Quotes: The Sign of the Cross

Statue honoring Elizabeth Ann Seton in New York City's St. Patrick's Cathedral. Seton was the first American to be named a saint by the Roman Catholic Church.

Statue honoring Elizabeth Ann Seton in New York City’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Seton was the first American to be named a saint by the Roman Catholic Church.

Galatians 2:19b-20 (NRSV)
I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Three quotes from Elizabeth Ann Seaton
The bright and glorious cross which we now drag alone through the mud and dirt, how beautiful and lovely it will appear when we shall find that it opens the door of our eternal happiness for us. Follow on with courage!

If you find that there are any obstacles in your way — and doubtless you find many, as every Christian does, in the fulfillment of duty — still persevere with yet more earnestness, and rejoice to bear your share in the cross, which is our passport and seal to the kingdom of our Redeemer.

on making the sign of the cross for the first time: I was cold with the awful impression my first making it gave me — the sign of the cross of Christ on me! Deepest thoughts came with it of I know not what earnest desires to be closely united with Him who died on it. Oh, that last day when it is to be borne in triumph!

Prayer from the Sarum Primer (1538)
with motions in keeping with the spirit of the prayer
God be in my head and in my understanding
draw a small cross on your forehead with your finger
God be in my eyes and in my looking
draw a small cross next to one eye and then the other
God be in my mouth and in my speaking
draw a small cross on your lips
God be in my heart and in my thinking
draw a small cross over your heart
God be at my end and at my departing.
place both arms at your sides, palms facing front

All God’s plans have the mark of the cross on them,
and all His plans have death to self in them.
- E. M. Bounds

The summation of the life of Jesus in the symbol and the sign of the cross is not meant so much as an act of “taking up” the cross, as it is of “taking the cross inside.” The direction of the sign of the cross is inward, which suggests embracing and internalizing the life of Jesus. Nevertheless, this inward direction suggests that, starting with the historical events of the life of Jesus, we live these events here and now, appropriating them outside time and space, as we become one with the timeless Christ.
- Andreas Andreopoulos, The Sign of the Cross

Never leave your house without making the sign of the cross. It will be to you a staff, a weapon, an impregnable fortress. Neither man nor demon will dare to attack you, seeing you covered with such powerful armor. Let this sign teach you that you are a soldier, ready to combat against the demons, and ready to fight for the cross of justice. Are you ignorant of what the cross has done? It has vanquished death, destroyed sin, emptied hell, dethroned Satan, and restored the universe. Would you then doubt its power?
- John Chrysostom

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

Poem: We Need to Linger

holy week primitive cartoon adapted
Before we get to Easter, we need to linger:
in the vulnerability of the basin and the towel
at the remembrance and promise of the table
in the struggle and betrayal of the garden
in the shadows and shouts of injustice
at the bloody brutal beautiful cross
in the silence of linen and spices and death

For without these, the empty tomb is empty

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Poem: We Need to Linger © 2000 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: Come Sup With God (Luke 14)

World Communion Altar Table, photo by Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia

World Communion Altar Table, photo by Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia

Luke 14:12-14 NIV
Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

Luke 14:15-24 NRSV
One of the dinner guests, on hearing this, said to him, “Blessed is anyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!” Then Jesus said to him, “Someone gave a great dinner and invited many. At the time for the dinner he sent his slave to say to those who had been invited, “Come; for everything is ready now.’ But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, “I have bought a piece of land, and I must go out and see it; please accept my regrets.’ Another said, “I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to try them out; please accept my regrets.’ Another said, “I have just been married, and therefore I cannot come.’ So the slave returned and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and said to his slave, “Go out at once into the streets and lanes of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame.’ And the slave said, “Sir, what you ordered has been done, and there is still room.’ Then the master said to the slave, “Go out into the roads and lanes, and compel people to come in, so that my house may be filled. For I tell you, none of those who were invited will taste my dinner.’ ”

Sadly, the way we as Christians have historically responded to the gift of the Eucharist is to make sure that we understand it, then to make sure we put boundaries around it and then to make sure we enforce both the correct understanding and the correct boundaries. But on the night Jesus was betrayed he didn’t say “this is my body broken for you…UNDERSTAND this in remembrance of me….he didn’t say ACCEPT this or DEFEND this or BOUNDARY this in remembrance of me he just said do this in remembrance of me. – Nadia Bolz Weber, “This teaching is HARD, who can accept it” – a sermon on the Eucharist

