Worship at Home for Sunday, May 3, 2020

Dear Friends,

Beginning Monday, May 4 Governor Parson is slowly lifting some of the restrictions of the past weeks. The Church Council and I have decided that we will not begin worshipping in our Sanctuary until Sunday, May 31. It is our prayer that we stay safe and maintain stay at home social distancing a little while longer. When worship begins again, we will be putting in place social distancing measures to keep everyone as safe as possible. We are doing this with the most loving concern for your care and safety at this time.

As part of our gradual reopening, I plan to have office hours on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 9am to Noon. If you would like to stop by the church during these times, I welcome you. I am praying for you. If you need me for anything, please call my cell phone number 573-832-2475.

I am praying for all of you. If you need me for anything, please call my cell phone number 573-832-2475.
Praying,

Pastor Stephanie

Fourth Sunday of Easter and Good Shepherd Sunday: Prayer and Meditation

Join Pastor Stephanie on Facebook Sunday Morning around 9am

Link to our Anchor Podcast

 

*Opening Hymn        “Healing River”
Song and Video by Christopher Grundy
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3jrYY2YwuDo

 

*Prayer:

Shepherding God,

We gather in your name invited by Jesus

bound together with your Spirit

in union with each other.

Feed our bodies and our spirits…

with your comforting presence…

so that we might be your comfort to others.

Bless our food and break open our hearts.

Bless our drink and pour out your love.

Amen.

 

Scripture (Click to read or read from your Bible at home.):

Acts 2:42-47

Psalm 23

John 10:1-10

 

Meditation:

*In these two scriptures we see the desire of God for us to be taken care of, for us to live to the fullest, and for us to support one another in having abundant life and community, food and gladness. The “thief” in the first passage could be anything that robs us of those things. Sometimes the sacrifices we have endured because of our attempts to slow this virus can feel as if we’ve been “robbed” of our well-being. But we can also turn that around and see that these sacrifices are how we share goodwill and well-being with one another. Our hearts overflow with the grace and guidance we know from the Shepherd and we want that goodness for everyone. Glad and generous hearts overflow with love in so many ways.

Jesus is the door, the gate that invites us into the fold of loved sheep. Doors keep out things that harm us such as rain, cold and things that could harm us. Doors can open to let in friends, to bring in groceries, to let in sunlight.

The Sunday School lesson (See the Sermons 4 Kids link on our website.) for today has a cute video that explains how the sheep hear the voice of their shepherd while not hearing that of the stranger. In the video there are two children talking while playing with a pet dog named Rocket. The boy who is Rocket’s ‘shepherd is talking with his friend who has just met Rocket. The friend tries to call Rocket by name, but Rocket does not come. When the boy who is Rockets “shepherd” calls, Rocket comes right away because he recognizes his voice and knows that this is the one who loves and cares for him. Rocket did not recognize the voice of the other boy. Jesus is like this in our lives. Jesus is the one who loves and cares for us. Jesus is the voice that we should recognize and run to when called.

Do you recall the story of the man born blind from a few weeks ago? Jesus healed this man. That was when the man’s troubles began as people could not believe that someone who had been born blind could be healed by Jesus. The community leaders question the healed man and his parents. The leaders refuse to believe that a miracle could take place. The leaders refuse to acknowledge that Jesus could be the Messiah. Instead of rejoicing with the man who is healed, they cast him out of the worshipping community, out of their fold.

When Jesus hears of the man’s troubles, Jesus find him and invites him into his fold. The man acknowledges Jesus as his Lord and follows. This is the passage that precedes these teachings by Jesus about being the Gate of the Sheepfold and the Shepherd. Jesus looks for sheep and invites them into the fold to be healed and loved. Jesus gives us a safe place to belong. Once in the fold we are cared for by our loving Shepherd. This does not mean that life in the fold always easy, but we go through our struggles with the care of our good Shepherd.

Sometimes the challenge for us is to live together in the fold with the other sheep. The Acts passage we learn about the 3000 were added to the flock on Pentecost. What great news! But what a logistical challenge. How would you cook for that many? How would all the different cultures be adapted for and welcomed? How will we maintain social distancing? Who is going to cook and care for the flock?

