Worship at home for December 17 2023

Dear Friends,

Welcome to the third Sunday of Advent when we will talk about tasting the goodness of God as part of our Experiencing Christmas!

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

  • Thank you to everyone who helped with the Cookie Sale! It was very popular this year and sold out by 10:30am.
  • Need some Christmas Gifts and Stocking Stuffers? Apple Butter is still available at $6 for a pint.
  • Christmas Eve worship services:
    • 9am Worship which will include our Children and Youth
    • 11pm Candlelight worship with communion

Pastor Stephanie DeLong

Scripture: Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11 * Psalm 34:8 * 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24 * John 1:6-8, 19-28

Sermon: Taste and See that the Lord Is Good

Taste and see how good the Lord is!
The one who takes refuge in him is truly happy!
Psalm 34:8

How often do you think about tasting God? I tend to think of God in the visual beauty of creation such as the blazing colors at sunrise. God gave us many senses with which to experience creation and thus the Creator. Taste is one of them. Take a moment to ponder all the tastes which you have experienced.
How would you describe the different tastes that you have experienced? Some foods taste great, such as cookies and cake. Other foods might be an acquired taste such as jalapeños and black licorice. Some foods are sour but taste good like lemons. We naturally stay away from things that taste off. These tastes warn us that the food may be poisonous or rotten. When we say God tastes good, we express God’s loving goodness towards us.

God gave us food for our sustenance and enjoyment. Food is fuel for our bodies, but food offers opportunities for social interactions. Preparing intricate and large meals is hard work, but the benefits are generally worth it. The Turkey Supper at St. Peter’s needs the participation of many to be successful. The Advent Tea has table settings which are almost as enchanting as the food which is served. The Cookie Sale offers up a variety of cookies that most of us would not have time to bake on our own. Food and fellowship are central parts of these events.

What are some of your favorite foods at Christmas? What are some dishes that are part of your family tradition that you like or dislike? What would your experience of Christmas be without them? My mother always put together a traditional Swedish Smorgasbord for Christmas Eve. We would have boiled potatoes, rye crisp, pickled herring, ham, meatballs, pickled beets, cabbage, and jellied veal. I like everything but jellied veal. I have and will never willingly make jellied veal, but other members of my family looked forward to it. Love it or leave it, the food we serve and share is an important part of experiencing Christmas.

The Gospel lessons for the last two Sundays have focused on John the Baptist. John was Jesus’ cousin who came to prepare the way for Jesus. John had a firm understanding of who he was. John knew he was not the Messiah. John even described himself as being unworthy to even stoop down and untie the strap of Jesus’ sandal. John also ate locust and wild honey. I wonder, if Jesus ever sat down and shared a meal of locust and wild honey with John.

The Bible tells stories about Jesus eating meals. He is never described as eating alone. There are meals with friends, there are meals with important people, there is the feeding of the five thousand and there is the meal in the upper room. In the Gospels, Jesus sits and eats with people. Meals are about fellowship as much as the food. 

On Christmas Eve when Jesus was born, like any other infant, he needed to eat. Have you ever thought about Mary nursing Jesus? Does that thought trouble or comfort you? Does it make Jesus seem more human? Do you have fond memories of snuggling a child while they ate? I wonder what Mary and Joseph felt as Jesus snuggled and nursed as an infant.

When Jesus gave to us the sacrament of Holy Communion, he used the words,
While they were eating, he took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.” Mark 14:22 NRSVUE
In the bread and wine of communion, Jesus offers up his body to nourish and sustain us both physically and spiritually. Jesus nourishes us. Some Communion liturgies use the phrase from Psalm 34:9, “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” Jesus is good food for the body and the spirit.

All people need to eat. A way to share God’s love is to share good food. We may do so by sharing meals around a table. The meals may be wonderfully fancy like the Advent Tea or as simple as carry out pizza with the youth group. The importance is the opportunity to gather with one another in fellowship. In our community Helping Hands Outreach Center assures that those who struggle with finances have good food. Adopting families assures that these same families will know that others care for and love them at Christmas time. The Advent Tea, our youth adopting a family at Christmas and other activities of our congregation share the love of God with our community. Let’s keep sharing the message of God’s love and invite others to taste and see that the Lord is good.

Prayer: God, may we praise you for the wonderful tastes of the Advent and Christmas seasons. 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, Louise, Janet, Linda, Keetha, Lori’s mom Judy, Bryson, Tanner, Coleton, Carly, Mia, tornado victims in Tennessee 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. Prayers for all the places in the world where there is war.