Worship at Home for Sunday February 20 2022

Dear Friends,

This week’s scripture lessons invite us to show love and mercy to everyone. And Jesus means everyone! Not just to those who are nice to us, but to those who cut us off in traffic or say cruel things about us. This is so hard, but with lots of prayer is possible. May we all pray to be more like Jesus and be merciful to one another.

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:

  • Thank you to everyone who helped and/or donated to The Souper Bowl Lunch! Over $500 was raised for Helping Hands!
  • Newsletter articles are due on Sunday.
  • Pancake Day, this Saturday, February 26th, from 7 am to 10 am, at Zion Lutheran Church, 211 E Madison, Owensville. Pancakes, sausage, beverage.  Freewill donation.  Proceeds benefit Sharon Borgmann's medical expenses.
  • Handbell Choir on Wednesday at 4:15pm
  • Chancel Choir practice on Wednesday at 6:30pm
  • Annual Congregational was held on Sunday, February 13. Thank you to our Church Council outgoing members, new members and continuing members.

Prayers and Blessings,

Pastor Stephanie DeLong

Scripture Lessons: Genesis 45:3-11, 15; Psalm 37:1-11, 39-40;
1 Corinthians 15:35-38, 42-50; Luke 6:27-38

 

Sermon: Merciful

Mercy is what we want others to show to us, but do not always want to grant to those who hurt us. Mercy is not punishing others when we do not get our own way. Mercy is choosing love. Mercy turns the world order upside down.

Jesus tells us, “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” Luke 6:36 God shows mercy on us, but what does showing mercy on others look like? Does someone have to pitifully beg for mercy in a fight before the blows of anger stop? Does mercy mean that we love and are loved completely even when…

Some of the biggest disagreements happen between the people who should be the closest: siblings, spouses, teammates, Christians. The book of Genesis contains multiple stories of siblings and family members who do not get along. I mean really do not get along. Genesis 4:1-16 tells the story of Cain killing his brother Abel in a jealous rage. Genesis chapters 25-27 tells how Jacob tricked his brother Esau out of his birthright and tricked his father into blessing him instead of Esau. Esau held such a strong grudge against Jacob that he wants to kill Jacob. Genesis is filled with family members hurting one another and those who are hurt seeking retribution.

Then we have Joseph. Do you remember the whole story of Joseph? The lectionary reading tells the end of the story, but do you remember how it began? “Joseph, a young man of seventeen, was tending the flocks with his brothers, the sons of Bilhah and the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives, and he brought their father a bad report about them.” (Genesis 37:2) Then Joseph’s father Jacob gives a Joseph a beautiful richly ornamented robe often referred to as the coat of many colors. (Genesis 37:3) Joseph even has dreams about his brothers bowing down before him.

How do you think the brothers felt? What do you think they did? Well Joseph’s brothers decided to kill him but were persuaded by brother Rueben to put him into a dry well instead. The text tells us that Rueben had planned to rescue Joseph later, but before Rueben could pull Joseph out of the well, Ishmaelite traders heading toward Egypt come by. So, the brothers sold Joseph to them as a slave. It is amazing how cruel family members can be to one another.

The brothers returned to share the news of Joseph’s death with their father who grieved deeply and long. The family is never quite the same. Meanwhile Joseph has many adventures in Egypt, some good and some bad. Joseph is a clever and faithful to God. With God’s help Joseph overcomes adversity and rises to a position of great power in Egypt. Joseph with God’s guidance foresaw the great famine and stored grain to see the Egyptians through it. Having control over the food and well-being of people gives Joseph the power of life and death.

When Joseph sees his brothers bowing down before him, he could participate in the cycle of retribution that plagues the families of Genesis. But Joseph chooses another way and breaks the cycle. Joseph turns the world upside down and shows mercy.

Love and mercy break the cycle of retribution. Jesus calls on us be the ones who show love and mercy to those who hate us. Words of kindness instead of words of hate to those who speak badly to and of us. Helping others even when we no hope of ever receiving help in return. We are called to turn the world upside down, because that what Jesus did on the cross.

It is so easy to repeat Jesus’ words, but so hard to do. In a time when we read story after story of anger and retaliation, we can break the cycle by sharing a kind word and acting with patience. When someone yells at you, bless them. When someone hurts you, pray for them. When someone shares an opinion different from your own, listen to them. May we as Christians turn the world upside down one merciful moment at a time.

 

Prayer: Merciful and loving God, we praise and give thanks to you daily. Help us to practice love and mercy in our daily lives. In Jesus name, Amen.

Prayer list: All who have been on our list in the past and Elizabeth, Cheryl, Peggy, Mindy, Dave, Ken and Evelyn, Jason, Paulette, the Maciejewski and Walker families at the loss of loved ones, for peace in the world.

Congratulations to Jane and Larry on their 50th Wedding Anniversary!

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