Christmas and Easter- a day and a season

manger-tomb-icon

A Christmas icon next to an Easter icon. The artist reminds us that in both stories Jesus is wrapped in bands of cloth, laid in stone (manger and tomb), visited, brought myrrh, and announced by angels. 

The most beloved Christian holy-days are both days and seasons.

Christmas

We celebrate the birth of Jesus on Christmas Day and for a season of 12 days leading to Epiphany when we remember the wise ones following the star and finding the infant Jesus. Their arrival reveals the truth that Jesus is Lord and Messiah for all people in every place.

  • The stories of the Christmas season include:
    • Jesus’ birth (Matthew 1, Luke 2)
    • The angels announce the birth to the shepherds (Luke 2)
    • The shepherds visit the infant Jesus and then spread the good news of the Messiah’s birth (Luke 2)
    • Jesus’ circumcision and naming (Luke 2)
    • The prophets Simeon and Anna meeting Jesus and his family in the temple (Luke 2)
    • The wise ones seeing the star and traveling to Herod and then to Jesus and his family (Matthew 2)
    • Herod murdering the children of the region in hopes of killing the newborn King of the Jews (Matthew 2)
    • Mary/Joseph/Jesus escaping to Egypt (Matthew 2)
    • Mary/Joseph/Jesus returning from Egypt and settling in Nazareth (Matthew 2, Luke 2)

Click here for a detailed chronology of the events between Jesus’ birth and his family settling in Nazareth.

Easter

We celebrate the resurrection of Jesus from the dead on Easter and for a season of 50 days leading to Pentecost when we remember the first followers receiving the empowerment of the Holy Spirit to carry on Jesus’ witness and work throughout the world. Again, Jesus is Lord and Messiah for all people in every place.

  • The stories of the Easter season include:
    • Mary, with other women, visits Jesus’ tomb. Jesus’ body is missing. She/They run to tell the disciples, two of which come to investigate and then leave.
    • Heavenly messengers announce the resurrection of Jesus to Mary and the women.
    • Mary encounters Jesus risen from the dead and runs to tell the disciples Jesus is alive.
    • Later on Easter, the Risen Christ appears to two disciples as they are traveling from Jerusalem to Emmaus. After realizing it’s Jesus, they return to Jerusalem to tell the other disciples.
    • Even later on Easter, Jesus appears to the disciples in the upper room. He reveals his wounds and breathes the Holy Spirit upon them. Thomas isn’t present and doubts the disciples’ story.
    • The Jewish leaders make up a story to explain why Jesus’ body is missing
    • A week later, Jesus appears to the disciples again, this time with Thomas present. Thomas believes.
    • Jesus appears to Peter and other disciples as they are fishing in Galilee. Jesus restores Peter to a place of leadership amongst his followers.
    • Jesus appears to the disciples on a mountain in Galilee
    • Jesus appears to his half-brother James.
    • In Bethany, Jesus instructs the disciples to continue his witness and work to all people and to return to Jerusalem to pray for the Holy Spirit.
    • Jesus ascends into heaven.
    • The disciples pray and on the 10th day the Holy Spirit comes in great displays of power at Pentecost. Peter preaches and over 3000 persons place their trust in Jesus as Lord and Savior.
timeline of post resurrection appearances

Timeline by Dr. Elizabeth Mitchell. Check out her article here

Poem: We Need to Linger

holy week primitive cartoon adapted
Before we get to Easter, we need to linger:
in the vulnerability of the basin and the towel
at the remembrance and promise of the table
in the struggle and betrayal of the garden
in the shadows and shouts of injustice
at the bloody brutal beautiful cross
in the silence of linen and spices and death

For without these, the empty tomb is empty

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Poem: We Need to Linger © 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.

Prayer- The Treasure Within Us (2 Corinthians 4)

treasure clay jarsBased on 2 Corinthians 4:7-12

This prayer could be offered by a single voice, a group praying in unison, or as indicated with a single voice on the regular print and all voices on the bold print.

Yes, we are merely clay jars
But within us is treasure
The extraordinary resurrection power of Jesus
Hallelujah! Glory to God!

Yes, we are afflicted
Yes we are confused
But within us is treasure
The extraordinary resurrection power of Jesus
We are not crushed
We do not give in to despair
Hallelujah! Glory to God!

Yes, we are persecuted
Yes, we are knocked down
But within us is treasure
The extraordinary resurrection power of Jesus
We are not abandoned
We are not destroyed
Hallelujah! Glory to God!

Yes, death is constantly at work in us
Yes, we are chipped and cracked, frail and mortal
But it is nothing compared to the brutal death and suffering of Jesus
It is nothing compared to his victorious resurrection

His extraordinary and endless life is at work in us
We are his treasure
We wield his power
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Glory to God!

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The Treasure Within Us © 2017 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.

You are the Resurrection and the Life, an affirmation and prayer based on John 11

I am resurrection and life 1000x

John 11:25-26
Jesus said to Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

In the midst of
hunger, disease, and great need
You are the Resurrection and the Life

In the midst of
conquest, prejudice, and oppression
You are the Resurrection and the Life

In the midst of
water, bread, and wine
You are the Resurrection and the Life

In the midst of
questions, promises, and prayers
You are the Resurrection and the Life

In the midst of
loneliness, hot tears, and agonizing decisions
You are the Resurrection and the Life

In the midst of
betrayal, saving your own skin, and abandonment
You are the Resurrection and the Life

In the midst of
injustice, brutality, and the misuse of power
You are the Resurrection and the Life

In the midst of
mocking, torture, and excruciating pain
You are the Resurrection and the Life

In the midst of
grave clothes, spices, and stone
You are the Resurrection and the Life

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This affirmation/prayer was inspired by Jesus final hours. It is amazing to me how his situations speak to our modern experience in fresh and relevant ways.

