Worship at Home for Sunday, October 16

Dear Friends,

Welcome to the Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost. Take time this week to think about your prayer life. Choose to pray daily or several times during the day. God longs to be in relationship with us through our prayers.
If you would like a home visit, conversation, or home communion, please call me at 573-437-2779 (church) or 573-832-2475 (cell).

  • Celebration of Life for Porter on Sunday, October 16 at 11am
  • Thank you to all CROP Walkers and Donors over $1,000 was raised by St. Peter's UCC. 
  • We still have apple butter for sale!
  • The Youth are selling butter braids and more! Order by this Sunday, 10/16/22! Orders will be delivered to church on Tues., 10/25/22 at 5:00 PM
  • Hand Bell Choir at 4:15 on Wednesday.
  • Wednesday Confirmation Class Wednesday at 6:30
  • Choir Practice on Wednesday at 7pm.
  • Bring shoes that are in good condition to donate to Devlin’s Shoes. A box is in the back of the Sanctuary.
  • A donation basket to buy gift cards for our college students is in on the table in the back of the Sanctuary. Take time to sign a card for our college students: Marissa, Kyra, Megan, and Eddy.

Prayers and Blessings,

Pastor Stephanie DeLong

Scripture Lessons:
Habakkuk Jeremiah 31:27-34, Psalm 119:97-104, 2 Timothy 3:14-4:5, Luke 18:1-8

Sermon: Justice and the Unjust

I once heard a story about a duck who everyday would walk into a small grocery store and ask the shop keeper if he had any duck food. Everyday the owner would say, “No, we do not have any duck food.” This went on day after day until the shop keeper became aggravated with the persistent duck. So, one day when the duck came into the store to ask for duck food the shopkeeper responded with, “You know that I don’t have any duck food, so stop asking. Next time you come into the store asking for duck food, I will nail your feet to the floor.” The following day the duck returned to the store, looked at the shop keeper and asked, “Do you have any nails?” When the shop keeper said no, the persistent duck quacked, “Do you have any duck food?”

The duck was persistent in his search for duck food. The widow in the parable from Luke is equally persistent in her search for justice from the unjust judge. Every time she encounters the judge, she demands justice for her cause. This judge would have been a typical Gentile judge of the Hellenistic world who was easily accessible and able to make quick decisions on cases. (Expositor's Bible Commentary (Abridged Edition): New Testament, Copyright 2004.) So, in this context the widow would have been able to badger the judge with her request.

The judge was a rather puffed-up sort who did not care what God or people thought of him. Popular opinion did not influence his decisions. Divine retribution for withholding justice did not scare him. I imagine that he enjoyed the power and prestige of being a judge. With his judicial powers he held a lot of sway over people’s lives. In some ways the judge was the perfect bureaucrat.

We all encounter bureaucrats in our daily lives. People who due to their positions with great or limited authority can make decisions concerning the lives of others. When I worked with the international student program at Eden, I had the responsibility of being a Designated School Official (DSO) which meant that I handled the visa status of our international students via a Department of Homeland Security portal called SEVIS. I was responsible for collecting information required for obtaining and maintaining F-1 student visa status. Embassy Officials are ultimately responsible for granting the visas in the student’s home country. These officials were charged with the authority to make a quick decision concerning an applicant’s immigration status. I used to tell students that whether or not you were approved for your visa could depend on how the official’s morning went and their current mood.

The widow seemed to be aware that a judge’s mood could affect his judgement. She was fearless in seeking justice from the unjust judge. She badgered him until his mood toward her altered. She ran the marathon of justice seeking until the judge relented and gave her the just verdict that she requested.

How does this relate to prayer? For starters the judge is not God. Remember the judge did not fear God nor have respect for people. God is God, and God loves us. God loves people enough to have created us and desires to be in relationship with us. God does not give up on us! Therefore, we should not give up on God when we pray.

Maybe God is like the persistent widow seeking justice in an earthly world that does not fear God or have respect for people. Maybe God is the one who searches for us crying out for justice and desiring to give us good things. When we pray, we should not lose heart and listen for God’s voice. We should not lose heart, because God is seeking us. We should not give up, because God loves us.

Prayer: Holy God, may we not lose heart when we pray. Give us the courage to see justice in this world even from the unjust. In Jesus name we pray, 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 (doing better!), Marilee, Beverly, Jim, Jenny, Dixon’s daughter, Barbara, Melvin, Mitchell, Mahala, Maybelle and Mary, La Rae, , Bud, Bob, Ruth, Tyra and for peace in troubled and war-torn places. Those who have been impacted by the recent hurricanes.

Prayers for the family of Lynda Sample who passed this week.