Order of Worship for a Spring Healing Service

sprout-seed 4

Pre-Service Set up

  • Helpers to welcome and pass out programs
  • Purple strips of paper in the pews
  • Packets of seeds with a tag containing Psalm 126:5-6. Place the packets on communion rail as a gift to take home.
  • Containers of anointing oil on the communion rail to be used by the prayer helpers
  • Tissues at communion rail and in the pews
  • Table with 4 purple candles and 1 white Christ candle
  • Box of Matches

Feel free to change the music as best fits your setting. In the provided songs, UMH stands for United Methodist Hymnal and FWS stands for The Faith We Sing.

Gathering Music
Quiet music as people arrive

Welcome
ONE:
Welcome. We’re so glad you came.

Why have you come? The reasons for coming are many. There’s so much which is painful in our lives and in our world- so much in need of healing and wholeness. We gather in the midst of suffering to remember- to remember God is good. God is strong. God is near. We are not alone and we have every reason to hold on to hope.

Opening Prayer
ALL:
Merciful God,
In this season of new buds and blooms, we come to you weary and grieving
In this season of fresh fruits and vegetables, we hunger for healing and relief
In this season of sweet spring light, our hearts are veiled in sorrow and shadow
Will this season ever end?

“Yes.” We hear your, “Yes.”
Those who are weary will find rest
Those who mourn will be comforted
Those who hunger will be filled
The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness will not overcome it.

Strike a match and light the white Christ candle

Lighting the Christ Candle
ONE:
We welcome you O Christ, our Savior, Healer, and Hope.
In the midst of our suffering, help us to worship you in spirit and in truth.

Song
I Want Jesus to Walk With Me (UMH 521)

Scripture: Psalm 126, The Voice Translation
Remember when the Eternal brought back the exiles to Zion?
It was as if we were dreaming—
Our mouths were filled with laughter.
Our tongues were spilling over into song.
The word went out across the prairies and deserts,
Across the hills, over the oceans wide, from nation to nation:
“The Eternal has done remarkable things for them.”
We shook our heads. All of us were stunned—
The Eternal has done remarkable things for us.
We were beyond happy, beyond joyful.

And now, Eternal One, some are held captive and poor.
Release them, and restore our fortunes
As the dry riverbeds of the South
Spring to life when the rains come at last.
Those who walk the fields to sow,
Casting their seed in tears,
Will one day tread those same long rows,
Amazed by what’s appeared.
Those who weep as they walk and plant with sighs
Will return singing with joy, when they bring home the harvest.

Message

Candle Lighting
Instrumental underscore during the candle lighting. Stop underscore at the instructions for the prayer time.

Strike a match and light a purple candle

ONE:
This candle represents our suffering and the suffering of the world.
In the light of God’s love, we claim God’s gift of truth.
There is no need to hide or deny. God welcomes us as we are.

ALL:
Incline your ear, O Lord, and answer me, for I am poor and needy. ~Psalm 86:1

Strike a match and light a purple candle

ONE:
This candle represents our suffering and the suffering of the world.
In the light of God’s love, we claim God’s gift of lament.
We recognize our wounds and cry out to God.
We accept God’s invitation to express every feeling and question.

ALL:
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer; and by night, but find no rest. ~ Psalm 22:1-2

Strike a match and light a purple candle

ONE:
This candle represents our suffering and the suffering of the world.
In the light of God’s love, we claim God’s gift of courage.
Courage to be honest, to seek help, to comfort one another.
Courage to dare to love and dream again.

ALL:
The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts; so I am helped, and my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him. ~ Psalm 28:7

Strike a match and light a purple candle

ONE:
This candle represents our suffering and the suffering of the world.
In the light of God’s love, we claim God’s gift of hope.
God is good. God is strong. God is near, leading us to a day without tears and pain, without sin and death. Healing and deliverance are coming; if not now, then on that day.

