Simple Ceremony for the Renewal of Marriage Vows

we still do
It would be easy to modify this simple ceremony for several couples renewing their vows at the same time. For example, it’s the tradition of my congregation, Trinity United Methodist Church in Sarasota FL, to offer a renewal of marriage vows every year the Sunday before Saint Valentine’s Day as part of morning worship. This year, Valentine’s Day falls on a Sunday. The couples celebrating an anniversary in multiples of 5 (5, 10, 15, 20, etc.) this year are invited to stand before the congregation while the other couples participate from the pews.

Greetingoffered by the Pastor or other officiant
God is love, those who abide in love abide in God,
and God abides in them. (1 John 4:16b)

Friends, we are gathered together in the sight of God
to bear witness to Name the Couple
as they renew their wedding vows.
We come to share in their joy and to ask God to bless them.

Declaration of Intention
In his sacrificial love on Calvary,
Jesus gave us the example of the love
between a husband and wife.

Fully acknowledging the great sacrifices and joys that have been
and those that lie ahead,
I ask you now in the presence of God
to declare your intention to remain in sacred, lifelong union with each other
to reaffirm your commitment to the covenant of marriage,
God being your helper and foundation.

Exchange of Vows
The couple may repeat the vows as they are read by the pastor/officiant or the vows may be read by the couple from a program or card.
I, _________________, give myself to you again as your husband.
to have and to hold from this day forward,
for better, for worse,
for richer, for poorer,
in sickness and in health,
to love and to cherish
forsaking all others
until we are parted by death
recognizing the promise of life everlasting
and love everlasting.
This is my solemn vow.

I, _________________, give myself to you again as your wife.
to have and to hold from this day forward,
for better, for worse,
for richer, for poorer,
in sickness and in health,
to love and to cherish
forsaking all others
until we are parted by death
recognizing the promise of life everlasting
and love everlasting.
This is my solemn vow.

Blessing of the Marriageby the Pastor/Officiant
Most gracious God, we give you thanks for your tender love
and for reconsecrating the marriage covenant of these couples

Grant that their love for each other may reflect the love of Christ for us
and grow from strength to strength.

Defend them from every enemy.

Let their love for each other be a seal upon their hearts,
a mantle about their shoulders, and a crown upon their heads.

Bless them in their work and in their companionship;
in their sleeping and in their waking;
in their joys and in their sorrows;
in their lives and in their deaths.

Finally, by your grace,
bring them and all of us into your heavenly home forever;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who with you and the Holy Spirit
lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

The couples are invited to kiss.

Renewal of Marriage Vows, compilation and adaptation
© 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.

2016 TED Talk Experiment- Week 5

TED talk blog graphic 2
Here’s what I chose for week 5. I found them under the heading Hidden Gems on the TED website.

The Shared Wonder of Film
Beeban Kidron
TED Salon London, Spring 2012
What a fantastic idea- using great films like great literature to broaden experience, encourage understanding, and spark thoughtful discussion on a variety of important topics.  Where do I sign up?

How I Became 100 Artists
Shea Hembrey
TED2011, March 2011
Hembrey is the poster child for cleverness, imagination, and creativity. I didn’t know whether to giggle as he spoke of his fictional artist personas like they were real people or wonder at the breadth of voices,  subject matter, and mediums. I think both.

Love- you’re doing it wrong
Yann Dall’Aglio
TEDxParis, February 2014
In earlier ages, persons secured their love/value by fulfilling their role in traditional, communal structures. The freedoms of modernity changed this in radical ways. “On the free market of individual desires, I negotiate my value every day.” Thus the drive of consumerism isn’t materialism, it is actually the acquisition of “seduction capital” to prove and enhance our desirability. This creates incredible anxiety. The speaker encourages us to embrace humility and tenderness as another path to love of self and others.

Fashion and Creativity
Isaac Mizrahi
TED 2008, February 2008
Here’s the nugget of wisdom I found in this very random talk: Give yourself permission to try many different things and to chase random moment of inspiration.

The Surprising Thing I Learned Sailing Solo Around the World
Dame Ellen MacArthur
TED 2015 Vancouver BC, March 2015
1. This is one of the most exciting, adventurous, and focused persons I’ve ever encountered 2. Thank God she’s now working for all of us- to help establish a sustainable, circular global economy which will make the best possible use of our very finite resources

I’m trying an experiment in 2016. Maybe you’d like to try it with me.

