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.

Breath Prayers Based on Mark 14-15

summer in the scriptures- Mark (5)

Silently pray the phrase after IN on your breath in. Then silently pray the phrase after OUT on your breath out. Take your time. Breathe deeply. Choose one, a few, or all of them as is most helpful to you.

How do breath prayers help you?

Share a breath prayer you’ve written.

Breath Prayers Based on Mark 14
The Plot to Kill Jesus

IN: Jesus,
OUT: Stop our scheming

IN: Jesus,
OUT: Reveal all that is hidden

IN: Jesus, deliver us
OUT: from evil and corruption

IN: Jesus, remove the violence
OUT: from our hearts, our mouths, our hands

IN: Jesus, I betray you
OUT: Jesus, I deny you

IN: Jesus,
OUT: Awaken me

IN: Jesus,
OUT: help me do what I can

IN: Jesus, I follow
OUT: Jesus, I’m yours

Breath Prayers Based on Mark 15
The Passion of the Christ

IN: Glory to you, O Christ
OUT: a willing sacrifice

IN: Glory to you, O Christ
OUT: a victim of injustice

IN: Glory to you, O Christ
OUT: flogged and mocked

IN: Glory to you, O Christ
OUT: beaten and humiliated

IN: Glory to you, O Christ
OUT: crowned with thorns

IN: Glory to you, O Christ
OUT: taunted and forsaken

IN: Glory to you, O Christ
OUT: crucified

IN: Glory to you, O Christ
OUT: laid in a tomb

_______________

For the next few months, I’m reading a chapter from the Gospels each day. This is part of the Summer in the Scriptures reading plan sponsored by the Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church. Click Here for the reading plan.

You’re most welcome to read along and to join the Facebook discussion group, Summer in the Scriptures. You don’t need to be a Methodist or attend a Methodist church. All are welcome and all means all.

As part of the Facebook group, I’ve been supplying prayers based on the day’s reading. Feel free to post your prayers and observations based on the readings here or there as well.

May the grace of the Gospels, the challenge, and the call, inspire us to great faith and great good works in Jesus’ name. – Lisa <><

Breath Prayers Based on Matthew 14-15 © 2020 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.

Prayer Prompts Based on Mark 13

summer in the scriptures- Mark (1)

Prayer Prompts Based on Mark 13
Use one or more of the following prompts as you pray. Just finish the sentence again and again or use it as a springboard for your prayers.

Share your prayer in the comments.
What prayer prompt would you write?
Share that as well.

Jesus, give ________ eyes to see you and your signs.

Jesus, save __________ from straying. Lead __________.

Jesus, reveal all that is false…

Jesus, strengthen…

Jesus, grant ________ spiritual stamina.

Holy Spirit, speak through _______________.

Jesus, help ____________ endure.

Jesus, help ___________ who suffers.

Jesus, help all who are persecuted for their faith…

Jesus, keep __________ alert and awake.

Jesus, we praise your power, your glory, your ____________.

_______________

For the next few months, I’m reading a chapter from the Gospels each day. This is part of the Summer in the Scriptures reading plan sponsored by the Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church. Click Here for the reading plan.

You’re most welcome to read along and to join the Facebook discussion group, Summer in the Scriptures. You don’t need to be a Methodist or attend a Methodist church. All are welcome and all means all.

As part of the Facebook group, I’ve been supplying prayers based on the day’s reading. Feel free to post your prayers and observations based on the readings here or there as well.

May the grace of the Gospels, the challenge, and the call, inspire us to great faith and great good works in Jesus’ name. – Lisa <><

Prayer Prompts Based on Mark 13 © 2020 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.

For Grace to Bear Suffering, a prayer based on Matthew 27

Summer in the Scriptures (12)

Jesus suffers injustice, mocking, torture, and death

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
Willing to suffer for a greater good
In solidarity and sacrificial love

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!
Amen!

_______________

For the next few months, I’m reading a chapter from the Gospels each day. This is part of the Summer in the Scriptures reading plan sponsored by the Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church. Click Here for the reading plan.

You’re most welcome to read along and to join the Facebook discussion group, Summer in the Scriptures. You don’t need to be a Methodist or attend a Methodist church. All are welcome and all means all.

As part of the Facebook group, I’ve been supplying prayers based on the day’s reading. Feel free to post your prayers and observations based on the readings here or there as well.

May the grace of the Gospels, the challenge, and the call, inspire us to great faith and great good works in Jesus’ name. – Lisa <><

For Grace to Bear Suffering © 2014, 2020 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.

Holy Week at Home- Good Friday

jesus crucifixion mother son

Crucifixion by Edward Vardanian (2003)

Below you’ll find a guide for worshipping at home on Good Friday. It includes the scriptures of Jesus’ words from the cross plus some sentences to focus your prayer time. The more formal prayers come from the book Listening at Golgotha by Peter Storey, illustrations by Jan Richardson.

