Christmas and Easter- a day and a season

manger-tomb-icon

A Christmas icon next to an Easter icon. The artist reminds us that in both stories Jesus is wrapped in bands of cloth, laid in stone (manger and tomb), visited, brought myrrh, and announced by angels. 

The most beloved Christian holy-days are both days and seasons.

Christmas

We celebrate the birth of Jesus on Christmas Day and for a season of 12 days leading to Epiphany when we remember the wise ones following the star and finding the infant Jesus. Their arrival reveals the truth that Jesus is Lord and Messiah for all people in every place.

  • The stories of the Christmas season include:
    • Jesus’ birth (Matthew 1, Luke 2)
    • The angels announce the birth to the shepherds (Luke 2)
    • The shepherds visit the infant Jesus and then spread the good news of the Messiah’s birth (Luke 2)
    • Jesus’ circumcision and naming (Luke 2)
    • The prophets Simeon and Anna meeting Jesus and his family in the temple (Luke 2)
    • The wise ones seeing the star and traveling to Herod and then to Jesus and his family (Matthew 2)
    • Herod murdering the children of the region in hopes of killing the newborn King of the Jews (Matthew 2)
    • Mary/Joseph/Jesus escaping to Egypt (Matthew 2)
    • Mary/Joseph/Jesus returning from Egypt and settling in Nazareth (Matthew 2, Luke 2)

Click here for a detailed chronology of the events between Jesus’ birth and his family settling in Nazareth.

Easter

We celebrate the resurrection of Jesus from the dead on Easter and for a season of 50 days leading to Pentecost when we remember the first followers receiving the empowerment of the Holy Spirit to carry on Jesus’ witness and work throughout the world. Again, Jesus is Lord and Messiah for all people in every place.

  • The stories of the Easter season include:
    • Mary, with other women, visits Jesus’ tomb. Jesus’ body is missing. She/They run to tell the disciples, two of which come to investigate and then leave.
    • Heavenly messengers announce the resurrection of Jesus to Mary and the women.
    • Mary encounters Jesus risen from the dead and runs to tell the disciples Jesus is alive.
    • Later on Easter, the Risen Christ appears to two disciples as they are traveling from Jerusalem to Emmaus. After realizing it’s Jesus, they return to Jerusalem to tell the other disciples.
    • Even later on Easter, Jesus appears to the disciples in the upper room. He reveals his wounds and breathes the Holy Spirit upon them. Thomas isn’t present and doubts the disciples’ story.
    • The Jewish leaders make up a story to explain why Jesus’ body is missing
    • A week later, Jesus appears to the disciples again, this time with Thomas present. Thomas believes.
    • Jesus appears to Peter and other disciples as they are fishing in Galilee. Jesus restores Peter to a place of leadership amongst his followers.
    • Jesus appears to the disciples on a mountain in Galilee
    • Jesus appears to his half-brother James.
    • In Bethany, Jesus instructs the disciples to continue his witness and work to all people and to return to Jerusalem to pray for the Holy Spirit.
    • Jesus ascends into heaven.
    • The disciples pray and on the 10th day the Holy Spirit comes in great displays of power at Pentecost. Peter preaches and over 3000 persons place their trust in Jesus as Lord and Savior.
timeline of post resurrection appearances

Timeline by Dr. Elizabeth Mitchell. Check out her article here

Sermon Recording- Pentecost, All Means All (Acts 2)

karunia-roh-kudus

Pentecost by Daniel Rice

Message: Pentecost, All Means All
Scripture: Acts 2:1-21
Offered 5/15/16, Pentecost Sunday, at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota Florida

1 Peter 2:9
You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

Worship Resources for this Message 

Prayer for Pentecost- You Are
Mighty God, we bow before your Holy Presence
You are Dove: name us and claim us for your purposes
You are Breath of Life: make us alive in Christ
You are Light: brighten our thoughts with your wisdom
You are Counselor: encourage us, remind us, guide our steps
You are Wind: disperse the clouds of injustice
You are Tongue: teach us to honor you with our words
You are Fire: ignite your love in us
You are Divine Spirit: give us courage against all evil

Save us and the world in your infinite mercy
So we may ever bless you, praise you, and serve you
First during this life on earth, and then in heaven for all eternity. Amen.

Reader’s Theater for Acts 2- The Promises of Pentecost

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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.

