Sermon Recording- I Thirst

crucifixion pierce flow thirst Sermon Series: Final Words from the Cross
The Scriptures record Jesus speaking 7 phrases as he hung upon the cross- important and powerful final reminders of who he was and what it means to follow him.

Message: I Thirst
Scripture: John 19:28-29
Offered 3/20/16, Palm Sunday, at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota FL

Click Here for a blog post with my poem I Thirst, which is referenced throughout this message.

I Thirst
Holy Jesus, our Lord and our God, is thirsty as he hangs on the cross.
This is not an everyday dryness that is easily satisfied by turning a faucet,
This is a deep, deadly thirst few of us have known.
A burning, raging thirst of exposure and dehydration

By this time in His torture, Jesus’ body is a festival of pain

  • Cramps sweep through his muscles, knotting them, and yet he must use them to lift himself to breath
  • His back, bloody and open down to the bone from the scourging, scrapes against the craggy tree every time he moves
  • The lacerated veins and crushed tendons of his wrists and ankles throb with incessant anguish
  • There’s a deep, crushing pain in the depths of his chest (it’s his pericardium slowly filling with fluid). As the heaviness closes in, his heart struggles to pump what little is left of his thick, sluggish blood.

Each variety of misery goes on and on and on, increasing with every moment that passes – hour after hour and he’s nearing hour 6.

How does he choose to describe this?
How does he describe the reality of his pain and passion?
He says– I Thirst

He could have quoted Psalm 22 again, the one that begins, “My God My God why have you forsaken me…”
I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint;
My heart is like wax; it is melted within my breast;
My mouth is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to my jaws
You lay me in the dust of death.

But that is too much.
All his swollen tongue can say is… I thirst

Yes, Jesus is physically thirsty, but it’s more than that.
To thirst is also to long for something that is essential.

It’s this thirst, this longing that is consuming him
Is he longing for revenge?
Longing for companionship?
Is he longing to come down from the cross? No
It’s his longing that’s keeping him on the cross, in the place of pain and sacrifice

What are you thirsty for? You ever had a thirst that kept you somewhere painful?
A longing that consumes you?
Stuck in the past because you long for the good old days
Unable to put down roots because you long for a more perfect place
Never enjoying the moment because you’re longing
to finish the project  – finish school – finish the treatment – finish looking for true love

To thirst is to long for something that is essential.
Is what you are thirsting for essential?
If you get it, will it satisfy you?
Or like cool water on a hot day will it meet the need only for your to need more soon

Consider Gollum in Lord of the Rings. He stays in the place of pain thirsting, longing for the ring. But it never satisfies.
Our longings can become distorted, even destructive
We can long for things that do not matter do not last
Our longings can steal our time, our attention, our money, our relationships, our life
At their worst, they get twisted into compulsions or even addictions

Jesus says, “I thirst.” But because it’s Jesus we know it is a perfect, holy longing.
(longing can be good, beautiful, and worthy of the place of pain)

What is so essential to Jesus that he’s allowing it to consume him?
He’s longing for righteousness (fancy church word alert)
that crossed-shaped, right relationship with God, others, yourself, your stuff, the earth.

I thirst
I thirst for you – because you cannot drink the bitter cup I must drink
I thirst for you – because I desire that none should be lost
I thirst for you – so that you may drink of me, the living water

Jesus, the Living Water, flows because he drank the cup and is now being poured out

Only a few hours before, Jesus gathers his closest followers for a meal, he raises a cup and says, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.”

Only a few hours before, as Jesus was being arrested, Peter drew his sword; but Jesus told him, “Put your sword back into its sheath. Am I not to drink the cup that the Father has given me?”

Jesus drinks the cup and pours himself out on the cross … I thirst, I thirst for you

Jesus’ thirsting, his essential consuming longing, is for righteousness and that we would drink deeply of it- so that he would become in you, me, and all who believe a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.

Only a short time before, Jesus talks with a man seeking answers in the night
Be born again of water and the Spirit

Only a short time before, Jesus talks with an downcast woman at a public well
Drink the water I give you and never thirst again

Only a short time before, Jesus cries out in the midst of a festival
Let anyone who is thirsty come to me
Let the one who believes in me drink
Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water

Holy Jesus, our Lord and our God, is thirsty as he hangs on the cross.
Not the everyday dryness that is easily satisfied by turning a faucet,
but the deep, vital thirst all of us may now know because of his saving work
The cleansing, satisfying thirst for righteousness
Take the cup- drink deeply

2 Corinthians 5:21
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Psalm 63:1         
O God, you are my God, I seek you, my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.

Psalm 42:1-2 NIV             
As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?

Matthew 5:6 NIV            
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

Resources for this sermon
Final Words From the Cross by Adam Hamilton
Listening at Golgotha by Peter Storey
Dryness and Darkness, Thirst and Desire: Why Lent Matters a sermon by Bishop Ken Carter based on Psalm 63

I Thirst © 2001 Lisa 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.

I’m excited to now offer mp3’s of my Sunday messages. A huge thank you to Leon and my brothers and sisters at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota for all their help in making this possible. If you’re ever in Sarasota, please drop by for worship Sundays at 9am or 10:30am, or drop by during the week for a chat or small group. You and those you love are always welcome.

© 2016 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Contact Lisa for posting and publication considerations.

The 2016 TED Talk Experiment – Week 3

TED talk blog graphic 2
Here’s what I chose for week 3

Everything you think you know about addiction is wrong
Johann Hari
TED Global London, June 2015
A compelling argument on what drives addiction and a call to change the way we treat addicts. “The opposite of addiction is not sobriety; the opposite of addiction is connection.”

