Canticle: Seeking Christ, the Bread of Life

The following liturgy is made up of four scriptures, paired into two sets of two scriptures. The first scripture in the set expresses a longing to find and be fed by Christ, the Bread of Life. The second scripture in the set is Christ’s reply and promise. The liturgy also contains a sung response, one supplied for a traditional worship setting and one for a contemporary setting. 

Canticle: Seeking Christ, the Bread of Life 
ALL SINGING
Traditional Setting: Break Thou the Bread of Life (United Methodist Hymnal #599)
Contemporary Setting: Hungry by Kathryn Scott (CCLI Song No. 2650364)

ALL SPEAKING: Psalm 42:1-2 (NRSV)
As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When shall I come and behold the face of God?

ONE SPEAKING: Matthew 5:6 (NRSV)
Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.”

ALL SINGING
Traditional Setting: Break Thou the Bread of Life
Contemporary Setting: Hungry

ALL SPEAKING: Matthew 6:9-11 (NRSV)
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.

ONE SPEAKING: John 6:35 (NRSV)
Jesus said to them,
“I am the bread of life.
Whoever comes to me will never be hungry,
and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”

ALL SINGING
Traditional Setting: Break Thou the Bread of Life
Contemporary Setting: Hungry, chorus twice
Begin at “I’m falling on my knees…”

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Compilation © 2011 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 scripture translation, art and the use of this post in other settings, please refer to the copyright information page.

Devotion: Calling Disciples

Calling Disciples by He Qi

Calling Disciples by He Qi

Matthew 4:18-20 (NIV)
As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” At once they left their nets and followed him.

My friend Jeff Stiggins oversees the Office of Congregational Excellence for the Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church. That’s a really fancy title for a really important job. Jeff and his team pray, plan, coach, and encourage congregations to become the healthy, effective, and faithful family of believers God intends them to be.

Back in 2009, Jeff posted an article on his blog entitled, What if you don’t like fishing? In the post, Jeff referenced the scriptures where Jesus calls Andrew and Peter to leave their nets and follow him. If they did so, Jesus promised to make them “fishers of men.” (Matthew 4:18-20; Mark 1:16-18)

Jeff raised the idea that Jesus worded the invitation in this specific way because the disciples were fishermen. If the disciples had been bakers or lawyers, he would have worded it in a way specific to those professions.

This got me thinking, what might that have sounded like?

Jesus says, “Come follow me, and I will…

  • Mail carriers- send you to carry Good News to your neighbors
  • Electricians- empower you to bring light to the nations
  • Mason- work alongside you to raise up spiritual houses made of living stones
  • OB/GYN- breathe with you as you midwife new life in people and communities
  • Guard- stand with you as you make people secure in their relationship with God
  • Construction worker- supply the materials for us to build the Kingdom together
  • Teacher- instruct you in how to make people wise in the ways of God
  • Parent- rear you to raise up children of God
  • Judge- give you the authority to release all who are imprisoned by sin and death
  • Chef- share my recipes with you, so the world can taste and see that the Lord is good
  • Farmer- cultivate through you a harvest of new believers
  • Mechanic- give you the tools to repair broken souls
  • Poet- open your lips to proclaim justice and freedom for those who have no voice

You get the idea. The point Jeff was trying to make was this.

God has already equipped me to make the contribution that God wants me to make. Sure, I grow and learn as I follow Jesus, but that doesn’t mean I’m trying to be something or someone I’m not. It means that as I follow Jesus, as I offer up to him all that I am, I become more fully who God created me to be. – Rev. Dr. Jeff Stiggins

So, who has God created you to be? In what ways can you use your gifts, skills, and influence to share the love of God with others and make a lasting difference in the world? What would your calling from Jesus sound like?

Disturbing stranger, You call and we follow.
You call, and we leave behind the nets of our past lives,
The things that bound and hold us,
Our old selves and old regrets. …

For calling and disturbing,
For surprising and making new,
For moving us towards wholeness,
We thank you Lord.
– Kate McIlhagga, The Iona Community

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Click here, for more information on today’s featured artist, He Qi.

Click here, for a fantastic poem based on this scripture by Steve Garnaas Holmes entitled Fishers of People

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

Affirmation of Prayer and Life

On January 16, we will begin a 7 week sermon series on the Lord’s Prayer. When planning worship, we like to tie all of the worship elements to the main theme of the Scriptures for the day. There are many excellent Affirmations of Faith, but we couldn’t find one that had a strong tie to the theme of prayer; so my friend and colleague Nicole Sallee and I wrote this simple affirmation for use during the series. We pray it is a blessing to you. – Lisa <><

Affirmation of Prayer and Life
I believe in God the Father
The Source of prayer and life
My Maker and King, now and forever

I believe in Jesus Christ
The Teacher of prayer and life
My Savior and Friend, now and forever

I believe in the Holy Spirit
The Flame of prayer and life
My Guide and Sustainer, now and forever

Let the words of my mouth
And the meditation of my heart
Be acceptable to You, O Lord,
My Rock and my Redeemer,
Now and forever. Amen.

