Worship at Home for Sunday February 13

Dear Friends,

This Sunday we are focusing on the blessings which come from God when we are in need. God’s world is an upside down one where those who are down and out receive Jesus’ blessings. Think about how we can share Jesus’ blessings with those in need.

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

Announcements:

  • Souper Bowl Luncheon will be on Sunday, February 13 after the meeting. Donations will be taken for Helping Hands.
  • Souper Bowl Lunch Prep on Saturday, February 12 at 9am
  • Church Council meeting on Monday, February 14 at 6:30pm.
  • Handbell Choir on Wednesday at 4:15pm
  • Chancel Choir practice on Wednesday at 6:30pm
  • Annual Congregational will be after worship on Sunday, February 13.
  • We need one more people to serve on Church Council beginning in 2022. Please let me know if you will serve. Being on Council isn’t easy, but it is important.
  • We need people to serve as delegates to the Eastern Association and Conference Meetings. The Spring Eastern Association meeting will be via Zoom on Saturday, March 19. The Conference Meeting will be on Saturday, October 29.

Prayers and Blessings,

Pastor Stephanie DeLong

Scripture Lessons: Jeremiah 17:5-10, Psalm 1, 1 Corinthians 15:12-20,
Luke 6:17-26

Sermon: Blessings

This week Jesus is teaching on the plain. If the verses sound a lot like the Sermon on the Mount from Matthew, you are right the Sermon on the Mount, and the Sermon on the Plain are very similar. Luke and Matthew seem to have different versions of a very similar event. Why are they different? Maybe Jesus shared a similar message in two different places. Maybe the story was changed in the retelling.

Have you ever played a game of telephone? The game in which one person whispers a story to the person sitting next them. Then each person in the group whispers the story to another person. The last person to hear the story tells the story out loud to the group. The first person to tell the story lets everyone what the original story was. The two stories are often different from one another sometimes with hilarious results.

Different hearers and tellers of a story will focus on what is important to them. Prior to the Sermon on the Plain, Luke tells stories about healing a man with leprosy, a man who cannot walk and a man with a shriveled hand. Healing and caring for people is an important theme in Luke.

Luke’s Gospel has Jesus standing on a level place with his disciples while surrounded by a great multitude of people. Many of these people needed to be healed which Jesus does. After the healing the people, Jesus turns to his disciples and speaks of an upside-down world where the blessed people are those who suffer and those who need to watch out are the comfortable.

This all makes as much sense as Doc Hudson telling Lightening McQueen that you need to turn right to go left when racing on a dirt track. This is a reference to the Cars movie just in case you have not seen it. Cars is an animated movie where the characters are cars, trucks etc. Lightening McQueen is a hot shot young car who races on the Piston Cup stock car circuit. Doc Hudson is a wise, experienced race car who teaches Lightening some important lessons. It turns out that Doc Hudson is right about turning right to go left on the dirt track. After many tries, Lightening is able to turn do it.

Jesus’ upside-down world is true too. Jesus blesses those who weep. Jesus feeds those who are hungry. Blessed are those who are willing to be excluded because they follow Jesus. Jesus does not need to bless the rich, the full and the laughing. The world has already blessed them, but things could change. So, Jesus words of woes stand as a warning for the rich, the full, and the laughing. All our lives can turn upside down in a moment.

Our lives may be a roller coaster of times of blessings and times of woes. How we handle the good times and bad speak to our grounding in God. Trees planted by the water (Jeremiah 17:8) have roots that can withstand the storms and droughts of life. Woe to those who believe their blessings come from their own strength. Blessings from Jesus are for those who remain rooted in God in good times and bad.

This is Racial Justice Sunday in the United Church of Christ. So, I would like to share the story of an African American women lived a life of blessings and woes, but through her charitable giving became a blessing to many. I first learned of Annie Malone because of the children’s home named for her St. Louis. Here is her story as told on the Historic Missourians website.
 

The Story of Annie Malone

A chemist and entrepreneur, Annie Turnbo Malone became a millionaire by successfully developing and marketing hair products for black women in St. Louis. She used her wealth to promote the advancement of African Americans and gave away most of her money to charity.