A musical escape into a world of light and color
Kaki King
TED Women, May 2015
Creative and Cool. I especially enjoyed the meditative qualities of the third song.

How Great Leaders Inspire Action
Simon Sinek
TEDX Puget Sound, September 2009
Have you ever heard someone explain something and it’s so simple and so obvious you think, “Of course, why haven’t I been doing that?” No wonder it’s the third most popular talk of all time. This one is worth watching a few times and sharing with others.

All it Takes is Ten Mindful Minutes
Andy Puddicombe
TED Salon London, November 2012
Brief, interesting talk on the life and brain benefits of practicing how to be fully present. Going to give this a try- being mindful, not juggling. 🙂

An Underwater Art Museum, Teeming with Life
Jason deCaires Taylor
Mission Blue II, October 2015
The artist creates underwater sculpture gardens which work in harmony with the growth of coral and other sea life. The sea takes the art and makes it so much more. “Nothing man made can every match the imagination of nature.” 

I’m trying an experiment in 2016. Maybe you’d like to try it with me.

Here’s where I am
I’m tired of the spin. I’m tired of ideas, news, and entertainment really being one long sales pitch for profit or power.

I’m longing for creativity, curiosity, and inspiration. I’m in search of passionate people willing to speak to the truth and complexity of living with a heart of hope. I want to hear from authentic humans who are in the trenches working for the greater good.

I think I’ve found them in the TED community.

“TED is a global community, welcoming people from every discipline and culture who seek a deeper understanding of the world. We believe passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and, ultimately, the world. On, we’re building a clearinghouse of free knowledge from the world’s most inspired thinkers — and a community of curious souls to engage with ideas and each other, both online and at TED and TEDx events around the world, all year long.”

TED’s been around for 30 years. I’ve heard about them and even watched a couple of talks, but I’ve never spent any concentrated time mining the good stuff. So….

Here’s the plan
Watch 5 enthusiastic, inspiring TED Talk presenters a week for a year.
Apply and share the goodness.

Psalm 107- The Path of Addiction and Recovery (Psalm 107:17-22)

Psalm 107 describes different groups of people who experience God’s steadfast, saving action in their lives. When I read verses 17-22, it reminded me of God’s saving action as I travel the path of recovery from addictive behaviors, recovery for myself and so many I love and serve.

Psalm 107:17-22 NIV
Some became fools through their rebellious ways
and suffered affliction because of their iniquities
They loathed all food and drew near the gates of death
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble and he saved them from their distress
He sent out his word and healed them
He rescued them from the grave

The path of addiction begins with pain
Pain from our own foolish, impulsive, rebellious, selfish choices
Pain from getting caught in the backwash of the destructive choices of others
Pain from just living in a broken, disordered world

We reach for things to take away the pain
Chocolate to Cocaine to Porn to 70 hour work weeks to Amazon to Netflix to Nintendo
Bingeing and Self-medicating and Burying
We lose our appetite for the good things of life
We look to these behaviors as salvation, but they actually bring us suffering
They take us to the very gates of death

Friends, there is hope
There is the good news
Anyone can cry out to God and God will hear
We can turn to God and God’s path of recovery
God’s love and strength are unfailing- even when we fail ourselves

God saves
Salvation means wholeness, healing
But it takes time
God does not wave a wand for a cosmic quick fix
God does not hand us a divine get out of rehab free card
Instead, God is steadfast in walking with us and working with us
Recovery is a journey, not a jump

God sends forth His word- creative, life-giving
A new story for our lives
A new truth for our lies
Instead of medicating and burying the pain
We face our pain and begin to heal
We are called forth into the light like Lazarus from the tomb
God rescues us from the grave of our downfall and disease

How do we respond to the grace of God’s transforming action in our lives?

Psalm 107:21-22 NIV
Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love
and his wonderful deeds for mankind
Let them sacrifice thank-offerings
and tell of his works with songs of joy

Gathering together for worship and testimony are mile-markers on the path of recovery
Receiving and offering prayers of thanksgiving
Receiving and offering songs of celebration and joy
Receiving and offering the ongoing testimony of God through scripture
Receiving and offering the the ongoing testimony of God’s healing power in our lives
Receiving and offering support to one another in word and deed
In short, celebrating and sharing what we have found in our faithful God

Prayer: Shine Jesus Shine
CCLI Song # 30426
Graham Kendrick © 1987 Make Way Music (Admin. by Music Services, Inc.)

Lord the light of Your love is shining
In the midst of the darkness, shining;
Jesus, Light of the world, shine upon us,
Set us free by the truth You now bring us,
Shine on me, Shine on me.

Lord, I come into Your awesome presence
From the shadows into Your radiance;
By the blood I may enter Your brightness,
Search me, try me, consume all my darkness.
Shine on me, Shine on me.

As we gaze on Your kingly brightness
So our faces display Your likeness,
Ever changing from glory to glory,
Mirrored here may our lives tell Your story.
Shine on me, shine on me.

Shine, Jesus, shine
Fill this land with the Father’s glory;
Blaze, Spirit, blaze, set our hearts on fire.
Flow, river, flow,
Flood the nations with grace and mercy;
Send forth Your Word, Lord and let there be light.

For more information on Christian Recovery Programs, check out Celebrate Recovery. If you live in the Sarasota, Florida area, know you have help and support in many congregations, including Trinity United Methodist Church where I serve as pastor.

Psalm 107, The Path of Addiction and Recovery © 2015 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 and the use of this post in other settings,
please refer to the copyright information page.