Midweek Reflection- The Cup of Our Life

Inspired by this prayer by Joy Rupp from her wonderful book The Cup of our Life 

Generous God
so many times I’ve come
with my empty cup
a beggar of the heart
devoid of nourishment
depleted of energy

and you have filled

Generous God
so many times I’ve come
afraid of unknowns
full of negatives and no’s
fighting the challenges
closed and resistant to growth

and you have opened

Generous God
so many times I’ve come
a stranger to my spirit
crammed with cultural noise
caught in endless clutter
crowding my inner space

and you have emptied

Generous God
I come to you again
holding out my waiting cup
begging that it first be emptied
of all that blocks the way
then ask for its filling
with love that tastes like you

_______________________________________
Midweek Reflection- The Cup of Our Life © 2020 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia

Midweek Devotion- Psalm 57

You’re encouraged to use the following process as you read scripture.
We use this process together on Wednesdays at 8:00AM EST. https://www.facebook.com/TrinityUMCSarasota 

Scripture: Psalm 57, NRSV

Breath Prayers based on For the Beauty of the Earth
IN: Lord of all, to thee we raise
OUT: This our hymn of grateful praise.

IN: For that great, great love of thine,
OUT: Peace on earth, and joy in heaven:

STILLNESS: Spend 5-20 minutes in silence looking to God and listening for God.

ATTENTION: Read or listen to the Scripture. What word, phrase or verse captures your attention? Underline it or copy it onto a piece of paper.

CONNECTION: What connections do you see to other scriptures? To your own experience or current situation? Or, to the character or promises of God?

ACTION: What is God inviting you to trust, say, or do? How will your life be different because of this scripture?

PRAY: Talk to God about what you just experienced or anything else on your heart.

Recorded 7/22/2020

Bind Us Together
CCLI Song # 1228
Bob Gillman © 1977
Thankyou Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)
CCLI License # 686715

PUBLIC DOMAIN SONG:
For the Beauty of the Earth
Text: Folliot S. Pierpoint
Music: Conrad Kocher
_______________________________________
Midweek Devotion- Psalm 57 © 2020 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia

Worship and Sermon Resources for Thanksgiving

thanksgiving-i-chronicles

WORSHIP RESOURCES
A Prayer for Thanksgiving- Most Blessed, Most Beautiful Christ
This prayer may be voiced by one person, two persons, or one person and the congregation.

God of Abundance, Provision, and Plenty
A prayer based on Genesis 13

A Steward’s Prayer
A prayer based on Matthew 24:42-51

Your Eternal Goodness
A prayer of thanksgiving and praise based on Psalm 65

Make Us Your Sanctuary
A prayer based on Ezekiel 37:26, “I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them, and I will bless them and multiply them and will set my sanctuary among them forevermore.”

Prayer Litany for Thanksgiving
This worship resource includes verses of the hymn All Creatures of Our God and King plus time for silent reflection and prayer.

Thanksgiving Reflection
For centuries, Christians have been reading scripture, followed by a time of prayer. Thanksgiving Reflection is designed in this way, with readings from Deuteronomy 8 followed by prayer prompts for silent reflection. The sequence could be printed or projected on a screen. The post also includes a beautiful altar table display idea for a Thanksgiving or Harvest themed worship service.

Call to Worship: Way, Truth, Life

Your Eternal Goodness, a prayer of thanksgiving and praise based on Psalm 65

SERMON RESOURCES
Gratitude and Glory Sightings, a Thanksgiving Message (Luke 13)

A Reflection on Three Psalms of Thanksgiving (Psalms 75, 106, 136)

Satisfying and Silencing: A Reflection and Prayer for Thanksgiving based on Psalm 65
The prayer in this resource is for a solo voice with a congregational response. It could also be a prayer in two voices.

Daily Bread (Matthew 6)
A sermon from a sermon series on The Lord’s Prayer

Prayers, Quotes, and Reflections on Gratitude

*************
You are welcome to use any/all of these resources in a worship setting with proper attribution. (by Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia, http://www.revlisad.com) Please leave a comment for information and permission to publish any of these resources in any form.

Sermon- The Valley of Dry Bones (Ezekiel 37)

Sermon Series Parables 1110 x 624 (1)

Sermon Series: Parables
Message 2 of 4: The Valley of Dry Bones
Scripture: Ezekiel 37:1-14
Notes from a message offered Sunday, 8/4/19 at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota Florida. There is no recording of this message.

Ezekiel is a wild book of the Bible, full of powerful visions and dramatic choices. It’s also a book of hope. Today, we need a word of hope for so many reasons, including the mass shootings which took place in El Paso and Dayton.

Imagine yourself around age 25, living in the big city, the capital of your country. All your life you’ve known what you’re going to do- go into the family business. This blessing would bring you purpose and position, financial security and a bright future.

One day all of it crashes. A mighty foreign power invades, but they don’t destroy the city. Instead, they gut the hope out of the people by kidnaping the best and brightest of the young people. You are taken far from home, those you love, and your future.

This is what’s happened to Ezekiel. He thought he would become a priest at the temple in Jerusalem. Instead, he’s taken into exile in Babylon.

The Book of Ezekiel starts 5 years later. Ezekiel is at a refugee camp by a river in Babylon. It’s his 30th birthday, the time when he was supposed to start serving as a priest. The time his life was supposed to begin.

