Worship at Home for January 22

Dear Friends,

Jesus calls Peters, Andrew, James, and John to leave their nets and follow. How is Jesus calling you to follow him today? How does the light of God shine in your life and how can you share that light with others? Being a part of a faith community means sharing your light with other people.

If you would like a home visit, conversation, or home communion, please call me at 573-437-2779 (church) or 573-832-2475 (cell).

  • Congregational Annual Meeting on Sunday, January 22 after worship followed by a Potluck (Fried chicken will be provided.) and Games.
  • Bell Choir on Wednesday at 4:15pm & Choir Practice at 7pm
  • Confirmation on Wednesday at 6:30pm
  • Pub Theology at M. Clancy’s on Thursday, January 26 at 6:30. If the weather is bad, we will wait until next month to begin.

Blessings,

Pastor Stephanie DeLong

Scripture: Isaiah 9:1-4, Psalm 27, 1 Corinthians 1:10-18,                                                                   Matthew 4:12-23

Sermon: A Great Light Shines

“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness on them light has shined.” Isaiah 9:2

Wednesday has been a gloomy day of rain and showers. A day that is not particularly dark, but not light. Dreary days over and over can take a toll on a person’s emotional wellbeing. On days like these glimpses of the sun may offer hope.

When the night is cloudy and rainy, a light shining in the distance may show the way to a dry and safe place to rest. However over bright headlights speeding toward you on a dark road can be blinding and disorienting. Bright lights in the dark night can offer hope and danger. God’s light brings salvation.

We read this Isaiah passage during Advent and Christmas. Matthew connects it with the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. The people felt overwhelmed and filled with gloom. The Romans have occupied and oppressed their land. Leaders who should have been helping the people have chosen to appease the conquerors and seek power for themselves. John the Baptist cried out for repentance and was executed by Herod for his pronouncements. Fear and gloom pour down on the people.

The people have been living a roller coaster of existence. The slow upward climb of hopeful emotions fell quickly fell when John the Baptist died. This up and down of hope and disappointment has been going on for so long. Personally, I would be longing for a period of ordinariness.

Jesus of Nazareth upon hearing of John’s death strategically withdraws to Galilee. He settles in Capernaum by the sea. Matthew quotes Isiah 9:1-2 to show that Jesus is fulfilling scripture and to set the tone for what happens next. A great light is about to shine upon the people.

Jesus began his ministry by preaching “Repent for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” Matthew 4:17. For people seeking hope in the gloom, Jesus transformed the basic gray scale existence into the bright colors of God’s Kingdom. No wonder Peter, Andrew, James, and John dropped their fishing nets and followed.

There is a car commercial on television that shows a family driving through a rather bland town in their brand-new SUV. The family passes a birthday party with children and pinata in what appears to be gray scale. The party looks fun but basic. The car passes a sign that says that they are leaving Basic and entering the green and flourishing countryside. The car eventually arrives at a party in full color and happiness. The message is that this car offers joy, but that is the world’s foolish wisdom. It is God’s Kingdom that is filled with the true colors of creation.

Fishermen in Jesus’ time were pretty much at the bottom of the social scale. Mandatory fishing contracts with the Roman empire constricted and restricted their lives and livelihoods. Fishermen like tax collectors were viewed with suspicion. Yet Jesus was offering them the technicolor hope of God’s Kingdom over the gloom of Roman occupation.

Walking away from the drudgery of fishing came filled with risks. For these fishermen following Jesus declared that they had enough of what was and were willing to risk all for the light that they saw shining in Jesus. The story is just beginning, but it will be a roller coaster ride for these fishers of people from this point forward.

Divisions, political upheavals, droughts, floods, tornados, not getting enough for what you fish, grow or create, taxes, infighting. When will the world just calm down? Bad news, the world always has been in upheaval. Good news, Jesus, our light of salvation, knows just how hard it is to live in this crazy human world.

Yes, a great light does shine in our lives. Jesus offers us hope that frees us from the basic gray scale of ordinary lives. Jesus offers moments of calm in the upheavals that beset us. God offers a kingdom that is filled with joyful colored hope that no new car can deliver. So, when tempted by the false advertising and confused by news reports, remember to drop your fears and trust in Jesus.

Prayer: The One who creates us in the divine image knows how tempted we may be to consider ourselves more highly than we ought or more lowly than we should. The One who knows us continually reaches toward us with the promise of grace and the hope of mercy, faithfulness, and love. Receive God’s forgiveness and restorative embrace. Amen. Words of Grace by Rev. Dr. Cheryl Lindsey

Prayer list: Elizabeth, Cheryl, Dave, David, Ken and Evelyn, Jason, Paulette, Bobby, Kevin, Jim, Darryl (doing better!), Marilee, Beverly, Jim, Jenny, Jaqueline-Dixon’s daughter, Jaqueline and Kirk, Barbara, Mitchell, Mahala, Maybelle and Mary, La Rae, Bud, Tyra, Ed, Marilyn, Tom, Jeff, Ken’s mom, Jesse and for peace.

 

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