ALL:
By awesome deeds you answer us with deliverance, O God of our salvation; you are the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas. ~Psalm 65:5

Song
I Need Thee Every Hour (UMH #397, 1-3)
The song leaders sing the verses, all sing the chorus

Prayer Time
ONE:
You are encouraged to write your burdens and sorrows on the purple strips of paper and then place them on the table with the candles. Following that, make your way to the rail. Persons are available to pray with you as you stand or kneel. Anointing oil is also available. Please take a packet of seeds with you as you return to your seat as a reminder of the good things God is planting in your life today.

Following the instructions, provide an instrumental underscore during the prayer time.

Offer the following prayer after everyone is seated again following the prayer time

ONE:
Jesus, you are full of compassion, you understand our pain. Our suffering changes our experience of you and our experience of everyday life. We are caught in the midst of remembering happier times, grieving what might have been, and navigating a new normal. In our loss we feel cut off- disconnected, adrift, alone.

Root us in your steadfast love. Plant deep within us in your faithful promises.
Hold us, and all who weep this spring throughout the world-
those who mourn, those far from home, those looking for work,
the lonely, the addicted, the abused and their abusers,
the estranged, the oppressed, the enslaved,
the poor, victims and oppressors of war, the sick and dying.

Shelter and sustain us all with your healing and hope, your peace and light.
We love you, we need you, we trust you,
We ask this in your name Jesus, praying as you taught us…

ALL:
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 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, the power, and the glory forever. Amen

Song
Change My Heart, O God (CCLI Song # 1565, FWS #2152)

Affirmation: For Grace to Bear Suffering
© 2014 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia

ALL:
I pray for the grace to bear my sufferings
As Christ bore his for me
With Dignity, Humility, Forgiveness

I pray for the grace to bear my sufferings
As Christ bore his for me
With Compassion, Truth, Perseverance

I pray for the grace to bear my sufferings
As Christ bore his for me
Knowing my sufferings are not like his
And not like others
Yet shared with the universal longings of all humanity
Real and Painful and Deep
No need for comparison, only companionship

I pray for the grace to bear my sufferings
As Christ bore his for me
As Christ bore his for all
All I will ever suffer
All we all will ever suffer
Will be made known, will be made whole
Through his love and self-giving

In this I believe and trust and follow and hope
In this I am made new
We are made new
Thanks be to God! Hallelujah! Amen!

Passing the Peace

Songs
He Has Made Me Glad (CCLI Song #1493; FWS #2270)
I’m So Glad Jesus Lifted Me (FWS #2151)

ONE:
Following the blessing, you are welcome to stay as long as you like. Persons are available to speak with you further about your situation. If it would be helpful, the pastor would be glad to set an appointment with you. You can reach the pastor at…

Blessing

Jesus, The Hen: when it’s time to weep

Detail from Descent from the Cross by the Flemish artist Rogier van der Weyden

Detail from Descent from the Cross by the Flemish artist Rogier van der Weyden

Matthew 23:27; Luke 13:34 NRSV
Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!

Extended quote by Barbara Brown Taylor from The Christian Century (2/25/86)
If you have ever loved someone you could not protect, then you understand the depth of Jesus’ lament. All you can do is open your arms. You cannot make anyone walk into them. Meanwhile, this is the most vulnerable posture in the world –wings spread, breast exposed –but if you mean what you say, then this is how you stand. …

… Jesus won’t be king of the jungle in this or any other story. What he will be is a mother hen, who stands between the chicks and those who mean to do them harm. She has no fangs, no claws, no rippling muscles. All she has is her willingness to shield her babies with her own body. If the fox wants them, he will have to kill her first; which he does, as it turns out. He slides up on her one night in the yard while all the babies are asleep. When her cry wakens them, they scatter.

She dies the next day where both foxes and chickens can see her — wings spread, breast exposed — without a single chick beneath her feathers. It breaks her heart . . . but if you mean what you say, then this is how you stand.

Extended quote by Jim Harnish from It’s Enough to Make You Cry
Take a good look; a look that penetrates the self-protective shields of social acceptability; a look that goes deeply into the heart; a look that is a finite expression of the infinite love with which God looks out on our world, and it’s enough to make anyone with a heart cry.

