Strong, Fierce Love – a St. Valentine’s Day reflection and prayer based on Song of Solomon 8.5-7

matches-heart-2

Who is that coming up from the wilderness,
leaning upon her beloved?

The strong, fierce love of God in Christ Jesus
leads us out of the dry, barren places
bears weight, we can lean on it

Under the apple tree, I awakened you.
There your mother was in labor with you;
there she who bore you was in labor.

The strong, fierce love of God in Christ Jesus
opens, quickens
is more intimate than our first breath

Set me as a seal upon your heart,
as a seal upon your arm;

The strong, fierce love of God in Christ Jesus
makes a lasting impression
a tattoo of everlasting grace

for love is strong as death,
passion fierce as the grave.

The strong, fierce love of God in Christ Jesus
comes for us all
an unrelenting longing for our good

Its flashes are flashes of fire,
a raging flame.
Many waters cannot quench love,
neither can floods drown it.

The strong, fierce love of God in Christ Jesus
is unchanging
unquenchable
unstoppable

If one offered for love
all the wealth of one’s house,
it would be utterly scorned.

The strong, fierce love of God in Christ Jesus
is precious
priceless

Will you accept the gift of God’s love?

Rabbi Jesus
Promised Messiah
Son of the One, True, Living God
Fill me with your Spirit
Make me your love

It is your command
It is your way
It is your gift
It is You and your work

Yes, make me your witness
And yes, make me your will
But first and always, make me your love

Pause in silence to receive

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Strong, Fierce Love © 2019 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution. (by Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia, revlisad.com) Please leave a comment for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

Tell Me, Dear Tree: A Lenten Hymn of Sacrifice

Crucifixion Tree outside the walled city of Mdina. Photo by Antoine Pace via TrekEarth.com

Jesus’ suffering on the cross was a correct diagnosis and revelation of the human dilemma. It was an invitation to enter into solidarity with the pain of the world, and our own pain, instead of always resisting it, avoiding it, or denying it. Lady Julian of Norwich, my favorite Christian mystic, understood it so well, and she taught, in effect, that “There is only one suffering and we all share in it.” – Richard Rohr

Tell me, Dear Tree
A Lenten hymn of sacrifice
Meter- 86.86 double (CMD)
Suggested tune: KINGSFOLD (United Methodist Hymnal #179)

Tell me dear tree on which my Lord, my blessed Lord did hang,
How could you hold the spotless Lamb, be party with the gang?
That cheerless day, that shadowy hour, my blessed Savior died,
to free my soul for heavenly things, O tree, you must have cried.

Yes all your fibers must have screamed for you one time did live
a green and growing tree, alive, but your whole self did give
to be the instrument of death, to be the very tree
to be the place for Christ to die upon dark Calvary

Wait! Do I hear a shout of joy from somewhere deep within?
Your duty done; the battle won so all the world might win.
How beautiful your love for Him. He sewed it long ago
You bore the weight. You took the stain, and now the world must know

The tree of death felt every wound, felt all the pain and loss.
She loved her maker through it all, was glad to be His cross.
Teach me dear tree on which my Lord, My precious Lord did die
To treasure grueling duties done so Christ is lifted high

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BONUS- Steve Garnaas Holmes offers a simple, powerful reflection and prayer on John 3:14-15 entitled Lifted Up on his blog, Unfolding Light.

© 1992, revised 2009 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. Lisa is especially interested in collaborating with someone to set this text to original music.

Midweek Reflection- The Cup of Our Life

Inspired by this prayer by Joy Rupp from her wonderful book The Cup of our Life 

Generous God
so many times I’ve come
with my empty cup
a beggar of the heart
devoid of nourishment
depleted of energy

and you have filled

Generous God
so many times I’ve come
afraid of unknowns
full of negatives and no’s
fighting the challenges
closed and resistant to growth

and you have opened

Generous God
so many times I’ve come
a stranger to my spirit
crammed with cultural noise
caught in endless clutter
crowding my inner space

and you have emptied

Generous God
I come to you again
holding out my waiting cup
begging that it first be emptied
of all that blocks the way
then ask for its filling
with love that tastes like you

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Midweek Reflection- The Cup of Our Life © 2020 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia

Midweek Devotion- Psalm 57

You’re encouraged to use the following process as you read scripture.
We use this process together on Wednesdays at 8:00AM EST. https://www.facebook.com/TrinityUMCSarasota 

Scripture: Psalm 57, NRSV

Breath Prayers based on For the Beauty of the Earth
IN: Lord of all, to thee we raise
OUT: This our hymn of grateful praise.

IN: For that great, great love of thine,
OUT: Peace on earth, and joy in heaven:

STILLNESS: Spend 5-20 minutes in silence looking to God and listening for God.

ATTENTION: Read or listen to the Scripture. What word, phrase or verse captures your attention? Underline it or copy it onto a piece of paper.

CONNECTION: What connections do you see to other scriptures? To your own experience or current situation? Or, to the character or promises of God?

ACTION: What is God inviting you to trust, say, or do? How will your life be different because of this scripture?

PRAY: Talk to God about what you just experienced or anything else on your heart.

Recorded 7/22/2020

Bind Us Together
CCLI Song # 1228
Bob Gillman © 1977
Thankyou Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)
CCLI License # 686715

PUBLIC DOMAIN SONG:
For the Beauty of the Earth
Text: Folliot S. Pierpoint
Music: Conrad Kocher
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Midweek Devotion- Psalm 57 © 2020 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia

Midweek Devotion- Psalm 33

Scripture: Psalm 33

Breath Prayers: Psalm 33:20-22
IN: Our soul waits for the Lord
OUT: He is our help and shield

IN: Our heart is glad in him
OUT: Because we trust in his holy name

IN: Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us
OUT: Even as we hope in you

You’re encouraged to use the following process as you read scripture.
We use this process together on Wednesdays at 8:00AM EST. https://www.facebook.com/TrinityUMCSarasota

STILLNESS: Spend 5-20 minutes in silence looking to God and listening for God.

ATTENTION: Read or listen to the Scripture. What word, phrase, or verse captures your attention? Underline it or copy it onto a piece of paper.

CONNECTION: What connections do you see to other scriptures? To your own experience or current situation? Or, to the character or promises of God?

ACTION: What is God inviting you to trust, say, or do? How will your life be different because of this scripture?

PRAY: Talk to God about what you just experienced or anything else on your heart.

Contact Information:
941-924-7756
trinity@iTrinity.org

Recorded 7/8/2020

He Leadeth Me, O Blessed Thought
Text: Joseph H. Gilmore
Music: William B. Bradbury
Public Domain

Bind Us Together
CCLI Song # 1228; CCLI License # 686715
Bob Gillman © 1977, Thankyou Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)

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Midweek Devotion- Psalm 33 © 2020 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia