Speaking Peace in the Face of the Storm

Quotefancy-806355-3840x2160As I write this, Hurricane Ian is gaining strength and making its way to Florida. I have family and friends in the Tampa Bay area. I serve a congregation located beachside between the Atlantic Ocean and the intercoastal waterway, Coronado Community Church in New Smyrna Beach. We have 10 sister churches in Cuba.

There’s much to warrant true concern. There’s much that is unknown. In the midst of it all, God is near. God’s well of hope, safety, and belonging is deep and it is for you. Love one another, make the best decisions you can, pray and trust God. You are not alone.
Your sister and servant in Christ- Lisa <><

Jesus, we see You calming storms
Storm tossed seas and stormy lives
Extend Your power and grace again,
Upon us and all in need

Speak peace and healing over bodies and spirits
overwhelmed by the crashing waves of circumstance
Jesus, speak peace.

Moment of silence

Speak peace and perspective over minds and hearts
adrift in confusion or drowning in fear
Jesus, speak peace.

Moment of silence

Speak peace and hope over people, families, and communities
swamped by danger and loss
Jesus, speak peace.

Moment of silence

Speak peace and truth over the media.
Inspire them to use their influence
to build hope and goodwill rather than stir up anxiety
Jesus, speak peace.

Moment of silence

Speak peace and protection over first responders –
firefighters, law enforcement, medical personnel,
power workers, government workers, and shelter workers-
as they risk their lives to keep people safe
and help those who are suffering.
Jesus, speak peace.

Moment of silence

Speak peace and belonging over those who are displaced by evacuation –
those in shelters, those stranded on highways,
those in hotels, those far from loved ones.
Keep them safe.
Jesus, speak peace.

Moment of silence

Speak peace and well-being over those who are hunkering down-
the well prepared, the foolish, and the vulnerable,
especially those who are poor or alone.
Jesus, speak peace.

Moment of silence

You are the Prince of Peace.
You are the Resurrection and the Life.
You are strong to save.
Our hope and trust are in You

Offer your own prayers. Conclude with the Lord’s Prayer.

If you are using this prayer in a group setting, one person reads the light print and everyone reads the bold print. 

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Speaking Peace in the Face of the Storm © 2017, updated 2022 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution.
Leave a comment for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

Three Prayers based on Hebrews 11

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I’m blessed, challenged, and encouraged by the writing ministry of Rev. Steve Garnaas-Holmes, a retired United Methodist pastor. I’m grateful for permission to pass along many of them on my blog.

Consider subscribing to his blog, www.unfoldinglight.net. When you do, his prayers will appear in your inbox Monday through Friday. – Lisa <><

Hope by Steve Garnaas- Holmes

Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
—Hebrews 11.1

Hope is not optimism, not wishing,
not a bet on the future,
but trust in what is already present, unseen.
I hope in the sunrise because the earth is already turning.
My faith is not that God will intervene
and make things better or fix problems;
my faith is that love is at work.
I trust in hidden love even as injustice runs loose.
I believe in our Oneness even as war and racism wound us.
I know our Belovedness even as we assault each other.
Even though we damage the earth,
though the violent rage and the rich oppress the poor,
still this world is born of Goodness,
and grace flourishes even in bad places,
and Love holds us in aching but untiring arms.
Even when the way is not well lit, I live in hope.

Homeland by Steve Garnaas-Holmes

People who speak of faith make it clear that they are seeking a homeland.
— Hebrews 11.14

Beloved Dark Mystery,
among the places I have gone, the places I have stayed,
the places I long to see—
I am seeking a homeland.
A place of deep belonging, of rest and safety,
where my story is part of the story,
my life is part of the beauty.
Whether a native in my native land
or an immigrant still rooting or a ceaseless nomad,
I know my true home, my original soil, is you.
I am at home in you.
You are my womb, my earth, my people, my root.
You, Love that births all being,
you are my homeland,
and I am always coming from you
and traversing you and returning to you.
Here is my gratitude, my peace, and my belonging.
Thank you.
Amen.

Tender by Steve Garnaas-Holmes

When I am weak, God,
let me be weak,
without resistance to your grace.

When I am powerless
may I be empty of all
but your power.

When I am angry
let my anger melt into its fear,
my fear rise into trust.

When I am outraged
let my passion for justice
be benevolent and steadfast.

When I despair
root my longing in your presence,
my desire in your hope.

Loving God, by your sure hand
keep me fearlessly tender,
mercifully strong.

