Worship at Home for February 4 2024

Dear Friends,

Sunshine has graced us this week. After the gloom of the clouds the sun has reappeared. Sometimes gloom and grief clouds our lives. This Sunday we remember that God is there to lift us up and help us soar.

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).

  • Dorcas Meeting on Monday at 7pm
  • Installation of Council Members and Transition Team during worship on Sunday, February 11.
  • Souper Bowl Lunch Fund Raiser for Helping Hands will be on Sunday, February 11 from 10 to 1 or sold out. Carry-outs are available.
  • Ash Wednesday Worship on February 14 at 6:30pm
  • 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

Scripture: Isaiah 40:21-31 • Psalm 147:1-11, 20c • 1 Corinthians 9:16-23 • Mark 1:29-39

Sermon: The Lifting

Have you ever felt low, broken and so down that you did not feel that you had the strength or will to lift yourself up? Have you felt broken hearted? Have you been an outcast? Have you wondered where God was? Have all your efforts blown away in the wind?

We have all been there. Every one of us has had times in our lives when we felt downtrodden, broken-hearted, and weak. Each of us has a story about a challenging time in our lives that brought us low. The death of a loved one brings great grief. Illness may challenge us and break our will. The loss of a job leaves us feeling confused and frightened. The betrayal of trust breaks our ability to trust again.

Psalm 147 and Isaiah 40:21-31 address feelings of broken abandonment. The nation of Israel had been conquered. The city of Jerusalem had been ransacked and ruined. The people had been exiled to the city of their conquerors. The people were broken-hearted, damaged, and betrayed. The poetry of Psalm 147 and Isaiah 40 calls for the remembrance of God’s power and strength to overcome these feelings of despair.

Isaiah questions the feelings of abandonment with these words,

“Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel, "My way is hidden from the LORD, and my right is disregarded by my God"? Isaiah 40:27)

Have you ever believed that God did not see your struggles? That God did not care what happened to you? The exiled Israelites sure did. But Isaiah counters these feelings with words of God’s power and might,

Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.

He gives power to the faint, and strengthens the powerless.

Even youths will faint and be weary, and the young will fall exhausted;

but those who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.
(Isaiah 40:28-31)

A favorite Christian worship song is “Eagles Wings” by Father Michael Joncas. (We will sing this song after the sermon on Sunday.) Father Joncas wrote “Eagles Wings” over 40 years ago to comfort a friend whose father had died. “Eagles Wings” was sung for the first time at his friend’s father’s wake. (https://www.americamagazine.org/faith/2017/12/28/eagles-wings-simple-origin-song-makes-world-cry) The song has since gained worldwide popularity. People sing “Eagles Wings” whenever they feel the need to for comfort and strength.

On Wednesday evening I witnessed an amazing sight in Luster Park and all around the parsonage. There were hundreds of robins on the ground and swooping through the sky, When I looked up, I saw flashes of the robins’ red breasts above me. I stood transfixed by the power of God to rise upon the wings of robins in the sky. Robins may not be eagles but the way they rose up and down from the ground filled me with reverence and joy. God renewed my strength through the beauty of these red breasted birds above me, beside me and below me.

After Jesus finished teaching in the Capernaum synagogue, Jesus went to the home of Simon and Andrew. Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever. She was laid low by her illness, until Jesus took her by the hand and lifted her up. She then became the first follower to serve Jesus. (Mark 1:31) Jesus held her by the hand and raised her up. Jesus can take our hand and lift us up when we are low.

The knowledge that God will lift us up on eagles wings when we are too weak to even get out of bed provides hope and strength for us when we are weary. This weariness may be physical, emotional and/or spiritual. God will be there to lift us up on the wings of an eagle.

Prayer: God when I am broken-hearted, weary, and hurt, lift me up on eagles wings. 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, a student with a court date, 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.

Prayers for the family and friends of Jane Leimkuehler who died this week.