Worship at Home for Sunday June 11

Dear Friends,

Welcome to Ordinary Time when we deepen our faith and explore the Gospel of Matthew this summer. This week we are reflecting on  Jesus’ call to follow and to show mercy.

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

  • Church Council meeting Monday, June 12 at 6:30pm
  • MU Extension Pressure Canning Class Monday, June 19, call 437-2165 to register
  • Pub Theology, Thursday, June 22 at 6:30 at Clancy’s
  • All Church VBS Day at the Angell Farm on Sunday, June 25 4pm


Pastor Stephanie DeLong

Scripture: Genesis 12:1-9, Psalm 33:1-12, Romans 4:13-25, Matthew 9:9-13, 18-26

Sermon:   Mercy

The Gospel lesson from Matthew for this Sunday, has two parts. The first part deals with the calling of Matthew the tax collector and Jesus dining at Matthew’s home with Matthew’s friends. The second part contains a healing miracle contained within the story of another miracle. In both sections Jesus demonstrates his mercy for those in need of both physical and spiritual healing.

Imagine for a moment that you are Matthew sitting at your booth collecting tolls and taxes on behalf of the Roman occupying government. You look up from your booth and see a group of people walking towards you. You notice Jesus leading the group. You have heard stories about him. Maybe you even sat at the edge of a crowd when he was teaching or performing a miracle. Suddenly, Jesus looks you right in the eye and says, “Follow me.” So, you leave your toll booth and follow. You invite Jesus to your home for dinner along with his disciples and many of your friends who are on the margins of respectable society. How are you feeling?

Then the respectable religious leaders arrive and question Jesus’ disciples about why he eats with people such as you and your friends. Jesus replies that it is not the healthy who require a doctor, but the sick. Jesus instructs the questioners that God desires mercy not sacrifice. How are you feeling now?

The Pharisees did their best to live by all the laws for living as outlined in Old Testament books like Leviticus. These laws are rules for daily living that have a purpose. Washing hands regularly helps slow the spread of disease. Jewish men were not allowed to be near women who were having their monthly flow of blood. Touching a dead body would make a person religiously unclean.

Sadly, not everyone was able to live lives that allowed them to follow all the laws. In sports there is often a Mercy Rule that comes into play when one team is so far behind that they cannot catch up. Matthew and his friends needed the mercy rule when it came to following the law. Jesus puts into play a rule of mercy when he ate with them. Instead of rejecting those who were unclean, Jesus offered to them mercy and healing.

Have you noticed that Jesus calls people who are busy doing other things to follow him? Peter, Andrew, James, and John were all fishing when Jesus walked by the sea and invited them to follow. Matthew was working at his tax/toll booth doing his job. Jesus’ call to follow may abruptly transform our lives when we are busy doing other things.

Urgent calls for help interrupted while Jesus instructed the Pharisees about mercy rather than sacrifice. Suddenly a leader of the synagogue came and knelt before Jesus with a request to heal his daughter. Jesus got up and followed him. Suddenly a woman who desired to be healed touched the fringe of Jesus’ cloak. Jesus turned toward her and healed her instantly. Jesus disrupted the mourners when he arrived at the leader’s home. He entered the home, took the girl’s hand and she got up. The second half of this reading makes me tired with its sudden interruptions and calls for urgent action.

What does this mean for us? Some days we are like Matthew. We are sitting at our tax booth doing a job. Then God intervenes with an event, an invitation or just a feeling that calls us to do more, to change, to follow and be spiritually healed. Other times we cry out to God for healing or assistance because someone we love is in trouble. God’s loving presence may appear in the kind words of a stranger who heard the call of God to follow and show loving mercy.

Lately I have been reading stories and watching shows about people who lived through World War 2. Some of these people felt called to resist the Nazis who ordered that Jews and other groups of people be arrested and killed. Rev. Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Rev. Martin Niemoller are some of the more famous religious leaders who resisted. But many were just ordinary people who helped save Jews and others from the concentration camps. I wonder how God intervened in their lives in ways that called them to follow and show mercy at the risk of their own lives.

As a community of those who seek to follow Jesus, we are called to accept mercy and share mercy. How can we as members of St. Peter’s follow Jesus by both receiving his mercy and showing mercy to others?

Prayer: God help me to hear your call to follow and show me ways to both receive your healing mercy and share it with others. 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 and sister-in-law Jane, Delores W., Tyra, Freya, Vicki B., Barb Z., the Smith family, guide dog for Marcie and for rain.