires that you formerly had in ignorance. Instead, as he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in all your conduct; for it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

The December 7, 2013 devotion from http://umrethinkchurch.tumblr.com 
SCRIPTURE: Matthew 24:43-44 NRSV
Advent is a time when we watch, wait and prepare. In the coming days, the photo-a-day words will help us prepare our hearts, our minds, our lives for Immanuel; God with us. Have you imagined what may have been going through Mary’s or Joseph’s head during this time? What would people say? How would this all play out? What responsibilities would change their lives forever?

It’s not like they had been through this before. What expectations did they have to let go of to allow God to lead?

What expectations do we need to let go of this Advent so that we are ready to receive what this season brings? What are we doing to ready ourselves? How will we receive the living Christ in our midst?

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Thank you Rethink Church for a great way to make preparing for Christmas more meaningful. Join me and thousands more in setting aside time to reflect, focus, and literally picture the deep themes of Jesus’ birth.

Click here for more information on Advent Photo-A-Day from Rethink Church.

Click here for a master list of links to my submissions. Lisa <><

Advent Photo-A-Day: Day 5, Flood

baptism shell waterThe thought behind the photo:
The continuing flow of God’s mercy, cleansing and grace.
Remember your baptism and be thankful!

SCRIPTURE: Psalm 51:1-2 NIV
Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.

SCRIPTURE: Isaiah 22:22-23 NIV
“I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist. Return to me, for I have redeemed you.” Sing for joy, O heavens, for the LORD has done this; shout aloud, O earth beneath. Burst into song, you mountains, you forests and all your trees, for the LORD has redeemed Jacob, he displays his glory in Israel.

Take a few moments to worship along with Paul Baloche
as he sings Hosanna (Praise is Rising).

The December 5, 2013 devotion from http://umrethinkchurch.tumblr.com 
SCRIPTURE: Matthew 24:36-39, The Message
But the exact day and hour? No one knows that, not even heaven’s angels, not even the Son. Only the Father knows. The Arrival of the Son of Man will take place in times like Noah’s. Before the great flood everyone was carrying on as usual, having a good time right up to the day Noah boarded the ark. They knew nothing—until the flood hit and swept everything away.

What a downer. Here we are preparing for the merriment of Christmas and we read this warning to be on our guard for Christ’s return. What is one to do? Should we stop having fun “carrying on as usual” to focus on being pious? Where are all the rules for how faithful people are supposed to live? What if Christ comes when we’re at the movies or at a party, rather than at church?

The tendency is to feel guilty. We ask ourselves, should I be doing more? Am I really acting like a follower of Jesus?

The Jesus in the book of Matthew is aware of what’s coming, but he is also pretty focused on the needs of the day. In other words, he wasn’t so focused on the future that he ignored what the hungry, the imprisoned, the marginalized needed of him at that moment.

So the exact day and hour? No one knows that. Luckily, we aren’t required to know everything—not even the time of Christ’s return.

What is asked of us is to pay attention.

What spaces in your heart or mind need to be cleared to make room for Christ this Advent?

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Thank you Rethink Church for a great way to make preparing for Christmas more meaningful. Join me and thousands more in setting aside time to reflect, focus, and literally picture the deep themes of Jesus’ birth.

Click here for more information on Advent Photo-A-Day from Rethink Church.

Click here for a master list of links to my submissions. Lisa <><