Extending Blessing (Ephesians 3)

detail from the Hagia Sophia mosaic of Christ

detail from the Hagia Sophia mosaic of Christ

For this reason, I kneel before the Father,
from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. – Eph. 3:14-15

Blessing begins with reverence
A reverence for our Wondrous God
Who bends low to welcome us
Birthing us through water and Spirit
Naming us and claiming us
beloved and blessed
Who not only welcomes us but welcomes all
Knitting us together
in the Body Miraculous
Strangers becoming brothers and sisters
A family far beyond class, clan, or culture
Far beyond what we could ask or imagine

I pray that out of his glorious riches
He may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,
So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. – Eph. 3:16-17

From an incalculable treasure of grace upon grace
God pours out strength
Not as the world gives
Not with obvious outward displays
But hidden in the very depths of our frailty
God pours and floods with blood and breath
The very power of life
Driven and danced by Holy Spirit
That we may find our true home in Christ
Our true self in Christ

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,
May have power, together with all the saints,
To grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,
And to know this love that surpasses knowledge—
That you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. – Eph. 3:17-19

This power
This companionship
This indescribable, priceless love of Christ
This is the blessing
Infinitely wide and long and high
Poured forth and driven deep
All the way down to the roots- our vines anchored in God’s grace
Rooted and Established- tilled till all the wild branches embrace
and the sweet fruit overflows the cups of justice and joy

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine,
According to his power that is at work within us,
To him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus
Throughout all generations, forever and ever! – Eph 3:20-21

Glory be to the Blessed One
Opening our lips in blessing
With power to make new

Glory be to the Blessed One
Opening our hands in blessing
With power to make whole

Glory be to the Blessed One
Opening our hearts in blessing
That the grace poured in by Christ
Would overflow
Generation to generation to generation
An endless procession
To all, in all, and through all

Amen.

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This prayer was inspired by 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.

Extending Blessing © 2014 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.

Growing in Resilience: Nothing Can Contain You, Isaiah 66.1-2

listening-by-meganne-forbesGrowing in Resilience
Day 27, Read Isaiah 66
Reflection: Nothing Can Contain You, based on Isaiah 66:1-2, The Message

God’s Message: “Heaven’s my throne, earth is my footstool. What sort of house could you build for me? What holiday spot reserve for me? I made all this! I own all this!”

God’s Decree: “But there is something I’m looking for: a person simple and plain, reverently responsive to what I say.”

Eternal One
Magnificent and Mighty
Transcendent and Glorious
Nothing can contain You
No heart
No house
No sanctuary
No fortress
No people or plan or strategy or decree

Nothing can contain You
You need nothing
You made all that is seen and unseen
All is yours

Nothing can contain You
You are Whole
Complete

Yet, You desire something
You are looking for something
For someone
Someone real, plain, humble
Someone faith-full, hope-full
Trembling with awe and anticipation
Reverent and ready

Speak Lord, your beloved, your servant, is listening

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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. 

Nothing Can Contain You © 2018 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Leave a comment for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

Sermon Recording- The Bride of Christ (Ephesians 5.21-32)

Sermon Series Website What is Church
Sermon Series: What is Church?
Message 2 of 6: The Bride of Christ
Scriptures: Ephesians 5:21-32
This message was offered Sunday, 4/29/18 at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota Florida.

The Wedding Vows
I, _________________, give myself to you to be your husband/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.

The Church as Bride of Christ: Problems with metaphor

  • Difficult for those who’ve been disappointed by marriage – Never married, divorced, betrayal, abusive marriage
  • Difficult for men to relate to “bride”
  • The phrase “Bride of Christ” not found in the scriptures but there are plenty of passages which use the metaphor

bride outsideAll metaphors break down. Bride of Christ remains a powerful reminder of our relationship to one another and to Christ

Read Ephesians 5:21-32 NRSV

21 Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ.

  • Be subject = Voluntary, free choice, submission, our power under the authority of another, cooperating, collaborating
  • Ephesians 5-6 describes the mutual submission of husbands and wives, children and parents, slaves and masters

How?

