Worship at Home for October 1

Dear Friends,

This Sunday is Worldwide Communion Sunday when Christians around the world will be taking communion together. As you take communion this Sunday, imagine someone from another land sitting next to you and sharing communion with 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).

  • Sunday: Gasconade County Bible Society Meeting at 2pm at St. James UCC in Morrison
  • Monday: Dorcas meeting at 6pm to clean the kitchen.
  • Tuesday: Communion at Gasconade Manor at 1:30PM
  • Sunday, October 8, there will be a Congregational Meeting after worship concerning replacing the refrigerators in the kitchen which were damaged by lightening.
  • CROP Walk Sunday October 8 at 2pm in Buschmann Park
  • Tackle Hunger at the Homecoming Football Game on Oct 13

Blessings, Pastor Stephanie DeLong

Scripture: Exodus 17:1-7 & Psalm 78:1-4, 12-16 • Philippians 2:1-13 • Matthew 21:23-32

Sermon: Cross Shaped Community

If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care—then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand. (Philippians 2:1-4, The Message version)

Paul encouraged the members of the church at Philippi to love and care for one another, because Jesus loves them. Then Paul continues with a cross shaped theology in which in loving humility gave of himself for our sakes when he died on the cross. Jesus’ love transforms us to live in the way of love and care for one another.

In the 2006 movie Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, Ricky Bobby loves to quote his father by saying, "Always remember, if you ain't first, you're last." Ricky Bobby is a NASCAR driver who wins a lot of races and demands that his best friend Cal sacrifice his own career so that Ricky can always win. Though not a bad person so to speak, Ricky does his best to put himself first in a way that a lot of people do. This seems to be what most people and cultures are programmed to do.

Hilariously as the movie progresses, Ricky eventually learns to value family, community, and friendships. His father even comments that Ricky never should have lived by his saying, “Always remember, if you ain’t first, you’re last.” Reese Bobby scoffs that he probably was high when he said it during a school parent career day. Ricky learns the value of what Paul encourages us to do when he asks that we “be deep-spirited friends” who love and care for one another.

Looking out for the needs of others can be difficult. The lamb in the cartoon below finds it difficult, mostly because he has trouble trusting others to look out for his needs. Many problems with Christian communities are that as human beings we have been hurt by those who have put their needs ahead of all others.


The accountant who is pressured by her boss to falsify the monthly reports so that the boss can look good. The workers who put in long hours for minimum wage while the CEO earns 100 million a year. The race car driver who always loses so that his best friend can win. The bullies in our lives who frighten us and others. These hurts add up and erode at our trust in one another and even in God.

Jesus turns this world view upside down by humbling himself and being obedient to God to the point of death – even death on the cross. (Philippians 2:8) Jesus did this out of love for all of us. Out of love we are called to be humble and loving servants to one another. We are not to exploit or be exploited. We are to mutually care for one another in ways that we are both caring for others and cared for by others.

The hymn after the sermon for this Sunday is “God, We Thank You for Our People”. In this hymn, Ruth C. Duck writes about living in community. The song thanks and praises the bond of being together, but also confesses the angers and struggles that being together in a community of faith creates. God’s loving forgiveness and grace transforms us when we all the Spirit of love to prevail. This love and grace of Jesus saves us and binds us in caring community.

Prayer: Loving God, help us to be transformed by Jesus’ loving humility and sacrifice. May we live together in a mutually caring community. 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, Heath who is at Lifecare in Sullivan, Tammy. Tammy Vickie’s niece, Jennifer, Richard, Tamara, John, Dixon’s great granddaughter, Ashlely and Cody, Garth, Linda, Tessa, Carl, Kimbra and all who are in need that we do not know about. If you know of anyone who would like a prayer shawl, please let us know.