Let me bless you, a plea for coming home based on Matthew 13.54-58

Coming-Home-Title

Based on Matthew 13:54-58, Jesus’ homecoming

I leave home
I grow
I change

But those I’ve been apart from can’t see it
They only know my past
My first shoots from the family tree
Where I began

My newness is so strangely new
My empowerment so curious
and unexpected

Yes, I am who I was
Yes, I am who I’m becoming
My dear ones, receive and rejoice in both
Let me bless you

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Let me bless you, a plea for coming home based on Matthew 13:54-58
© 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.

Sermon Recording- Here is Your Son, Here is Your Mother

jesus crucifixion mother son

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: Here is Your Son… Here is Your Mother
Scripture: John 19:23-27
Offered 3/06/16 at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota FL

SCRIPTURE AND SONG: John 19:23-27
ALL SINGING- Where You There?
United Methodist Hymnal #288, verse 1
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

ONE: John 19:23-25 NRSV
When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his clothes and divided them into four parts, one for each soldier. They also took his tunic; now the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from the top. So they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see who will get it.” This was to fulfill what the scripture says, “They divided my clothes among themselves, and for my clothing they cast lots.” And that is what the soldiers did.

ALL SINGING
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

ONE: John 19:25-27 NRSV
Meanwhile, standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, “Woman, here is your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home.

ALL SINGING
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

Exodus 20:12 NRSV
Honor your father and your mother, so that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.

Galatians 3:28 NIV
There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Mark 3:35 NRSV
Jesus’ words, “Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother”

Peter Storey, Listening at Golgotha
This poignant interchange on Good Friday is a marker for a revolution in our understanding of community. Jesus entrusts the life and welfare of another to one of his followers, and he places upon that new relationship the value we reserve for our closest family unit. No longer will the obligation of mutual care depend upon blood relationship, but all will be welcomed as the one family of Christ. No more will our first loyalty be to tribe or nation or clan. For Christians, “whoever does the will of God” will be our mothers, our sisters, our brothers, our fathers. From now on the followers of Jesus will receive one another as gift, to be welcomed, honored, and cherished simply because Jesus has given them to us.

Peter Storey, Listening at Golgotha
From the cross where he is nailed, Jesus nails us to each other.
In doing so, he is giving birth to a new community.

mother son collage

Resources for this sermon
Final Words From the Cross by Adam Hamilton
Listening at Golgotha by Peter Storey

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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.

Father to the Fatherless: A Call to Worship based on Psalm 68

God is a father to the fatherless.ONE:
You who love God, rejoice!
You who trust God, be glad in God’s presence!
Be filled with joy!

Sing to the Beloved
The Name above all names
Sing loud praises to the One who rides the clouds
Welcome God’s presence

ALL:
This is God
Father to the fatherless
Defender of the desolate

This is God
Providing the lonely a family
Setting the prisoners free

Blessed be the Mighty One!
Who carries us each day
Blessed be our Savior!
Who leads us into wholeness and new life

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Call to Worship for Father’s Day © 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.

Advent Photo-A-Day: Day 2, Bound

02 boundThe thought behind the photo:
I come from a long line of women who work with their hands- sewing, needlepoint, embroidery, quilting, crocheting. They create by binding together thread and cloth. Their labors cover the walls of my home and wrap me in warmth as I relax on the couch. I wore their confidence in numerous baton competitions as a child and wore their love on my wedding day when I was grown.

One of my favorite pieces is a bear made from an old quilt which belonged to my great grandmother. It’s clothed with a double portion of love. I imagine her piecing together the scraps of cloth by hand, those same hands she folded in prayer for me long before I knew Jesus. I remember my mother fashioning the quilt into a new blessing rather than tossing it because it was worn and tattered, just as Jesus fashions my brokenness into blessing and new life.

I am bound to these women by their words, their gifts, their blood.
The same is true of my Savior.

SCRIPTURE: Colossians 3:12-15 NRSV
As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful.

The December 2, 2013 devotion from http://umrethinkchurch.tumblr.com 
SCRIPTURE: Psalm 122:3 NRSV
Jerusalem built as a city that is bound firmly together.

Other translations of this verse use the word joined or compact instead of bound. What experiences have bound you to something or someone? What people and places have built you into the person you are today? What memories do you join together to keep you going?

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Thank you Rethink Church for a great way to make preparing for Christmas more meaningful. Join me and thousands more in setting aside time to reflect, focus, and literally picture the deep themes of Jesus’ birth.

Click here for more information on Advent Photo-A-Day from Rethink Church.