It’s what the prophet Jeremiah felt when he looked at his world and wrote, “If only my head were a spring of water and my eyes a fountain of tears, I would weep day and night for the wounds of my people.” (Jeremiah 9:1)

Read the headlines or watch the evening news and we know why Jesus wept over Jerusalem saying, “If they only knew the things that make for peace.” (Luke 19:42)

We weep for residents of Tel Aviv fleeing to bomb shelters and for Palestinians who have nowhere to hide from the attacks that are destroying their homes in Gaza.

We weep for thousands of children making their way across our border only to be caught up in our hopelessly confused and politicized immigration system.

We weep for millions of people who are homeless refugees because of the conflicts in Ukraine, in parts of Africa, and as a result of our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

We weep for the lives that have been lost in jets that have been blown out of the sky.

And we weep — the way Jesus wept beside the grave of his friend, Lazarus – for the deeply personal wounds, hurts, disappointments that sooner or late come crashing in on every one of us.

With Jeremiah, we ask, “Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there?” (Jeremiah 8:22)

I also know how Jeremiah felt when he said: “If only I could flee for shelter in the desert/to leave my people and forget them.” (Jeremiah 9:2)

I’d probably not choose the desert. I might take a house on the beach or a cabin in the mountains. I might just turn off the television, cancel the newspaper, go to a movie and stop paying attention to the pain and suffering around me. Sometimes we’d all like to flee.

Weep or flee? Which will it be? The truth is that there are times for both. There are times when I need to weep for the wounds of the world around me. And there are times when I need to accept Jesus’ invitation, “Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.” (Mark 6:31)

So, where is God in all of this? It may be when Jeremiah hears God say, “I am going to refine them, for what else can I do with my people?” (Jeremiah 9:7)

I’m not suggesting that God causes the terrible things that happen in order to teach us a lesson. I’m a Wesleyan, not a Calvinist. Most of the things that make us weep are a direct result of human decisions that are an outright contradiction of the will of God. Our sinful choices are enough to make God cry.

Although God does not cause everything that happens, God is able to use anything that happens to refine us, the way gold and silver are refined. Instead of making us bitter, it can make us better.

The Spirit of God is present in our tears to break our hearts with the things that break the heart of God, to show us the ways in which we contribute to the pain of the world, to form us more fully into the likeness of Christ, and to enable us to participate in God’s healing work in this world. If there is a “balm in Gilead to heal the sin-sick soul” it will be found in the hearts, lives and actions of faithful people who become the agents of God’s love in the lives of others.

Perhaps the Christ-shaped alternative is not just to weep or to flee, but to become God’s healing presence in the world. At least it’s worth praying for.

Click here for a deep reflection and call to lament by Steve Garnaas-Holmes entitled For the Hurt of my People.

Click here for a thoughtful reflecting on the question of suffering by Steve Garnaas-Holmes entitled Suffering.

In Christian symbolism Jerusalem is everyplace and the ultimate place. Jerusalem is the conflicted city within our hearts and the hoped for heavenly city of promise. Jerusalem is Earth herself. We lament over the world and our continual warfare and our ongoing destruction of land and seas and air. We are the holy place that kills prophets, healers, sages and innocents in the complex chaos of our passions.
– Suzanne Guthrie, Lament Over Jerusalem

The tears which flow from our eyes from time to time are illustrations of the tears which Jesus shed as he looked down upon Jerusalem and lamented, “How often I would have gathered you to myself as a hen gathers her chicks, but you would not”. They are signs of the pain in God’s heart when even one sheep goes astray. Tears are an acknowledgement of the Fall, but as they flow from a truly-repentant heart, they are also the first signs of hope. The dam of sinful resistance has collapsed and the Water of Life can now flow. – Steve Harper, The Water of Repentance

Prayer: End the Madness by Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Hear our cry!
Head our plea!
Hate compounds
Death surrounds
Evil abounds

Relief supplies rotting on docks
Vaccines waiting on shelves
The unsuspecting shot down
Abortions of convenience
The faithful persecuted
Riots in the streets
Human trafficking
Suicide bombers
Genocide
War

End our madness
Deliver us from bloodshed
Deliver us from us

Come quickly
Come in power
Your power, not ours
Rescue your beloved
Lord, where else can we go?

