Worship at Home for Sunday April 18, 2021

Dear Friends,

During this Easter Season of the Church we will be exploring what the Resurrection means as we seek to live in community. Who are we because Jesus rose from the tomb? How should we live? Think about what this means in your own life. Please share your thoughts with me.

Join us for our Facebook Live  on Sunday at 9am 

For prayers and more, download  the Bulletin for Sunday, April 18 

Announcements:

  • These Days devotional guides are available. Pick one up at church. Or call the church and let me know, if you would like one mailed or dropped off at your home.
  • Volunteers needed at Helping Hands Mobile Markets on the fourth Friday of the month.
  • Bell Choir begins on Wednesday, April 21 at 4:30pm

Prayers and Blessings,

Pastor Stephanie DeLong

Scripture Lesson: Please read these passages in your Bible at home. If you do not have a Bible, we have many at church and would love to give you one.

Acts 3:12-19, Psalm 4, 1 John 3:1-7, Luke 24:36b-48

Sermon: Living as Children of God

“See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are.” God loves us. Because we are loved we are called God’s children. We are God’s children and we are loved by God.

Children of God makes us sound very special and loved. It also implies that we have a lot of growing up to do. You will note that the passage does not refer to us as fully grown and competent adult children of God. Rather we are children in much need of guidance and love which is probably why the next few verses talk about sin and how we need to recognize our sins and try not to do them anymore.

We have a puppy in our home. This puppy is adorable. This puppy loves to be cuddled. This puppy is not a fully-grown well-trained dog. This puppy is a handful. Food is being fought over. Slippers are being chewed. Cats are being chased. Mistakes are being made. Our older dog Lulu is trying to show her how to behave, but it is tiring work. Good thing she is so cute!

I wonder if God feels the same way about us. God loves us, but we are a handful. Like a puppy we love cuddles from God, but we also make mistakes that require discipline. We are asked to live in loving relationship with each other, but sometimes we chew up the metaphorical slipper and eat out of the wrong bowl. What is God to do with us?

God sent God’s fully grown and competent Son to live, die and rise from the dead to show us the way to live in love with God and one another. God sends the Holy Spirit so that we have the strength to do as God wishes. As people living in the post Resurrection World we are learning to live and love again.

Once again, I am going to mention Covid which has disrupted our lives and caused us to live in new ways. As a church we cannot go back to what was. Life as it was before the storm is no longer possible. We are on a journey to be a new community in a changed world. Like the Christians who lived in the years after the Resurrection, we are being asked to figure out just who we are as Children of God.

We have been given a wonderful opportunity to vision and wonder. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to start all over again? What would you do differently? What dreams would you live into? How would you love? Now apply these dreams to our faith community at St. Peter’s UCC. What wonderful visions do you have for us? Please share them.

In our Luke passage, Jesus eats with his disciples. This meal is after he is Resurrected and before he Ascends into heaven. Jesus eats fish and breaks bread with the disciples. A post resurrection community has moments when we gather around the table, eat, drink and talk with one another. God’s children gather around the table with the resurrected Christ. All the children are welcome at this table in love.

Children do not live in isolation. Many people who call themselves spiritual, prefer to go it alone. They feel that they do not need the church or a community of faith. But I would say that it is in the community of faith that we live and grow as Children of God. We need each other for support, strength and love.

Oh, we are not perfect. Nor are we cookie cutter copies of each other. In community our unity comes from a willingness to live in solidarity even if we are different from one another. Even if we make mistakes and mistakenly eat out of the wrong bowl or chew up the slippers. All of us are welcome at the table and in the community. We are also called to welcome others.

So fellow Children of God, let us take a time to ponder and wonder about the love of God. Then share that love and joy with one another and the world.

 

Prayer

Holy God,
May we live into the promises of Jesus’ resurrection.
We are truly blessed by your love to be your children.
Help us to grow in your love and to live in love with one another.
Forgive us when we stumble and guide us in your ways.
Be with us and those on our prayer list.
Strengthening the sick, comforting those who mourn and giving hope to the discouraged.
Bless us so that we might be a blessing to others.
In Jesus’ name we pray.

Silent Prayer followed by the Lord’s Prayer

Prayer list:

Ahna, Priscilla, Grandpa David, Virginia, Vic, Liz’s sister in law, Butch, Marcie, Anonymous Cancer Patient, Linda, Pat, Laurie Lee, Gail, Brenda, Jeff, Terry, Bev, Mark, Dave, Peggy, youth struggling with mental health issues, Shawn, Lindsey, Sue, Diann, Danna, Janet, Lisa, Joyce, Sara, Cheyenne, Katelyn, Michelle, Dawson, Mary, Priscilla and Tricia.
Special Prayers for Khual in Myanamr. Khual is a former student of mine.

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