Two Reflections on Betrayal, Denial, and Forgiveness

peter judas betray deny

Extended Quote from Destination: Known, Readings for Holy Week in the Upper Room Disciplines (2012) by Thomas R. Steagald
Sometimes our familiarity and haste we bypass verses of scripture. Because we already know the story of who “betrayed” Jesus, our attention in this passage [John 13:21-32] jumps quickly ahead to the conversation between Jesus and Simon Peter, the piece of bread, and Judas’s leaving the meal to meet with the religious officials.

But what of verse 22: “The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he was speaking?” …

Could it be that each of the disciples is humble enough, uncertain enough, to know that given the right set of circumstances or stressors, any one of them has it within him to do what Judas would in fact do?…

For only those who love Jesus can betray him. His enemies might hate him; others might disregard or ignore him; but only those who sit at the table can get up and leave, and only those close enough to kiss him can give the kiss of death. That Judas is the one who guided the soldiers to Gethsemane on fresh-washed feet, his breath smelling of sacrament, is a particular instance of what is possible for all disciples.

It is unfortunate that we so quickly rush to blame Judas, so quickly leave him and this verse of scripture behind; for indeed, this Holy Week calls us to examine ourselves, to hear Jesus’ prediction, uncertain of whom else he might be speaking.

Forgive me, Lord, when I turn away from you and your purposes. Amen.

Matthew 26:21-35
Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me.” And they began to say to him one after another, “Surely not I, Lord?” … Then Jesus said to them, “You will all become deserters because of me this night.” Peter said to him, “Even though I must die with you, I will not deny you.” And so said all the disciples.

The Seat of Greatest Grace by Steve Garnaas Holmes
Jesus, my Friend,
my Beloved, my Person,
I love you, and I will falter.
I will deny you. I will betray you.
Three times ten thousand times
I will deny you.
The silver pieces lie in my pocket.
I have the nails.
And you, knowing, invite me to your table,
to the place of honor even,
this seat of greatest grace,
beside you,
to share your bread with me,
and lay down your body for me.
I can hardly look into the sun
of such forgiveness,
love’s empty tomb
that defeats me,
re-makes me.

I confess. I return.
Knowing, I follow,
drawn in your grace,
this burden that is light.

Be sure to also check out Denial, by Steve Garnaas Holmes

Prayers for a New Year

huge clock

Please let me know the artist of this piece that I may give him/her credit.

Three Short Prayers for a New Year
1.
We seek your truth
Your love
Your healing
You
You will be found
Hallelujah!

2.
Open my being
to share who I am in you
to receive who they are in you
to rejoice in who we are in you

3.
For the blessings of today
which remind us of the
blessings of the past
which point forward to the
blessings still to come
we give you thanks

Prayer for a New Year, based on Psalm 90
ONE:
Eternal and Immortal One,
You have been our refuge from age to age.
Before the mountains were born,
Before the earth and the world came to birth,
From eternity to eternity,
You are God.

ALL:
To you, a thousand years are like a yesterday
Like a watch of the night

ONE:
You return us to dust
You sweep us away like a dream
We are like grass
In the morning we thrive,
We blossom
But come evening,
We are withered and dry

ALL:
Teach us to number our days
That we may gain your wise heart

Fill us with your faithful love
That we may sing your joyful story

Show us your wondrous deeds
That we may see your transforming power
That generations to come may see it as well

Let your favor, O God be upon us,
That the work of our hands
May bear forth your blessing
And bring your glory. Amen.

penitence by larry poncho brown

Penitence by Larry Poncho Brown

Prayer of Confession for a New Year
As the new year is born,
We remember and regret…

Forgive us, Holy One,
When we keep You at a distance
When we defy your bidding
When we make it harder
for people to know you

Forgive us, Holy One,
When we deny our weakness
When we wallow in our weakness
When we take advantage
of the weakness of others

Forgive us, Holy One,
When we refuse Your counsel
When we waste your gifts
When we withhold Your compassion from others

Silent Confession

As the new year is born
We labor to look forward
Our hearts fill with hope
For you are making all things new
even us… Amen

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Click Here for a collection of quotes entitled Counting Our Days

Three short prayers for the New Year © 2015 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Prayer for a New Year, based on Psalm 90 © 2013 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Prayer of Confession for the New Year © 2012 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia

You are welcome to use these prayers in a worship setting with proper attribution.
Please contact Lisa for information and permission to publish them in any form.

