Sermon Recording – The Firey, Unquenchable Love of Christ (Song of Solomon 8.5-7)

flaming-heart song of solomon 8

Message: The Firey, Unquenchable Love of Christ
Scriptures: Song of Solomon 8:5-7
Offered 2/11/18 at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota Florida.

It’s our Tradition at Trinity, Sarasota to offer couples the opportunity to renew their wedding vows the Sunday before Saint Valentine’s Day. Click Here for the liturgy we use.

Testimonies of the love between a couple, between friends, between a mother and son.

Joy Voyles quote: Chris is trying to keep under control while caring for his mom. It has been very hard on him. What a beautiful creation God blessed Nancy with. Though the time has been stressful for both Chris and Nancy, it also has allowed one on one time for them to share, pray and bond even more… maybe that was a blessing in disguise if you can call “pain” a blessing. Although, as I think about it… the pain of childbirth is a blessing… you reap the reward of a beautiful newborn in your arms and heart to love forever… Could it be the pain of leaving your body and moving into the arms of our Lord is a blessing of love to last thru eternity…

Song of Solomon 8:5-7
5 Who is that coming up from the wilderness, leaning upon her beloved?
1. Coming up from the wilderness

  • Wilderness of the time before we know Christ
    • We wander in the desolation. Then we accept God’s love, are buried with Christ in baptism and we come up out of the wilderness. We are raised to new life.
  • Wilderness of an awful time in our lives
    • dry, barren, desolate, deadly. Christ is will us. Christ helps us to come through and come up out of the wilderness. We are raised to new life.
  • Wilderness of life this side of heaven.
    • Like the Hebrew slaves in Exodus, we cross the wilderness of this life to the promised land of heaven. We come up, raised to new life, eternal life

2. Leaning upon our Beloved Christ
Why do you lean?

  • For strength because you are weak
  • For support because the journey is long
  • For steadying because the footing is unsure
  • Because you just want to be near the one you love, your beloved

Charles Spurgeon Quote, Adapted
Beloved, there is no part of the pilgrimage of a saint in which we can afford to walk in any other way but in the way of leaning. … at the first, and at the last, still leaning, still leaning upon Christ Jesus; ay, and leaning more and more heavily upon Christ the older we grow.

Under the apple tree, I awakened you.
There your mother was in labor with you; there she who bore you was in labor.
Consider the details, the specifics, the intimacy with which Jesus knows us

  • Knows us within our mother’s wombs
  • Knows us at our first breath
  • Knows the hairs on our head, our every experience, the deepest longing of our heart

6 Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm;
A Seal

  • Makes an impression
  • Ensures something is real, authentic
  • Reminds us the reality is binding. There’s a permanence to commitment, a sense of security
  • Jesus desires to be the seal on heart (call to be) and the seal on arm (call to do)

for love is strong as death, passion fierce as the grave.
1. What makes death strong?

  • Death comes for all people, just as Christ comes for all people
  • There’s a permanence to death. Total. Irreversible. The same is true for Christ’s love which is even stronger than death. Christ’s love overcomes sin and death and the grave with sacrificial love and resurrection love.

2. The Passion of Christ’s Love

  • The unrelenting longing and desire of Christ is to have an intimate, saving relationship with us
  • In his passion (healthy jealousy) Jesus doesn’t want to see anything come between us and our relationship with him.

Its flashes are flashes of fire, a raging flame.
7 Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it.
Christ’s passionate love is compared to fire

  • Fire has great power
  • It is alive
  • It is useful
  • It is unchanging, unquenchable, unstoppable
    • Nothing can put it out. Not even wave after wave of trouble. Not night after night of darkness. Not even death.

If one offered for love all the wealth of one’s house, it would be utterly scorned.
All people are made in the image of God. In this God gives us the ability to love and be loved. Love cannot be bought or sold; it is not a piece of merchandise. Only objects can be bought and sold. Love is not an object. People are never objects.

  • This is why human trafficking, pornography, and prostitution are scorned. They are outside God’s will because love and people are objectified.
  • Love is of infinite value. We cannot buy it or earn it.

Love of God in Christ Jesus  

  • Saves us from the wilderness
  • Something we lean upon always
  • More intimate than our first breath
  • Real, Authentic, Makes a lasting impression
  • Strong, Fierce, Passionate
  • Unchanging, Unquenchable, Unstoppable
  • Of Infinite Value
  • Offered to you as a gift

Accept the gift of God’s love

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 9am or 10:30am, or join us live on our Facebook page at 9am 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 for Holy Resistance

true-love-requires-actionBreak our hearts Jesus
That we may weep as You weep
Love as You love

Break our hearts Jesus and raise our voices
that we may speak and act so all may be safe
so all may have opportunity
so all may know belonging

Lord Jesus
take away our fear, our apathy, our silence
Grant us
Your courage, Your strength, Your perseverance, Your Word

That we may be Your sanctuary
Your safe and sanctified place of presence

That we may live Your justice
and use Your power with wisdom and humility

That we may be Your whole and holy people
people of integrity

That we may speak and act and love
again and again and again
till every dividing wall of hate, fear, and mistrust
comes crashing down in Your Powerful Name

Lord Jesus, Prince of Peace, Savior of the Nations,
teach us to pray and teach us to live Your prayer…
Conclude with the Lord’s Prayer

Click here for Comfort Ye based on Isaiah 40 by Steve Garnaas Holmes, a word of encouragement to those experiencing horror and abuse, and those striving to bring justice and healing.

