Worship at Home for Sunday January 16 2022

Dear Friends,

I pray that you are doing well this week. The Gospel Lesson for Sunday is about the wedding at Cana when Jesus turned water into wine. For fun this week, you may wish to reflect on different weddings which you have attended. What was the craziest thing that ever happened? What was the sweetest wedding? If you are or have been married, what memories do you have of your wedding day?

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:

  • Annual Congregational meeting on January 16 will be online, please look for updates.
  • Bell Choir practice on Wednesday at 4:15
  • Choir practice on Wednesday at 6:30, maybe...
  • Pick up your envelopes
  • Grief Group to begin on Tuesday, January 18 at 7pm
  • Benefit to Support Mindy Mayberry Bradford will be held at the White Mule on Saturday, January 22 from Noon to 3pm. Mindy is a church member who broke her leg in a bad fall and could use our support.

Prayers and Blessings,

Pastor Stephanie DeLong

 

Scripture Lessons: Isaiah 62:1-5, Psalm 36:5-10, 1 Corinthians 12:1-11, John 2:1-11
Sermon:

We all are invited to attend many events. Some events such as funerals are sad. Other events like graduations and anniversaries are happy. Weddings are times of joyful celebration when two people express their love by committing themselves to one another in a ceremony. Sometimes weddings are small with just a few people, but more often they are public events to which family and friends are invited to witness the exchange of vows and join in the party.

In Jesus time and culture, the party could last for several days. Several days of partying required a great deal of planning and expense. These weddings were important social and cultural occasions. Wedding feasts appear in the Old Testament as signs of God’s loving promise for God’s people. In Isaiah 62:1-5 imagery of a wedding is used. The Lord is described as the bridegroom. The prophet tells us that Zion is no longer forsaken, but rather called “My Delight” by God.  I rather like that idea of God as the bridegroom who loves us and throws a lavish wedding feast.

Jesus’ first miracle in John’s Gospel places him at a wedding feast to which he and his disciples have been invited. Jesus’ mother Mary must have been good friends of the couple or their parents as she is privileged to the embarrassing news that the wedding wine as run out. I mean imagine running out of food at a wedding! It would be so embarrassing for the bridal pair if some guests left hungry.

Mary knows that Jesus can perform miracles and invites Jesus to do something about it. Jesus’ reply that his hour has not yet come has to do with the hour of Jesus’ crucifixion. Jesus knows that once this public miracle has been performed that the ball will be set rolling to the cross. Mary tells the servants to do whatever Jesus tells them to do. Jesus then begins his ministry by turning water into wine. Jesus tells the servants to share the wine with the guests. This is the best wine that the wedding Steward has tasted.

Jesus loved people enough to change the water of purification into the gallons of wine for the wedding feast. This is six stone jars holding 20 or 30 gallons of water. This turns into 120 to 180 gallons of wine. I do not know how many guests were at this wedding, but that is a lot of wine!

Jesus helped the wedding hosts by creating an abundance of wine for the wedding to which he was invited. Have you ever thought about inviting Jesus to the events in your life? Have you ever thought about inviting someone to help you in times of trouble? Have you ever wanted to serve or help, but were reluctant to do so without an invitation? Have you ever wondered that your efforts at caring are not making a difference?

This week I read this story on the Proclaim Sermons website.

Never Loved Before

A volunteer at a homeless shelter had been bringing clothes and toys and special books and games to a woman with two young boys in the shelter. The woman was quiet and grateful but not effusive about her thanks. She never had a lot of conversation with the volunteer, but nevertheless the volunteer continued to bring her things she thought the family would enjoy. Sometimes it was food, or maybe a new blanket, always they were items that seemed to meet a specific need or an interest.

Several weeks into their strange relationship, the woman with the young boys was going through a rough time. She had responded in heated anger to another person at the shelter and was issued a warning. The director of the program told the volunteer that in spite of this outward burst of anger, the woman had expressed great love for the volunteer who visited her routinely. This was a relationship she looked forward to and didn’t want the consequence of her anger to be the loss of these regular visits.

This really took the volunteer’s breath away. Her face changed and her eyebrows furrowed with surprise and intrigue. “Why? She never really talks to me. We don’t have a real relationship.” The director said, “She may not speak much, but she has never been loved before. And you keep coming back. You bring her things she needs, you always remember to include her children, and you come when you say you will come. No one has ever done that for her before. This is the first time anyone has loved her.”

This story reminds me that there are people out there who need to be loved. The volunteers’ gifts were fun and caring. Like the wine at the wedding at Cana, her gifts did not solve the problem of the women’s homelessness. The gifts and visits did make the recipient feel loved for the first time in her life. The gift of love is the most important.

Weddings are expressions of love. Gifts of wine, toys, blankets, and food express love. Invite yourself to express love to some one this week. Invite others into your life. Learn to accept love and assistance when needed. Who knows, you may end up serving the best wine last.

Prayer:

God who crowns us with beauty and calls us my delight, we give thanks for such extravagant love. May we give thanks for the joys that you place in our lives such as when Jesus filled the wedding guests in Cana with amazing wine. Be with those who feel forsaken, may they know love. 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, tornado victims and those who are struggling financially and emotionally.
 

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