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.

Prayer: Gift Giving (Matthew 2.1-12)

gift present manger

On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. – Matthew 2:11

We bring you our gold
our achievements
our prosperity
our productivity

We bring you our frankincense
our traditions
our rituals
our urging

We bring you our myrrh
our brokenness
our grave clothes
our dust

You bring us you
Priceless
Transcendent
Eternal

Humble
Present
Vulnerable

Grace greater than our every gift

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Prayer: Gift Giving © 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/permission to publish this work in any form.

Sermon Recording- What are you Searching For? (Matthew 2)

journey-of-the-magi_james_tissot

Journey of the Magi by James Tissot

Message: What are You Searching For?
Scriptures: Matthew 2:1-12
Offered 12/24/16, Christmas Eve, at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota Florida

Why We Three Kings is my least favorite Christmas Song.

  • More than three people traveled from far away lands to find Jesus, the new born King. A huge caravan was needed to make the long trip. It was large enough and grand enough to get King Herod’s attention when they came into Jerusalem.
  • They brought more than three gifts. They opened treasure chests of gifts (Matthew 2:11) which included gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
  • They weren’t kings. The Magi were an ancient combination of scientist and priest. They were wise interpreters of dreams and studied the heavens for answers and signs. They were powerful, well connected, and influential, but not kings.
  • By the time the Magi planned their trip, financed the trip, and completed their long and difficult trip, Jesus was no longer a babe in the manger. He was a year or so old.

The Wise Ones are seeking. They are doing the best they can to figure out the answers, and so are we. God honors and answers our seeking.

What do they bring?

  • Gold- They expect to find a king. They were searching for a leader who is worthy to be followed, worthy to give our allegiance.
  • Frankincense- Used to offer prayers. In the ancient world many rulers, like Caesar, proclaimed themselves gods. They were searching for something greater than themselves, the Divine, one who is worthy to be worshiped.
  • Myrrh- Used for embalming and used as medicine. They were looking for one who would bring them healing and wholeness.

We’re looking for the same things.

Like us, the Magi go to the logical place looking for those answers. They go to King Herod, the bearer of empire and worldly power. Herod the Great, the one who rebuilt Judea, brought relative peace to the region, and rebuilt the Temple in Jerusalem, a wonder of the ancient world.

Herod was also a literal madman. Paranoid of any threat to his power and position, he had multiple family members murdered including his wife, mother-in-law, a couple of brothers-in-law, and three of his children. Herod is the villain of the Christmas story. The only things we find with him are deception and violence.

The Wise Ones eventually make their way to Bethlehem. They find the Child and they find what they are looking for.

  • They find One who is worthy to be followed. Jesus, the One who will shepherd the people, who will tend the flock. In the city of David, they find One who is a good shepherd, a servant King, who will lay down His life for the sheep.
  • They find One who is God, who is worthy to be worshiped. Not someone who is pretending to be God, nor someone who sits on the throne of his own heart. Jesus, the One who is worthy to sit on the throne of our hearts. The Word of God made flesh. The Love of God made real. The One who is always near, always good, always strong.
  • They find the One who brings us hope and light and healing and wholeness. Truth, not lies. Life, not violence and death.

What do they do? They lay their gifts before Him and they lay themselves before Him and they rejoice with exceedingly great joy for they have found what they are looking for.

The good news my friend is Jesus will still be found. God honors and answers your seeking. Jesus is what you’re looking for.

The Wise Ones do not return by way of Herod. They return home new and by a new road. Let us do the same.

This sermon recording concludes with a time for prayer and a Great Thanksgiving before Holy Communion.

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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.

sermon © 2016 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Contact Lisa for posting and publication considerations.

Sermon Recording: Come and See What God Has Done, an Epiphany Sermon on Trust (Matthew 2)

matthew 2 epiphany star magi homageMessage: Come and See What God Has Done, an Epiphany Sermon on Trust
Scripture: Matthew 2
Offered 1/3/16, the Sunday before Epiphany, at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota FL

This message was preceded by the wonderful song Noel by Chris Tomlin.

I will not let worry overrule today or this Christmas. When the King rules my world, I cease to rule or to worry. All worry dethrones God. All worrying makes me King and God incompetent. I am going to trust that in the little places, through unexpected people, His perfect story is unfolding and unwrapping all around me and in me, the light overtaking the dark.
Ann Voskamp, from her Advent resource Sticky Notes for the Soul, Day 17

By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us,
to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace. —Luke 1:78-79

Pay attention to this as to a lamp shining in a dark place,
until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. —2 Peter 1:19

The closing prayer was adapted from a prayer entitled Lead Me by Steve Garnaas Holmes.

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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 the Lisa for posting and publication considerations.

Prayer: Gift Giving (Matthew 2:1-12)

gift present manger2014 Bible Reading Plan for Christmas
Day 26 Reading: Matthew 2:1-12
Gift Giving

On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
– Matthew 2:11

We bring you our gold
our achievements
our prosperity
our productivity

We bring you our frankincense
our traditions
our rituals
our urging

We bring you our myrrh
our brokenness
our grave clothes
our dust

You bring us you
Priceless
Transcendent
Eternal

Humble
Present
Vulnerable

Grace greater than our every gift

***********
Days 27 and 28 are set aside for worship and rest

This post is part of the 2014 Bible Reading Plan for Christmas. Click here for more information, including a list of all the readings.

Prayer: Gift Giving  © 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.

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

Prayer: All will be Brought to Light (Matthew 2:1-12)

vision eye see2014 Bible Reading Plan for Christmas
Day 25 Reading: Matthew 2:1-12
The Wise Ones

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

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

This post is part of the 2014 Bible Reading Plan for Christmas. Click here for more information, including a list of all the readings.

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 contact Lisa for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

Reader’s Theater: The Magi, The Genocide (Matthew 2)

The Christmas Story readers theaterReader’s Theater: The Magi, the Genocide
Based on Matthew 2 NIV
Parts: Narrator, Congregation, Herod, Angel

NARRATOR
After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod,
Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked,

ALL
Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews?
We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.

NARRATOR
When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born.

ALL MEN
In Bethlehem in Judea, for this is what the prophet has written:
“But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.”

NARRATOR
Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared.
He sent them to Bethlehem and said,

HEROD
Go and make a careful search for the child.
As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.

NARRATOR
After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed.

On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream.

ANGEL
Get up, take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt.
Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.

NARRATOR
So Joseph got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”

When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled:

ALL WOMEN
A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning,
Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.

NARRATOR
After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said,

ANGEL
Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child’s life are dead.

NARRATOR
So he got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets: “He will be called a Nazarene.”

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The Christmas passages from Luke 1-2 and Matthew 1-2 are “tidings of great joy for all people.” A great way to embody this truth is through multiple readers of multiple ages voicing the beloved story. I hope these simple scripts will help you to do just that. Merry Christmas and may the promises of this Holy Season strengthen you throughout the year! – Lisa <><

Click the link for a master pdf of all The Christmas Story scripts
Reader’s Theater The Christmas Story

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.

Reader’s Theater: The Magi, The Genocide (Matthew 2)
© 2013 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.