Prayer for Holy Resistance © 2017 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.

Prayer: You Love Me (Deuteronomy 7:7-8)

Ocean Surface Wave, photo by Jon Sullivan via Wikimedia Commons, adapted

Ocean Surface Wave, photo by Jon Sullivan via Wikimedia Commons, adapted

Deuteronomy 7:7-8 NLT
The LORD did not choose you and lavish his love on you because you were larger or greater than other nations, for you were the smallest of all nations! It was simply because the LORD loves you, and because he was keeping the oath he had sworn to your ancestors. That is why the LORD rescued you with such amazing power from your slavery under Pharaoh in Egypt.

You love me
not because I am mighty
or beautiful
or talented

not because of what I’ve achieved
or acquired

or because of who I am
or who I know
or who knows me

You love me
because that is your way
that is you

You love me

Your love opens me up
raises me up
from every shadow which works to enslave me
every lesser love

How Great is your Love!
How Power-full

Fill me full
full of your love
so it splashes and spills
and pours and fills
and seeps and saves
our world awash and alive in your love

You Love Me © 2014 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.

Worship Resource: I Love You Lord

GOD is love, i john 4 7 8ALL SINGING
I Love You Lord by Laurie Klein (twice)
The Faith We Sing, #2068
CCLI #25266

Instrumental music continues under the readings.
Transition to the next song during this time as well.

God is love
Those who abide in love abide in God
And God abides in them.
– 1 John 4:16b NRSV

Love is my light and my salvation
Whom shall I fear?
Love is the strength of my life
Of whom shall I be afraid?

When fears assail me,
Rising up to accuse me,
Each one in turn shall be seen in Love’s light
Though a multitude of demons rise up within me
My heart shall not fear
Though doubts and guilt do battle
Yet shall I remain confident

One thing have I asked of Love,
That I shall ever seek
That I might dwell in the Heart of Love all the days of my life
To behold the Beauty of my Beloved
And to know Love’s Plan

For I shall hide in Love’s heart in the day of trouble
As in a tent in the desert
Away from the noise of my fears
And I shall rise above my struggles, my pain
Shouting blessings of gratitude in Love’s Heart
And singing melodies of praise to my Beloved
– Psalm 27:1-6, from Psalms for Praying by Nan C. Merrill

God is love,
Those who abide in love abide in God
And God abides in them

Jesus, fill me with Your love
So I may be with You always

Chose one of the following songs or another of like theme
I Am Thine, O Lord
United Methodist Hymnal #419

More Love to Thee, O Christ
United Methodist Hymnal #453

Love Divine, All Loves Excelling
United Methodist Hymnal #384

I Love You Lord compilation © 2014 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are very welcome to use this in a worship setting.

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

Prayer: No Partiality

partiality favoritismActs 10:28b, 34 CEB
God’s shown me that I should never call a person impure or unclean…. I really am learning that God doesn’t show partiality to one group of people over another.

We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked and homeless. The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty. We must start in our own homes to remedy this kind of poverty. -Mother Teresa

Prayer: No Partiality
Author of Life
Father of heirs and orphans
Sustainer of rich and poor

Lord of the Nations
Salvation of saint and sinner
Wisdom of educated and ignorant

all people are made in your image
all are valuable
all are beloved
all are wanted

Forgive me for labeling

Change my heart and ways
to match yours
no partiality
only welcome

See also James 2:1-10.
Click here for a collection of scriptures and quotes entitled Overcoming Labeling.
For an original song lyric/poem on this theme entitled Image of Love, click here

Prayer: No Partiality © 2013 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.

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

Prayer for a Loved One Who Doesn't Believe in God

mother baby holding handsIn her book Prayers for Life’s Ordinary & Extraordinary Moments, Mary Lou Redding offers a prayer for parents to pray when their child doesn’t believe in God. It could be easily adapted for any loved one.

drug diflucan

I was drawn to the simplicity and honesty of this prayer and my own need for it with so many that I love. It seems especially helpful in situations when you and the loved one no longer live near each other or the relationship is strained.

Be encouraged that God never gives up and continues to reach out to all people, including your loved one, including you. – Lisa <><

Father God, thank you for your unconditional love
for each of your children.
I pray today especially for my child
who says he doesn’t believe in you.

Lord, help my child struggling with cynicism and despair.
I believe that doubt is part of the faith journey.
Please send a sensitive soul to encourage my child–
someone who will say words to gently point
this one I love so much toward you.

Loving God, I lift up __________ to you.
Though it is difficult, I release my child to you,
trusting you to continue to work in his life.
Help me to let go and trust
that the seeds of faith I helped to plant will take root
and that my child will grow in the sunlight of your love.

Thank you, dear God, for hearing and acting.
I am grateful that you love this child
much more than I ever could,
and that though I must let go, you never will. Amen.