Pentecost Prayer, adapted from the Prayer of St. Alphonsus Liguori to the Holy Spirit

Pentecost by Daniel Rice

Pentecost by Daniel Rice

Pentecost Prayer
Adapted from the Prayer of St. Alphonsus Liguori to the Holy Spirit (1696-1787)
by Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia (2010)

Most Holy Spirit,
My hope is in your goodness.
I trust Your plan to save my soul and make me holy.

Time and again, I am ungrateful and blind to Your divine inspirations,
I have so often offended You and beg your pardon,
I offer You this cold heart of mine,
and pray You would pierce it with a ray of Your light,
with a spark of Your fire, melt the hard ice of my sin.

You are Divine Spirit:
give me courage against all evil.
You are Fire:
enkindle in me Your love.
You are Light:
brighten my mind with Your wisdom.
You are Dove:
give me innocence of life.
You are Wind:
disperse the storms of my passions.
You are Tongue:
teach me to honor You with my words.
You are Cloud:
shelter me under the shadow of Your protection.
You are Counselor:
walk by my side, guide my steps.

Save me in Your infinite mercy;
so that I may ever bless You, praise You, and love You;
first during this life on earth,
and then in heaven for all eternity. Amen.

Reader’s Theater: The Promises of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-21)

Promises of PentecostThis short, simple script begins with the Jesus’ promises concerning the Holy Spirit at the Last Supper, journeys through Jesus’ promise before his ascension, and on to the fulfillment of those promises on the day of Pentecost.

Reader’s Theater: The Promises of Pentecost
Scriptures: John 14: 16, 17, 26; 16:13; Acts 1:5-8; Acts 2:1-21
adapted from the New Revised Standard Version
Parts: 2 Readers, Jesus, Peter

READER ONE:
On the night in which he gave himself up for us, Jesus promised,

JESUS: John 14:16, 17, 26; 16:13, NRSV
I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth… the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you… When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth.

READER ONE:
On the day in which he ascended to heaven, Jesus promised,

JESUS: Acts 1:5-8 NRSV, selected verses
John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now…. you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.

READER ONE:
Ten days later, Jesus fulfilled his promises.

READER TWO: Acts 2:1-21, NRSV
When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.

Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. Amazed and astonished, they asked,

READER ONE:
Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes,
Cretans and Arabs–in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.

READER TWO:
All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?”

READER ONE:
But others sneered and said, “They are filled with new wine.”

READER TWO:
But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them,

PETER:
Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel: ‘In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. Even upon my slaves, both men and women, in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy. And I will show portents in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and smoky mist. The sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the coming of the Lord’s great and glorious day. Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’

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Adapted from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Reader’s Theater: The Promises of Pentecost © 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 and Preaching Resources for Pentecost Sunday

pentecost fire dovePentecost is one of my favorite holy-days. Through story, song and lots of red Christians celebrate the new birth and empowerment of Jesus’ followers by the Holy Spirit. Our remembering raises up a prayer for God’s fire to fall on us as well, that we too would share the Good News with boldness, welcome, and joy. – Lisa <><

Reader’s Theater: The Promises of Pentecost
This short, simple script begins with the Jesus’ promises concerning the Holy Spirit at the Last Supper, journeys through Jesus’ promise before his ascension, and on to the fulfillment of those promises on the day of Pentecost. Scriptures include: John 14: 16, 17, 26; 16:13; Acts 1:5-8; Acts 2:1-21

Reader’s Theater: The Story of Pentecost
Retell Acts 2 through the use of multiple readers, a dancer, projected images, some simple staging and a couple of sound effects.

Prayer for Pentecost 2012
This prayer (or song lyric) was born out a hunger for revival. Each verse was inspired by scriptures relating the work of the Holy Spirit.

Pentecost Prayer
Adapted from the Prayer of St. Alphonsus Liguori to the Holy Spirit

Wind of the Spirit
An original hymn text which may be sung or spoken

Prayer Service: Naming and Claiming the Holy Spirit
A service of prayer, scripture and song inspired by Francis Chan’s excellent book, Forgotten God: Reversing our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit.

Set a Fire
A contemporary worship sequence of song and prayer

Come Holy Spirit
A traditional worship sequence for Pentecost Sunday including prayers, hymns and an affirmation of faith

Holy Spirit Liturgy
A compilation suitable for the opening of a traditional worship service, including a call to worship, hymn selections, opening prayer and affirmation of faith.

Prayer: Come Holy Spirit
This prayer references many Biblical stories with images of God as Fire and closes with The Lord’s Prayer.

Come Holy Spirit, Come Live in Me
A prayer based on the promises of Jesus to send the Holy Spirit (John 14:25-26, John 16:7) and a passage from Francis Chan’s excellent book, Forgotten God: Reversing our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit.

