Worship at Home for Sunday November 8 2020

Saint Peter’s United Church of Christ

112 West Peters Street Owensville, Missouri 65066

November 8, 2020 9am and Livestream

Twenty-Third Sunday after Pentecost

 

Prelude and lighting of the candles

Greetings and announcements

Video Opening “There Was Jesus” Performed by Jean Baker

Written by Casey Beathard, Jonathan Smith, Zach Williams CCLI SONG #7138043

Moment of Silence

Opening Prayer

Lord of Life, we come this day to follow the ways You set before us. Show us the signs of your coming kingdom, that we may be worthy of our invitation. May we have the wisdom to teach our children your ways and pass on a better world to generations to come. Amen.

*From the Abingdon Worship Annual 2020. Copyright © 2019 by Abingdon Press. Copyright © B. J. Beu Used by permission.

 

Passing of the Peace (Smile and wave to those around you.)

 

Children’s Message Parable of the Bridesmaids

Scripture Readings Matthew 25:1-13

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

 

Sermon Prepared for the Journey

Have you ever taken a trip and been unprepared? Spur of the moment vacations can be fun until you realize that you don’t have enough cash and the restaurant that you stopped at won’t take your credit card. Or that you forgot to pack your prescription medications and find yourself at a strange pharmacy trying to contact your home pharmacy to verify your prescription so that you can get those pills that are so needed. These things can take a bit of fun out of the vacation. A bit of preparation can ease the journey.

The parable of the bridesmaids speaks to the need to prepare as we journey with Jesus. Half of the young women were prepared for the possibility that the bridegroom might take longer to arrive than originally thought. The wise bridesmaids packed extra oil when they went out to wait for the bridegroom. The other five went to wait for the bridegroom with only the oil in their lamps to see them through to the bridegroom’s arrival. These unprepared five women found themselves in the dark when the bridegroom arrived late in the night.

Part of us wonders why the wise bridesmaids did not share their oil, but sharing the oil seems not to be a possibility. Maybe sharing oil is a bit like sharing prescription medications, it is not something that can be done. The only option is to go to the store and get some more.

How about this story? The kingdom of heaven will be like a college class. The students have been told by their professor that they need to read and study before every class session. In the class there are five wise students and five foolish students. The students attend class together and listen to the lectures. The five wise students read the assigned readings and take notes during the lectures. The five foolish students skip the readings and play on their phones during the lectures. One day during the semester the professor arrives late to class. The professor apologizes for being late and then hands out a surprise exam. The five wise students calmly take the exam as they are prepared do well. The five foolish students panic and ask the five wise students to share their answers. The five wise students reply, “No, sharing answers would get us in trouble.” The five foolish students appeal to the professor not to give them failing grades. The professor just shakes her head and reminds the students that they had been told to read and to study for every class.

It is human nature to want to know when something is going to happen, but life does not work that way. Delays happen. Surprise exams happen. Pandemics happen. I have heard many people ask when will this virus go away? Please tell us when. Well the virus never sent out an announcement saying that it would arrive, so I guess that it won’t notify us concerning a departure date. We need to be prepared to take this pandemic one day at a time and be patient. Life often requires patience and preparation.

Journeying with Jesus requires patience and preparation too. The people of Thessalonica were concerned that those faithful who had died before Jesus’ return would not be together with them in the Jesus’ kingdom. In the early years of the church, faithful people anticipated Jesus’ return daily. Family members were worried about their loved ones who died before Jesus coming. Would these family members be left out? Paul answers in a way that is intended to provide pastoral care and comfort to the faithful in Thessalonica Paul assures them that they are not to grieve as those who have no hope.

Paul uses imagery that spoke to people of his time. It was the custom that when someone important was coming to town, the townspeople would gather on the roadway to sound trumpets and to greet the very important persons. Paul explains that since Jesus is coming from heaven that the people (both the living and the dead) would rise up from the earth and gather along the heavenly route to welcome Jesus in the clouds. This is a parade of the faithful welcoming their heavenly king.

Jesus like the bridegroom has been delayed for a long time. Like the foolish bridesmaids it is easy to let our oil get low and our flames to burn out. We need to be prepared for Jesus to come into our lives. We need to be both patient and prepared. Yes, we are saved by grace, but we still need to keep the faith alive in our hearts. We need to do this ourselves. Our neighbor’s hope, love and faith can’t save us. We need to keep the faith burning in our hearts always.

I encourage you to pray daily, to study and to worship God. Keep the faith alive in your hearts and in your families. We do not know when God’s kingdom will come, but we can be prepared as we journey with Jesus.

Prayer:
God fill our lamps with the oil of your grace. Keep the faith burning in our souls and love for you strong in our hearts. May we be prepared for our journey with Jesus. May we be patient when things do not happen as quickly as we hope. May we have enough faith, hope and love to see us through to the end.

We lift up prayers for our nation and our world. We have had an election and are thankful that so many people cared enough to vote. May we all be gracious in accepting the results of this election. We pray for our country, our leaders and our fellow citizens.

We pray for those who need your comfort and healing. Those who are afflicted with illness of the body and the heart.

We pray for those who experience the troubles of war and natural disastors. May they find peace and comfort in you.

Take a moment to lift ourselves and others in prayer. Pray for those on our prayer list. Read through the names on our prayer list and imagine that God is surrounding them and us with healing love and strength.

Silent Prayer followed by the 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, Aryanna, 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, Jock, Nancy, Pat, Malachi and Karen, Carolyn, Ellen, Shirley, Mary, Karen, Paul, Hal, Richard, Crystal, Edie, Paula, Jim, Truett, Judy, Laura F, Shirley, Butch, Joyce., Macie, Michel, Dorothy L, family of child who donated a heart to Truett, Corey, Lauren, Anonymous Cancer Patient, Bernice, Mike, Gary S., Linda, Pat, Gary, Dave, Laurie Lee, Gail, Brenda, Breana, Dean, Corey, Jeff, Nancy, Terry, Bev, Edgar, Angie, Mark, Mamie, Art, special prayers for Dave Mayberry, Anna, Roxanne, Ruth, Louise, Jim L.

 

Special prayers:

  • Our Nation and the post-election process
  • Truett and his family

 

Goodwill/Offering

As we Journey with Jesus, please consider giving to Operation Christmas

  • Give thanks for all who welcome us on our Journey with Jesus.
  • Share what you have whatever it is, it is enough.
  • Donate via PayPal on our website or write a check.

Prayer of Dedication

Prayer of Dedication

We come before you, O God, with gifts in your name in service of the world. We bring you this offering, as a symbol of our choice to follow you. Receive these gifts of love, that they may go forth as your blessing and wisdom for the world. Amen.

*From the Abingdon Worship Annual 2020. Copyright © 2019 by Abingdon Press. Copyright © B. J. Beu Used by permission.

Benediction

May the love of God surround you today and every day. And may you share that love with the world. Amen.

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