Worship at Home for Ash Wednesday and February 18

Dear Friends,

Thank you to everyone who participated in the Souper Bowl Sunday fundraiser for Helping Hands! $650 was raised for Helping Hands.

Note: If we need to cancel church due to hazardous road conditions or inclement weather, I will send an email to our email list. Closing information will be on the KSDK Closings, St. Peter’s UCC Facebook Page or our Church Website.

If you would like a home visit, conversation, or home communion, please call me at 573-437-2779 (church).

  • New Members Class after worship.
  • Wednesday Lenten Program begins February 21 at 6:30pm. The study will be The Grace of Les Misérables by Matt Rawle. Matt was the presenter in our popular Advent Series.

Blessings, Pastor Stephanie DeLong

Ash Wednesday Reflection

Scripture: Joel 2:1-2, 12-17 or Isaiah 58:1-12 • Psalm 51:1-17 • 2 Corinthians 5:20b-6:10 • Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21

During Lent we will be saying No to something in our lives as part of our Lenten Spiritual Practice this year. We will also focus on a different theme each week. Ash Wednesday begins Lent and our word for theme Hypocrisy. We take this theme from this verse in Mathew 6:5 "And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward.”

I suppose it seems strange to talk about the hypocrisy of public displays of prayer when we are all sitting here with ashes on our heads and hands. But our ashes are signs of repentance, of recognizing that we need to ask God for forgiveness, not to be admired for just what wonderful people we are. As the text states, being admired is their reward.

Our Ritual of Ashes began with a long litany of confession. Then the ashes were imposed on us as a sign of our repentance. Recognition that we have failed and that we need God’s grace. The imposition of ashes reminds us of our mortality.

The words, “Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return.” are traditionally used with the imposition of ashes. How often are we reminded that we are made from the dust of this earth by God. Ash Wednesday is the day that we remember this truth.

This truth strips away our hypocrisy and false beliefs. It reminds us that we need to turn away from our sins and believe in the good news. We are reminded that we need Jesus.

The First Sunday of Lent, February 18

Scripture: Genesis 9:8-17 • Psalm 25:1-10 • 1 Peter 3:18-22 • Mark 1:9-15

Sermon: Temptation

Temptation is the theme for the First Sunday of Lent. The text from Mark tells the story of Jesus’ baptism, his temptation, John the Baptist’s arrest and the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. That’s a whole lot to put into a few verses!

Jesus was baptized because he was fully human. Jesus was tempted so that he could experience what it felt to be fully human. Jesus had to die because he was fully human. The way he died was because others were tempted. These thoughts come from Rev. Cheryl Lindey’s reflection on the text. I found them true and poignant as these thoughts help, me to recognize the true humanity of Jesus God’s Son.

Mark uses the phrase that Jesus was tested by Satan in the NRSV updated version of the Bible. In Matthew and Luke, we learn how Satan tempted Jesus, but Mark leaves us filling in the blanks for ourselves. How Jesus was tested and tempted might reflect our own personal experiences of being tested and tempted.

When have you been tempted? What have you had to say no to in order to say yes to God? During Lent we often give up something as part of our Lenten Journey. In the past I have given up trivial things like chewing gum. After I gave up chewing gum for Lent, it seemed that someone was always offering me a piece of gum. Perhaps, I was being tested?

This Lent we are being asked to say no to something that keeps us from serving God. Chewing gum didn’t keep me from serving God, but other bad habits do. Not taking time for prayers. Complaining about the trivial things in life when I should be thankful for all my blessings. These are things that keep me from God. These are things to say no to during Lent. I invite you to participate in the Contemplative Ritual of saying no this Lent.

Contemplative Ritual “Say No”

Say No. During the season of Lent, we will embark on a journey of exploring the sacredness of saying “No” to what does not serve us or God. In this mailing you will find a piece of paper with the words, “This Lent I am saying “No” to:”. Please take a moment to think about what you will be saying “No” to this Lent. Write a word or two sharing what you might commit to saying “No” to during this season. Keep this piece of paper with you throughout Lent. Take it out and read it to remind yourself about what you are saying “No” to this Lent.


Prayer: God, help me to say no to those things that keep me from serving you. Amen.

Prayer list: All who have been on our list for a while, Mark’ s brother Billy, Delores W., Tyra, Freya, Vicki B., Barb Z., Jesse, Tammy. Jennifer, Richard, Tamara, John, Dixon’s great granddaughter, Ashlely and Cody, Garth, Linda, Tessa, Carl, Kimbra, Liz’s father, Dannie, Lathe, Marilyn, Kris, Lee Ann, Bob, Diane, Linda, Keetha, Carly, Mia (Good news, she is healing.), Brenda, David, Dave, Jeff, Bill & Kathleen, Bill with cancer, a student with a court date, Marsha with cancer, places where there is war and all who are in need about which we do not know. If you know of anyone who would like a prayer shawl, please let us know.