Worship at Home for November 13

Dear Friends,

Welcome to the Twenty-Third Sunday after Pentecost.  Our theme for worship for the next few weeks will be “Keep Watch”. In the reading from Luke, Jesus tells us to “Make Up Our Minds” to trust Jesus.
If you would like a home visit, conversation, or home communion, please call me at 573-437-2779 (church) or 573-832-2475 (cell).

  • Memory Care Event at the Owensville Library on Thursday, November 17 at 6pm.
  • The Turkey Supper will be on Saturday, November 19. We will need help serving, in the kitchen, baking pies and more. There will be a Quilts for sale, Silent Auction and Country Store. Click here to volunteer.
  • Totenfest will be on Sunday, November 20.
  • Congregational Budget Meeting after worship on Sunday, November 20
  • Thanksgiving Gospel Sing at New Hope UMC at 5:30pm on Sunday, Nov. 20
  • The Advent Tea will be on Saturday, December 3. Reservations for seating at 11 am and 2pm are being taken, 437-2779.
  • The Cantata will be on Sunday, December 4 at 3pm.
  • Cookie Sale Date: Dec 10th from 9 to 1 or when we run out. Selling by the pound. Choose your own cookies and pack your own box. Place: St Peters downstairs
  • Bakers: please bake 3 different kinds. 3 dozen of each kind. Need cookies put down in the kitchen by noon on Friday December 9th Thanks to all the bakers and candy makers!

Prayers and Blessings,

Pastor Stephanie DeLong

Scripture Lessons:
Isaiah 65:17-25, 2 Thessalonians 3:6-13, Luke 21:5-19

Sermon: Make Up Your Mind

Sometimes deciding is easy. Easy decisions might be do I want dessert? Sometimes deciding is difficult, but not unpleasant. Like which dessert will I choose when many delightful choices are offered. When the consequences are pleasant decision making is enjoyable.

Then there are the difficult decisions. These are the decisions that have major consequences for our lives and the lives of others. What type of cancer treatment do I choose? Do I agree to take my loved one off life support? Do I take the new job and move my family? Do I stand up to the bullies and face the consequences?

Jesus is projecting a timeline for the disciples which predicts the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem. This magnificent temple had been expanded and refurbished in Herodian splendor. The people spoke admirably about how beautifully it was decorated and the gifts dedicated to God. Jesus warned of a time when the stones would be thrown down.

The Jewish people had experienced the destruction of the temple before when the Babylonians had devasted Jerusalem generations ago. Last week when reading the prophet Haggai, we learned about the rebuilding of the temple. That it took real courage and trust in God to put those stones together for future generations. The temple in Jerusalem had experienced ups and downs through the centuries. In Jesus’ time it stood in amazing splendor thanks to the Herodian dynasty. Yes, the family of King Herod who plotted to kill the infant Jesus paid for many beautiful additions to the Jerusalem Temple.

The disciples did not question Jesus’ prediction of temple destruction, but rather asked when and requested a sign of when it would be destroyed. Jesus does not give them a sign but a warning. Jesus cautioned them to beware of false leaders and not to be led astray. Many horrible things would take place such as wars, famines, and plagues. There would be the persecution of those who follow Jesus.

Warning: following Jesus would not and does lead to wealth and splendor like the Jerusalem Temple. Following Jesus means making up one’s mind not to prepare a defense against persecution in advance. Following Jesus requires us to make up our mind to trust Jesus.

I read an article in Christian Century magazine by Samuel Wells (Vicar of St. Martin-in-the Fields in London) titled “The Better Part of Faith”. In his piece he points out that faith is belief and trust. We believe in God and take part in rituals that to an outsider may seem odd. For example, we believe that we are sharing a meal with Jesus when we take communion. The Sacrament of Communion is wonderful and mystical, but what about those moments in our lives that are difficult. Those times require trust. “The Christian faith is really about trust. It’s not about Jesus the magician whisking us away on a magic carpet of happiness and glory. It’s about facing the unknown and seeing Jesus turn around, offer us his hand and say, ‘We’re going to walk across the unknown together,’” (Samuel Wells)

In our lives of faith, we must make up our mind to trust Jesus. That is what the disciples had to do when they faced persecution. Trust is what we must do as individuals and as a faith community. We must make up our minds to trust that Jesus is there with us in good times and bad. Trust that Jesus is walking this journey of faith with us. Make up your mind and trust God.

References:
Expositor's Bible Commentary (Abridged Edition): New Testament, Copyright 2004.
Wells, Samuel, “The Better Part of Faith”, pages 34-35, The Christian Century, November 2022.

Prayer: God of grace and glory, I admire the splendor of cathedrals of faith both human-made and appearing in the natural world. Yet these may disappear in an instant. Help me to make up my mind to trust You through out life’s journey. Amen

Prayer list: All who have been on our list in the past and Elizabeth, Cheryl, Dave, David, Ken and Evelyn, Jason, Paulette, Jaqueline, Friends of Shelby, Bobby, Kevin, Jim, Darryl (doing better!), Marilee, Beverly, Jim, Jenny, Dixon’s daughter, Barbara, Melvin, Mitchell, Mahala, Maybelle and Mary, La Rae, , Bud, Bob, Ruth, Tyra, Ruby and for peace in troubled and war-torn places. Those who have been impacted by the recent hurricanes.

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