Now Offering Online Devotions

Greetings, dear ones.

I’m doing my best to get creative so we can stay connected during our time of social distancing and quarantine. It’s hard because of the steep technology learning curve. (I refer to hard things as eating frogs!) It’s also exciting to conquer something new!

On Wednesdays, I’m offering a scripture reflection and prayer time via Facebook Live on our congregation’s Facebook Page. Join us at 8:00 am Eastern time or watch the video when it’s a good time for you.

This morning, we reflected on Psalm 27. Boy, did I need these hope-full reminders from God’s word.

On Wednesdays, I’m also offering an evening check-in time of reflection at 7:00pm Eastern time, again via Facebook Live on our congregation’s Facebook Page.
https://www.facebook.com/TrinityUMCSarasota/ 

For you folks who are into churchy words- Wednesday mornings are a type of Lectio Divina and Wednesday nights are a type of Examen. Both are very friendly to folks new to these practices.

We’re also offering worship on Facebook Live Sunday mornings at 9:00am and 10:30am.

PS- You can hear me struggling with the music on today’s recording. If you have any suggestions on a better way to provide music for these gatherings, please pass it along. The suggestion needs to honor copyright laws, such as using pre-recorded music. We do have a CCLI license.

Be safe. Be encouraged. Be hope-full. – Lisa <><

Stay Connected

 

When the Spirit Chases You With the Message You Need to Hear

Freedom - A sculpture by Zenos Frudakis

Freedom by Zenos Frudakis

Themes of slavery and freedom keep chasing me this Lenten season.

The message seems to come from random places, but I’m confident this isn’t random. I trust the Holy Spirit is working all of this together for my good. There’s something I need to know and I need to know it now.

First, 2 Corinthians 3:17-18 came up in my Scripture Reading Plan
17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And all of us, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord, the Spirit.

This got me thinking about shrouds and shackles and slavery. How am I bound? It also got me thinking about the Spirit’s promise of seeing clearly and freedom.

In my morning sacred reading, I’m making my way through Jesus, a Pilgrimage by James Martin, SJ. It’s glorious and I can’t recommend it highly enough.

A couple of days after the Corinthians passage, my book reading discusses the raising of Lazarus from John 11. More shrouds and shackles! Lazarus is wrapped up like a mummy. The first scripture talked about slavery to condemnation and the law. Now it’s expanded to include slavery to sin and death.

And again the Good News- New Life, Resurrection, and Freedom in Christ! Unbind him!

Selections from John 11:34-44
34 Jesus said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” 35 Jesus began to weep. 36 So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” … 38 Then Jesus, again greatly disturbed, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. 39 Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, already there is a stench because he has been dead four days.” 40 Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” 41 So they took away the stone. … 43 When he had said this, he cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with strips of cloth, and his face wrapped in a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”

soar by scott erickson

Soar by Scott Erickson

Then came the scriptures associated with Sunday’s sermon on God freeing the Hebrews from slavery in Egypt. We serve a God who saves, a God who delivers us from shackles and shame and sin and death. That is our God!

Check out this promise from Exodus 16:6-7. In the evening you shall know that it was the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt, and in the morning you shall see the glory of the Lord. 

Then this picture came my way. Soar by Scott Erickson. Isn’t it fantastic! All of his work is fresh and powerful.

This piece says to me, “Freedom in the Spirit.” I love the color, the movement, the joy, the flow, the overshadowing companionship.

This reminds me of what my friend Jenny Gehman said the Spirit told her about her word for the year, SOAR. The Spirit said to her, “SOAR- Sweetheart, Open And Rise.”

grit and virtue kimberly mead freedomThen this quote from Kimberly Mead via the great folks at Grit and Virtue. In freedom there is rest. Slaves don’t rest. Sabbath rest, Soul rest, is the fruit of freedom.

So here I am, praying for eyes to see and ears to hear as the Spirit continues to reveal what this means for me. What might all this mean for you, dear one? – Lisa <><

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When the Spirit Chases You With a Message You Need to Hear
© 2020 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution.
(by Lisa Degrenia, revlisad.com)
Leave a comment for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

A Glimpse of Glory, a reflection and prayer for Transfiguration Sunday

a glimpse of glory

I’m realizing more and more I need the rhythm of seasons. In Florida, we don’t really have them unless you count snowbird (tourist), pollen, lovebug, and hurricane. ⁠

Then I remembered I have the rhythm of the Christian year. We’re at a transition between the season after Christmas (Epiphany) and the season before Easter (Lent). ⁠

The scripture that marks this transition is Jesus’ transfiguration. Here’s the prayer that came from reading that story again. ⁠

How does the rhythm of seasons help you? Leave a comment below.⁠

A Glimpse of Glory
We bow in wonder and worship. You are Mystery. You are Holy. You are God.