  • Previous verses discuss being filled with the Holy Spirit by singing Psalms, Hymns, Spiritual Songs & giving thanks to God the Father in name of our Lord Jesus Christ (Trinity, the fullness of God, First Creed)
  • Out of Reverence to Christ- We submit to Christ as His followers out of reverence for Christ first submitting to us. Jesus made the ultimate submission in his life, death, and resurrection.

Notice verses 22-27

  • The Love of our Lord Jesus Christ is deep, pure, sacrificial
  • Look what Jesus gave up to make us his own. Compare with Philippians 2. Poor, homeless, misunderstood, glory to humility, abused and tortured, obedient to the point of death, even on a cross
  • Jesus making us his own- making us holy, set apart, like in marriage the couple is set apart only for each other

Vs. 26 Cleansing with the washing of water by the word

  • The powerful presence of Jesus in the sacrament of baptism and in his Holy Word- Cleansing, new birth, water for growth, Jesus’ tears, Jesus washing feet

Vs. 27 Jesus presents the church to himself in splendor radiant

Remember, you are both beloved and the light of the world. Jesus, the Bridegroom, presents us like a Bride unstained, unwrinkled, unblemished, innocent which literally means unwounded. By his stripes, we are healed. He took the wounds that we might be unwounded.

28 In the same way, husbands should love their wives as they do their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hates his own body, but he nourishes and tenderly cares for it, just as Christ does for the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” 32 This is a great mystery, and I am applying it to Christ and the church.

We leave our earthly labels and tribes to be at one with Christ

  • This isn’t head knowledge, it’s down to the bone, the blood, skin in the game, an intimate union
  • This is a relationship of devotion, fidelity, one spouse, one Lord. Jesus first loved us that he may be our first love

Let us, the Church, the Bride, recommit to Christ the Bridegroom, using the Wedding Vows

We give ourselves to you Jesus, to be your Bride, 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, knowing we are not parted by death, recognizing the promise of life everlasting and love everlasting. This is our solemn vow.

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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 9:00 am or 10:30 am, or join us live on our Facebook page at 9:00 am 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: All will be Brought to Light (Matthew 2.1-12)

vision eye see

Having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod,
they left for their own country by another road
– Matthew 2:12

Prayer: All Will be Brought to Light
Radiant One, give us wisdom
to know when to wait and when to act
to know what to pick up and what to leave behind

The hidden will be brought to light
hidden words
hidden thoughts
hidden actions of our hands
hidden motives of our hearts

Radiant One, give us wisdom
to stand- trusting all will be revealed
to bow- knowing all will be revealed

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Be sure to check out some wonderful prayers based on this scripture passage by Steve Garnaas Holmes, entitled Another Road and Inward Magi.

Prayer: All Will be Brought to Light © 2013 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution.
Please leave a comment for information/permission to publish this work in any form.

Sermon Recording- Hallowed Be Thy Name

hallowed be your name
Sermon Series: 57 Words That Changed the World
Messages on the Lord’s Prayer from Matthew 6:5-15

Message: Hallowed Be Thy Name
Scripture: Matthew 6:5-15
Offered 4/10/16 at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota Florida

The Lord’s Prayer informs, forms, and transforms us and the world. – Lisa Degrenia

We have no idea of how to live until we first know who God is.
So when we say that God’s name is holy, that tells us how we ought to live.
Knowing the Creator tells us where the creation is meant to move.
– Will Willimon and Stanley Hauerwas, Lord Teach Us- The Lord’s Prayer and the Christian Life

Hallow has two meanings
1) To holy-fy and honor
2) To make known, reveal

If you claim to be a child of God, a follower of the Risen Christ, live like it and pray like it.
– Lisa Degrenia

Matthew 25:37-40
37 Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? 38 And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? 39 And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ 40 And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’

Matthew 5:16
Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.

Worship Resources for this Message 
Call to Worship- God’s Glorious Name

Study Resources for this Message
Lord, Teach Us: The Lord’s Prayer & the Christian Life
by Stanley Hauerwas and William H. Willimon

The Lord and His Prayer by N. T. Wright

Fifty-Seven Words that Change the World: A Journey through the Lord’s Prayer
by Darrell W. Johnson

A Layman Looks at the Lord’s Prayer by W. Phillip Keller

Our Heavenly Father: Sermons on the Lord’s Prayer by Helmut Thielicke
Read it for free online!

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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.