Worship at Home for Sunday July 24

Dear Friends,

Welcome to the Seventh Sunday after Pentecost. On this Sunday we look at the Lord’s prayer as a way of being in relationship with God.

If you would like a home visit, conversation, or home communion, please call me at 573-437-2779 (church) or 57 3-832-2475 (cell).

Announcements:

  • Christmas in July ornaments are on the tree in the narthex. Pick up your ornament and shop for items for the Advent Tea.
  • We will be working the Ice Cream Stand at the Gasconade County Fair on Thursday, August 28 from 2pm to 6pm. Please sign up to work.
  • We (St. Peter’s UCC and BEM) are now planning a trip to see “Joseph and the Technicolor Dream Coat” at the Muny on Thursday, August 18. The cost is $13.50 per ticket. Please sign up if you would like to go.

Prayers and Blessings,

Pastor Stephanie DeLong

Scripture Lessons: Hosea 1:2-10, Psalm 85, Colossians 2:6-15, Luke 11:1-13

Sermon: Jesus and Prayer

I know that this sermon is called Jesus and Prayer, and I will get to that in a moment, but I feel that I need to address the text from Hosea. In this text Hosea is called get a wife from whoredom. This is shocking stuff and hurtful language for many. As we continue to read through Hosea the language changes a bit to that of a loving metaphor for God caring for the unfaithful Israel. The people of Israel have been unfaithful to God. Unfaithfulness makes for difficult relationships.

Hosea 1:10 offers hope for the future, “Yet the number of the people of Israel shall be like the sand of the sea, which can be neither measured nor numbered; and in the place where it was said to them, "You are not my people," it shall be said to them, "Children of the living God."” The relationship between God and the people will grow and heal. The children of hurt and pain will be come known as the children of the living God. Children who are loved by God through all the ups and downs of their difficult relationship with God and one another.

God sent Jesus to teach and show us how to live as people in a faithful relationship with God and one another. Jesus as a human can relate to us through all the troubles and confusion of being human. Jesus knows the pain of broken relationships and joy of being in relationship with others. Jesus knows how to love and be in relationship with God and humanity. Relationships require communication. Communication with God is through prayer.

Take a moment to think about the person who first taught you to pray. For many of us it is our parents. I remember my mother teaching me to say a Swedish children’s prayer every night before a I went to sleep. When my sons were small, I would pray with them at bedtime. We often said this prayer, “Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep. Angels watch me day and night. Keep me safe to the mornings’ light. Amen.” Someone had even given us a stuffed animal that would recite this prayer.

The disciples see Jesus praying and ask him to teach them how to pray. Jesus teaches them what Protestants call the Lord’s Prayer and Catholics call the Our Father. This prayer is based on Jewish tradition. Luke’s primary audience was Gentiles who may or may not be familiar with Jewish prayer tradition. In Jewish prayer’s God’s name is often praised as being holy.

So, Jesus begins the prayer with “Father, hallowed be your name.” (Luke 11:2a). In prayer, Jesus speaks to a loving father who cares for his children. Referring to God as a parent reflects Hosea 1:10 when the faithful our called children of the living God. In this prayer we understand that we are in a holy relationship with God our heavenly parent. God is with us and wants the best for us, but what God wants for us may not always what the world wants or what we may desire. The words, “Your Kingdom come.” (Luke 11:2b) calls for God’s will on earth. The Message version of the Bible says it this way, “Set the world right.” (Luke 11:2b, The Message). May God set the world right according to God’s plan.

Then the prayer includes a supplication for our needs, “Give us this day our daily bread” (Luke 11:3). In a place and time where eating has become a form of recreation, food for today and the future are a given. But this is not true for everyone. For many just having enough for today is a blessing.

I watched a television series from the History Channel called “Alone”. The premise of this show is that ten individuals with the ability to survive in wilderness are dropped off in remote locations with survival gear and a bunch of camera equipment. The camera equipment is for them to film themselves because they will truly be alone. Their survival gear is kept to a minimum and selected from a preapproved list. The one who lasts the longest receives a large monetary prize.

Food becomes very important to these survivalists as they are expected to fish, forage and hunt for their own food. This is in addition to building their own shelter, finding drinking water and fending off predators and more. Having enough to eat becomes a daily chore fraught with difficulties. All the participants become thankful for each bit of food that they obtain. Lack of food and actual starvation causes some of the survivalists to be removed from their sites and to “tap out” of the adventure.

The other major reason for tapping out is the complete lack of human interaction and relationship. People need other people. We are meant to interact with others and with God. Which leads to, “And forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us.” Luke11:4. Our relationships with one another and with God are going to have troubles. There really is no way around this, it just happens. Forgiveness is so necessary for a relational life.

Jesus then prays to avoid the trials of life. Some people have lives full of trial and trouble. Others appear to live charmed lives. But everyone struggles with something. God will be with us in good times and during our trials. Let us remember this as we pray.

Jesus speaks of persistence in prayer and praying for the Holy Spirit. Like a good friend and caring parent, God is there and wants to hear our prayers. The prayers may not always be answered the way we hope and expect, but God does hear us. Remember that the living God wants to be in relationship with us the children of the living God. So, keep those lines of communication open and pray.

Prayer: Slowly pray the Lord’s Prayer and talk to God as you would a friend.

 

Prayer list: All who have been on our list in the past and Elizabeth, Cheryl, Dave, David, Ken and Evelyn, Jason, Paulette, Jaqueline, Friends of Shelby, Bobby, Kevin, Jim, Darryl, Marilee, Uncle AJ, Beverly, Jim, Jenny, Dixon’s daughter, those who suffer in this heat and for peace in the world troubled and war-torn places.

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