The table is rich-laden; feast royally, all of you! The calf is fattened; let no one go forth hungry! Let all partake of the Feast of Faith. Let all receive the riches of goodness. Let none lament their poverty, for the Universal Kingdom has been revealed.
- John Chrysostom

Come Sup With God
by Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Meter 88.88 (LM)
Suggested tunes:
HURSLEY (United Methodist Hymnal #339) or
GIFT OF LOVE (United Methodist Hymnal #408)

Come sup with God all you who thirst
All you who hunger be the first
Feast on Christ’s Body and his Blood
O taste and see this meal of Love

Come children, elders, blind, and spent
Come foolish, able, indigent
Confess, repent, and then receive
Forgiveness flows abundantly

Come often, friend, for here is grace
made manifest in time and place
Christ’s mercy floods our brokenness
with healing balm and righteousness

Come to be changed. Come to be fed.
Come savor Christ, the Life, the Bread.
Drink deep the gift of healing poured
and leave a vessel of our Lord.

Sing Praise to Christ our Host and meal
Whose saving work provides the seal
for us once bound, now freed from death
to live for Christ with every breath

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Come Sup with God © 2000 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: Luke 14

LukeActs logo week 14Reading for the week of April 6: Luke 14
Click Here for more information on the #LukeActs2014 Reading Plan

Consider reading the chapter in several translations and choosing a few verses to memorize. This week I chose:
Luke 14:11 NRSV
All who exalt themselves will be humbled,
and those who humble themselves will be exalted.

Luke 14:13-14 NIV
When you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.

Main events of this chapter (with links to previous posts):
Healing on the Sabbath, The Man With Dropsy
Luke 14:1-6

Lessons in Humility and Inclusion
Luke 14:7-14
Quotes: Humility

Parable of the Great Banquet
Luke 14:15-24 (Matthew 22:2-14)
Hymn Text: Come Sup with God

The Cost of Discipleship
Luke 24:25-35
Quotes: Costly Discipleship

Prayer: Open Our Eyes, Our Hands, Our Lips

Open to the Light, photo by Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia

Open to the Light, photo by Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia

Merciful God, open our eyes
That we may see you at work
In us
Through us
Around us

Prince of Peace, open our hands
That we may release all that weighs us down
The burdens
The critics
The striving in our own strength

Holy Spirit, open our lips
That we may share the story of your saving love
With joy
With authenticity
With a power beyond our capability

All for your glory
All for you glory
All for you glory
Amen

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Prayer: Open our Eyes, Our Hands, Our Lips © 2014 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia.
You are welcome to use this work in a worship or other devotional setting with proper attribution. Contact the Lisa for posting and publication considerations.

#LukeActs2014: Luke 13

LukeActs logo week 13Reading for the week of March 30: Luke 13
Click Here for more information on the #LukeActs2014 Reading Plan

Consider reading the chapter in several translations and choosing a few verses to memorize. This week I chose:
Luke 13:12-13 NIV
When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.” Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God.

Luke 13:29 NIV
People will come from east and west and north and south,
and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God

Main events of this chapter (with links to previous posts):
Repent and Live
Luke 13:1-9

Healing on the Sabbath, The Crippled Woman
Luke 13:10-17

Parables of the Mustard Seed and the Yeast
Luke 13:18-20 (Mark 4:30-32; Matthew 13:31-33)
Quotes: Little Things, Great Love
Quotes and Prayer: Welcoming Branches

Who Will Be Saved?
Luke 13:22-30

Jesus Sorrows for Jerusalem
Luke 13:31-35 (Mathew 23:37-48)

Prayer for a Loved One Near Death

Ria Munk on her Deathbed by Gustav Klimt. Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

Ria Munk on her Deathbed by Gustav Klimt. Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

Last week, I received an e-mail from a friend requesting prayer for herself, her family and her mom who was nearing death. I had to trust that the prayer could travel where I could not. My friend read the prayer to her mother, and God used it to bring peace. That was all God’s grace, not anything special about me or these words. God was already present and at work. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

It is a sacred honor to be with someone while they are dying. The veil between this life and the life to come is thin. It can be a stressful time, but also a holy time. In these times, and all the other times as well, cling to the presence and promises of God. God is near. God is good. God is strong to save. – Lisa <><

Psalm 23 NKJV
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever.