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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 Anniversary of 9/11

ONE VOICE
We gather today with persons all over the world to remember and to pray. We gather together in faith, in hope, in God’s infinite love.

Heavenly Father, we commend to your mercy and grace all who died in the September eleventh attacks and all who have died since while laboring to end terrorism.

Over 70 countries lost loved ones that day: family members, friends, co-workers, neighbors, heroes. In the face of their loss, and all the losses since, we claim your goodness, your faithfulness, and your power to bring good out of evil.

ONE VOICE
Compassionate One, it has been years, yet the pain is fresh for so many. Comfort all who continue to mourn the loss of loved ones. Come with assurance and peace for all who remain fearful for the future. Bring wholeness and hope to every broken place-
To broken bodies, broken hearts, and broken spirits
To broken relationships, broken systems, and broken faith

ALL VOICES
Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me

ONE VOICE
Our world remains a dangerous place O God, but with you there is safety and shalom.

ALL VOICES
You are our Rock, our Shield, our Defender.

ONE VOICE
Draw together leaders of every nation. Give them ears to hear your wisdom and the courage to respond. Inspire them to work together for peace, justice and freedom.

ONE VOICE
Strengthen all who risk their lives to protect others. Guard and favor all who work to make your world a place of peace.

ALL VOICES
Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me

ONE VOICE
God of the Nations, we light this candle for our enemies and for ourselves. It is so hard to love and pray for those who hate us. Help us to be faithful. Save us all from revenge, false teaching, and blind suspicion. Help us all recognize our contributions to conflict. Help us all understand the hurt that causes the hate. Change the hearts of all who seek their way by evil and violent means.

ALL VOICES
Lord Jesus, create in us clean hearts that beat with your unconditional compassion. Leave no one in the dark. Fill us all with your light. Amen.

Conclude with passing the peace to one another

**************

© 2015 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia and Nicole Sallee
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.

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

End Our Madness: a prayer for peace, justice and unity

PrejudicePrayer: End Our Madness
Hear our cry!
Head our plea!
End our madness!

Relief supplies rotting on docks
The faithful murdered at prayer
Vaccines waiting on shelves
Abortions of convenience
Riots in the streets
Millions of refugees
Human trafficking
Suicide bombers
Genocide
War

Hear our cry!
Head our plea!
End our madness!

Deliver us from bloodshed
Deliver us from us

Come quickly
Come in power
Your power, not ours
Your peace
Your unity
Your justice
Your hope
Your way, truth and life

Hear our cry!
Head our plea!
End our madness!

Extended quote by Jim Harnish from It’s Enough to Make You Cry
Take a good look; a look that penetrates the self-protective shields of social acceptability; a look that goes deeply into the heart; a look that is a finite expression of the infinite love with which God looks out on our world, and it’s enough to make anyone with a heart cry.

It’s what the prophet Jeremiah felt when he looked at his world and wrote, “If only my head were a spring of water and my eyes a fountain of tears, I would weep day and night for the wounds of my people.” (Jeremiah 9:1)

Read the headlines or watch the evening news and we know why Jesus wept over Jerusalem saying, “If they only knew the things that make for peace.” (Luke 19:42)

We weep for residents of Tel Aviv fleeing to bomb shelters and for Palestinians who have nowhere to hide from the attacks that are destroying their homes in Gaza.

We weep for thousands of children making their way across our border only to be caught up in our hopelessly confused and politicized immigration system.

We weep for millions of people who are homeless refugees because of the conflicts in Ukraine, in parts of Africa, and as a result of our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

We weep for the lives that have been lost in jets that have been blown out of the sky.

And we weep — the way Jesus wept beside the grave of his friend, Lazarus – for the deeply personal wounds, hurts, disappointments that sooner or late come crashing in on every one of us.

With Jeremiah, we ask, “Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there?” (Jeremiah 8:22)

I also know how Jeremiah felt when he said: “If only I could flee for shelter in the desert/to leave my people and forget them.” (Jeremiah 9:2)

I’d probably not choose the desert. I might take a house on the beach or a cabin in the mountains. I might just turn off the television, cancel the newspaper, go to a movie and stop paying attention to the pain and suffering around me. Sometimes we’d all like to flee.