Here’s where I am
I’m tired of the spin. I’m tired of ideas, news, and entertainment really being one long sales pitch for profit or power.

I’m longing for creativity, curiosity, and inspiration. I’m in search of passionate people willing to speak to the truth and complexity of living with a heart of hope. I want to hear from authentic humans who are in the trenches working for the greater good.

I think I’ve found them in the TED community.

“TED is a global community, welcoming people from every discipline and culture who seek a deeper understanding of the world. We believe passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and, ultimately, the world. On, we’re building a clearinghouse of free knowledge from the world’s most inspired thinkers — and a community of curious souls to engage with ideas and each other, both online and at TED and TEDx events around the world, all year long.”

TED’s been around for 30 years. I’ve heard about them and even watched a couple of talks, but I’ve never spent any concentrated time mining the good stuff. So….

Here’s the plan
Watch 5 enthusiastic, inspiring TED Talk presenters a week for a year.
Apply and share the goodness.

2015 Book Shelf

2015 bookshelf collageIn November of last year, I read a blog post encouraging persons to set aside a bookshelf for all the books read in a calendar year. As the year goes by, you see the shelf filling and are reminded of time well spent. (I wish I could remember who to thank.)

Since I read most books electronically, I set up a virtual bookshelf on Pinterest. I found the process of adding books enjoyable and helpful. Sometimes you forget a really good book.

So my friends, here’s my 2015 bookshelf. I hope it encourages you and that you find a treasure or two. Should it be helpful to you, I’m glad to provide more feedback on specific selections. Just leave a comment below.  

Happy reading. Happy exploring. Happy growing. – Lisa <><

Relationships and Peacemaking


Devotional Memoir

Bible Study and Theology


Sermon Series Recordings: Pursue Wisdom, based on the Book of Proverbs

Proverbs-SeriesSermon Series: Pursue Wisdom
Inspired by the book Making Life Work: Putting God’s Wisdom into Action and the Bible Study Wisdom: Making Life Work, both by Bill Hybels.

Message 1 of 6: Pursue Wisdom- Intentional Living
Scriptures: Proverbs 2:1-15; Luke 15
Offered 5/3/15 at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota FL

Message 2 of 6: Consider the Ant – Take the Initiative
Scriptures: Proverbs 6:6-11, 20-24
Offered 5/10/15 at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota FL

Message 3 of 6: Integrity – Speaking and Living the Truth
Scriptures: Proverbs 11:3; Proverbs 21:6; Exodus 20:16; Matthew 5:37; Proverbs 11:1; Proverbs 14:25; Ephesians 4:15
Offered 5/17/15 at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota FL

Message 4 of 6: Relationships: Mutuality and Honoring One Another
Scriptures: Proverbs 21:21; 17:6; Ephesians 5:21-6:9
Offered 5/24/15 at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota FL

Message 5 of 6: Anger and Self Control: Reacting vs Responding
Scriptures: Ephesians 4:26-27; Proverbs 21:7; Proverbs 25:28; Proverbs 29:11; Proverbs 30:33; James 1:19-20; Proverbs 19:11; Proverbs 16:32
Offered 5/31/15 at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota FL

Message 6 of 6: Trust God
Scriptures: Proverbs 3:1-12
Offered 6/7/15 at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota FL

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.

© 2015 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Contact the Lisa for posting and publication considerations.

Father to the Fatherless: A Call to Worship based on Psalm 68

God is a father to the fatherless.ONE:
You who love God, rejoice!
You who trust God, be glad in God’s presence!
Be filled with joy!

Sing to the Beloved
The Name above all names
Sing loud praises to the One who rides the clouds
Welcome God’s presence

This is God
Father to the fatherless
Defender of the desolate

This is God
Providing the lonely a family
Setting the prisoners free

Blessed be the Mighty One!
Who carries us each day
Blessed be our Savior!
Who leads us into wholeness and new life

Call to Worship for Father’s Day © 2015 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.

#LukeActs2014: Complete Healing (Luke 6:17-19; 35-38a)

unity wholenessLuke 6:17-19 NRSV
Jesus came down with them and stood on a level place, with a great crowd of his disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea, Jerusalem, and the coast of Tyre and Sidon. They had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases; and those who were troubled with unclean spirits were cured. And all in the crowd were trying to touch him, for power came out from him and healed all of them.