Born on August 9, 1869, in Metropolis, Illinois, Annie Minerva Turnbo was the tenth of eleven children born to Robert and Isabella Turnbo. Her parents died when she was young, and an older sister raised her. Annie attended high school in Peoria, Illinois, but she was often sick and missed class. Though she did not graduate, she did discover she was good at chemistry.

Around the turn of the twentieth century, Annie Turnbo developed a hair product to straighten African American women’s hair without damaging it like the products then available. She eventually created an entire line of hair care and beauty products specifically for black women. Recognizing she needed a larger market in which to sell her products, Turnbo moved her business to St. Louis in 1902. The city’s economy was booming in preparation for the 1904 World’s Fair.

As a black woman, Turnbo was denied access to regular distribution channels. To sell her products, she and her assistants went door-to-door, giving demonstrations. Business grew steadily. After a positive response at the World’s Fair, Turnbo’s Poro company went national.

In 1914 Annie Turnbo married Aaron E. Malone, a St. Louis school principal. By the end of World War I, she was a millionaire and one of the most successful black women of her time. Malone was extremely generous with her money and helped a variety of African American organizations and charities, including the St. Louis Colored Orphans Home.

Annie Malone established Poro College in St. Louis in 1918. The cosmetology school and training center offered black women a place to advance themselves. The facilities also housed Malone’s business operations and served as a place for the African American community to gather for various civic functions.

Malone’s multimillion-dollar business empire was put at risk in 1927 when her husband filed for divorce and demanded half of the business. The high-profile dispute resulted in a settlement of two hundred thousand dollars. Seeking a fresh start, Malone moved her business headquarters to Chicago in 1930. Financial troubles continued to follow her. The aftermath of the 1929 stock market crash hit the company hard, as did a series of lawsuits.

Despite these financial setbacks, Malone remained in business and had thirty-two branches of the Poro school throughout the country in the mid-1950s. She also continued to support charities in St. Louis and around the nation throughout her lifetime. She died in Chicago on May 10, 1957.

Annie Turnbo Malone’s legacy as a pioneer in the African American beauty and cosmetic business has largely been overshadowed by the success of her former employee, Madam C. J. Walker. This is beginning to change, however, and Malone is now being recognized for her role in launching the industry.

Malone’s charitable legacy also continues. The St. Louis Orphans Home, which was renamed after her in 1946, is now the Annie Malone Children and Family Service Center. The street on which the center is located was renamed Annie Malone Drive in her honor.

Text and research by Elizabeth E. Engel (https://historicmissourians.shsmo.org/annie-turnbo-malone) To learn more about the Annie Malone Children’s Home https://www.anniemalone.com/about


Annie Malone is someone who experienced both woes and blessings in her life. I do not know about her faith life, but I do know that she cared about people. When she was blessed with money, she practiced generosity. When her life was filled with woes, she kept on going. She proved to be a blessing and inspiration to many.

I invite you to take time to think about the blessings and woes in your life. I know that when my life has been filled with woes that God found ways to bless me. Often these blessings came through the caring of other people. The warmth of God’s love is the greatest blessing of all which we are called to share with the world.


 

Prayer: God of woes and blessings we offer our hearts to you this day. When we are too comfortable and congratulating ourselves, remind us to turn our hearts to you. When hard times come, may we tap into the blessings that you have to offer. May we be a blessing to one another. Amen.

Prayer list: All who have been on our list in the past and Elizabeth, Cheryl, Peggy, Mindy, Dave, Ken and Evelyn, Jason, Paulette, victims of disasters and those who are struggling financially and emotionally.

Blessing Ritual: Find a small stone or another small object. Hold it in the palm of your hand and cover it with the palm of your other hand. Become aware of the weight of the object in your hand and how the heat of our hand is warming the object. Imagine the warmth of God’s love is surrounding you in a blessing. Then think of someone who needs God’s love and blessings, imagine the warmth that you are feeling is being transferred to that person and is surrounding them with God’s love. Say a silent blessing for the person that you are thinking of. Then imagine that blessing being transferred into the small stone or object which you are holding. You may wish to give your stone/object to someone who you believe could use the blessing that you put into the stone.

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