Weep or flee? Which will it be? The truth is that there are times for both. There are times when I need to weep for the wounds of the world around me. And there are times when I need to accept Jesus’ invitation, “Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.” (Mark 6:31)

So, where is God in all of this? It may be when Jeremiah hears God say, “I am going to refine them, for what else can I do with my people?” (Jeremiah 9:7)

I’m not suggesting that God causes the terrible things that happen in order to teach us a lesson. I’m a Wesleyan, not a Calvinist. Most of the things that make us weep are a direct result of human decisions that are an outright contradiction of the will of God. Our sinful choices are enough to make God cry.

Although God does not cause everything that happens, God is able to use anything that happens to refine us, the way gold and silver are refined. Instead of making us bitter, it can make us better.

The Spirit of God is present in our tears to break our hearts with the things that break the heart of God, to show us the ways in which we contribute to the pain of the world, to form us more fully into the likeness of Christ, and to enable us to participate in God’s healing work in this world. If there is a “balm in Gilead to heal the sin-sick soul” it will be found in the hearts, lives and actions of faithful people who become the agents of God’s love in the lives of others.

Perhaps the Christ-shaped alternative is not just to weep or to flee, but to become God’s healing presence in the world. At least it’s worth praying for.

************
Prayer: End Our Madness © 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.

Jesus, The Hen: when it’s time to weep

Detail from Descent from the Cross by the Flemish artist Rogier van der Weyden

Detail from Descent from the Cross by the Flemish artist Rogier van der Weyden

Matthew 23:27; Luke 13:34 NRSV
Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!

The tears which flow from our eyes from time to time are illustrations of the tears which Jesus shed as he looked down upon Jerusalem and lamented, “How often I would have gathered you to myself as a hen gathers her chicks, but you would not”. They are signs of the pain in God’s heart when even one sheep goes astray. Tears are an acknowledgement of the Fall, but as they flow from a truly-repentant heart, they are also the first signs of hope. The dam of sinful resistance has collapsed and the Water of Life can now flow. – Steve Harper, The Water of Repentance

In Christian symbolism Jerusalem is everyplace and the ultimate place. Jerusalem is the conflicted city within our hearts and the hoped for heavenly city of promise. Jerusalem is Earth herself. We lament over the world and our continual warfare and our ongoing destruction of land and seas and air. We are the holy place that kills prophets, healers, sages and innocents in the complex chaos of our passions.
– Suzanne Guthrie, Lament Over Jerusalem

Click here for a deep reflection and call to lament by Steve Garnaas-Holmes entitled For the Hurt of my People.

Extended quote by Barbara Brown Taylor from The Christian Century (2/25/86)
If you have ever loved someone you could not protect, then you understand the depth of Jesus’ lament. All you can do is open your arms. You cannot make anyone walk into them. Meanwhile, this is the most vulnerable posture in the world –wings spread, breast exposed –but if you mean what you say, then this is how you stand. …

… Jesus won’t be king of the jungle in this or any other story. What he will be is a mother hen, who stands between the chicks and those who mean to do them harm. She has no fangs, no claws, no rippling muscles. All she has is her willingness to shield her babies with her own body. If the fox wants them, he will have to kill her first; which he does, as it turns out. He slides up on her one night in the yard while all the babies are asleep. When her cry wakens them, they scatter.

She dies the next day where both foxes and chickens can see her — wings spread, breast exposed — without a single chick beneath her feathers. It breaks her heart . . . but if you mean what you say, then this is how you stand.

Extended quote by Jim Harnish from It’s Enough to Make You Cry
Take a good look; a look that penetrates the self-protective shields of social acceptability; a look that goes deeply into the heart; a look that is a finite expression of the infinite love with which God looks out on our world, and it’s enough to make anyone with a heart cry.

It’s what the prophet Jeremiah felt when he looked at his world and wrote, “If only my head were a spring of water and my eyes a fountain of tears, I would weep day and night for the wounds of my people.” (Jeremiah 9:1)

Read the headlines or watch the evening news and we know why Jesus wept over Jerusalem saying, “If they only knew the things that make for peace.” (Luke 19:42)

We weep for residents of Tel Aviv fleeing to bomb shelters and for Palestinians who have nowhere to hide from the attacks that are destroying their homes in Gaza.

