Worship at Home for Sunday, December 4 2022

Dear Friends,

Welcome to the Second Sunday in Advent. We are continuing our journey to Bethlehem by thinking about the signals that we see heralding the coming of our Savior. This Sunday we will light the candle of Peace If you are unable to worship in person you may wish to set up your own Advent Candles at home and follow along with the liturgy in the bulletin.
If you would like a home visit, conversation, or home communion, please call me at 573-437-2779 (church) or 573-832-2475 (cell).

  • Thank you to everyone who helped decorate the church last Sunday during the Hanging of the Greens.
  • The Advent Tea will be on Saturday, December 3. There has been a record number of reservations and no more are being accepted. Thank you!
  • The Cantata for Sunday, December 4 at 3pm has been cancelled.
  • Cookie Sale Date: Dec 10th from 9 to 1 or when we run out. Selling by the pound. Choose your own cookies and pack your own box. Place: St Peters downstairs

o Bakers: please bake 3 different kinds. 3 dozen of each kind. Need cookies put down in the kitchen by noon on Friday December 9th Thanks to all the bakers and candy makers!

  • Youth to meet on Sunday, December 11 at 4pm to shop for their adopted family and to practice for the Christmas Eve program. Pizza will be served!
  • Please sign up to ring Salvation Army Bells Friday, December 16 and 17 at Walmart.
  • Carols and Cocoa on Sunday, December 18 at 2pm.

Prayers and Blessings,

Pastor Stephanie DeLong

Scripture Lessons: Isaiah 11:1-10, Psalm 72:1-7, 18-19, Romans 15:4-13, Matthew 3:1-12

Sermon: Stand as a Signal

We have all sorts of signals in our lives. There are the traffic lights which signal when must stop at an intersection and when it is our turn to go. We have those signals on our car dashboards that let us know when maintenance is required on our vehicles. There are directional signs telling us where and when to turn. There are railroad crossing signals to warn us when a train is coming. There is the emergency warning system which tell us to take shelter when a tornado is nearby. There are signals on medical equipment to alert doctors and nurses. Well, you get the picture, there are signals to direct us in our daily lives.

“On that day the root of Jesse shall stand as a signal to the peoples; the nations, shall inquire of him, and his dwelling shall be glorious.” Isaiah 11:10

Isaiah tells us that the root of Jesse shall stand as a signal. You may be asking just what is the root of Jesse? Who is Jesse? How can this serve as a signal?

Let’s start with who is Jesse. The story of Jesse begins in the book of Ruth. Ruth is a Moabite woman who returns to Bethlehem with her mother-in-law Naomi after both of their husbands have died. These two widows love and support one another, but they need a protector. They find one in a kinsman redeemer named Boaz. Boaz marries Ruth and together they have a son named Obed. Obed has a son named Jesse. Jesse has son named David, yes King David. If you read Matthew chapter 1 you will see Jesse listed in the genealogy of Jesus. Christians often interpret Jesus as being the branch that grows from the root of Jesse’s stump. (Isaiah 11:1)

So, what about this stump and root that Isaiah is referring to? After the destruction of Judah by the Babylonians, the stump is a symbol of what is left of the line of King David. (Yes, we are still talking about this major event in the history of the Jewish people.) The tree represents the line of Kings descended from King David. The tree was cut down as a sign of God’s judgement because the people were not living as they should. Just read Isaiah 10:1-4 to understand that God is judging those who take advantage of the vulnerable people. But in this time of judgement and destruction, God still loves the people enough to offer a promise of a hope.

This stump will not remain dormant. From the roots of the fallen tree will come a new branch. The Spirit of the Lord will rest upon this branch and give a spirit of wisdom, might, knowledge and counsel. (Sounds a lot like Jesus.) There are the signs of harmony among those who we see as enemies: wolves and lambs, leopards and kid goats, lions and calves. These are signs and signals of peace.

Isaiah 11:10 leaves us with the root of Jesse. The shoot that grows into the branch has not sprouted yet. But the root of Jesse stands as a signal of hope and peace in a troubled world. The people in Jesus’ time desired a signal of hope and peace. The Roman occupation was brutal for the ordinary person though some in Judah prospered under Roman rule, King Herod for one.

John the Baptist stands as a signal calling out for a baptism of repentance. John cries out that the time that Isaiah foretold is coming. People hungry for a signal of hope and peace come to the river Jordan to hear his words and to be baptized. Some who are comfortable come too. John has words of warning for them. He scolds them saying that being a descendant of Abraham is not enough to save them. “Even now the ax is lying at the root of the trees: every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” Matthew 3:10 John then speaks of the Jesus who will come and baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire.

Advent is a season of anticipation and preparation. It is also a time for self-examination and reflection. We all have areas in our lives that need to be changed. If we are honest with ourselves, we know what they are. Around us are signals telling us to stop or go. Perhaps there is an emergency light flashing on our personal dashboard saying better fix this now. Let the root of Jesse stand as a signal to give us hope and peace while guiding us in preparing for Jesus’ arrival this Christmas.

Prayer: Wonderful counselor, help me to look for what stands as a signal in this time and place. Help me to look for the flashing warning lights in my life and fix what needs to be fixed in anticipation of the coming of the Christ Child. Amen.

Prayer list: All who have been on our list in the past and Elizabeth, Cheryl, Dave, David, Ken and Evelyn, Jason, Paulette, Jaqueline, Friends of Shelby, Bobby, Kevin, Jim, Darryl (doing better!), Marilee, Beverly, Jim, Jenny, Dixon’s daughter, Barbara, Melvin, Mitchell, Mahala, Maybelle and Mary, La Rae, , Bud, Bob, Ruth, Tyra, Ed, Ken, Letha, Imy, Ron, Mike and for peace in troubled and war-torn places. Special prayers for Kurt and Carol Keller who are on a Mission Trip to Senegal.

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