Prayer: Holy Trinity, Community of Love (Genesis 1 and 2)

trinity-stained-glassHappy Trinity Sunday! – Lisa <><

Holy Trinity, Community of Love,
Draw us together in your creative light

Root us in the ground of your being,
Vulnerable before one another,
Unashamed in your presence and each other’s

Make us joyful in the ways you gift each of us: Quick to celebrate, serve, and share
Quick to live your love
Amen.

This prayer was inspired by the story of the creation of humanity found at the end of Genesis 1 and the beginning of Genesis 2.

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Prayer – Holy Trinity, Community of Love © 2017 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.

Prayer: Holy Trinity, Community of Love (Genesis 1 and 2)

trinity-stained-glassHoly Trinity, Community of Love,
Draw us together in your creative light

Root us in the ground of your being,
Vulnerable before one another,
Unashamed in your presence and each other’s

Make us joyful in the ways you gift each of us: Quick to celebrate, serve, and share
Quick to live your love
Amen.

This prayer was inspired by the story of the creation of humanity found at the end of Genesis 1 and the beginning of Genesis 2.

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Prayer – Holy Trinity, Community of Love © 2017 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.

Prayer: The Strength of a Cry

children worshipSCRIPTURE: Psalm 8:2 NAS
From the mouth of infants and nursing babes You have established strength because of Your adversaries, to make the enemy and the revengeful cease.

OBSERVATION
It goes against everything we are taught. The strong are strong. The weak are weak. The strong overcome even if they are wicked. But with God things are different. God establishes strength through our dependence and vulnerability. What is weaker than an infant- young, helpless, little voice, no education, no skills, no strength …

APPLICATION
In our weakest moments, we are heard by God. Our cries of prayer and praise are used by God. God is greater. Grace is greater. Evil is brought to an end.

PRAYER
Abba, you end the evil
Not through our strength, but our weakness
Our whimpers and gurgles and sighs
Our trembling cries
Our silent tears
In the midst of all who would do harm
You hear your beloved little ones
You defend
You protect
We are safe, always safe
Blessed be your Name

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This devotion is based on the SOAP Method for keeping a spiritual journal, as taught at New Hope Christian Fellowship in Hawaii. For more information on this simple and powerful way of engaging the Word of God, please click here

Prayer: The Strength of a Cry © 2013 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.

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

Welcoming Children and Approaching Life Like a Child

Free Bird by Debbie Gonville Miller

Free Bird by Debbie Gonville Miller

Matthew 18:4 (NRSV)
Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

 

Oh, for the attitude of a five-year-old! That simple uncluttered passion for living that can’t wait for tomorrow. A philosophy of life the reads, ‘Play hard, laugh hard, and leave the worries to your father.’ A bottomless well of optimism flooded by a perpetual spring of faith. Is it any wonder Jesus said we must have the heart of a child before we can enter the kingdom of heaven?
Max Lucado

I heard recently that a typical small child smiles three hundred times a day and typical old men smile three times a day in our culture. What has happened between six and sixty? Whatever it is, it tells me that religion is not doing its job very well.
– Richard Rohr

Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, ‘Do it again’; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, ‘Do it again’ to the sun; and every evening, ‘Do it again’ to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we. – G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

Chew quietly your sweet sugarcane God-Love, and stay playfully childish.
Your face will turn rosy with illumination like the redbud flowers.
-Rumi

Matthew 19:14; Mark 10:14; Luke 18:16
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them,
for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

Mark 9:36-37 (NRSV)
Then he took a little child and put it among them; and taking it in his arms, he said to them, “Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.”

Click here and Click here to read two different reflections entitled As a Little Child, by Steve Garnaas-Holmes

Kindness to children, love for children, goodness to children —
these are the only investments that never fail.- Henry David Thoreau

The test of the morality of a society is what it does for its children.
-Dietrich Bonhoeffer

It is beyond dispute that a child, even before it begins to write the alphabet and gathers worldly knowledge, should know what the soul is, what truth is, what love is and what forces are hidden in the soul. It should be the essence of true education that every child learns this and in the struggle of life be able more readily to overcome hatred by love, falsehood by truth and violence by taking suffering on itself. -Gandhi

Mark 10:15
Whoever does not receive the reign of God as a little child will never enter it.

As A Child by Steve Garnaas Holmes
Not as: cute, innocent, pure.
More like: vulnerable, at risk,
powerless, weak and unsure,
easily overlooked,
worth little to the Empire
(will you be this?)
last to be counted,
first to be hurt.

