Worship at Home for Sunday, January 30, 2022

Dear Friends,

The Helping Hands Annual Meeting was held at St. Peter’s on Monday. I would like to thank Bob Niebruegge, Janet Niebruegge, Eddy DeLong and Janet Diestelkamp for helping with the meal. At the meeting Helping Hands Director, Carolyn Hefley asked why do we have a food pantry in Owensville? There were a variety of answers, but one that came through clearly is that Jesus’ calls us to care for others in our community. Helping Hands Outreach Center is a way to share Jesus’ love with people in Southern Gasconade County who need help with food and more. I am pleased to note that St. Peter’s is well represented on the Helping Hands Board by Bob Niebruegge, Sarah Connor, Rodney Bossaller and myself. Thank you to all who answer God’s call to serve.

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 will be after worship on Sunday, February 13.
  • We need three people to serve on Church Council beginning in 2022. Please let me know if you would like to serve.
  • Souper Bowl Luncheon will be on Sunday, February 13 after the meeting. Donations will be taken for Helping Hands.
  • Handbell Choir 4:15 and Chancel Choir 6:30 on Wednesday
  • CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) is looking for volunteers, please call 636-259-0867 if interested.

Prayers and Blessings,

Pastor Stephanie DeLong

Scripture Lessons: Jeremiah 1:4-10, Psalm 71:1-6, 1 Corinthians 13:1-13, Luke 4:21-30

 

Sermon: Love and Prophesy

Reading through the lectionary passages I had three thoughts:

  • Sometimes God calls us to do things that are just plain hard.
  • Sometimes we argue with one another.
  • What is truly important is love, but why is it so hard?

Jeremiah 1:4-10 tells the story of how a young Jeremiah was called by God to be a prophet. The call starts off beautifully telling Jeremiah that, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5. God knew of Jeremiah even before he was born and that he would be a prophet to the nations. The knowing part if comforting, the prophetic part is intimidating. So naturally Jeremiah seeks to excuse himself because of his youth. God will not accept this excuse and tells him not to be afraid.

Jeremiah has every reason to be afraid. What God is asking him to do is frighteningly difficult. Sometimes God call us to do things that are just plain hard. I mean who wants to confront the nations with horrible news. The anger that Jeremiah will and does face after telling God’s words to the people is extreme. Yet because God is with him, Jeremiah persists.

Have you ever felt called by God to do something that scared you and/or to do something very difficult? How did you respond? Did you make excuses? Did you eventually agree? Or did you just shrug your shoulders and say someone else can do that.

During Jeremiah’s time there were a lot of feel-good prophets that told the people what they wanted to hear rather than what they needed to hear. This path led to the destruction of Jerusalem and exile in Babylon. Let’s face it most people want to hear only good news and keep doing whatever it is they want to do. Religion is seen as a feel-good experience rather than an opportunity to serve and follow Jesus.

Jesus experienced this in his hometown of Nazareth. The passage from Luke this week and last week shows us Jesus in the synagogue leading worship. The people were happy to hear Jesus’ words, but then the arguing begins. Some people place expectations on Jesus’ because he is Joseph’s son. Other people demand feel-good miracles like in Capernaum. Jesus responds with challenges instead of words that placate. Some people were so enraged that they led him to the a hill so that they might hurl him off the edge of a cliff.

Luke tells us that Jesus passed through the midst of them and went on his way. Maybe the enraged people suddenly realized that they were about to do a terrible thing and stopped. I do not know. I do know that religious people have always gotten angry and argued with one another. Sometimes getting so angry that we hurt one another physically and emotionally.

Paul is writing to a troubled church in Corinth. They have been fighting and arguing with one another. Paul encourages them to recognize the importance of each person in the congregation. Everyone serves in a different way. All must work together for the body of Christ.

Then in Chapter 13, Paul speaks of love. Not the mushy love of Valentine’s Day cards, but of real love which takes work. Real love is hard. Real love is action. Real love takes work. It does not matter what else we do if we do not act in loving ways.

Love behaves patiently. Even when the person that we are dealing with is saying words or doing things that enrage us, we must be patient and pray that they will be patient with us.

Love behaves kindly. Kindness means helping those who struggle. Kindness may be hard to define, but we know it when someone has been kind to us. Think of those moments and treat others the same way.

Love does not behave in ways that are envious, boastful, arrogant, or rude. When we love we think of others needs and make compromises for the good of all. People, who love, stay with each other even when they do not get their own way or when life is hard. Love asks, “What can I do for you rather than what will you do for me?” Love is hard work.

God loves us. God wants us to love. This love may call us to do things that we do not want to do. Love requires that we live in loving ways for the whole world and not just for ourselves. Love speaks the hard words when necessary and listens patiently when others speak. People who love answer God’s call to do whatever special thing that God has consecrated us for from our birth. God knows that the way will be hard, but God will be with us in love.

Prayer:

God who calls us help us to overcome our fears and doubts when you call us to follow and to serve. When we inclined to argue with one another, let us do so in love. Be with us when the hard work of loving and following overwhelms us. Amen.

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

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