The Visitation- Christmas Reflections for Mary and Elizabeth (Luke 1)

old and young hands

Based on The Visitation, Luke 1:39-56

There They Stand
Mary entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth.
– Luke 1:40

There they stand
breathless
belly to belly
the maid and the elder cousin
full of grace and truth

John leaps for joy
Covered in the flesh of Elizabeth
Unborn, yet already at work
In the wilderness of her womb
He will not wait to make the Way known

Elizabeth extends her arthritic hands
One wrapping Mary in welcome
The other in blessing
Encompassing the inexperienced traveler
in affirmation of faith

Worship overwhelms worry
In the sanctuary of her solace
Mary is safe enough to sing

As You Have Said
Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said… The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.” – Luke 1:38, 49

Revel and Rejoice
Praise and Proclaim
Magnify
Glorify
Adore

Our Steadfast Savior
Mindful of our frailty
Looks on our lowliness
and responds with greatness
Great grace and Greater grace
for us and for all

Holy, Holy, Holy Lord
God of power and might
Heaven and earth are full of Your glory
It is as you have said

Your mercy extends
Floods and Flows
Through time and place
Through need and pain
Body and Soul to
Soul to Soul to Soul to…

You show true strength
Bringing down those who bow the knee to no one
Scattering those who set up their own kingdoms
be it castle or corporation
Revealing it to be ashes
and emptiness

You show true strength
Lifting up those bowed low
Face in the dirt
Bearing the weight of excess and greed
Buried beneath crushing injustice

You show true strength
Raising up
Filling up
Faithful, Covenant Keeper
Remembering and
Re-membering

Revel and Rejoice
Praise and Proclaim
Magnify
Glorify
Adore

It is and will be
as You have said
Holy, Holy, Holy Lord

Believe by Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment
of what was spoken to her by God. —Luke 1.45

This time of year we’re told to “believe.”
But what does that mean?
Judging from the movies to believe
means to believe in magic, or Santa, or romance,
to be optimistically wishful and naïve.
In many Christian circles to believe means
to think, as in believing certain doctrines are true.
But the word “believe” comes from old English,
rooted in German, belieben—to love.
In scripture to believe means to give your heart:
to lovingly entrust yourself, not to an idea but to a person.

Blessed is she who trusts God, and the power of love.
Blessed is she who trusts
that God’s promise will be fulfilled in her.
Blessed is she who trusts
that her love is more powerful than empires.
Blessed is she who entrusts herself
to the One who births her,
and who is in her, and whom she births.
Blessed is she who trusts her worthiness,
that her calling is sure and her gift is needed
and her voice carries weight.
Blessed is she who gives herself over
to the divine work of bearing love into the world.

Blessed are you,
and blessed is the fruit of the womb of your heart.

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There They Stand © 2010 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
As You Have Said © 2014 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution.
by Lisa Degrenia (www.revlisad.com)
Please leave a comment for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

Exhalting Christ- a prayer based on Philippians 2

jesus mosaic from hagia sophia

Jesus Christ, mosaic detail from the Hagia Sophia

based on Philippians 2:5-11 

Jesus, you do not exploit
Power over
Power used as advantage
Power plays

You empty yourself of power’s privileges
You choose solidarity, even with slaves
You choose womb and flesh
vulnerability and blood

You welcome humility- our earthiness, our dust
You welcome the mission of salvation

You accept humiliation and torture and agony
You embrace death so creation may have new and true life

moment of silence

We exalt you, Risen Christ!
We praise you and adore you!
Your name above all names
Your story shared through all generations
Your arms open in welcome for all people

May every tongue confess, “Jesus Christ is Lord!”
May every soul receive your embrace!

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Exhalting Christ © 2021 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.

The Story of the Scars, a Sermon for Easter Sunday

The Story of the Scars, a Sermon for Easter Sunday
Scripture: John 20:1-20; Isaiah 53:5

Offered Sunday, 4/4/2021 via Facebook Live at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota Florida.

Gates of heaven joke

Mary goes to the tomb early in the morning. Can you imagine the conversation that’s happening the rest of the day! Jesus shows up in the evening. He shows up with “Peace be with you.” He shows up with his scars.                                

Where they nailed his hands and feet. Where they pierced his side with a spear. Where they slapped him and pulled out his beard. Where the flogged him on his back. Where they placed a crown of thorns on his head.

Every one of his scars tells a story- Injustice. Betrayal. Denial. Grace. Truth. Love. Victory.                  

What scars have you brought with you today? What stories do they tell?

Maybe they aren’t scars yet,  maybe they’re still wounds.

Scott Erickson, quote adapted. It starts with our own wounds. Because to bring your own wounds is to ask the Divine “Are you involved in my life at all?” Then we will encounter the wounds of those we love, and ask “are You here too?” Friends, strangers, every wound in the world begs the same question…. IS NEWNESS POSSIBLE?

Yes, newness is possible. This is the story of Jesus’ scars.

Isaiah 53:5, NIV UK. He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; (wrongdoings) the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.

