Sermon Recording – The Firey, Unquenchable Love of Christ (Song of Solomon 8.5-7)

flaming-heart song of solomon 8

Message: The Firey, Unquenchable Love of Christ
Scriptures: Song of Solomon 8:5-7
Offered 2/11/18 at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota Florida.

It’s our Tradition at Trinity, Sarasota to offer couples the opportunity to renew their wedding vows the Sunday before Saint Valentine’s Day. Click Here for the liturgy we use.

Testimonies of the love between a couple, between friends, between a mother and son.

Joy Voyles quote: Chris is trying to keep under control while caring for his mom. It has been very hard on him. What a beautiful creation God blessed Nancy with. Though the time has been stressful for both Chris and Nancy, it also has allowed one on one time for them to share, pray and bond even more… maybe that was a blessing in disguise if you can call “pain” a blessing. Although, as I think about it… the pain of childbirth is a blessing… you reap the reward of a beautiful newborn in your arms and heart to love forever… Could it be the pain of leaving your body and moving into the arms of our Lord is a blessing of love to last thru eternity…

Song of Solomon 8:5-7
5 Who is that coming up from the wilderness, leaning upon her beloved?
1. Coming up from the wilderness

  • Wilderness of the time before we know Christ
    • We wander in the desolation. Then we accept God’s love, are buried with Christ in baptism and we come up out of the wilderness. We are raised to new life.
  • Wilderness of an awful time in our lives
    • dry, barren, desolate, deadly. Christ is will us. Christ helps us to come through and come up out of the wilderness. We are raised to new life.
  • Wilderness of life this side of heaven.
    • Like the Hebrew slaves in Exodus, we cross the wilderness of this life to the promised land of heaven. We come up, raised to new life, eternal life

2. Leaning upon our Beloved Christ
Why do you lean?

  • For strength because you are weak
  • For support because the journey is long
  • For steadying because the footing is unsure
  • Because you just want to be near the one you love, your beloved

Charles Spurgeon Quote, Adapted
Beloved, there is no part of the pilgrimage of a saint in which we can afford to walk in any other way but in the way of leaning. … at the first, and at the last, still leaning, still leaning upon Christ Jesus; ay, and leaning more and more heavily upon Christ the older we grow.

Under the apple tree, I awakened you.
There your mother was in labor with you; there she who bore you was in labor.
Consider the details, the specifics, the intimacy with which Jesus knows us

  • Knows us within our mother’s wombs
  • Knows us at our first breath
  • Knows the hairs on our head, our every experience, the deepest longing of our heart

6 Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm;
A Seal

  • Makes an impression
  • Ensures something is real, authentic
  • Reminds us the reality is binding. There’s a permanence to commitment, a sense of security
  • Jesus desires to be the seal on heart (call to be) and the seal on arm (call to do)

for love is strong as death, passion fierce as the grave.
1. What makes death strong?

  • Death comes for all people, just as Christ comes for all people
  • There’s a permanence to death. Total. Irreversible. The same is true for Christ’s love which is even stronger than death. Christ’s love overcomes sin and death and the grave with sacrificial love and resurrection love.

2. The Passion of Christ’s Love

  • The unrelenting longing and desire of Christ is to have an intimate, saving relationship with us
  • In his passion (healthy jealousy) Jesus doesn’t want to see anything come between us and our relationship with him.

Its flashes are flashes of fire, a raging flame.
7 Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it.
Christ’s passionate love is compared to fire

  • Fire has great power
  • It is alive
  • It is useful
  • It is unchanging, unquenchable, unstoppable
    • Nothing can put it out. Not even wave after wave of trouble. Not night after night of darkness. Not even death.

If one offered for love all the wealth of one’s house, it would be utterly scorned.
All people are made in the image of God. In this God gives us the ability to love and be loved. Love cannot be bought or sold; it is not a piece of merchandise. Only objects can be bought and sold. Love is not an object. People are never objects.

  • This is why human trafficking, pornography, and prostitution are scorned. They are outside God’s will because love and people are objectified.
  • Love is of infinite value. We cannot buy it or earn it.

Love of God in Christ Jesus  

  • Saves us from the wilderness
  • Something we lean upon always
  • More intimate than our first breath
  • Real, Authentic, Makes a lasting impression
  • Strong, Fierce, Passionate
  • Unchanging, Unquenchable, Unstoppable
  • Of Infinite Value
  • Offered to you as a gift

Accept the gift of God’s love

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I’m excited to now offer mp3’s of my Sunday messages. A huge thank you to Sean 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 join us live on our Facebook page at 9am Sundays, or drop by during the week for a chat or small group. You and those you love are always welcome.

sermon © 2018 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Contact Lisa for posting and publication considerations.

Prayer: The Depth of Your Love

depth-of-love

Divine One, you know us and call us by name.
You search for us, drawing us to your breast when we are strangers and aliens.

We are each and all your beloved.
You name us friend. You name us family.
We wonder and marvel to have as our Lover the Creator and Master of all that exists.

Our Beloved is Love itself.

You know us so well, and love us all the more.
Every longing, every breath, the number of hairs on our head.
We run into your embrace, overwhelmed by your intimacy and grace.

May all know the depth of your love.