You shine. You are glorious. You are Light, O Christ.
Fill us with light. Grant us a glimpse of your glory.

Save us, O God. Save us from the temptation to just stay on the mountain.

Save us from the temptation to never engage with injustice and need.

Save us from the temptation of trying to capture and control your power and glory. Save us, O God.

You give us your glory and you give us your grace. Grace to follow you up the mountain of revealing and grace to follow you down the mountain, into the valley of a different revealing.

Help us to listen. Help us to follow. Strengthen and sustain us in every place, in every way, for your honor and glory. Amen.

The Transfiguration of Jesus
Every year, Christians remember how Peter, James, and John caught a glimpse of Glory. You can read the story of Jesus’ transfiguration in Matthew 17:1–20; Mark 9:2–29; Luke 9:28–43; and 2 Peter 1:16–18.

There they were on top of a mountain with Jesus. Suddenly, he is transfigured before them. His clothes shine with a dazzling brightness no one has ever seen.

At this moment time shatters. Past, present, and future come together in holy communion. Jesus converses with Moses and Elijah, the faithful ones who came before to prepare the way.

As Peter starts making plans for them all to settle and stay on the mountaintop, a voice from above overshadows them, “This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!”

The glimpse was just that … a glimpse … and with that, it’s gone.

Jesus’ first invitation is “Come, Follow Me.” Come up the mountain. Come experience the presence and glory of God.

The second invitation is “Come Down the Mountain.” Come experience the presence and glory of God in the needs of others.

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A Glimpse of Glory © 2020 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Leave a comment for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

Reflection: The Arms of Christ (Psalm 36)

I am grateful for the writer of Psalm 36, one of my favorite bands- Third Day, and Daniel Bonnell for his powerful work The Baptism of the Christ, for helping me home to Christ today.

Psalm 36:5-7 (NRSV)
Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens,
Your faithfulness to the clouds.
Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains,
Your judgments are like the great deep;
You save humans and animals alike, O Lord.
How precious is your steadfast love, O God!
All people may take refuge in the shadow of your wings.

Your Love, oh Lord by Third Day
Your love, oh Lord, reaches to the heavens
Your faithfulness stretches to the sky
Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains
Your justice flows like the ocean’s tide
I will lift my voice to worship You, my King
I will find my strength in the shadow of your wings

baptism of the christ by daniel bonnell

Baptism of the Christ by Daniel Bonnell

In Bonnell’s piece, Christ’s arms are extended in an explosion of color and welcome. One is raised in victory over sin and death. One is lowered in suffering, the price of our salvation. Christ’s body mirrors the shape of the Holy Spirit Dove, for he is the very image of God, the grace and truth of God made flesh. Christ’s body mirrors the shape of his crucifixion. His arms take the shape of wings because it is only within Christ’s embrace that we can find lasting shelter and safety.

What do you see in the painting? Leave a comment below.

Christ is bathed in light; let us also be bathed in light.
Christ is baptized; let us also go down with him, and rise with him.
-Gregory of Nazianzus

Psalm 33:11 (NRSV)
But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever,
the purposes of his heart through all generations.

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For more information on the scripture translation, art and the use of this resource in other settings, please leave a comment.

Rejoice Greatly- A Devotion for the Fourth Week of Advent and Christmas based on Handel’s Messiah

rejoice mountain people jump

Rejoice Greatly
Readings and Reflection for the fourth week of Advent and Christmas Eve and Day

SONGS FROM HANDEL’S MESSIAH:
There Were Shepherds Abiding in the Field and Glory to God
Rejoice Greatly, O Daughter of Zion
Hallelujah Chorus

SCRIPTURES to read this week:
Luke 2:1-14
Zechariah 9:9-17
Revelation 19:1-8

REFLECTION QUESTIONS for this week:

  • Belly laugh with someone. Look for laughter and multiply it this week.
  • What do you need to do or not do in order to rejoice with all your soul this Christmas?

PRAYER:
Receive and Rejoice!
Rejoice with an indescribable joy. Inexpressible. Unspeakable.
A joy greater than words
A great and glorious joy. Loose. Liberated. Boundless.

Receive and Rejoice!
A joy worthy of new birth, of a living hope
A joy anchored in The Imperishable, The Eternal.
Undefiled and Unfading

Receive and Rejoice!
This joy was chosen for you. Destined for you.
Sanctified, sprinkled, and saved for you.
By the Merciful One. The One Who is With You.
Receive and Rejoice!
~ Receive and Rejoice, by Lisa Degrenia

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Rejoice Greatly
A Devotion for the Fourth Week of Advent
based on Handel’s Messiah © 2019 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.