Worship Resource: Awakening
A compilation of selected verses from Psalm 57 and the song Awakening by Chris Tomlin and Reuben Morgan. Recommended for use in a contemporary or blended worship setting.

Pentecost: What the Fire Gives
Reflection and blessing for Pentecost by Jan Richardson, as found on her blog The Painted Prayerbook

Pentecost: Christ Proclaimed in Many Tongues
A compilation of quotes and scriptures on this theme

Pentecost: Power to Witness
A compilation of quotes and scriptures on this theme

Pentecost: Wind and Flame
A compilation of quotes and scriptures on this theme plus an original prayer entitled Living God, Holy Inferno

Pentecost: A New Community
A compilation of quotes and scriptures on what the early church looked like as a result of Pentecost

You are welcome to use any of these works in a private or public worship setting with proper attribution. Please contact Lisa for information and permission to publish any of these works in any form.

Holding Together Ascension, Pentecost, and Powerful Calls

flame-symbolAscension is here and Pentecost is close at hand….

Consider Acts 1:1-11 (The Ascension text) next to Acts 2 (The Pentecost Text) next to Isaiah 6:1-8 (The Call of Isaiah) next to Romans 12:1-2 (The renewal of our mind in Christ). Wow!

Holy Holy Holy… Mystery… Fire… Confusion… Presence…. Purpose … Empowerment…
Grace greater than all our fears and limitations. – Lisa <><

God,
my small mind,
my little sparrow of fear
believes I am not good enough
to bear your love into this world,
to be the one to shine with your flame,
to carry your flowers,
to speak your Word.

Burn up that little mind
in the blaze of your love.
Let your whole heaven of beauty
sweep me away.
Kiss me with your fierce glory
and I melt,
smitten, molten,
my lips still burning,
my guts still aflutter.

Newly made, I know myself anew—
not by my falterings,
but by your flame in me.
I find myself not in my fear
but in your love.
Here am I.
I want to be there
as you kiss the world.
Send me.

~ Steve Garnaas-Holmes

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Be sure to check out Steve Garnaas-Holmes’ most excellent blog, Unfolding Light, for more wonderful poetry and devotions.

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

Set A Fire: a contemporary worship sequence

The Baptism of the Holy Spirit by Rebecca Brogan

The Baptism of the Holy Spirit by Rebecca Brogan

Alternate the song Set a Fire with portions of the prayer.
The music continues underneath the praying.

Set a Fire: a contemporary worship sequence
ALL SINGING:
Set a Fire by Will Reagan (CCLI #5911299)
No place I’d rather be
No place I’d rather be
No place I’d rather be
Than here in Your love, here in Your love
Set a fire down in my soul
That I can’t contain and I can’t control
I want more of You God
I want more of You God

ONE OR ALL PRAYING ALOUD:
Come, Holy Spirit
Breathe into us the breath of new life
Come, Generous Spirit
Bring peace and bring hope
Bring courage for change
Bring freedom from all falsehood and fear

ALL SINGING:
Set a Fire by Will Reagan (CCLI #5911299)

ONE OR ALL PRAYING ALOUD:
Come, Holy Spirit
Embolden us with the fire of your heart
Come, Pentecost Spirit
Bring light and bring strength
Bring tongues filled with truth
Bring passion for the world to know you

ALL SINGING:
Set a Fire by Will Reagan (CCLI #5911299)

ONE OR ALL PRAYING ALOUD:
Come, Holy Spirit
Unify us in the ways of Christ
Come, Creating Spirit
Bring gifts and bring fruit
Bring life to dry bones
Bring wisdom to live justice and love

ALL PRAYING ALOUD:
Come, Holy Spirit
Come, Holy Spirit
Come, Holy Spirit

For a quieter worship time, transition into Spirit of the Living God by Daniel Iverson (CCLI #23488). For a more energetic worship time, transition into Like a Lion by Daniel Bashta (CCLI Song #5675274).

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Today’s featured artist is Rebecca Brogan: visual artist, songwriter/musician, missionary, and philanthropist. Her organization, John the Baptist Artworks, is a not-for-profit min­istry, send­ing all prof­its beyond oper­at­ing expenses to mis­sions and charities, including Gospel for Asia, Samaritan’s Purse, Barnabas Fund, and her own mission work in the Sala­manca Mar­ket of Hobart, Tasmania, Australia.

Set a Fire: a contemporary worship sequence, compiled by Nicole Sallee

Prayer for Pentecost 2012 © 2012 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution. Please contact Nicole for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

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