This Sunday is Father’s Day when we remember all the men in our community who are fathers or behave in a fatherly manner to others. A donation has been made to Global Ministries Water Projects in honor of all the men at St. Peter’s UCC.
Many of you are worshipping at home. If you can watch the service on Facebook Live, you can follow along with the worship service below. We are not forgetting you on Sunday and think of you as we worship. If you need anything, please call me on my cell phone 573-832-2475.
Prayers and Blessings,
Pastor Stephanie DeLong
Second Sunday after Pentecost
Opening Hymn “For the Beauty of the Earth”
Moment of Silence
Divine Goodness, Holy One,
Pause us for this moment,
bear us up in this time,
hold us for eternity.
We embrace the brokenness of our lives.
We believe you are creating new light that will shine through.
We open to your possibilities.
And all the people say, “Amen.”
Sunday School Lesson
Psalm 147: 1-11
Sermon: God Cares About Us
Psalm 147:3 God heals the brokenhearted,
and binds up their wounds.
Has your heart ever been broken? Has someone you trusted to be your friend betrayed that trust? Did you have your heart set on a dream only to have it slip away from your grasp? Did you work really hard for something only to fail? Did you believe that the world was a loving place only to have someone call you a hateful name or worse do physical violence just because they could?
God knows this, and God cares. This doesn’t mean that God will save us from all the painful experiences in our lives. Rather God is with us during them. Sometimes we need to be broken before we can grow. Being broken can open our hearts to the beauty of God, if we allow God into the cracks in our hearts.
Often in life we get stuck in routines that we do not question. Recently I watched a Swedish movie "Britt-Marie Was Here" which is based on a novel by Fredrik Backman (A Man Called Ove). Britt-Marie loves her lists, her routines, her orderly life. Then the revelation of her husband’s unfaithfulness breaks her heart. Stoically she moves forward with her life. She gets her first job in 40 years as a youth leader and a soccer coach in the town of Borg a place which neither Britt-Marie nor the job center counselor have ever heard of. Her only qualifications for the job are that she is willing to take it and that she is a native Swede.
The people she encounters in Borg have been broken too. Some by economic class, some by their race, some by their refugee status, some by death of a loved one, some by being abandoned by those they loved, some had their dreams shattered. Britt-Marie uses her gifts of organization and cleaning to fix up the youth center so that it shines with love. She is willing to listen to the brokenness of those around her.
As the film progresses, we learn that Britt-Marie once had dreams of travelling to Paris and beyond, but those dreams were shattered when tragedy entered her life at a young age. As a result of tragedy, Britt-Marie built a shell of tidiness and routines around herself. She is like a frightened bird who has retreated into her egg. However. when her shell is revealed to be a sham, she admits to her brokenness. In admitting to her brokenness that she can be healed.
Britt-Marie, the youth she serves and the friends that she makes have all been broken. Yet like plants growing up through the cracks in rocks and concrete, they manage to survive in beautiful ways scoring moral victories for themselves. Together they give one another the hope to heal. Beauty is found amid struggle. Compassion is given and accepted.
God gives us this beautiful world. When troubles happen, we cannot retreat into broken shells. We need to grow and allow God to fill in the cracks of our broken hearts with beauty. Do you think that God doesn’t care? Let’s look at the Gospel lesson.
Honestly there are some items in today’s Gospel lesson that are downright scary as Jesus warns the disciples that the world into which he is sending them is dangerous. Jesus talks of Beelzebul and people fighting with their parents. (By the way how did that one make the lectionary on Father’s Day?) But in the center of these verses is one that means so much to so many people:
29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30 And even the hairs of your head are all counted. 31 So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.
Even when evil seems all around. When people are arguing and fighting. Do not be afraid, God is watching over you! When you are broken, God will put you back together Look for God’s beauty in this world. Follow Jesus and show compassion. Life is beautiful!
Loving God, you created a beautiful world for us. Sometimes we feel broken and forget just how much you love and care for us. Help us to remember that your eye is on the sparrow and that you watch us too. Others also feel broken and devalued. Let us reach out to them in love and care. Share with them the good news that God loves them and wishes them to be healed of their brokenness.
Let us take a moment to lift ourselves and others in prayer. Let us read through the names on our prayer list and imagine that God is surrounding them and us with healing love and strength.
Simon, Howard, Julia, Ahna, Mike, Josh, Priscilla, Duane, Janet, Grandpa David, Dorothy, Jacob, Jenny, Ann, Dale, Gayle, Don, Cheryl, Dustin, Pat, Student with eating disorder, Tate, Patricia, Roland, Aryanna, Amanda, Virginia, Matthew, Tom, Naomi, Vic, Jennelle, Charlie, James, Rick, Christy, Reagan, Kim, Lee, Kevin, Gaylynn, Liz’s sister in law, Naomi, Nathan, Jason, Cheryl, Daniel, Betty, Dax, Carter, Laurie’s mom, Jock, Nancy, Pat, Malachi and Karen, Carolyn, Ellen, Shirley, Mary, Karen, Paul, Hal, Richard, Crystal, Edie, Paula, Jim, Truett, Brett and Danielle, Judy, Laura F, Shirley, Butch, Joyce., Macie, Michel, Dorothy L, family of child who donated a heart to Truett, Corey, Lauren, Anonymous Cancer Patient, Bernice, Mike, Clyde, Gary S., Linda, Pat, Gary, Dave, Laurie Lee, Gail, Brenda, Breana, Dean, Corey, Jeff, Nancy, Terry, Rev. Cantrell.
Prayer of Dedication
We offer ourselves and our gifts to you this day. May they be used to share the bounty of your love and help to heal the brokenness in this world. Amen.
The world is so varied and beautiful.
Seek wisdom wherever it is to be found.
And may the goodness of the Creator,
the companionship of the Christ,
and the insight of the Spirit,
infuse your life now and always.
Closing Hymn “His Eye is on the Sparrow”
I sing because I’m happy, I sing because I’m free;
For God’s eye is on the sparrow,
And I know God watches me.
Portions of the worship come from www.worshipdesignstudios/beguiled. Used with permission.