Two Prayers Based on Luke 24 and John 1

summer in the scriptures luke (5)

Open My Eyes
Based on Luke 24:13-35, The Road to Emmaus

Open my eyes to your presence
Break the bread
Tear the veil in two

Open my eyes to your presence
Your Word and your Way
To see and seek

Open my eyes to your presence
A dawn of recognition
The fullness of your grace
Now mine to reveal

Blue Blueberries Food Fact Facebook Post

Help us Shine
Based on John 1:1-14

John 1:9
The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.

Welcome Glorious One
Lord of Life and Light
Dawn in us your power and peacemaking
Hallelujah! Help us shine!

You bathe us in the light of your grace, that we may be grace
You fill us with the light of your truth, that we may be truth
You flood us with the light of your love, that we may be love
Hallelujah! Help us shine!

Sharing your light
Spreading your light
Beyond our imagining to your desiring
Hallelujah! Help us shine!

Unveiled
Bright
A beam worthy of the stretch of your embrace
Hallelujah! Help us shine!

Draw us
Draw all
To your light
Hallelujah! Help us shine!

_______________

For the next few months, I’m reading a chapter from the Gospels each day. This is part of the Summer in the Scriptures reading plan sponsored by the Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church. Click Here for the reading plan.

You’re most welcome to read along and to join the Facebook discussion group, Summer in the Scriptures. You don’t need to be a Methodist or attend a Methodist church. All are welcome and all means all.

As part of the Facebook group, I’ve been supplying prayers based on the day’s reading. Feel free to post your prayers and observations based on the readings here or there as well.

May the grace of the Gospels, the challenge, and the call, inspire us to great faith and great good works in Jesus’ name. – Lisa <

Open My Eyes © 2020 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Help Us Shine © 2009 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution.
Please leave a comment for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

The Pandemic and the Person of Christ

Sermon Series Bread 1110 x 624Lenten Sermon Series: Bread
This sermon series was inspired by the book Taste and See: Discovering God Among Butchers, Bakers, and Fresh Food Makers by Margaret Feinberg.

Message 5 of 5: Five Barley Loaves- Community and Social Distancing
Scriptures: Jesus’ I AM statements from the Gospel of John
Notes from a message offered Sunday, 3/29/2020 via Facebook Live for Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota Florida. Click Here for a video of me leading worship from my home office, including the message which starts around the 20-minute mark.

This message concludes our sermon series entitled Bread. It was supposed to be on a passage from John 6 where Jesus says, “I am the Bread of Life.”

I’ll be honest with you, I went to John 6 and knew I didn’t want to dive deeply into that one passage. It’s complicated. It’s full of misunderstanding and arguments and Jesus trying to explain his real presence in Holy Communion.

It’s important, but it felt really heavy given the pandemic and quarantine. I didn’t want to be in my head and I didn’t want to preach on an argument. I don’t need that right now and suspect you don’t either.

What I need right now is Jesus.

This passage from John 6 led me to all the other I AM statements from Jesus in the Gospel of John. That’s what I needed. I needed to be reminded of who Jesus is- I AM, I Am, I AM…

I AM the Bread of Life (John 6:35, 38)
Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty…. I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me.”

Jesus is the Bread of Life, come down from heaven like manna in the wilderness. Jesus came that we might have a journey of faith with him to the promised land, with him home to heaven.

Jesus provides spiritual food and drink for the journey of faith and is that food and drink himself. Food/bread leads us to the next I AM statement…

I AM the Vine (John 15:1-2, 5)
Jesus said, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinegrower. He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. … I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit because apart from me you can do nothing.

Hunger needs food/Bread and thirst needs something to drink, Vine/wine.

Every branch that bears no fruit is removed- what keeps us stuck, what hinders us. Jesus is unburdening us for the journey.

Every branch that bears fruit is pruned to bear more fruit. We are tended so the good will grow and flourish.

Jesus gives food for the journey, drink for the journey, unburdens us for the journey, brings good fruit along the journey, and makes the journey itself possible. Apart from Jesus, we can do nothing. We need Jesus.

I AM the Way, and the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6)
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Jesus makes it possible for us to be on the journey and Jesus is the journey. Jesus is the Way. We can trust Jesus’ way because it is true. We can trust Jesus’ way because it is life.

We need life right now. We can stay on the path, stay on the journey in this time of pandemic by trusting and following Jesus.

I AM the Gate (John 10:7-9)
So again Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and bandits, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture.

Jesus is not only the Way, the journey itself, but he is also the Gate. Anyone can enter the journey of faith, the journey of salvation, through Jesus. All this talk of sheep, listening, and pasture (more food for the journey!) leads us to…

I AM the Good Shepherd (John 10:11, 14-15)
Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. … I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep.

The Shepherd knows us, calls us, fights for us, defends us, tends us, provides for us, leads us like a shepherd leading his flock, and lays down his life for us. Jesus lays down his life as the Way so we may cross into a life with God forever.

Jesus laying down his life is the cross. Jesus laying down his life is his death and being laid in a tomb. And yet, Jesus has the power to take up his life again and to take us up with him. (John 10:17-18)

Jesus is the Bread and Vine- food and drink for the journey
Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life
Jesus is the Gate- how we enter the journey
Jesus is the Shepherd, leading us on the journey, we can hear and follow

Jesus is the Way, the Shepherd we follow, and the Light for every step of the journey.

I AM the Light of the World (John 8:12, 14a)
Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life…. I know where I have come from and where I am going”

Light of the World… Whoever follows… The journey of faith is for all people. Anyone, everyone can join.

Light of Life… even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is as bright as the day, for darkness is as light to you. (Psalm 139:12)

If you’re feeling things are dark right now, Jesus remains the Light. We can trust that light is there even when we can’t sense it. I pray that light would breakthrough for you right now.