Jesus,
You are the Good Shepherd
We are the sheep of your fold
So is name the loved one

You love her and know she is moving towards death
You love her and promise she is also headed to a new life with you beyond death

We trust you are walking with her and her loved ones right now
We trust you will see her all the way through the shadowy valley
and into everlasting light with you

Help us to hear your voice and cling to your promises
Dispel all fear and guard every heart
Come with peace and provision
Come with strength and comfort
Come with salvation and hope

Our cups run over in praise and thanks
For your goodness and saving love
Lead her, and later all of us, home to you
Amen.

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Prayer for a Loved One Near Death © 2014 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia.
You are welcome to use this work in a worship or other devotional setting with proper attribution. Contact the Lisa for posting and publication considerations.

Reader’s Theatre: Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem (Matthew 21:1-11)

Palm Branches by Kate Branch via Wikimedia Commons

Palm Branches by Kate Branch via Wikimedia Commons

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). The following Reader’s Theatre script is based on Matthew’s version of the story from the New International Version of the Bible.

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

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 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.

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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: Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem (Matthew 21:1-11) © 2014 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia. You are welcome to use this work in a worship or other devotional setting with proper attribution. Contact the Lisa for posting and publication considerations.

#LukeActs2014: Luke 12

LukeActs logo week 12Reading for the week of March 23: Luke 12
Click Here for more information on the #LukeActs2014 Reading Plan

Consider reading the chapter in several translations and choosing a few verses to memorize. This week I chose:
Luke 12:8-9 NRSV
Jesus said, “Everyone who acknowledges me before others, the Son of Man also will acknowledge before the angels of God; 9 but whoever denies me before others will be denied before the angels of God.”

Luke 12:15 NRSV
Jesus said to them, “Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.”

Luke 12:32-34 NRSV
Jesus said, “Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions, and give alms. Make purses for yourselves that do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Luke 12:35-36 NRSV
Jesus said, “Be dressed for action and have your lamps lit; be like those who are waiting for their master to return from the wedding banquet, so that they may open the door for him as soon as he comes and knocks.”

Main events of this chapter (with links to previous posts):
Warnings
Luke 12:1-7 (Matthew 10:26-33)

Acknowledging Jesus Before Others
Luke 12:8-12

Parable of the Rich Fool
Luke 12:13-21

Do Not Worry
Luke 12:22-34 (Matthew 6:25-33)
Quotes and Prayer: Worrying, Believing, Trusting
Worship Resource: Trusting God’s Provision
Quotes: Treasure in Heaven
Worship Resource: Lord of My Heart

Watch and be Ready
Luke 12:35-48 (Mathew 24:43-51; 25:1-13; Mark 13:33-37)
Quotes: Keep Awake

Division, Not Peace
Luke 12:49-53 (Matthew 10:34-36)
Quotes: What is Peace?

Good Judgment and Reconciliation
Luke 12:54-59

Prayer: In the Midst of the Storm

Typhoon in Hong Kong via Wikimedia Commons.

Typhoon in Hong Kong via Wikimedia Commons.

The story of Jesus calming the storm:
Matthew 8:23-27; Mark 4:36-41; Luke 8:22-25

Prayer: In the Midst of the Storm
ONE:
Jesus, we see You calming storms
Storm tossed seas and stormy lives
Extend Your power and grace again,
Upon us and our fear-filled world

Speak peace and healing over bodies and spirits
overwhelmed by the crashing waves of circumstance

ALL:
Jesus, speak peace.
Silence

ONE:
Speak peace and protection over minds and hearts
adrift in confusion or drowning in fear

ALL:
Jesus, speak peace.
Silence

ONE:
Speak peace and hope over people, families and communities
swamped by loss after loss

ALL:
Jesus, speak peace.
Silence

ONE:
You are the Prince of Peace.
You are the Resurrection and the Life.
You are strong to save.
Our hope and trust are in You

The congregation is invited to offer prayers of intercession, silently or aloud

ONE:
When the waves rise high above our ability to see your face…

ALL:
Still my soul, Lord Jesus,
Calm the storm in me

ONE:
When the howling wind and the pouring rain drown out the sound of your voice…

ALL:
Still my soul, Lord Jesus,
Calm the storm in me

ONE:
When the thunder and the lightning distract us from Your presence
amidst the roaring ocean…

ALL:
Still my soul, Lord Jesus,
Calm the storm in me
Amen

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Prayer: In the Midst of the Storm © 2014 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia and Nicole Sallee. You are welcome to use this work in a worship or other devotional setting with proper attribution. Contact the Lisa for posting and publication considerations.