The Visitation- Christmas Reflections for Mary and Elizabeth (Luke 1)

old and young hands

Based on The Visitation, Luke 1:39-56

There They Stand
Mary entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth.
– Luke 1:40

There they stand
breathless
belly to belly
the maid and the elder cousin
full of grace and truth

John leaps for joy
Covered in the flesh of Elizabeth
Unborn, yet already at work
In the wilderness of her womb
He will not wait to make the Way known

Elizabeth extends her arthritic hands
One wrapping Mary in welcome
The other in blessing
Encompassing the inexperienced traveler
in affirmation of faith

Worship overwhelms worry
In the sanctuary of her solace
Mary is safe enough to sing

As You Have Said
Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said… The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.” – Luke 1:38, 49

Revel and Rejoice
Praise and Proclaim
Magnify
Glorify
Adore

Our Steadfast Savior
Mindful of our frailty
Looks on our lowliness
and responds with greatness
Great grace and Greater grace
for us and for all

Holy, Holy, Holy Lord
God of power and might
Heaven and earth are full of Your glory
It is as you have said

Your mercy extends
Floods and Flows
Through time and place
Through need and pain
Body and Soul to
Soul to Soul to Soul to…

You show true strength
Bringing down those who bow the knee to no one
Scattering those who set up their own kingdoms
be it castle or corporation
Revealing it to be ashes
and emptiness

You show true strength
Lifting up those bowed low
Face in the dirt
Bearing the weight of excess and greed
Buried beneath crushing injustice

You show true strength
Raising up
Filling up
Faithful, Covenant Keeper
Remembering and
Re-membering

Revel and Rejoice
Praise and Proclaim
Magnify
Glorify
Adore

It is and will be
as You have said
Holy, Holy, Holy Lord

Believe by Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment
of what was spoken to her by God. —Luke 1.45

This time of year we’re told to “believe.”
But what does that mean?
Judging from the movies to believe
means to believe in magic, or Santa, or romance,
to be optimistically wishful and naïve.
In many Christian circles to believe means
to think, as in believing certain doctrines are true.
But the word “believe” comes from old English,
rooted in German, belieben—to love.
In scripture to believe means to give your heart:
to lovingly entrust yourself, not to an idea but to a person.

Blessed is she who trusts God, and the power of love.
Blessed is she who trusts
that God’s promise will be fulfilled in her.
Blessed is she who trusts
that her love is more powerful than empires.
Blessed is she who entrusts herself
to the One who births her,
and who is in her, and whom she births.
Blessed is she who trusts her worthiness,
that her calling is sure and her gift is needed
and her voice carries weight.
Blessed is she who gives herself over
to the divine work of bearing love into the world.

Blessed are you,
and blessed is the fruit of the womb of your heart.

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There They Stand © 2010 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
As You Have Said © 2014 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution.
by Lisa Degrenia (www.revlisad.com)
Please leave a comment for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

Like our sister Mary, an Affirmation of Faith for Advent and Christmas

mother-of-god-icon-l

Like our sister Mary, we say yes

Yes to your favor
Your presence
Your blessing

Yes that we are enough just as we are
Where we are

Yes to your calling
and the power of the Holy Spirit coming upon us to fulfill it

Yes to bearing and birthing
Your Word and your Promises and your Kingdom
in this time and place

Yes to all things being possible with you

Like our sister Mary we say
Here I am, the Lord’s humble servant
As you have said, let it be done to me
in me
through me

Like our sister Mary we sing and celebrate you
Our God, Our Liberator
For though we are your humble servants
You have noticed us

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This affirmation is offered for all, but especially for those who lead God’s people during the holy-days of Christmas. It can be an weary and stressful time. It’s easy to miss the wonder and grace of God’s intimate presence with so much responsibility. The stakes feel sky high. Breathe, trust, receive brothers and sisters. The promises are for you as well.

We use this as our Affirmation of Faith during Advent by adding the following
ONE:
God is calling, inviting. Christians, what is your answer?
ALL:
Like our sister Mary, we say yes…

Happy Advent and Merry Christmas! – Lisa <><

Like our Sister Mary © 2017 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in devotional settings with proper attribution.
by Lisa Degrenia (www.revlisad.com)
Please leave a comment for information/permission to publish this work in any form.

Based on Luke 1:26-48, The Voice translation

A prayer for moving (Genesis 12)

Snoopy-movingOur family will be moving later this month. June and July are often months of moving, especially for United Methodist pastors who are appointed to new congregations. I’ve been appointed to New Smyrna Beach and the good folks at Coronado Community UMC. This prayer is for all who find themselves heading to new places. It’s based on Genesis 12:1-9.

The Lord God calls Abram (and Sarai)
Pack your things
Move your family
Travel far, to a place yet to be known

He/She/They obey
They leave all that’s established.
It is difficult. It is no small thing.

He/She/They trust
They keep listening
They keep praising the Lord God
as they move farther and farther into the unfamiliar

Help me to trust you as well
You do not call and abandon
You are ahead of us on the journey
You are the journey- the way, the truth, the life

You guide and guard
You encourage and reassure and show signs
You and your way brings blessing for me
for my family
for the world

Deepen my trust
that I may be faithful in all things
and a blessing for the generations
Amen

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A Prayer for Moving © 2017, updated 2021 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution.
Leave a comment for information and permission to publish this work in any form.