I know where I have come from and where I am going. We can trust Jesus’ truth and experience to lead us because he knows where he’s going. He knows how to get us home.

We can trust this because of the last I Am statement. In this passage, Jesus is talking to Martha, the sister of Lazarus. She’s heartbroken over her brother’s death. It seems all is lost.

I AM the Resurrection and the Life (John 11:25-27)
Jesus said to her, “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?”

Imagine Jesus asking us that right now. Do you believe this?

Do you believe I am the Bread of Life?
That I am the Vine and you are the branches?
Do you believe I am the Way, the Truth and the Life?
Do you believe I am the Gate?
Do you believe I am the Good Shepherd?
Do you believe I am the Light of the World?
Do you believe I am the Resurrection and the Life?

In this day, in the midst of the pandemic, in the midst of the physical separation, in the midst of wondering about the future, in the midst of the loss and the loneliness, I say, “I believe.”

Martha said it before Lazarus was raised from the dead. She said to him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one coming into the world.”

Before everything is made right, I’m going to stand with my sister Martha and say, “Yes, I believe.” I pray you will believe, too.

If you’re doubting these promises are for you, do not doubt. They’re offered to you as grace and goodness. No matter who you are, no matter where you are, no matter what you’ve done. These promises are for you and for all, so I pray you will say yes and believe.

********************
The Pandemic and the Person of Christ © 2020 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Leave a comment for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

Arise Shine- A Devotion for the Third Week of Advent based on Handel’s Messiah

morning sun bedroom window

Arise, Shine
Readings and Reflection for the third week of Advent

SONGS FROM HANDEL’S MESSIAH:
For Behold, Darkness Shall Cover the Earth and The People That Walked in Darkness
For Unto Us a Child is Born

SCRIPTURES to read this week:
Isaiah 60:1-7
Isaiah 9:2-7
John 1:1-14

REFLECTION QUESTIONS for this week:

  • Where do you see people “letting their light shine” in our community?
  • What local problem or situation most needs the light and love of Christ? How will you arise and shine to address this need?

PRAYER:
Jesus, your light makes us light
What a gift to be made in your image
To reflect your grace and hope, your power and peacemaking
Hallelujah! Help us shine!

Share your light with all, near and far,
Beyond our imagining to your imagining and desiring
A beam worthy of the stretch of your embrace.
Worthy of your glory. Jesus, help us shine!

Unveiled, Bright, Shining before others and for others
So others see you in us and are drawn to your Light

You bathe us in the light of your grace, that we may be grace
You fill us with the light of your truth that we may be truth
You flood us with the light of your love that we may be love

Hallelujah!
Come Glorious One, Lord of Life and Light!
Dispel the darkness.
Reveal what is real so we no longer fear the night nor the light
Dawn in us a new day and a new us.
Help us shine!
~ Help Us Shine, by Lisa Degrenia

************
Arise, Shine
A Devotion for the Third Week of Advent
based on Handel’s Messiah © 2019 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.

Live in Light (Ephesians 5)

woman sunlight windowEphesians 5:8-11
For once you were darkness, but now in the Lord, you are light. Live as children of light— for the fruit of the light is found in all that is good and right and true. Try to find out what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.

Shine on Jesus
Shine on me and in me and through me
Make me a Child of Light
To be light
To live in light
To bear the fruit of light

Shine on me and in me and through me
exposing the works of my darkness to the light
Your Light

Shine on me and in me and through me
Exposing the works of darkness around me
The oppression, corruption, destruction
Exposing them to the light
Your light
Your truth, your justice
Your mercy, your healing, your love
Your ways
Your Light

Shine on Jesus
Lord of Light
Light of the World
Shine on me and in me and through me
Shine on

*****************
This prayer was inspired by the Ephesians Reading Challenge. Click Here for more information on the challenge to read and reflect on the entire book of Ephesians 3 times in 3 weeks. 

The Ephesians Reading Challenge accompanied a sermon series entitled Sit Walk Stand which was inspired by Watchman Nee‘s book Sit Walk Stand, a study of Ephesians. You will find recordings and notes from this series on the blog as well.

Live in Light © 2019 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Leave a comment for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

Growing in Resilience: Everlasting Light, based on Isaiah 60

healing hand lightGrowing in Resilience
Day 21, Read Isaiah 60
Reflection: Everlasting Light,
based on Isaiah 60:1-3; 19-20, NRSV

Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. For darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the Lord will arise upon you, and his glory will appear over you. Nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn… The sun shall no longer be your light by day, nor for brightness shall the moon give light to you by night; but the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory. Your sun shall no more go down, or your moon withdraw itself; for the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your days of mourning shall be ended.

Everlasting Light,
Glorious, Merciful, One,
You come, we rise
Shine in our minds,
Enlighten our understanding of you and your ways
So we may do what is true and live in your light

Restore us, O Lord God of hosts;
Let your face shine, that we may be saved. (Psalm 80:19)

Breath of Life,
Refiner’s Fire,
You come, we rise
Shine in our eyes,
Illumine what is in need of correction and cleansing,
Spark in us your compassion and reign

Restore us, O Lord God of hosts;
Let your face shine, that we may be saved. (Psalm 80:19)

Jesus, Messiah,
Light of the World,
You come, we rise
Shine in our living
Shine in our glory
No more night, No more mourning
Radiant hope for us and for all

Restore us, O Lord God of hosts;
Let your face shine, that we may be saved. (Psalm 80:19)

***********
Click Here for more on the Growing in Resilience Reading Plan sponsored by Bishop Ken Carter and the Cabinet of the Florida Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. 

Everlasting Light © 2018 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Leave a comment for information and permission to publish this work in any form.