Worship at Home for Sunday June 19

Dear Friends,

Welcome to the Second Sunday after Pentecost and the beginning of what is known as Ordinary Time in the Church. This Sunday is Father’s Day. The Dorcas have purchased two flocks of chicks from Heifer International in honor of all the men in our church. To learn more about Heifer International poultry programs go to https://www.heifer.org/our-work/flagship-projects/hatching-hope.html .

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:

  • Newsletter Articles are due this Sunday.
  • Sunday School and Confirmation Bible Class Sunday after worship.
  • The Pool Party will be on Sunday, July 10 from 6:15-8:15pm.
  • The Confirmation Class will be going to St. Louis on Wednesday, June 29 to visit the Missouri Mid-South Conference Office, Eden Seminary and possibly a synagogue. In the evening we and church members who have signed up for tickets will go to the Cardinals game. At this time, we plan to purchase tickets that include a $12 food card to be used for dinner at the ballpark. The estimated cost of tickets with the food card is $20. I’ll let you know more about it soon.
  • I will be on vacation from June 20 to June 27. The Rev. Dr. Mary Schaller Blaufuss from Eden Seminary will be preaching for me. The Rev. Van Lahmeyer is available for Pastoral emergencies.

Prayers and Blessings,

Pastor Stephanie DeLong

Scripture Lessons: 1 Kings 19:1-15, Galatians 3:23-29, Luke 8:26-39

Sermon:

First off, Happy Father’s Day! to all those in our congregation who are fathers or have served in a fathering role. As a mother who was widowed when my boys were one and five, I greatly appreciate the men who have acted in a fatherly manner toward my boys. It takes a whole community to raise our children. Thank you for being a part of our community.

Now the lectionary texts for this Sunday have very little to do with fatherhood, but they do speak to our relationship with God and one another. Paul sums our relationship with God and one another in Galatians. The Message version of Galatians 3:28-29 explains it this way, “In Christ’s family there can be no division into Jew and non-Jew, slave and free, male and female. Among us you are all equal. That is, we are all in a common relationship with Jesus Christ. Also, since you are Christ’s family, then you are Abraham’s famous “descendant,” heirs according to the covenant promises.” Through Jesus we are all in common relationship with one another. We are family.

But sometimes life can be so hard. Just ask Elijah the prophet in our reading from 1Kings. Elijah has stood fast in God’s name against the land and power grabbing plans of King Ahab and Queen Jezebel. The stories of scheming Kings and God’s Prophets from 1 & 2 Kings provides stories of intrigue and violence that make episodes of the television drama “Yellowstone” and the saga of the Dutton family look tame.

For those of you who have not seen the show it is about one powerful ranching family doing everything in their power to hang on to their thousands of acres of land and to fight on behalf of the ranching lifestyle against outside corporations and developers who want to change and profit from the state of Montana. If you like this sort of drama, you might enjoy reading 1&2 Kings.

In today’s reading Elijah the prophet is weary from fighting the scheming manipulations of Ahab and Jezebel and retreats up a mountain for a pity party. He whines to God about all his problems and then collapses in restful sleep. God wakes and feeds Elijah until Elijah feels restored. It is amazing what a nap and a snack can do when we are worn out. Then God has a message for Elijah not in the storm, wind, earthquake, or fire, but in a moment of quiet. Elijah has been expecting all sorts of powerful things to come his way in his role as God’s prophet.  God’s presence is rather in the quiet moment on the mountain when God speaks with Elijah.

The man in the reading from Luke finds rest in the quiet after a mob of powerful demons were driven from his body. This poor man had been living naked among the tombs. The town tries to contain the demons by binding him with chains, but the demons are too powerful. There are many people in this world who struggle with demons though we may not call them that now. They may feel trapped and chained by society and circumstance.

This man’s demons recognize Jesus for who he is and the power that Jesus possess. The demons are afraid. Jesus asks the man his name, but the demons answer for him. There name is “Legion”. The demons in terror of Jesus’ and beg to be sent into the swine. Jesus does what the demons request. The demons enter the swine and cause the swine to hurtle over a cliff. The man is freed from his demons and finds Christ’s peace.

The healed man puts on clothes and sits quietly with Jesus. when the town’s people arrive at the tombs, they see the man with Jesus. Now it is the town’s people who are afraid of Jesus’ power. So, they ask Jesus to leave. Jesus’ power to transform leaves them awestruck and afraid. How can they exist in the presence of it? Jesus departs but tells the healed man to remain and teach about what God has done for him.

Which brings me back to my point, these stories teach us about the power of God in our lives. Our relationship with Jesus changes our relationships with one another. The demons that keep us chained are gone. Jesus’ power silences the voices in our heads and gives us peace.  Through Jesus the barriers and divisions are healed, and we are family in Christ.
 

Prayer: May God’s peace live in my heart and mind today. May we live together as family in Christ. Amen.
 

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, Jim, Bob and Ruth, Jenny, Dixon’s daughter, and for peace in the world in Ukraine and other war-torn places.

  • Joy! Two grandchildren for Kevin and Vickie: Baker and Stella
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