Ezekiel has a vision – 4 powerful creatures, each with 4 faces, traveling in formation. Underneath them are wheels. They form a divine chariot for God’s royal throne. The very presence of God rests there.

In this overwhelming moment, God calls Ezekiel to be a prophet instead of a priest. God tells Ezekiel to speak truth, to speak out against violence, injustice, and the worship of false gods, to call people back to remembrance and repentance and relationship with God.

Ezekiel begins to speak the truth to everyone- no one listens, their hearts are hard. This goes on for years. Ezekiel stays true.

Ezekiel is also called by God to proclaim another attack is coming to Jerusalem and this time everything will be destroyed. Ezekiel’s prophesy comes true- Babylon attacks again. People of God are murdered and scattered. Jerusalem is destroyed, including the temple-

  • the center of government,
  • the needed place for forgiveness and cleansing and thanksgiving and praise
  • the home of the presence of the One True Living God

Ezekiel wonders – Is God done with us? Have we blown it for good? Too much sin, apathy, worshipping false gods…

The question is fresh for us.

Is God done with my nation?

  • Growing secularization and apathy towards God.
  • The polarization based on economics, race, age, political party
  • Wars and rumors of wars
  • 44 mass shootings in the last month

Is God done with the church?

Is God done with me?

  • Often heard people say, “If I walked into a church, the roof would cave in.”
  • I don’t think I want a conversation with God because I don’t want to hear what God would say to me.

Is God done? The resounding answer of God is NO! I’m going to do something new.

It’s not because we are deserving or worthy. It’s not because we’ve said the magic words or earned it with a magic sacrifice.

It’s because this is God’s character. God’s being. God says this is who I am. I am the One who makes all things new. I am the One who creates. I am the One who saves and I do not change.

valley dry bones

The Valley of Dry Bones (Ezekiel 37:1-14) Notice how often the spirit appears in this passage!

1 The hand of the Lord came upon me, and he brought me out by the spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. 2 He led me all around them; there were very many lying in the valley, and they were very dry.

Dry Bones

  • Very Many Bones- it takes time to tour the valley. Reinforces the loss.
  • Very Dry Bones- the people have been dead a long time, the bones are picked clean, bleached white

Rebellion against God brings death

  • Death of Ezekiel’s dream to be a priest
  • Death of home, of life the Promised Land
  • Death of Jerusalem and Death of the Temple
  • Death of many people
  • Death of the covenant? God says, “No!” and God creates.

3 He said to me, “Mortal, can these bones live?” I answered, “O Lord God, you know.”

4 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them:

  • This is how God creates, God speaks. Consider the creation story in Genesis and Jesus the Word made flesh.

4 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them: O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. 5 Thus says the Lord God to these bones: I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. 6 I will lay sinews on you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live, and you shall know that I am the Lord.”

  • God speaks and there is breath and life and holiness and goodness. God does this for us. In our dryness, our desert, our death, God speaks.

7 So I prophesied as I had been commanded; and as I prophesied, suddenly there was a noise, a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone. 8 I looked, and there were sinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them, but there was no breath in them. 9 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, mortal, and say to the breath: Thus says the Lord God: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.” 10 I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood on their feet, a vast multitude.

  • They lived and they stood. They stand, withstand, and stand firm. They were not just flesh and bone, not the walking dead. Now they were bone and breath and life.

11 Then he said to me, “Mortal, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are cut off completely.’         

  • Have you ever had that voice running through your head? I’m just dried up, no good, all is hopeless, a lost cause, no one to help me, no one who loves me, this bad choice will haunt me forever. That isn’t the voice of God.

Rev. Nadia Bolz-Weber Quote: God simply keeps reaching down into the dirt of humanity and resurrecting us from the graves we dig for ourselves through violence, our lies, our selfishness, our arrogance, and our addictions, and God keeps loving us back to life over and over again.

12 Therefore prophesy, and say to them, Thus says the Lord God: I am going to open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people; and I will bring you back to the land of Israel. 13 And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people. 14 I will put my spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you on your own soil; then you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken and will act, says the Lord.”

We will know that we know that we know.

It’s not enough for us to try harder and do better. We surrender into life by the breath of God.

Our God is a God of creation, a God of life – just like Genesis 2, just like the raising of Lazarus, just like Pentecost, just like the resurrection of Jesus, God brings life to our bones. Not just bones but breath.

God cleansing. God breathing. God creating. God resurrecting.

Let us breathe and be full of hope. God is not done with us. We’ve got work to do. To help other folks find what’s found us. We are the people of hope.

*****************
The Valley of Dry Bones © 2019 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Leave a comment for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

Prayer: Our Home is in You (Genesis 17)

Abraham-and-the-starsFaithful One
Your covenant is steadfast
Your promises are true

You fulfill, even when we fail
Forgive us and renew a right spirit within

We hear you offering relationship again
How great is your heart
Your patience
Your desire for the everlasting to be made real in us
We bow in awe
We stand to proclaim and welcome

Yes!
Fulfill your desires in our Yes
Fulfill your desires in our obedience
Like the sand, so many brothers
Like the stars, so many sisters
Together heirs of your grace and generosity
Together heirs and family
Together
Our home is in you

Based on Genesis 17:3-9
God’s covenant with Abraham, Sarah, and their descendants (physical and spiritual) 

************
Our Home is in You © 2019 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Leave a comment for information and permission to publish this work in any form.