The passage gives us some ideas about how to do this:

“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship.” Studying God’s word and interacting with one another in fellowship is important. Over the past few weeks, we have had to adapt how we our together as a family of faith, but we are trying via letters, email, podcasts, Facebook and more. Through it all we have not been alone, because our Shepherd has been with us.

“They devoted themselves ...to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” As the early Christians shared life together, they ate together and prayed together. The gave thanks while sharing meals that united them with Jesus and one another. As part of our worship at home, we have been prayerfully breaking bread and praying for those we cannot be with physically while still connecting with one another prayerfully.

“All who believed were together and had all things in common…” They were generous and took care of one another. Many of those who were gathering in Jerusalem where not from that city. They had to help one another, if they were going to live. Generosity is the key. We are needed to be generous and considerate during this time of pandemic. I have been moved by the number of you who have asked about ways to feed and care for people in our community. Thank you for your generosity.

“The Lord added to their number daily.” People were attracted to Jesus’ sheep fold by the way the sheep cared for one another. May we as people of faith attract others to the fold by living out lives of love, faith, bread, prayer and generosity. May we trust our Shepherd to lead us and love us through this time. Amen.

 

Hymn              “Savior Like a Shepherd Lead Us”   
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SQe8slFjX-o

 

*Prayer:

Our loving Shepherd walk with us today as we pray and seek to share your love. We give you thanks for the blessings that your have given to us and who you care for us in our struggles. We ask that you help all who struggle and need your loving care.

We lift up in prayer those on our prayer list. We pray for those we miss, those we do not know, those who are struggling, for first responders and medical professionals, for students and teachers, for those who are feeding others, for all who Jesus would bring into the fold.

Let us take another breath of Spirit as our “Amen.” We know that God sends out our prayers and the Spirit, Breath of God, is blowing from within us outward, as a Spirit of Compassion and Presence. Let us now prayer the prayer that Jesus taught us to pray:

Lord’s Prayer

 

Prayer list:

Simon, Howard, Julia, Ahna, Mike, Josh, Priscilla, Duane, Janet, Grandpa David, Dorothy, Jacob, Jenny, Ann, Dale, Gayle, Don, Cheryl, Dustin, Pat, Student with eating disorder, Tate, Patricia, Roland, aryann, Amanda, Virginia, Matthew, Tom, Naomi, Vic, Jennelle, Charlie, James, Rick, Christy, Reagan, Kim, Lee, Kevin, Gaylynn, Liz’s sister in law, Naomi, Nathan, Jason, Cheryl, Daniel, Betty, Dax, Carter, Laurie’s mom, Jock, Nancy, Pat, Malachi and Karen, Carolyn, Ellen, Shirley, Mary, Karen, Paul, Hal, Richard, Crystal, Edie, Paula, Jim, Truett, Brett and Danielle, Judy, Laura F, Shirley, Butch, Joyce., Macie, Michel, Dorothy L, family of child who donated a heart to Truett, Corey, Lauren, Anonymous Cancer Patient, Luis, Bernice, Mike, Clyde, Gary S., Linda, Pat, Gary, Dave, Laurie Lee, Gail, Brenda, Breana, Dean, Corey, Jeff, Nancy, Terry, Rev. Cantrell.

Special prayers:

  • James Connor who lost his father.
  • Prayer request for all the people who have been affected by the Coronavirus.
  • Those members of our church and wider community who have been serving others at this time: Senior Center, Helping Hands, Gasconade R-2 Schools, Nursing Homes, Pharmacies, Medical Offices, Police Department, Volunteer Fire Department, EMS, 911 and more.

Goodwill/Offering

Take time to create a box to put food in to give to Helping Hands. Decorate the box with loving messages.

Paint a prayer/worry rock to place somewhere that someone will find it and be inspired.

Donate via PayPal on our website or write a check.

Send a loving note to someone.

 

Benediction:  

As we close this time together, remember:

God is always with you. No matter what you face,

no matter what trials or hardships come your way,

God is right beside you, always filling your cup to overflowing,

guiding and directing your path.

So, acknowledge your fear and your worry

and know it is as true and holy as any feeling,

including joy and hope and love.

Take heart! This is the heart of the matter. Amen.

 

Closing Hymn            “Bless the Lord O My Soul”  
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U6W2k-bsgEo

*Adapted from www.worshipdesignstudio.com by Dr. Marcia Mc Fee
St. Peter’s CCLI #133033 for hymns used.

 

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