Worship at Home for Sunday, July 9

Dear Friends,

On Wednesday members of St. Peter’s Youth and I traveled to Branson to see the production of Queen Esther at the Sight and Sound Theater. The set design was amazing, the costumes beautiful and the performance inspiration. The story of this young Jewish woman who became a Queen in Persian showed how God had placed in her in that very position for such a time to save her fellow Jews from the threat of destruction.

The reading in Genesis tells the story of how Rebekah became the bride of Isaac. She too is another important woman in the Bible. When you read the story, remember that this is a different time and culture than ours. Not many of us would send a servant to find a spouse for our son. However, both Abraham’s servant and Rebekah acted in ways that trusted in God’s plan. May we trust in God’s plan for our lives too.

I have new copies of These Days. I can deliver one to your home if you would like a copy.

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

  • Pool Party at the Winter Water Park this Sunday, July 9 at 6:15pm. Bring snacks to share. Invite your friends and family!
  • Church Council Meeting on Monday, July 10 at 6:30pm
  • I will be on vacation from Tuesday, July 11 to Tuesday, July 18. There will be no weekly mailing, E-news, or Facebook Livestream. Pat Peets will be preaching.  
  • Volunteers are needed at the Gasconade County Fair Ice Cream Stand on Thursday, July 27 from 2-6pm.


Pastor Stephanie DeLong

Scripture: Genesis 24:34-38, 42-49, 58-67, Psalm 45:10-17, Romans 7:15-25a, Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30

Sermon: Rest for the Weary

The rains, this past weekend, were a welcome relief to the dry and dusty soil. The land, which was weary and parched, awakened with a newfound freshness. We pray that we will be blessed with sufficient rain for the rest of the growing season and give thanks for the refreshing rain which we have received.

Our lives can experience seasons of drought when we feel as dusty and dry as the soil that has not felt the touch of a gentle rain. Daily life can feel like a burden. Weariness overcomes our very efforts. Jesus offers a gentle refreshing rain for our souls.

Jesus criticized those who made religion too difficult for the poor and overworked. Too many rules and restrictions made life difficult. Judgement abounded. Neither Jesus nor John the Baptist could please all the people. John was too austere. Jesus celebrated too much. What to do?

Jesus offered relief and rest from the demanding legalistic rules followed by some Jews in his time. Jesus teaches a kinder and gentler way to be faithful. A way that was and is met with great resistance by many. Jesus promises a gentle sabbath rest to the weary.

Our culture has forgotten the importance of sabbath as a time of worship, rest, and recovery. Many people are expected to be constantly on call to work. Sunday feels like just another day. Stores are open and employees must work. Instant communication through smart phone technology keeps us connected to one another but places a burden on workers who feel the need to check in with the office even on their day off. Where is the rest for the weary?

For the library book club, I have been reading A Painted House by John Grisham. Like most John Grisham novels there is suspense and crime, but unlike novels like The Firm this book does not involve lawyers and organized crime. Rather this novel takes place in the Arkansas Delta during the cotton-picking season of 1952. The work is hard and tempers hot. The burden of picking the cotton during the few weeks of the harvest season is heavy work.

Though the cotton-picking season has an urgency to it, the farm families and their hired hands keep the sabbath. On Sundays, the weary bodies put down their cotton sacks, attend worship and rest. The lure of picking cotton on Sunday is great, but the sabbath is kept. Sunday is a day for meeting up with other families at church, praising God and supporting one another. The afternoons are spent visiting and eating fried chicken. I found myself thinking, if folks like these could practice sabbath rest, why can’t we?

I don’t mean to enforce the strict sabbath laws of the past, but rather propose a day to live in the grace of God and to set aside the troubles of work. As the Common English Bible translates this passage:

28 “Come to me, all you who are struggling hard and carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest. 29 Put on my yoke, and learn from me. I’m gentle and humble. And you will find rest for yourselves. 30 My yoke is easy to bear, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

Like those who had to pick cotton by hand, let us put down those heavy loads of work and worry that we carry around. Take on the yoke of Jesus who is gentle and humble. Take time to rest in Jesus and in the sabbath.

Prayer: Gracious God, when I feel stressed, and burdened remind me to lay down the burdens which I carry and accept the rest which Jesus offers. Amen.

Prayer list: Elizabeth, Cheryl, Dave, David, Evelyn, Jason, Paulette, Bobby, Kevin, Jim, Darryl (doing better!), Marilee, Beverly, Jim, Jenny, Jaqueline-Dixon’s daughter, Kirk, Barbara, Mitchell, Mahala, Mary, La Rae, Bud, Tyra, Marilyn, Tom, Jeff, Jesse, Kate, Kyle, Carmen, Sandy, Gary, Terry, Bob, Mark’s brother Billy, Delores W., Tyra, Freya, Vicki B., Barb Z. Jesse, Mammie, Heath and JoEllen, Tammy and thanks for the rain.  If you know of anyone who would like a prayer shawl, please let us know.