Worship at Home for Sunday, April 30, 2023

Dear Friends,

This Sunday is Good Shepherd Sunday. It is an appropriate day to sit and look at our lovely Good Shepherd window.

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

  • Dorcas meeting Monday at 7pm
  • Worship at Gasconade Manor on Tuesday at 1:30pm
  • Bell Choir on Wednesday at 4:15pm
  • Choir on Wednesday at 7pm
  • National Day of Prayer Breakfast at 1st Baptist on Thursday at 6:45am


Pastor Stephanie DeLong

Scripture: Acts 2:42-47, Psalm 23, 1Peter 2:19-25, John 10:1-10

Sermon: By the Gate

This Sunday is Asian and Pacific American Ministries Sunday in the United Church of Christ. The Prayer of Confession and the Assurance of Pardon in the bulletin were written by Rev. Makuakane who pastors one the historic UCC churches in Hawaii. Our denomination has strong ties with churches in Asian and the Pacific.

Did you know that there is a United Church of Christ in the Philippines? When I was a college student, I spent six weeks working on endemic area research at Silliman University in Dumaguete City. Silliman University is one of the academic institutions supported by Global Ministries UCC/DOC. I enjoyed my time there forty years ago. Eating at Mabuhay Asian Café in Owensville, where my son Luis works, brings back memories of that time in my life.

In John 10:1-11, Jesus speaks about being the gate. So, I have been reflecting on gates that I have walked through, gates that have been opened and gates that have been closed. A recollection of an experience with a gate in the Philippines floated up from the recesses of my memory.

When I travelled to the Philippines to study, I travelled with a group of students led by a Gustavus Adolphus College biology professor. This professor had academic standing with both educational institutions. He organized our studies, living arrangements and academic credit. He was also responsible for our travel arrangements.

After studying at Silliman University, we spent a few days in Manila before flying to the United States. On the day of departure, we loaded into a series of taxis and travelled to the airport. We planned to arrive well before our scheduled departure. However, when we arrived, the airport personnel who met our taxis looked panicked when we told them our flight number and destination. The airline had changed our flight departure time to a much earlier one. (In the early 1980’s there were no text messages to alert us to the possibility.) So, we rushed with our baggage to the airline check in gate and the line for exit visas.

Those on the first taxis made it through the airline check in gate and the visa exit station. They were able to board the airplane. When the group that I was with came to the gate, the officials told us that we could not pass. There was not enough time for us to make it on to the airplane. Our professor and our friends had passed through the gate. The gate was closed to us.

In John 10:7, Jesus says, “Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep.” Jesus is not a gate that closes on his sheep before they are all safely in the fold. Jesus is the Good Shepherd who does not leave the sheep stranded outside of the sheep pen.

Before Jesus said, “I am the gate” (John 10:9) and “I am the good shepherd.” (John 10:11), he healed the man born blind. Do you remember that story from the Fourth Sunday of Lent? The disciples had asked Jesus who had sinned for the man to be born blind. Jesus answered neither the man nor his parents. The man was born blind so that God’s works might be revealed in him. Jesus declared that “I am the light of the world.” (John 9:5) He healed the man.

Sadly, the man’s healing was not a cause of rejoicing for his community. After a series of bizarre questioning, the healed man was driven out of his hometown. Jesus found the man and welcomed him into his fold. Jesus expressed his disappointment with those who questioned his healing power and authority.

Having a gate close to us hurts. That man who was driven out of town because Jesus had miraculously healed him to reveal the glory of God was hurt when his hometown would not accept that Jesus was of God and could perform miracles. We all have experienced pain when gates have closed on us. Jesus the Good Shepherd seeks out those hurt and lost sheep. Jesus makes sure that we are safe in the fold before closing the door.

Friends can help when gates have closed to us. We had friends in Manila at the hotel where we stayed. A friend that we had made in Dumaguete City, had a sister-in-law who was the concierge at a four-star hotel in Manila. Due to her connections, we had been staying at the hotel at a discounted rate. After the gate closed to us, we hailed another taxi and returned to the hotel hoping for assistance. We received it. We spent another night at that amazing hotel. Our friend happened to be in Manila that day and we all went out for dinner. We flew home a day later. All was well.

Acts 2:42-47 describes a loving community of Christians who took care of one another. They shared what they had. They broke bread together. They showed goodwill to one another. That how the sheep that enter by the gate of Jesus treat one another. We treat one another with love. When we do this all will be well.

"Savior Like a Shepherd Led Us" from Hawaii

Prayer: Jesus, you are the gate which open to us in love. May share that love with others. Amen.

Prayer list: Elizabeth, Cheryl, Dave, David, Evelyn, Jason, Paulette, Bobby, Kevin, Jim, Darryl (doing better!), Marilee, Beverly, Jim, Jenny, Jaqueline-Dixon’s daughter, Kirk, Barbara, Mitchell, Mahala, Mary, La Rae, Bud, Tyra, Marilyn, Tom, Jeff, Jesse, Kate, Kyle, Carmen, Sandy, Gary, Terry, Bob, Mark’s brother Billy and sister-in-law Jane, Delores W., Tyra, Freya and for peace.