Worship at Home for Sunday, February 11, 2024

Dear Friends,

This Sunday we are busy at St. Peter’s with the Installation of our Church Council and Transition Team and Souper Bowl Lunch. Carry outs of soup are available!

Note: If we need to cancel church due to hazardous road conditions or inclement weather, I will send an email to our email list. Closing information will be on the KSDK Closings, St. Peter’s UCC Facebook Page or our Church Website.

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

  • Installation of Council Members and Transition Team during worship on Sunday, February 11.
  • New Members Class and youth will burn last year’s Palms for Ash Wednesday Ashes on Sunday
  • Souper Bowl Lunch Fund Raiser for Helping Hands will be on Sunday, February 11 from 10 to 1 or sold out. Carry-outs are available.
  • Council Meeting on Monday at 6pm
  • Ash Wednesday Worship on February 14 at 6:30pm
  • Wednesday Lenten Program begins February 21 at 6:30pm. The study will be The Grace of Les Misérables by Matt Rawle. Matt was the presenter in our popular Advent Series.

Blessings, Pastor Stephanie DeLong

Scripture: 2 Kings 2:1-12 • Psalm 50:1-6 • 2 Corinthians 4:3-6 • Mark 9:2-9

Sermon: The Rising

Many great Biblical events happen on mountains. Think about that for a moment. How many Biblical Mountain top events can you recall? Here are a few to spur your memory:

Noah’s ark rested on the Mountains of Ararat. (Genesis 8:4) God commanded Abraham to take Isaac to the land of Moriah to make a burnt offering on a mountain. (Genesis 22:2) Moses encountered God in the burning bush on Mount Horeb. (Exodus 3:1) God summoned Moses to Mount Sinai to receive the Ten Commandments. (Exodus 19-34) Moses ascended Mount Nebo to view the promised land and later to die upon Pisgah’s lofty heights. (Deuteronomy 32-34) Elijah met God on Mount Horeb (1 Kings 19)

Jesus took Peter, James, and John to a high mountain. (Mark 9:2-9) to spend some time apart by themselves. While on that mountain Jesus was transfigured by heavenly glory. Elijah and Moses appeared on the mountain with Jesus. God spoke to Peter, James and John commanding them to listen to his Son.

Jesus has several mountain top experiences: Tempted by Satan on top of a mountain (Matthew 4:8), The Sermon on the Mount (Mathew 5), Jesus prayed on the Mount of Olives with his disciples and ascended into heaven. (Luke 22:39, Acts 1:1-13)

In Mark 9:9, Jesus commanded Peter, James, and John not to talk about what they have seen until after Jesus has risen from the dead. Mark’s Gospel is filled with instances when Jesus admonished demons and disciples to keep quiet about who Jesus is. Scholars refer to this as the Messianic secret in Mark. It is as though Mark was waiting for the big reveal to happen with the Resurrection.

People today have mountain top and other spiritual experiences. We often keep quiet about them too. Maybe we do not have the words to express what happened when God came to us in such an astonishing way. Peter was so terrified on the mountain top that he wanted to do something practical like build tents. I may have offered to make coffee.

God’s dazzling appearance into the ordinariness of our lives may leave us feeling frightened and speechless. God’s power overwhelms us into foolish words and silence. Or perhaps in a time when technology can do so much, we feel foolish telling others about what we have experienced. It may be because as Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor describes, modernity leaves us living in a “disenchanted” world. (Charles Taylor, A Secular Age (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2007).)

Our worship theme this Sunday is The Rising. God gives us moments when we rise to touch the heavenly heights. Moses did so on Mount Sinia. Elijah met God on Mount Horeb. Peter, James, and John witnessed Jesus’ transfiguration on the mountain. Transfiguration Sunday offers us the opportunity to release ourselves from our the “disenchanted” world and frees us to recall and appreciate the moments we experienced rising with God.

Rev. Bobbie McKay is a licensed psychologist and an ordained UCC minister. She researched spirituality for the United Church of Christ. She found that most people have had spiritual experiences but are afraid to talk about them. She encourages us to share our experiences. (https://www.communityrenewalsociety.org/blog/rev-bobbie-mckay)

I would like to encourage you to think about your spiritual experiences. Find someone to listen to your story about when you rose to touch the heavenly heights. Listen to their spiritual experience too. Use these thoughts to guide your conversation: When have you experienced the rising in your life? Describe a mountain top that inspired you. Maybe it was in the Ozarks, in the Smokies or out West. Or maybe your vision took place elsewhere, like Elisha who when walking with Elijah witnessed Elija rise to heaven in a chariot of fire.

If you can’t find anyone to listen to your spiritual stories, give me a call and I would be happy to listen. Maybe we should have a group that meets for an hour once a month to share. May we all be open to the rising into the spiritual heavenly realm that God offers.

Prayer: God open my heart, mind, and soul to your spiritual presence in my life. 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, Tammy. Jennifer, Richard, Tamara, John, Dixon’s great granddaughter, Ashlely and Cody, Garth, Linda, Tessa, Carl, Kimbra, Liz’s father, Dannie, Lathe, Marilyn, Kris, Lee Ann, Bob, Diane, Linda, Keetha, Carly, Mia (Good news, she is healing.), Brenda, David, Dave, Jeff, Bill & Kathleen, Bill with cancer, a student with a court date, places where there is war and all who are in need about which we do not know. If you know of anyone who would like a prayer shawl, please let us know.

Prayers for the family and friends of Jeff Kahle and Larry Nolan Jenkins both of whom died this week.