Worship at Home for May 8

Dear Friends,

Welcome to the fourth Sunday of Easter also known as Good Shepherd Sunday. On Good Shepherd Sunday we remember that we belong to God’s flock. Belonging to God’s flock is something God freely offers. We do not earn it. By believing, we belong.

This Sunday is Mother’s Day. For some this is a joyous holiday. For others it is a difficult one. Or perhaps it is a mix of feelings. My thoughts and prayers are with all of you.

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:

  • Confirmation Bible Class Sunday after worship.
  • Council meeting on Monday at 7pm
  • Choir practice on Wednesday at 6:30pm
  • Confirmation Class on Wednesday at 6:30pm

Prayers and Blessings,

Pastor Stephanie DeLong

Scripture Lessons: Acts 9:36-43, Psalm 23, Revelation 7:9-17, John 10:22-30

Sermon: Believe God

Believing and belonging to Jesus are central to Jesus’ conversation in the temple at the festival of the dedication. I find it odd that John says that the Jews questioned Jesus. At that time pretty much all who followed and spoke with Jesus were Jews. It might be better if the passage read some of those gathered in the temple asked, “How long will you keep us in suspense?”. The people were anxiously seeking a Messiah and were hoping that Jesus might declare himself as the One.

Jesus’ responds that he has shown who he is, but they have not heard his call. The teachings, miracles, and healings that Jesus has shared should be enough to declare that he is from God. Those who believe, hear his voice. Those who believe, belong to him.

Have you ever been in a conversation during which you did not feel that either side really understood what the other was saying? Words are exchanged, but meanings are not heard or misunderstood. Almost like each side is speaking in a code that the other does not have the key to interpret. The conversation at the temple is a bit like that. Those questioning Jesus needed to trust in what he says and does. Doing so unlocks the code that would enable them to understand who Jesus is.

Believing and belonging to Jesus’ flock gives us the key to hearing the Shepherds voice. Belonging to Jesus’ flock is not something that we earn by our actions. If that were true, the sheep pens would be empty! We need to trust and believe Jesus’ call. We need to be open to hearing his voice.

Prayer opens us up to hearing the Good Shepherds voice. Have you ever felt a voice saying to do something such as call an old friend, check on a relative drive a different direction? Did you take time to pray about it? Did you act on the urging? Many people have. I have.

I recall one morning years ago when I felt the urge to call a distant cousin. I prayed about him for a moment, but the voice inside of me was insistent that I call him. Because we had not spoken in a while and he lived in a different state, I was unsure just how to contact him. I tried an old number but, that did not work. Since this was before internet searches, I called directory assistance and asked for the number of his workplace. I called his workplace and left a message with a bewildered receptionist. Later my relative called and said, “It’s going to be alright. It’s going to be alright.” It turns out that at the moment I felt the voice tell me to reach out something tragic had happened in his life. I bet that you have similar stories.

The Rev. Dr. Cheryl A. Lindsay, Minister for Worship and Theology for the UCC shares a story about praying for a key. She had been asked to fill in for a pastor to share a program at a church other than her own. She was told that a man would be there with a key to unlock the church. That day she found herself standing outside of a locked church long with a group of people who had arrived early to set up. There was no person with a key and no way to contact him. A voice told her to pray for the key.

Her first instinct was to ignore the voice and start calling the pastor who had asked her to fill in. The calls just went to voicemail. The voice kept saying pray for the key. So, she gathered the folks who were with her to pray for the key.

While they were praying a woman pulled into the parking lot to deliver a box to the church. She had a key and let them into the church. The woman had planned to deliver the box the following day, but something had urged her to deliver it to the church at that moment. God had answered their prayer.

When we allow ourselves to believe and to belong to God, we will take time to listen for God’s voice. We might find ourselves praying for keys. We might feel the urge to deliver a box a day early or to call an old friend. We might find ourselves being led to places where we are cared for or where we are called to care for other sheep of Jesus’ flock. Sometimes we find ourselves in danger but remember that Jesus is walking beside us with the promise of life eternal.

Prayer: The 23rd Psalm is like a statement of faith for those who believe and belong to God. Take a moment to read it and remember God’s care for you and all those who belong to the Shepherd’s flock.

This Mother’s Day take time to pray. While praying remember that for some this is a day of joy and for others it is a day of sorrow.

Prayer list: All who have been on our list in the past and Elizabeth, Cheryl, Mindy, Dave, David, Ken and Evelyn, Jason, Paulette, Jaqueline, Friends of Shelby, Bobby, Kevin, Jim, Darryl, and for peace in the world in Ukraine and other war-torn places.

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