God in Jesus comes down from the grandeur and wonder of divine holiness to be with us. Plain old us. In our wisdom and desperation we draw near to hear him, to be healed of our diseases, to be cured of all that troubles our soiled souls, our eroded emotions. A complete healing of mind, body, and spirit is offered. Oh, how I need it.

Remember. Re-member. Salvation = wholeness.
What will it look like?

Luke 6:35-38a NRSV
Love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you.

Come Power. Come Healing. Come in the communion.
Come for my good, for the common good. Come unity.

Our bodies reveal our diseases.
Our words, actions and attitudes reveal our dis-ease with one another.
It takes a powerful act of God

  • to love our enemies rather than labeling them, oppressing them or destroying them
  • to break the consumerist cycle of doing good only if there is payback or reward
  • to realize judging, condemning and lack of forgiveness are only mechanisms for justifying staying separate from persons who are different from us. It’s a lie to think we’re protecting ourselves or our “purity”. We’re hurting ourselves. Separateness from others separates us from God. (Consider the Pharisee and the Tax Collector, Luke 18:9-14)

What does the healing look like?
What will I look like? We look like?
Merciful. Loving. Generous.
Christian- Christ-followers, little Christs.
Whole by the grace of God.

Jesus alone brings power for complete healing. Every moment of healing, mercy and overcoming is just a foretaste of the ultimate saving work of God- wholeness for all people, for all creation, for all relationships for all time. (Revelation 21)

Let your kingdom come.

Complete Healing © 2014 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are very welcome to use this in a worship or group setting with proper attribution.

Reading for the week of February 9: Luke 6
Click Here for more information on the #LukeActs2014 Reading Plan

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

Quotes: What is Peace?

Shalom 3Luke 7:50 NRSV
And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

Luke 8:48 NRSV
He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.”

Shalom, a Hebrew word for peace, means restoration of right relationships and a sense of well-being and serenity. When Jesus spoke words of shalom to those who were disenfranchised and disinherited by their society and religious community, it was far more than an everyday greeting. Jesus was bestowing on them a very real spiritual blessing and the restoration of right relationships. Shelem, a Hebrew word for physical, emotional, and spiritual wholeness, includes a person’s bodily health and well-being. Shalom and Shelem can never be experienced separately. Peace, right relations, wholeness, and health are intertwined. They do not exist for one person or one institution if they do not exist also for the benefit of all. No one stands upright as long as others remain bent over.
– Helen Bruch Pearson, Do What You Have the Power to Do

Above all things, keep peace within yourself, then you will be able to create peace among others. -Thomas a Kempis, The Imitation of Christ

No, fighting for peace is rarely a glamorous affair. The icky work of peacemaking is about leaning into discomfort and swallowing your pride. It’s the scary undertaking of feeling ALL the feelings–and choosing love anyway. It’s sticking around for tough conversations when you’d rather stab a pillow. It’s parking your butt in the vinyl kitchen chair and meeting in the middle instead of hiding out at Starbucks. It’s baking scones for your love when you’re feeling vulnerable and exposed. It’s choosing to believe that your husband isn’t going to break your heart, even though your ex-boyfriend butchered it beyond recognition. It’s refusing to say scarring words–the ones you can’t take back and that he’ll never forget; words that will break both your Humpty Dumpty hearts forever. Peacemaking is “Grab the Clorox and clean the toilet bowl” kind of work. It’s also beautiful, sacred, holy work.
Tina Francis, Jerry Springer Scones: A Love Story

Extended quote by Frederick Buechner in Wishful Thinking: A Seeker’s ABC
Peace has come to mean the time when there aren’t any wars or even when there aren’t any major wars. Beggars can’t be choosers; we’d most of us settle for that. But in Hebrew peace, shalom, means fullness, means having everything you need to be wholly and happily yourself.

One of the titles by which Jesus is known is Prince of Peace, and he used the word himself in what seem at first glance to be two radically contradictory utterances. On one occasion he said to the disciples, “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword” (Matthew 10:34). And later on, the last time they ate together, he said to them, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you” (John 14:27).

The contradiction is resolved when you realize that for Jesus peace seems to have meant not the absence of struggle, but the presence of love.

Click here for a beautiful blessing by Steve Garnaas- Holmes entitled Peace I Give to You, based on Jesus’ promise of peace in John 14:27.

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