Worship at Home for March 13, 2022

Dear Friends,

This Sunday is the second Sunday in Lent. Jesus continues the journey to Jerusalem. This journey is fraught with difficulties. What journeys have you be on in your own life? What were some of the difficulties? How did God accompany you on the journey? Join us in on the journey as we lift up prayers for the mending of the broken places in our lives and our community.

Remember to turn your clocks ahead one hour this Sunday for the beginning of Daylight Savings Time!

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

Announcements:

  • Church Council Meeting at 7:15pm on Monday
  • Grief Support Group at 7pm on Tuesday
  • Handbell Choir on Wednesday at 4:15pm
  • Lent Prayer Worship at 6:30 on Wednesday
  • Chancel Choir practice after Lenten Worship
  • Flower orders are due by March 21
  • Baskets are in the back of the church to contribute to Ukraine Relief.

Prayers and Blessings,

Pastor Stephanie DeLong

Scripture Lessons: Genesis 15:1-12, 17-18; Psalm 27; Philippians 3:7-4:1;
Luke 13:31-35

Sermon: Traveling a Rough Road

A staple of Americana is the classic road trip when we pack up the car and hit the open road. These trips are often undertaken with a sense of hope and excitement about what will happen. Will we find a great new place to eat? What adventures will we have? Will we meet new and interesting people? All these hopes are with us as we turn out of our driveways and on to the road of adventure.

Sometimes these trips turn out well. We find an amazing place to eat hamburgers. We encounter fantastic scenery. We raft down a river in the mountains. Amusement parks enchant us. The beach offers respite from our ordinary lives.

The road also offers boredom and dangers. A classic cry from the backseat of, “Are we there yet?” is a familiar refrain heard while travelling. Thunderstorms and tornados may cross our paths. The fear of getting lost in unfamiliar places when the gas gauge is wavering near empty. Sometimes our cars break down in the wilderness.

Abraham has come to an interesting place in his life’s journey. At this point his name is still Abram. Abram was called by God to leave his home and wander to a new land along with his whole household. Talk about a road trip! His whole life became one with God as the driver.

In today’s reading from Genesis, Abram/Abraham experienced a vision. God tells Abram not to be afraid, for God is his shield and very great reward. (Genesis 15:1 NIV). God is the reward and Abram should be rejoicing, but like kids in the backseat, Abram has a complaint. At this point Abram had no children that he has fathered, and he expressed his great disappointment to God. God sympathized with the complaint and God promised Abram that he would be a great nation with as many descendants as the stars. A beautiful image of hope for Abram who then believed.

Life’s road has many bumps. Abram lamented not having children. We all have disappointments in our lives. Hopes and dreams that did not come true. The rough roads of our lives have beautiful places and rocks that deflate our tires. Sometimes the fault lies in our stars. Other times we fail to pay attention to where God leads us.

During Lent Jesus is on a rough road trip toward Jerusalem. On the way Jesus encounters joys, sorrows, and threats to his existence. Today’s Gospel lesson has some Pharisees warning Jesus to leave the area before King Herod kills him. Jesus responds that threats of death will not keep him from the rough road to Jerusalem. Jesus will keep casing out demons and healing people. He will stay in King Herod’s country a little longer, before resuming the long road trip to Jerusalem where he will die.

Jesus then laments Jerusalem that beautiful city of faith that also has a dark side of killing prophets and seeking power rather than aspiring toward God. Jesus expresses sadness and love toward the city reciting from Psalm 91:4 about gathering the city under the shelter of his wings. Like Abram’s sorrow over childlessness, Jesus grieves over those who refuse his care. Sadly, the chicks of Jerusalem do not wish to be sheltered by God’s son.

For those of us with an adventurous spirit, sheltering wings may feel confining. The mother hen may be amazingly fierce in the face of the dangerous fox, but the desire to handle things on our own may outweigh the promise of safety. Perhaps that is what happened with the people of Jerusalem.

Jerusalem represents all the hopes and dreams of the Jewish people. For those living outside of Jerusalem, the city represents the ultimate in spiritual road trip destination. Sadly, many who live in the city get diverted with the love of worldly power and things. Unfortunately, so do many of us.

Traveling the rough road is better when we allow Jesus to be our traveling companion. There will be good days and bad. Jesus had rough times, and Jesus understands our pain. It is alright to express our doubts, fears, and complaints. God will listen and will answer our questions like he did Abraham’s. Travelling a rough road together can help to mend the broken places in our lives. After all some of the best road trip stories are those that did not seem all that great at the time but proved to be a bonding experiences for those who traveled the rough road together with God.

 

Prayer: God who wishes to gather us under the protective shelter of healing wings, we give thanks for Your love and care. Help us as we travel the rough roads of life and may we bond with our traveling companions. Amen.

Prayer list: All who have been on our list in the past and Elizabeth, Cheryl, Peggy, Mindy, Dave, Ken and Evelyn, Jason, Paulette, Porter, the school shooting in Olathe, Kansas and for peace in the world in Ukraine and other war-torn places.

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