© 2011 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia and Nicole Sallee
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution.
Please contact Lisa and Nicole for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

Quotes: Habits

good bad habitsThe hard must become habit.
The habit must become easy.
The easy must become beautiful.
– Doug Henning

A tree may always be known by its fruit, and a true Christian may always be discovered by their habits, tastes and affections.
~ J.C. Ryle

Some people think they should reap every day, but reaping requires sowing. Think about what you want and begin sowing now. Reaping will come.
– Renovare’

Sow a thought and you reap an action
Sow an act and you reap a habit
Sow a habit and you reap a character
Sow a character and you reap a destiny
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Habit is good. Most of the really important things we do in life, we do out of habit. We eat, sleep, make love, shake hands, hug our children out of habit. Some things in life are too important to be left to chance. Some things in life are too difficult to be left up to spontaneous desire- things like telling people that we love them or praying to God. So we do them “out of habit.” Thus, in the church we generally do the same things over and over again, week after week, telling the same stories and singing the same songs.
Willimon and Hauerwas, Lord Teach us

We ask God to remove our character flaws, we also need to actively replace them with the opposite qualities. If we battle we selfishness, we can begin to do kind or helpful things for others. If we procrastinate a lot, we can get down to doing something that we have been avoiding. As we take action to build positive habits like these into our lives with God’s help, our prayers for change will become more effective. After all, as the Bible makes very clear, faith without works is dead (James 2:17).
– Trevor Hudson, One Day at a Time

Do not have your concert first and tune your instrument afterwards. Begin the day with the Word of God and prayer, and first of all get into harmony with Him. – Hudson Taylor

Not long ago a very wise man told me that souls who do not practice prayer are like people whose limbs are paralyzed. Even though they have hands and feet, they cannot command them. – Teresa of Avila, The Interior Castle

The words flee, be silent and pray summarize the spirituality of the desert. They indicate the three ways of preventing the world from shaping us in its image and are thus the three ways to life in the Spirit. – Henri Nouwen, The Way of the Heart

Quotes from Wilderness Time by Emilie Griffin

  • Since our enslavement occurs most often at the level of habit, it is at the level of habit that our liberation needs to begin.
  • Spiritual formation involves a fundamental choice. Choosing to live for Jesus Christ may mean adopting a certain style of life or, perhaps more properly, a rule of life. We take on a series of spiritual practices that will open us to God’s work in our lives.
  • Think of the spiritual life as a pattern, a series of concrete actions that will gently move us toward transformation in Christ. The disciplines themselves, however, are not transformative. The transformation in us is God’s work. It is a work of grace.

Canticle: Longing for Heaven

The following liturgy is made up of three scriptures which each proclaim the promise of heaven. The scriptures alternate with portions of Phil Wickam’s beautiful Heaven’s Song as a sung prayer response.

Canticle: Longing for Heaven
ONE SPEAKING: John 14:1-3 (NRSV)
Jesus said, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also.

ALL SINGING:
Heaven Song
by Phil Wickham (CCLI #5653007)
You wrote a letter and You signed your name
I read every word of it page by page
You said that You’d be coming, coming for me soon
Oh my God I’ll be ready for You

I want to run on greener pastures
I want to dance on higher hills
I want to drink from sweeter waters
In the misty morning chill
And my soul is getting restless
For the place where I belong
I can’t wait to join the angels and sing my heaven song

ONE SPEAKING: John 10:2-4, 14-15 (NRSV)
Jesus said, “The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep.”

ALL SINGING:
I hear Your voice and I catch my breath
‘Well done my child, enter in and rest’
Tears of joy roll down my cheek
It’s beautiful beyond my wildest dreams

I want to run on greener pastures
I want to dance on higher hills
I want to drink from sweeter waters
In the misty morning chill
And my soul is getting restless
For the place where I belong
I can’t wait to join the angels and sing my heaven song

ALL SPEAKING: Psalm 23 (NKJV)
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life;
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

ALL SINGING:
I want to run on greener pastures
I want to dance on higher hills
I want to drink from sweeter waters
In the misty morning chill
And my soul is getting restless
For the place where I belong
I can’t wait to join the angels and sing
No, I can’t wait to join the angels and sing my heaven song

PDF version Canticle: Longing for Heaven

Compilation © 2010 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.

Hymn Text: Be Still, Remember

nolan-lee-baptism-by-fire

Baptism by Fire by Nolan Lee

Be Still, Remember
a hymn for reaffirming
the baptismal covenant
Suggested Tune- ONE BREAD, ONE BODY (United Methodist Hymnal #620)

Refrain-
Be still, remember, who you are.
Come touch the water
of your birth.
Be dead to sin, alive to God.
Remember who you are in Jesus.

Verses-
You are beloved.
You are an heir.
You are a child of God.

You are claimed.
You are marked.
You are named by God.

Chosen and blessed
Gifted by God
Witness through word and deed

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© 2000 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 music.

Book Shelf: Leading From Within

Leading from Within: Poetry That Sustains the Courage to Lead
Sam M. Intrator (Author), Megan Scribner (Author)
Published by Jossey-Bass (September 21, 2007)

My review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
One of the most inspiring and centering books I have ever encountered. The perspectives and insights of so many world changers are helpful, but their vulnerability concerning the cost and meaning of leadership is remarkable. This is an anthology to savor and to return to again and again.

From the publisher:
Leading from Within is a wonderful collection of ninety-three poems from well-loved poets, each of which is accompanied by a brief personal commentary from a leader explaining the significance and meaning of the poem in his or her life and work. The contributors represent a wide range of professions including Vanguard Group founder John Bogle, MoveOn.org cofounder Joan Blades, several members of Congress, Christian activist Brian McLaren, business guru Peter Senge, and many other leaders from business, medicine, education, nonprofits, law, politics and government, and religion. In their reflections, these leaders explore how they have been inspired by poets such as T.S. Eliot, Mary Oliver, William Stafford, Langston Hughes, Pablo Neruda, Robert Frost, Rumi, May Sarton, Wallace Stevens, Wendell Berry, and Rainer Maria Rilke.