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Prayer – The Depth of Your Love © 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- Today you will be with me in Paradise

thief on cross remember me paradise

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: Today you will be with me in Paradise
Scripture: Luke 23:32-43; Luke 4:18-19
Offered 2/28/16 at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota FL

SCRIPTURE: Luke 23:32-43
ALL SINGING: Jesus, Remember Me
By Jacques Bethier and the Community of Taizé
United Methodist Hymnal #488

ONE:
Two others also, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with Jesus. When they came to the place that is called The Skull, they crucified Jesus there with the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” And they cast lots to divide his clothing.

ALL SINGING: Jesus, Remember Me
By Jacques Bethier and the Community of Taizé
United Methodist Hymnal #488

ONE:
The people stood by, watching; but the leaders scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Messiah of God, his chosen one!” The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” There was also an inscription over him, “This is the King of the Jews.

ALL SINGING: Jesus, Remember Me
By Jacques Bethier and the Community of Taizé
United Methodist Hymnal #488

ONE:
One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding him and saying, “Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” He replied, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

ALL SINGING: Jesus, Remember Me
By Jacques Bethier and the Community of Taizé
United Methodist Hymnal #488

Three Crosses- Which thief will you be?
The first thief- a cross of Rage, Rejection, Refusal
The second thief- a cross of Reflection, Response
Jesus Christ- a cross of Release, Recovery, Rescue, Regard, Relationship

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

Extended quote by Bishop Peter Storey in Listening at Golgotha
We know what they were doing! They were busy with things only too familiar to our world:
The greed that sells a friend for money
The fear that denies one’s leader for survival
The cynicism that smears an innocent for political gain
The cruelty that tortures a prisoner for entertainment
The expediency that washes its hand of more decision making
The mob spirit that exults in a victim’s suffering
The stupidity that calls good evil and evil good
That’s what they were doing. If they didn’t know it, we do. We know about this stuff.

Be sure to also check out Paradise Now, a beautiful reflection on this passage by Steve Garnaas Holmes.

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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 the Lisa for posting and publication considerations.

Retreat or Rejoice: Responding to God’s Presence (Psalm 114)

Detail of a photo from a set of photos of the Sinai 100 years ago.

Detail of a photo from a set of photos of the Sinai 100 years ago.

Psalm 114 NRSV
When Israel went out from Egypt,
The house of Jacob from a people of strange language,
Judah became God’s sanctuary, Israel his dominion.
The sea looked and fled; Jordan turned back.
The mountains skipped like rams, the hills like lambs.
Why is it, O sea, that you flee? O Jordan, that you turn back?
O mountains, that you skip like rams? O hills, like lambs?
Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob,
who turns the rock into a pool of water, the flint into a spring of water.

In the presence of God
Do you flee like the Red Sea?
Back away like the Jordan?
Repelled by The Holiness
Cowering amongst your own shortfall, sin, and brokenness
in the presence of The Judge

Or

In the presence of God
Do you rejoice with the ancient mountains?
Skipping and dancing like spring lambs?
Quaking with excitement at Your Creator’s companionship
Shuddering in surprise
at the deliverance
the grace
the nurture
of the Divine One
Who makes of you a sanctuary
and home

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Today’s featured photo and many more will be found at Go Tell it on the Mountain, a blog from the mountains of the Sinai

Retreat or Rejoice: Responding to God’s Presence (Psalm 114)
© 2015 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution.
Contact the Lisa for posting and publication considerations.

Worship Resource: I Love You Lord

GOD is love, i john 4 7 8ALL SINGING
I Love You Lord by Laurie Klein (twice)
The Faith We Sing, #2068
CCLI #25266

Instrumental music continues under the readings.
Transition to the next song during this time as well.

ONE SPEAKING
God is love
Those who abide in love abide in God
And God abides in them.
– 1 John 4:16b NRSV

Love is my light and my salvation
Whom shall I fear?
Love is the strength of my life
Of whom shall I be afraid?

When fears assail me,
Rising up to accuse me,
Each one in turn shall be seen in Love’s light
Though a multitude of demons rise up within me
My heart shall not fear
Though doubts and guilt do battle
Yet shall I remain confident

One thing have I asked of Love,
That I shall ever seek
That I might dwell in the Heart of Love all the days of my life
To behold the Beauty of my Beloved
And to know Love’s Plan

For I shall hide in Love’s heart in the day of trouble
As in a tent in the desert
Away from the noise of my fears
And I shall rise above my struggles, my pain
Shouting blessings of gratitude in Love’s Heart
And singing melodies of praise to my Beloved
– Psalm 27:1-6, from Psalms for Praying by Nan C. Merrill

ALL SPEAKING:
God is love,
Those who abide in love abide in God
And God abides in them

Jesus, fill me with Your love
So I may be with You always

ALL SINGING
Chose one of the following songs or another of like theme
I Am Thine, O Lord
United Methodist Hymnal #419

More Love to Thee, O Christ
United Methodist Hymnal #453

Love Divine, All Loves Excelling
United Methodist Hymnal #384

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I Love You Lord compilation © 2014 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are very welcome to use this in a worship setting.

For more information on the art, scripture translation and the use of this post in other settings, please refer to the copyright information page.