Worship at Home for Sunday, May 15

Dear Friends,

Welcome to the fifth Sunday of Easter when we remember that Jesus’ commands us to love one another as he has loved us. Let us pray and ask God to guide our loving ways.

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:

  • Confirmation Bible Class Sunday after worship.
  • Signup Sheets for Lay Reader and Greeter are in the back of the sanctuary
  • Choir practice on Wednesday at 6:30pm
  • Confirmation Class on Wednesday at 7pm at Owensville High School to attend the Baccalaureate Service

Prayers and Blessings,

Pastor Stephanie DeLong

Scripture Lessons: Acts 11:1-18, Psalm 148, Revelation 21:1-6, John 13:31-35

Sermon: Glorify God

John 13:31-35 is part of what is known as Jesus’ “Farewell Discourse” when Jesus imparts important instructions for his disciples prior to his crucifixion. Saying good by is hard. Hearing someone you follow and love say good by is very hard. This farewell is made even more difficult because the disciples do not quite understand how, where, when and why Jesus is leaving.

May and June are the season of graduation for High School and University students. Years of study and hard work culminate in the commencement ceremony. These events are moments of celebration and farewell. Speakers are selected and invited to impart inspiring words of advice to the graduates. The evening news will often feature clips of famous people speaking at university graduations while highlighting the speakers’ words of wisdom to graduates as they commence/begin the next part of their life journey.

Graduates may or may not remember what was said at their graduation. Most will remember how they felt. The joy and freedom created by the completion of years of study. The happiness at receiving the diploma which certifies their achievements. Then there is the melancholy of farewell. The students, teachers, and staff who have seen and worked with one another for years will no longer be a part of each other’s lives on a regular basis. Promises of reunions and get togethers are made, but everyone knows that it will no longer be the same.

The farewell discourse is a commencement address for the disciples. They have graduated from those who were called to leave their jobs to follow Jesus to those who will glorify him by loving one another and teaching others to do the same in Jesus’ name. This graduating class will be known for loving as Jesus’ loved.

After Jesus’ resurrection the disciples mulled over what Jesus said to them in the “Farewell Discourse” and slowly understood what Jesus was trying to tell them through his words and service. They knew that to glorify God that they had to love one another as Jesus’ loved them. Jesus loved them by washing their feet, patiently listening to their questions, reaching out to the sick and the troubled, and loving his followers even when they abandoned him.

We as Jesus’ followers are called to love one another as Jesus’ loves us. Sometimes this seems to be the easiest thing to do. We greet one another with joy and laughter. Other times it is really very hard. Especially when we feel betrayed and abandoned by those we expect to help and love us.

Then there is loving those who are outside of our particular group or community. Human nature seems to have an insider and outsider mentality. We might find ourselves thinking, “Yes, I will love those in my family or group, but those others well they are just impossible to love.” Yet Jesus’ example shows that we are to love all people as he loved us.

Peter encounters this situation in Acts 10-11 when he is called to the house of Cornelius a centurion in the Roman army. Neither of these men are part of the same community. Yes, they may be living in the same part of the world, but their cultural and political allegiances are very different. Yet God calls on both Peter and Cornelius to reach out to one another in love to glorify God.

In Acts 11 Peter must defend his actions from the accusations of the circumcised believers in Jerusalem. Peter has stayed in the home of the uncircumcised and eaten with them. Peter even baptized them with water when he heard them praising and glorifying God because they were filled with the Holy Spirit. Peter acknowledged that he was not one to stand in God’s way, “If God gave them the same gift he gave us who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, then who am I? Could I stand in God’s way?” (Acts 11:17 CEB)

Imagine what would happen if we all sought to love one another and glorify God and did not stand in God’s way of love. Loving those who have hurt and abandoned us. Loving those who annoy us. Loving those who tie up the line with special requests. Loving those who agree with us. Loving those who disagree with us. Loving those with mental health issues. Loving those who live in the rural and urban areas. Loving those from different political parties. Not standing in God’s way of love and service.

May we glorify God by living the way that Jesus’ calls us to live by serving others, feeding others, and loving ourselves. Let us glorify God today!

Prayer: God may I glorify you in my life by loving others through caring words and acts of service. Amen.

Prayer list: All who have been on our list in the past and Elizabeth, Cheryl, Mindy, Dave, David, Ken and Evelyn, Jason, Paulette, Jaqueline, Friends of Shelby, Bobby, Kevin, Jim, Darryl, Gary, and for peace in the world in Ukraine and other war-torn places.

The family of Barb Weirich who passed away last week.

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