We weep for thousands of children making their way across our border only to be caught up in our hopelessly confused and politicized immigration system.

We weep for millions of people who are homeless refugees because of the conflicts in Ukraine, in parts of Africa, and as a result of our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

We weep for the lives that have been lost in jets that have been blown out of the sky.

And we weep — the way Jesus wept beside the grave of his friend, Lazarus – for the deeply personal wounds, hurts, disappointments that sooner or late come crashing in on every one of us.

With Jeremiah, we ask, “Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there?” (Jeremiah 8:22)

I also know how Jeremiah felt when he said: “If only I could flee for shelter in the desert/to leave my people and forget them.” (Jeremiah 9:2)

I’d probably not choose the desert. I might take a house on the beach or a cabin in the mountains. I might just turn off the television, cancel the newspaper, go to a movie and stop paying attention to the pain and suffering around me. Sometimes we’d all like to flee.

Weep or flee? Which will it be? The truth is that there are times for both. There are times when I need to weep for the wounds of the world around me. And there are times when I need to accept Jesus’ invitation, “Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.” (Mark 6:31)

So, where is God in all of this? It may be when Jeremiah hears God say, “I am going to refine them, for what else can I do with my people?” (Jeremiah 9:7)

I’m not suggesting that God causes the terrible things that happen in order to teach us a lesson. I’m a Wesleyan, not a Calvinist. Most of the things that make us weep are a direct result of human decisions that are an outright contradiction of the will of God. Our sinful choices are enough to make God cry.

Although God does not cause everything that happens, God is able to use anything that happens to refine us, the way gold and silver are refined. Instead of making us bitter, it can make us better.

The Spirit of God is present in our tears to break our hearts with the things that break the heart of God, to show us the ways in which we contribute to the pain of the world, to form us more fully into the likeness of Christ, and to enable us to participate in God’s healing work in this world. If there is a “balm in Gilead to heal the sin-sick soul” it will be found in the hearts, lives and actions of faithful people who become the agents of God’s love in the lives of others.

Perhaps the Christ-shaped alternative is not just to weep or to flee, but to become God’s healing presence in the world. At least it’s worth praying for.

************
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: Romans 12:15

rejoice weep

Compassion is the sometimes fatal capacity for living in someone’s skin. It is the knowledge that there can never really be any peace and joy for me unless there is peace and joy finally for you too. – Frederick Buechner, Beyond Words

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 <><

Quotes: Regret

boy statue regret2 Corinthians 7:10
For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation and brings no regret,
but worldly grief produces death.

Many of us crucify ourselves between two thieves-
regret for the past and fear of the future.
– Fulton Oursler, American journalist, playwright, editor and writer (converted to Christianity after writing The Greatest Story Ever Told)

When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.
– Alexander Graham Bell

Selection from the song Why by Annie Lenox
This is the book I never read
These are the words I never said
This is the path I’ll never tread
These are the dreams I’ll dream instead
This is the joy that’s seldom spread
These are the tears…
The tears we shed
This is the fear
This is the dread
These are the contents of my head
And these are the years that we have spent
And this is what they represent
And this is how I feel
Do you know how I feel?

Most of us carry regrets. There are many different kinds.

  • Regrets of wasted opportunities and lost time.
  • Regrets of things done and left undone.
  • Regrets of decisions taken and those not taken.
  • Regrets of words spoke and unspoken.

Regrets like these rob us of our peace and serenity. Often they leave us with deep feelings of guilt or remorse or even despair. We wish we could turn the clock back. But we cannot. Perhaps you will know, as I do, some of these painful effects that come from living with regrets about our past. So what can we do? We can pray the Serenity Prayer. We can ask God to help us to accept the irreparable past. But we need to back up this prayer with a few things that we can do. Finding peace does not mean doing nothing. It may grow out of prayer, but it does not stop there. It brings new intentions, new obligations, new efforts. – Trevor Hudson, The Serenity Prayer

God, give me grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.
Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.
Amen.
– Reinhold Niebuhr

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