Worship at Home for Sunday August 6 2023

Dear Friends,

I hope that you are doing well with all the rain these past few days. This Sunday, Jacob wrestles with God and Jesus feeds a crowd in our weekly scripture lessons.

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

  • The Christmas in July Tree with ornaments is in the back of the sanctuary. Please select an ornament with an item to purchase for the December Advent Tea. Then bring your donation for the Advent Tea supplies and place it under the tree. Thank you!
  • Pack Backpacks for the Back-to-School Fair at 1pm on Sunday; August 6 at St. Peter’s. We respectfully request that NO OES, OMS or OHS students assist with this.
  • Dorcas meeting on Monday, August 7 at 7pm
  • Back to School Fair on Thursday, August 10 at New Hope UMC from 2-4pm. Pastors will distribute the Back Packs.
  • I will be on vacation on Sunday, August 13. Our Associate Conference Minister the     Rev. Damien Lake will be preaching.
  • There will not be a Worship at Home or a Sunday School at Home next week or the following week because of how my vacation falls from Saturday, August 12 to Saturday, August 19.


Pastor Stephanie DeLong

Scripture: Genesis 32:22-31, Psalm 17:1-7 and verse 15, Romans 9:1-5, Matthew 14:13-21

Sermon: When…

When families are complicated. When we wrestle with angels. When we are concerned about bad news. When we want to be alone, but when others decide that they need to be with us. When people are hungry. When…

When life is messy, it can feel like we are wrestling with God. In the lesson from Genesis, Jacob is alone at night and finds himself physically wrestling with a mysterious man until daybreak. Jacob’s life was certainly messy. He tricked his brother into selling his birthright. He tricked his father Isaac into giving him the paternal blessing meant for his older brother Esau. He was tricked into marrying Leah by Laban who then relented and allowed Jacob to marry Leah’s sister Rachel as well. While living with Laban, Jacob became rich. When the relationship between Jacob and Laban deteriorated, Jacob decided to move home and to reconcile with his brother Esau.

When anticipating his reunion with his estranged brother, Jacob is understandably anxious. To soften up Esau, Jacob sent servants with gifts. Jacob has a strategy in place for the possibility of Essa attacking his family, servants, and livestock. On the evening before the expected encounter with Esau, Jacob sends his family across the river to wait. Jacob remains alone by the river.

When Jacob is alone, a man wrestles with Jacob until daybreak. The two struggle together all night long. Wrestling entails strenuous activity during which the wrestlers lunge, grapple, hold, and throw with the goal of pinning their opponent to the ground. What kind of holds did they use? Did one of them nearly get pinned only to wriggle out before the referee pounded out 10 counts on the mat? How often did they break free from each other only to lunge, grab and hold again?  Just how tired and bruised was Jacob when the night was over? The match ended when the two exchange names, and Jacob is blessed by the wrestling God.

When the night long wrestling match ended Jacob limped away. Jacob’s entire life was a wrestling match with God and others. He left many a person bruised and exhausted. Jacob was a wiry and wily man who struggled with people and God. Yet somehow, he prevailed, and God blessed him.

When Jesus shared God’s blessings and message of hope with a weary world, there were those who wished to wrestle away his power.  People who sought worldly power for themselves and grappled with Jesus in a desire to hold him down. Herod and Herod’s wife threatened by the preaching of John the Baptist, imprisoned John and John executed. When Herod heard about Jesus, Herod worried that Jesus was John raised from the dead.

When Jesus heard the news of John’s death, Jesus withdrew to a deserted place by sailing away by himself. The crowd desperate for God’s love walked the long way around the lake into the wilderness of that deserted place. When they found Jesus, Jesus had compassion on them. Jesus understood that the crowd wrestled with demons, illness, and fears everyday of their lives. Jesus healed them.

When the disciples asked to send the crowds away to find food. Jesus told the disciples to feed the crowd. The disciples only had a few pieces of bread and fish. (Think fish sandwiches leftover from the Fair.) After the disciples produced their meager rations, Jesus blessed the food much like we will bless the communion bread. The disciples distributed the food. All had enough to eat. There were baskets of leftovers. When we think that we only have a little, God transforms it to be more enough.

When we worry that we are not enough. When we fear that we do not have enough. When we struggle with our past and our future. When we turn over ourselves, our talents and our trust to God, God will take what we have and who we are. And it will be more than enough. That is when we will be blessed.

Prayer: God of possibilities, when we have just spent a night wrestling with our thoughts and fears open us up to the possibilities of the miraculous. 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, Mammie, Heath, Tammy. Tammy Vickie’s niece, Jennifer, Richard, Tamara, Dixon’s great granddaughter 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.