Sermon Recording- God’s End Game, Reconciliation (Genesis 33; 2 Corinthians 5)

Jacob Sermon Series

Sermon Series – Jacob, Punk to Patriarch
Jacob’s journey to faith and accepting his place in God’s plan is full of schemes, betrayal, and family dysfunction. Yet, in the midst of the mess, God remains steadfast- offering relationship, provision, purpose, and new life. In Jacob’s story, we see our own mess and God’s saving grace for us as well.

Message: God’s End Game, Reconciliation 
Scriptures: Genesis 32, Genesis 33
Offered 10/02/16 at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota Florida

2 Corinthians 5:15-19
[Jesus] died for all, so that those who live might live no longer for themselves, but for him who died and was raised for them. From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way. So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us.

From the Walk to Emmaus Worship Booklet for Pilgrims
Loving God, you love us, all of us,
and ask in return that we love you with all our hearts and souls and minds.
Loving God, you love us, all of us,
and ask in return that we love our neighbors as we love ourselves.
Loving God, you love us, all of us,
and ask and return that we forgive and not hold grudges.
Loving God, you love us, all of us,
and ask in return that we take up our cross and follow you.
And by your grace we will love and obey.
Let it be so, now and forever. Amen

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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.

The Great Commandment for Prayer Beads

Anglican-Prayer-Beads

Anglican Prayer Beads (sometimes known as Protestant Prayer Beads or Christian Prayer Beads) are a relatively new form of prayer, blending the Orthodox Jesus Prayer Rope and the Roman Catholic Rosary. The thirty-three bead design was created by the Rev. Lynn Bauman in the mid-1980s, through the prayerful exploration and discovery of a contemplative prayer group.

Like other prayer bead practices, the rhythm and repetition of the prayers promote a peaceful stillness before a time of silence as we rest in God and/or a time of silence as we listen for God.

prayerbeaddiagramThere are no set prayer patterns for Anglican Prayer Beads. I took that as freedom to compile some of my own. This one is based on a prayer from the Walk to Emmaus Worship Booklet for Pilgrims. The prayer is based on Jesus’ summary of the commandments, what is often referred to as The Great Commandment. (Luke 10:27; Matthew 22:35-40; Mark 12:30-31).

Begin with the cross and invitatory bead. Pray around the circle of cruciform beads and week beads three times in an unhurried manner then exit with the closing prayers for the invitatory bead and cross.

Cross
In the name of God- Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Invitatory Bead
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.

Cruciform Beads
A different portion of the original prayer is offered on each of the four cruciform beads.
1. Loving God, you love us, all of us, and ask in return that we love you with all our hearts and souls and minds. By your grace we will love and obey. Let it be so, now and forever.
2. Loving God, you love us, all of us, and ask in return that we love our neighbors as we love ourselves. By your grace we will love and obey. Let it be so, now and forever.
3. Loving God, you love us, all of us, and ask in return that we forgive and not hold grudges. By your grace we will love and obey. Let it be so, now and forever.
4. Loving God, you love us, all of us, and ask in return that we take up our cross and follow you. By your grace we will love and obey. Let it be so, now and forever.

The Weeks
Save us. Heal us. Strengthen us to serve.
or
Give us eyes to see. Ears to hear. Feet to follow faithfully.

Invitatory Bead
The Lord’s Prayer

Cross
Hallelujah! Bless the Lord! Thanks be to God!

Click here for more on the symbolism, use, and several other prayer patterns to use with Anglican Prayer Beads. Click here for even more prayer bead patterns or consider making one of your own like I did. (If you do, post it below!)

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The Great Commandment for Prayer Beads compilation © 2016 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: God, my strength (Psalm 59:17)

Psalm 59_17Psalm 59:17
O my Strength, I will sing praises to you,
For you, O God, are my Fortress,
The God who shows me steadfast love.

Holy One, you are my strength.

Your love for me and your grace toward me never wavers,
even when my faith and my obedience do
Forgive me my many failures to trust you

Teach me to rely on you
to seek you
to listen for you and follow through

Grow in me great truth
great grace
great hope
that I may share what has found me

In the sharing bring a great harvest of repentance and deliverance
In the sharing bring salvation and your kingdom come
In the sharing bring honor and praise to your name alone
Father… Son… Spirit…
Amen

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God, my Strength by Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia © 2016
You are welcome to use this in a worship setting with proper attribution.
Please contact Lisa directly for publishing and posting consideration.