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You can find us live on Facebook Sundays at 9 AM and 10:30 AM, and Wednesdays at 8 AM.

© 2021 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Leave a comment for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

Worship Resources for Palm Sunday

palm_sunday_lg

Palm Sunday by William Hemmerling

Christians celebrate Palm Sunday the Sunday before Easter, remembering Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. This event is mentioned in all four Gospels. (Mark 11:1–11; Matthew 21:1–11; Luke 19:28–44; and John 12:12–19).

Palm Sunday is also the first day of Holy Week, a time when many Christians reflect on the last week of Jesus’ life in preparation for Easter.

I pray these resources are helpful to your meaningful celebrations. – Lisa <><

PRAYERS
Opening Prayer for Palm Sunday by Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
ONE:
Blessed are you, O Lord our God,
King of the Universe,
In Jesus Christ, you rule and reign,
Not as a tyrant, but as a humble servant
Riding on a donkey, washing feet, suffering from injustice
Open our hearts this day, take your throne
Open our lips this day with shouts of praise

ALL:
Hosanna in the highest!
Blessed is the One who comes in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna in the highest!

Palm Sunday Prayera prayer of petition on the theme Hosanna, Save Now! by Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
What did they cry out that first Palm Sunday?
Hosanna!
Blessed is the One who comes in the Name of the Lord!
Hosanna to the Son of David!
Hosanna in the Highest!
Hosanna! Save Now!

Jesus, save us
Save us from the oppression of the Romans
Save us from the corruption of the Temple
Save us from slavery to sin and death
Save us from hunger and thirst
Save us

What are you crying out for God to save?

add our own petitions

Jesus, you are our Living Hope
You are One Who Saves

Salvation means wholeness
Lord, we need it
We need it for ourselves
We need it for our families
We need it for our places of work
For our schools
For our community
For your church
For those who are suffering in body, in mind, in spirit
For our world

For an end to the evil, injustice, and oppression
For an end to the hate, the division, the despairing

Lord, we need your salvation
We need your wholeness and we need it now
In our mourning, our grieving,
In our lamenting, and in our loss

We need it in our rejoicing and our celebration
We need your salvation
We need your wholeness

You are the Lamb of God
You are the King of Kings
You are the Christ, the Anointed One, the Savior of us all

We cling to you and we cling to your cross
We cry Hosanna! Save Now!

Make this real in us
Real in your church
Real in your world

conclude with the Lord’s Prayer

Consider using Blessed is the King by Steve Garnaas Holmes as an affirmation of faith or prayer of commitment. Coming Kingdom is a powerful call to action. He also supplies several resources entitled Hosanna on his blog, Unfolding Light:
Resource 1
Resource 2
Resource 3
Resource 4

READER’S THEATRE SCRIPTURE SCRIPTS
Reader’s Theatre: Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem
Based on Matthew 21:1-11 NIV
Parts: Narrator, Jesus, Prophet, All (congregation as the crowd)

NARRATOR
As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives,
Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them

JESUS
Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, tell him that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.

NARRATOR
This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet:

PROPHET
Say to the Daughter of Zion, “See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”

NARRATOR
The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them.
They brought the donkey and the colt, placed their cloaks on them, and Jesus sat on them.

Introduction to the song begins
A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds went ahead of him and those that followed shouted

ALL SHOUTING:
Hosanna to the Son of David!
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna in the highest!

Hosanna to the Son of David!
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna in the highest!

ALL SINGING:
Use one of the suggested songs or one of a similar theme. A choir anthem, solo, or song led by a praise band could also be used at this point.

Hosanna, Loud Hosanna, United Methodist Hymnal #278
Mantos y Palmas, United Methodist Hymnal #279
All Glory, Laud and Honor, United Methodist Hymnal #280
Hosanna (Praise is Rising), CCLI #4662491
Hosanna, CCLI #21545
Hosanna (Be Lifted Higher), CCLI 5780152

Speak the final lines during an interlude before the final verse or chorus of the song

NARRATOR
When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?”

ALL:
This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.

Click Here for a Reader’s Theatre script which does not include singing and extends the story a few verses (Matthew 21:1-17).

PALM SUNDAY SERMONS
Pick Your Parade (Zechariah 9:9; Luke 19:41-44; Psalm 146)

Jesus the King (Luke 19; Zechariah 9)

The Palm Sunday Path (Mark 11:1-10)

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Palm Sunday Prayer © 2019 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia.
Opening Prayer for Palm Sunday © 2015 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia.
You are welcome to use this work in worship or other devotional settings with proper attribution. Leave a message for posting and publication considerations.

Reader’s Theater: Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem (Matthew 21:1-11)
© 2014 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia.

Adapted from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

Midweek Devotion- Matthew 22.1-14

SCRIPTURE: Matthew 22:1-14

SONGS:
Come, Sinners to the Gospel Feast
Bind Us Together

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

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 10/7/2020

Come, Sinners, to the Gospel Feast
Text: Charles Wesley, 1707-1788
Music: Katholisches Gesanguch
Public Domain

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

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Midweek Devotion- Matthew 22:1-14 © 2020 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia