Worship at Home for September 17

Dear Friends,

The Chancel Choir will be singing this Sunday after their Summer break. We will need volunteers to take home and wash canning jars for next Sunday’s Apple Butter making. This Sunday we recall the crossing of the Red Sea and reflect on how many times we are to forgive.

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

  • Church Directory Updates may be made by checking the directory on the table in the back of the sanctuary.
  • Wednesday: Handbell Practice at 4:15pm, Choir Practice at 7pm
  • Stewardship Sunday and Apple Butter Making on September 24. We will need volunteers to help with the canning. Lunch will be provided.


Pastor Stephanie DeLong

Scripture: Exodus 14:19-31 and Psalm 114 or Exodus 15:1b-11, 20-21 • Romans 14:1-12 • Matthew 18:21-35

Sermon: Forgiveness and the Fearful Awesomeness of God

Israel saw the great work that the LORD did against the Egyptians. So the people feared the LORD and believed in the LORD and in his servant Moses. Exodus14:31

In Exodus God heard the cries of God’s people and acted. God acted to liberate the enslaved Hebrews. God acted to show that God’s power over Pharoah and Pharoah’s army. God’s power is both caring and terrifying. When the Hebrews saw the great work that the Lord did against the Egyptians, they feared God and believed.

The Hebrews fled Egypt after the Pharoah told them to go. The death of the first born in the families who did not celebrate the Passover and place the lamb’s blood on their door posts scared and scarred the Egyptians. God through Moses was leading the large army of freed Hebrew slaves through the desert to the promised land. Logistical concerns aside, things were looking pretty good for the Hebrews.

Not so much in Egypt. After the shock of loosing his first born, Pharoah realized that he had a serious labor shortage on his hands. Who was going to be the free labor for all of Pharoah's building projects now that the Hebrews were gone and so many people had died. Pharoah sent his army to collect the Hebrews and bring them back to Egypt. The sight of the Egyptian chariots rushing toward them frightened the Hebrews.

Have you ever been in a situation when you felt that troubles were chasing you down? When you ran seeking escape from your problems, you encountered another insurmountable obstacle. Have you ever felt that you had been misled into a desert of difficulties? Did you exhaust all possible solutions? What did you do?

We have all had times in our lives when we have felt trapped between a metaphorical Egyptian Army and the sea. Emotional, financial, and physical destruction appears on the horizon. If we take time to pray and share our terrors with God, sometimes a way out appears.

It did for the Hebrews. The impossible happened and the sea opened a path for the frightened and fleeing Hebrews. This opening was not just for a few, but for thousands who ran through parted sea to safety on the other shore. The Egyptian chariots, horses and chariot riders were not so fortunate. The muddy sea bottom caught them and when the sea closed over them, they drowned. The event was both liberating and terrifying. The God of the Hebrews proved to be far more powerful than Pharoah.

In Matthew Jesus answers Peter’s question about forgiveness with a story about a king who forgave a man for an impossibly large debt of $10,000 talents. (10,000 was the largest number that the Greeks had.) This man turns around and punishes someone who owes him a pittance in comparison. The king upon hearing of this, imprisons the man on whom he had previously shown mercy.

The story is told in a way to create the most drama and reaction from the hearers. At first, we are pleased with the king’s mercy, but then appalled at the lack of mercy the forgiven man shows to another. We then nod in approval when the king gives the first man his just deserts. Then we may wonder, have I ever acted in such an unforgiving way. The God described here is a forgiving one, but not a cuddly friend. God cares but is a bit terrifying as well. God forgives us and asks that we forgive others as God has forgiven us. God help us to do as you ask and to trust in your saving grace.

Prayer: God give me the courage to trust in your saving grace and to forgive as I am forgiven. 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, Tammy. Tammy Vickie’s niece, Jennifer, Richard, Tamara, John, Dixon’s great granddaughter, Ashlely and Cody, Garth, Patty, Linda, Tessa, Carl 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.

Special prayers for Butch and Joyce Uffman and their family at the death of their grandson last week.

Special prayers for the Leimkuehler/Niebruegge families at the passing of Dr. John Niebruegge.