Prayer of Confession- Break Through (Matthew 13; Psalm 103)

flower breaking through concreteThis prayer of confession was commissioned for the opening worship service of the 2016 Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference of the United Methodist Church. It borrows imagery from Jesus’ Parable of the Sower, found in Matthew 13.

ONE:
As we gather on your good earth,
before the bounty of your Word and Table,
and the majesty of your holy presence,
We remember and repent

ALL:
Forgive us, Abiding One,
We keep you at a distance
We defy your bidding
We make it harder for people to know you

Forgive us, Saving One,
We deny our weakness
We wallow in our weakness
We take advantage of the weakness of others

Forgive us, Holy One,
We refuse your counsel
We waste your gifts
We withhold your compassion from others

Break through
Break through our hardened views,
lest the evil one win the day
Break through our gravelly hearts
lest we have no root and wither to nothing
Break through our thorny ways
lest our agendas and fears
choke the promise of your word
and smother a harvest worthy of your Name

Silent Confession

ONE: Psalm 103:8-14 CEB
Hear the good news-
The LORD is compassionate and merciful,
very patient, and full of faithful love.
God won’t always play the judge;
he won’t be angry forever.
He doesn’t deal with us according to our sin
or repay us according to our wrongdoing,
because as high as heaven is above the earth,
that’s how large God’s faithful love is for those who honor him.
As far as east is from west—
that’s how far God has removed our sin from us.
Like a parent feels compassion for their children—
that’s how the LORD feels compassion for those who honor him.
Because God knows how we’re made,
God remembers we’re just dust.

ALL:
We remember and rejoice.
Glory to God! Amen!

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Prayer of Confession- Break Through by Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia © 2016
You are welcome to use this in a worship setting with proper attribution.
Please contact Lisa directly for publishing and posting consideration.

Prayer Station- Sandbox Confession

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Prayer Stations are interactive experiences with Scripture or devotional prompts. A simple, creative gesture can help us slow down and listen for what God reveals. The gesture likewise opens us to respond.

For me, utilizing the sense of touch in prayer takes me to a child-like place. I’m reminded of a less complicated time- a time of wonder, imagination, and play. It gets me out of my head and into my heart. I’m often surprised by the ease and depth of God’s interaction in these encounters.

This prayer station was designed for the opening night of a women’s retreat. The opening night theme was “Let it go.” It could be used in many other settings as well.

I pray this idea encourages you to set aside some time to meet God in interactive prayer. If you choose to use this idea, or better yet create one of your own, I’d love to hear from you. – Lisa <><

Prayer Station Instructions
Matthew 11:28-30
Jesus said, “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Practice…
• Think about a concern, regret, burden, or sin. Sum it up in one word.
• Write that word in the sand. Take your time.
• Stay with the word for a moment.
• Wipe the word away, accepting the healing, grace, and forgiveness of Jesus.
• Repeat as needed with other situations and words.
• Take your time. Stay as long as you need.

Psalm 103:12
As far as the east is from the west, so far he removes our transgressions from us.

Prayer Station Symbols

  • Red, patterned tablecloth, empty cross, and victorious Christ statue representing the saving power of Jesus’ death and resurrection
  • Icon of Jesus healing the man born blind
  • IHS monogram and Chi-Rho monogram, ancient representation of Christ’s name. As Christians we call on the name of Jesus to save us, forgive us, and heal us.
  • Candle representing the Light of Christ and the presence and power of the Holy Spirit
  • Green plant representing the hope and promise of new life and growth
  • Story of the Woman Caught in Adultery and Stone. When we are honest with ourselves, when we claim our universal need of forgiveness and the universal offer of forgiveness in Jesus, we lay down our stones of condemnation and death.
  • Shell, ancient symbol of baptism. We are named and claimed by God in our baptisms.
  • Sand
    • From dust we are formed and to dust we shall return. (Ecclesiastes 3:20)
      • We are all in the same situation. We are all in need of God’s saving power and love.
    • As a father has compassion for his children, so the Lord has compassion for those who fear him. For he knows how we were made; he remembers that we are dust. (Psalm 103:13-14)
    • Jesus writing in the sand when wisely, truthfully, and compassionately answering the accusations against the woman caught in adultery. (John 8:2-11)
      • There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1)

Click Here for the printout of the instructions for the prayer station
Click Here for the printout of the story of Jesus writing in the sand, the woman caught in adultery (John 8:2-11)