As a child, awkward, still learning,
always a beginner,
necessarily open,
dependent, reaching upward,
needing to be led,
willing to be carried in arms.

As a child, uncomprehending
of what it has taken
to save you.

As a child, beloved
without your having
made yourself so,
fiercely beloved.

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Christmas 9b: Vulnerable God

Nativity Keystone from the National Cathedral by Theodore Barbarossa

John 1:14 (NRSV)
And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.

I am overwhelmed with the idea that God would become flesh. Flesh is frail. It’s dangerous to be human. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. The glory of God and the greatness of God’s love is most poignantly seen in God’s willingness to be vulnerable. – Lisa <><

When we were children, we used to think that when we were grown-up we would no longer be vulnerable. But to grow up is to accept vulnerability…
To be alive is to be vulnerable.~ Madeleine L’Engle

Vulnerability is the birthplace of creativity, innovation, and change. – Brené Brown

We’re never so vulnerable than when we trust someone — but paradoxically, if we cannot trust, neither can we find love or joy.- Walter Anderson

Intimacy is  the way that love is transmitted. Some  say the word comes from the Latin intimus,  referring to that which is interior or inside. Some say its older meaning is found by in timor, or “into fear.” In either case, the point is clear: intimacy happens when we reveal and  expose our insides, and this is always scary. – Richard Rohr

There feeding the angels, here on earth a hungry child;
there unfailing Bread with perfect powers,
here, along with speechless children, needing the nourishment of milk;
there doing good, here suffering evil;
there never dying, here rising after death and bestowing eternal life on mortals.
God became one of us so that we might become God. -Augustine

The sphere of God unfolds into time and space and flesh, unknowable yet intimate.
– Suzanne Guthrie, The Edge of the Enclosure

Intimacy. The word in the Latin – without fear, an invitation into the innermost space. Jesus does what God had been doing over and again – relentlessly pursuing, and breaking even his own rules in the process. … While some Christian men seem obsessed with several debatable Pauline texts, they miss the core – Christ himself – the intimate God, the vulnerable God, the God who moves toward rather than pulling away. This makes our silly debates about feminization and roles quite small. With perspective, we’d keep the main thing the main thing – vulnerably living in and participating in the life of Christ in this world. – Chuck DeGroat, What the Church Needs is Men Without Fear

God shares in the poverty of my flesh, that I may share in the riches of the Godhead.
-Gregory of Nazianzus

The enfleshment and suffering of Jesus is saying that God is not apart from the
trials of humanity. God is not aloof. God is not a mere spectator. God is not
merely tolerating or even healing all human suffering. Rather, God is
participating with us—in all of it—the good and the bad! – Richard Rohr

While we exert ourselves to grow beyond our humanity, to leave the human behind us, God becomes human; and we must recognize that God wills that we be human, real human beings. While we distinguish between pious and godless, good and evil, noble and base, God loves real people without distinction.- Dietrich Bonhoeffer, A Year with Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Daily Meditations from His Letters, Writings, and Sermons

Love is not love until love’s vulnerable. ~ Theodore Roethke

To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket- safe, dark, motionless, airless–it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. ~ C.S. Lewis

Extended quote by Debbie Blue
in From Stone to Living Word: Letting the Bible Live Again

“The Word became flesh” is God acting, God reaching. It reveals the lengths God is willing to go in pursuit of humanity, and it reveals an intimate, passionate, and vulnerable pursuit. The Word enters the darkness in order to bring light. Barth says that in this act “the antithesis, the distance, the abstraction that is created by the fact of darkness…is overcome.” It was not God who created the distance: it was humanity; it was sin. And in Jesus Christ, the distance is overcome.

Jesus Christ isn’t God standing back, beckoning fools to get out of their big and loud and stinky vehicles; Jesus is God climbing in the seat beside the fools and remaining there for the duration of the ride. The Word become flesh isn’t God giving up and turning away in disgust when God sees the people eat their third meal of the week from McDonald’s; it is God joining them for the meal. Instead of God protecting God’s good reputation, remaining above all the futility of the human race, instead of God maintaining good taste and impeccable manners, in Jesus we see God entering the paltry ruckus of life as we know it. It looks foolish. But it reveals, perhaps, something about how God feels about us. It was always in God’s heart to give up glory and power in order to achieve union. In the story John tells, wisdom plays the fool in order to be with us. The story of the Word become flesh is the story of God with us in an incredibly vulnerable way.

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