You’re welcome to use this resource anytime on Good Friday. Here are some options-

  • It’s a long-standing practice for Christians to pray from (or between) 9am-3pm on Good Friday. In doing this we remember the six hours Jesus spent on the cross.
  • We will gather on Facebook Live to pray this together at 6:30pm on Good Friday. You’re most welcome to join us. https://www.facebook.com/TrinityUMCSarasota/

To begin:

  • Gather your household in a quiet place. Silence all electronics.
  • Join us for the live online worship service at 6:30pm.
  • If you are not joining us for the live online worship service, distribute copies of this resource and decide who will lead each prayer and scripture reading.

CLICK HERE FOR A PDF OF HOLY WEEK AT HOME- GOOD FRIDAY

OPTIONAL OPENING PRAYER by Rev. Jes Kast
For all who have ever felt isolated
For all who have died alone
For all whose hearts break from being rejected
For all who have watched loved ones die
For all who have felt helpless
For all who have been bruised, physically and emotionally
For all who can’t comprehend God and wonder why bad things happen
For all whose hope is like a candle flickering in the wind

Today is our day. Good Friday.
Jesus on the cross crying out,
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

God who walks the lonesome valley
Who understands our deepest pains, our deepest longings
Today, Good Friday
You meet us here today and we welcome you.
Be with us we pray. Amen.

LIGHT A CANDLE

THE FIRST WORD
Luke 23:32-38 NRSV

Two others also, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him. When they came to the place that is called The Skull, they crucified Jesus there with the criminals, one on his right and one on his leftThen Jesus said, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” And they cast lots to divide his clothing. And the people stood by, watching; but the leaders scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Messiah of God, his chosen one!” The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine, and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” There was also an inscription over him, “This is the King of the Jews.”

ALL:
Holy Jesus,
Your forgiving love saves and disturbs me.
Without it, I am lost,
yet, if I receive it, I must practice it.
By your mercy, make me merciful;
by your forgiveness, help me to forgive as I have been forgiven. Amen.

Pause in silence to pray for all who are trapped in bitterness, revenge, and resentment.

May all know the freedom of forgiving as Christ, including me.

THE SECOND WORD
Luke 23:39-43 NRSV

One of the criminals who was hanged there kept deriding him and saying, “Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” He replied, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

ALL:
Holy Jesus,
Love held you to the cross for my sake, but not mine alone.
Your love is frightening in its breadth and depth;
When I embrace it, it stretches my poor spirit.
Enlarge my heart to make space for your friends;
Let me love as one forgiven. Today. Amen.

Pause in silence to pray for the salvation of all who do not know Christ.

May all place their trust in the saving power of Jesus, including me.

THE THIRD WORD
John 19:25-27 NRSV

Meanwhile, standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary MagdaleneWhen Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, “Woman, here is your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home.

ALL:
Holy Jesus,
I give thanks for your mother
and all like her who have borne the pain of loving too deeply.
Thank you for your gift the church.
Help me receive as your gift all whom I encounter, whoever they are,
And to become family to them in Your name. Amen.

Pause in silence to pray for the unity of Christ’s church.

May every congregation embody the love and belonging Christ provides, including mine. 

THE FOURTH WORD
Matthew 27:45-46 NRSV

From noon on, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. And about three o’clock Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

Pause in silence to pray for all who are suffering.

Christ is near. Christ understands our pain. May all experience this, including me.

ALL:
Holy Jesus,
There was no suffering like yours.
I am silent in the darkness, Your darkness.
There can be no words, only worship. Amen.

Pause for another moment of silence.

THE FIFTH WORD
John 19:28-29 NRSV

After this, when Jesus knew that all was now finished, he said (in order to fulfill the scripture), “I am thirsty.” A jar full of sour wine was standing there. So they put a sponge full of the wine on a branch of hyssop and held it to his mouth.

ALL:
Holy Jesus,
All the longing of God,
Through all the ages, for all humanity,
Cries out to me from your cross.
Give me a heart to hear that cry
And a longing to be found by your love. Amen.

Pause in silence to pray for all who are longing- for love, answers, healing, daily bread, justice, hope…

May all find what they need in you, O Christ, including me.

THE SIXTH WORD
John 19:30 NRSV

When Jesus had received the winehe said, “It is finished.”

Silent adoration and wonder

THE SEVENTH WORD
Luke 23:44-43 NRSV

Darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, while the sun’s light failed; and the curtain of the temple was torn in twoThen Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” Having said this, he breathed his last.

Blow out the candle

ALL:
Rest now, Holy Jesus
Hero of the Cross
Your work is done.
The world has done its sinning,
And you have done your loving
Each beyond limit
And, in the end, limitless love prevails.
Your dying becomes my hope and the hope of the world. Amen.

Pass the peace of Christ to one another.

You can choose to talk about your experience or remain silent until the next morning.

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Service conceived and compiled by Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia © 2020
You are welcome to use this service with proper attribution.
Please contact Lisa directly for publishing and posting consideration.