Consider adapting this affirmation/prayer for a group setting by having all present speak “You are the Resurrection and the Life.”

You are the Resurrection and the Life © 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.

Sermon Recording- It is Finished

it is finished

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: It is Finished
Scripture: Luke 24:1-10; John 19:30
Offered 3/27/16, Easter Sunday, at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota FL

Extended Quote from Listening at Golgotha by Peter Storey
It is a strange and bitter irony that the instruments used to bring this agony should be those with which Jesus is most familiar. Wood and nails were once the tools of his trade. The sound of hammer blows was part of his life. He was accustomed to the feel of nails in his hands. He was a shaper of wood- a carpenter.

Every carpenter holds in mind a vision of the finished product, a picture of what the rude timber eventually will become. Through all the work, the wrestling and sweating over stubborn timber, the patience and strength and determination, the shaping and smoothing, that vision remains. At last comes the moment when the carpenter stands back and views the completed work. It is finished.

Study Resources for this Message
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

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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.

Sermon Series Recordings: The Way, Walking in the Footsteps of Jesus

theway400
Sermon Series: The Way, Walking in the Footsteps of Jesus
Inspired by the book and small group curriculum by Adam Hamilton

Message 1 of 8: Named and Claimed at the Jordan River
Scriptures: Luke 3:2-22
Offered 2/15/15 at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota FL

Message 2 of 8: Season of Strengthening in the Wilderness
Scriptures: Luke 4:1-13
Offered 2/22/15 at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota FL

Message 3 of 8: Healing and Forgiving in Capernaum
Scriptures: Luke 4:18-21; Luke 5:17-26
Offered 3/1/15 at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota FL

Message 4 of 8: Teaching on the Mountain- Salt and Light
Scriptures: Matthew 5:13-16; Psalm 112:4-6
Offered 3/8/15 at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota FL

Message 5 of 8: Stormy Sea of Galilee
Scriptures: Mark 4:35-41
Offered 3/15/15 at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota FL

Message 6 of 8: Friends in Low Places
Scriptures: Luke 18:9-14
Offered 3/22/15 at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota FL

Message 7 of 8: Jerusalem: Pick Your Parade (Palm Sunday)
Scriptures: Zechariah 9:9; Luke 19:41-44; Psalm 146
Offered 3/29/15 at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota FL

Message 8 of 8: Your Defining Story
Scriptures: John 20:1-18; Ephesians 2:4-5
Offered 4/5/15 at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota FL

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.

© 2015 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Contact the Lisa for posting and publication considerations.

A Great Thanksgiving For Easter Incorporating Christ the Lord is Risen Today

Christ-The-Lord-by-Five-Heart-Home-700pxGreenA Great Thanksgiving For Easter
A Great Thanksgiving is also known as a Eucharistic Prayer or Prayer for Holy Communion. It is used to consecrate the bread and the wine/grape juice.

This Great Thanksgiving incorporates texts from Christ the Lord is Risen Today by Charles Wesley as congregational responses. The text are used in an order which best fits the Eucharistic Prayer. The responses may be sung or spoken. If spoken, consider speaking only one Alleluia at the end of each stanza rather than at the end of each phrase.

ALL SINGING:
Christ the Lord is risen today, Alleluia!
Earth and heaven in chorus say, Alleluia!
Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia!
Sing, ye heavens, and earth reply, Alleluia!

ONE:
Holy One, Eternal and Blessed

ALL:
We lift up our hearts to You.

ONE:
Your love overflows, calling the wonder of creation into being
Filling the world with beauty and goodness

ALL:
Receive our thanks and praise

ONE:
We join the company of heaven
and Your faithful in every time and place
in celebrating Your victory over sin and death

ALL SINGING OR SPEAKING:
Love’s redeeming work is done, Alleluia!
Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia!
Death in vain forbids him rise, Alleluia!
Christ has opened paradise, Alleluia!

ONE:
Glory to You, God of grace and majesty
and glory to Your Son, Jesus Christ,
our Savior and Savior of the world

On the third day, You raised Jesus from the dead.
Death could not destroy him!
The grave could not enslave him!

ALL SINGING OR SPEAKING:
Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia!
Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia!
Once He died our souls to save, Alleluia!
Where’s thy victory, boasting grave? Alleluia!

ONE:
The world despised and rejected You.
You responded with grace, humility and welcome.
The proud questioned Your power, devised Your death.
You responded with peace, forgiveness and new life.

ALL SPEAKING:
Forgive us, merciful Jesus
Our arrogance
Our selfishness
Our violence
Make us like You

ONE:
On the night in which he gave himself up for us,
Jesus took bread, gave thanks to You, broke the bread,
gave it to those gathered around the table, and said:
“Take, eat; this is my body which is given for you.
Do this in remembrance of me.”

When the supper was over, he took the cup,
gave thanks to You, gave it to those gathered and said:
“Drink from this, all of you;
this is my blood of the new covenant,
poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins.
Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”

ALL SPEAKING:
We remember You
We need You
We claim Your resurrection power:
Dying, You destroyed our death
Rising, You restored our life.
Lord Jesus, come in glory.

ONE:
Come Lord Jesus
And come Holy Spirit,
Abide with us and in us
And on these gifts of bread and wine
Make them be for us the body and blood of Christ
That we may be, now and forever, Your Easter people,
Whole, Holy, Alive
One with You and one with each other
Together fulfilling Your saving work

ALL: singing or speaking
King of glory, soul of bliss, Alleluia!
Everlasting life is this, Alleluia!
Thee to know, Thy power to prove, Alleluia!
Thus to sing, and thus to love, Alleluia!

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A Great Thanksgiving For Easter © 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.