Click here for a master list of links to my submissions. Lisa <><

Church as Family

belonging ducklings1 Peter 2:16-17a (NRSV)
As servants of God, live as free people, yet do not use your freedom as a pretext for evil. Honor everyone. Love the family of believers…

A while back a former gang member came to our church. He was heavily tattooed and rough around the edges, but he was curious to see what church was like. He had a relationship with Jesus and seemed to get fairly involved with the church. After a few months, I found out the guy was no longer coming to the church. When asked why he didn’t come anymore, he gave the following explanation: “I had the wrong idea of what church was going to be like. When I joined the church, I thought it was going to be like joining a gang. You see, in the gangs we weren’t just nice to each other once a week— we were family.” That killed me because I knew that what he expected is what the church is intended to be. It saddened me to think that a gang could paint a better picture of commitment, loyalty, and family than the local church body.
– Francis Chan, Forgotten God: Reversing Our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit

At our Spanish-speaking immigrant church, people don’t have the luxury to think too hard about what it costs to raise their kids. Most have children (it probably never occurred to them not to) and keep busy making ends meet. The kids in my church don’t have Baby Mozart albums, parents who attend every school function, or a neighborhood in a top school district. Yet, they seem to be doing just as well as kids who have it all. Why? Because their moms and dads love them exorbitantly, and everyone in the church parents them as well. My church, though not perfect, does better job than most of living up to the proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child.” An older empty-nest couple, for example, used to take care of a younger couple’s two daughters. The pastor’s wife goes out of her way to pick up children for Sunday school when their parents can’t come. We treat each other like family, and we treat all the children in the church as our own. – Liuan Huska, It Takes a Church to Raise a Child

Like the strongest biological families, God’s family at its best shelters, teaches, and supports its members — because loving other people is often tough whether we’re talking about biological or spiritual kin. Communities of faith have the opportunity to offer each other and to model for those beyond their walls a place where people can learn to love and fail to love — and yet be accepted either way.
Mary Lou Redding, The Upper Room Daily Devotional Guide

An essential part of wholeness is the sense of belonging. Belonging within nature. Belonging to one another. Belonging in your own skin. At first, Jesus rejects the Syrophoenician woman’s entreaty to cure her daughter, because she does not belong to his people. The woman cleverly dismantles his sense of limitation however, and now the Gospel belongs to all of us. (Mark 7:24-30)
– Suzanne Guthrie, The Edge of the Enclosure

Extended quote from Prodigal Brothers by Steve Garnaas-Holmes (Luke 15:11-32)
The failure of our love—distancing ourselves from God and one another— is at the heart of our sin. In our self-centeredness we break our family bond with God and with others, as if we’re not related. It is not just of our disobedience that we repent, but of our distance, our refusing to get close to God and to others, including those whom we judge.

The good news is that in the end we are unable to break that bond. Despite our attempt to disown God and each other, God stays related to us and keeps us related to each other. The father puts a ring on the younger brother’s finger—a symbol of family. And he corrects the older brother and calls the younger one “this brother of yours.” Despite their failures he invites them both in to the party. The righteousness that we need is not obedience. It’s a loving relationship—and this is not our own doing; it is the gift of God. In repentance we pray toward both God and neighbor, “I am not on my own. I am yours.”

Acts 2:41-47 (NRSV)
So those who welcomed [Peter’s message concerning Jesus Christ] were baptized, and that day about three thousand persons were added. They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles. All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.

We must be knit together, in this work, as one man. We must entertain each other in brotherly affection. We must be willing to abridge ourselves of our superfluities, for the supply of others’ necessities. We must uphold a familiar commerce together in all meekness, gentleness, patience and liberality. We must delight in each other; make others’ conditions our own; rejoice together, mourn together, labor and suffer together, always having before our eyes our commission and community in the work, as members of the same body … For we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us. So that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken, and so cause him to withdraw his present help from us, we shall be made a story and a by-word through the world.
– John Winthrop, A Model of Christian Charity

Prayer: Make us your children
Heavenly One,
Your reach extends to every person, every nation
Offering grace, forgiveness, wholeness, and hope
A saving embrace
Drawing us to you and each other

Make us your children
Grateful for a place in your family
Humble before your love and generosity
Faithful in honoring and welcoming all
Joyful in sharing what we have found in you
Amen.

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Click Here for Steve Harper’s discussion as to “why ‘churchless Christianity’ will never work, even though some of the concerns it carries are valid.”

For a post entitled Trinity, Community and Love, click here
For a post entitled One with God, One With Each Other, click here
For a post entitled Quotes: Community, click here

Prayer: Make us your children © 2012 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 and the use of this devotional in other settings, please refer to the copyright information page.