Worship at Home for Sunday, May 19, 2024

Dear Friends,

This Sunday will be my farewell celebration as I prepare to retire. Please stop this Sunday during the farewell celebration so that I may have the opportunity to say goodbye to you.

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

  • Pastor Stephanie’s Farewell Service will be on Sunday, May 19th. Farewell Open House from 11:30-1:30.
  • Pastor Stephanie’s last Sunday will be May 26th.
  • The Scenic Regional Library is sponsoring a grave cleaning event in the St. Peter’s Cemetery on Saturday, June 8. Register at the library.

Pastor Stephanie DeLong

Scripture: Acts 2:1-21 • Psalm 104:24-34, 35b • Romans 8:22-27 • John 15:26-27; 16:4b-15

Sermon: Words of the Spirit

When the Spirit comes, the Spirit will testify on Jesus’ behalf. The Spirit will fill us with the power of truth and conviction. When the Spirit comes, we will be empowered and impassioned to speak the words of truth. The words of our God. Words of hopes, dreams, and visions. We will be filled with words of promise and life, words of renewal and passion, words of faith and love. We will be filled with God so that we may be empowered to live in this world while being filled with the strength and power of God’s realm.

After Jesus ascended into heaven, the disciples stood looking up in amazement. They looked up until two people in white (hint that means angels) reminded them that they were to continue be in this world. So, the disciples returned to Jerusalem to wait for the arrival of the Spirit.

On Pentecost, the Spirit arrived with the rush of a mighty wind filled with fire, The Spirit filled the followers of Jesus with words of love and grace. Words of hope and faith and peace. Words in languages other than their own. Impassioned speaking that drew the attention of Pentecost festival attendees.

The Spirit does not stop with Peter. The Spirit does not stop with John. The Spirit does not stop with those gathered in the upper room. The Spirit gave Peter’s preaching power, power so great that hearers of Peter’s words were filled with the Spirit’s power. Filled with the understanding of Jesus’ ministry. Filled with the love of Christ. The festival goers and impassioned and empowered to join with the disciples in praising God and following Jesus.

Jesus promised the disciples the power of the Spirit in John 15:26-27 and 16:4b-15. The Spirit of truth would provide companionship and support to Jesus’ followers who listen sorrowfully as Jesus spoke his words of farewell. Jesus knew that the disciples would need the support of the Spirit to testify to the good news. Jesus knows that we need the support and power of the Spirit to live in this world while sharing the good news.

The Spirit did not stop with Peter. The Spirit did not stop with John. The Spirit did not stop with those gathered in the upper room. The Spirit did not stop with the early church. The Spirit did not stop with our ancestors. The Spirit lives with us and the Spirit will not stop with us. The Spirit will empower future believers to speak the words of faith, hope and love of Christ.

Sometimes we feel alone in this world. Sometimes we feel alone in our faith. Sometimes we are sorrowful just like the disciples as Jesus bid them farewell. Remember Jesus words of comfort and hope. Know that the Spirit serves as a companion as well as an empoweree. The Spirit holds us in loving care when our hearts are heavy.

Likewise, the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. Romans 8:26

The Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for human words. The Spirit speaks for us in our sorrow. The Spirit fills us with words that our limited abilities cannot fathom. The Spirit appears in our attempts to express our griefs, sorrows, joys, and love for God. The Spirit may even help us share the good news.

When I was a seminary student, a mentor shared with me a story about when she went into a hospital room to pray. Midway through the Lord’s Prayer my mentor forgot the words. A day or two later she went back to visit this the patient and apologized for stumbling over the words of such a well-known prayer. The patient responded that the moment of prayer had comforted her more than my mentor could imagine. When words fail us, the Spirit is there to fill in the pauses, stumbles, and lapses. The Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for human words.

This Sunday is my farewell service. It is a day of mixed emotions for me. Though I know that it is time for me to retire, I am sad to leave all of you. You are a wonderful group of faithful followers of Jesus, and I will miss you very much. The Spirit has filled you and blessed you in many ways. I know that the Spirit will continue to empower you and be your companion for years to come. My words today feel inadequate, so my prayer is that the Spirit is filling those gaps with sighs too deep for human words to let you know just how much you are loved. God bless all of you.

Prayers:  God will by heart and words with you power and grace. Amen.

Prayer list: All who have been on our list for a while, Mark’ s brother Billy, Tyra, Freya, Vicki B., Barb Z., Jesse, Tammy. Jennifer, Richard, Tamara, John, Dixon’s daughter, Ashlely and Cody, Garth, Linda, Tessa, Carl, Kimbra, Liz’s father, Dannie, Lathe, Marilyn, Kris, Lee Ann, Bob, Diane, Linda, Keetha, Carly, Mia (Good news, she is healing.), Brenda, David, Dave, Jeff, Bill & Kathleen, Bill with cancer, Nancy and Pat, Son-in-law of friends for Diann K., baby Claire. Janet, Karen, Karen N. Edie, Judy, Tom, Mike, Larry, Darlene, Terry, Dan.

Special Prayers for the family of Marcie’s friend Richard whose wife passed away last week.