Worship at Home for Sunday, October 17, 2021

Dear Friends,

Thank you to all who donated and walked in the CROP walk last Sunday! At this time, St. Peter's has raised over $1,000. As a community we have raised close to $9000 to help feed hungry people in Owensville and beyond.

This Sunday we are continuing to explore the story of Job. There are times in our lives when we have all lost a great deal and suffered. So we can all relate to Job and his experiences. This week God shows up in awe and wonder.

 

If you need anything, please call me at the church office (437-2779) or my cellphone (573-832-2475). Please note that the church website is moving to a new server and is not fully working.

 

Announcements:

  • Exploring Membership Class in Pastor’s Office and Sunday School after worship today.
  • Apple Butter Pints are available for $7 each.
  • Bell Choir on Wednesday at 4:15pm & Choir Practice at 6:30
  • These Days devotional guides are available in the Sanctuary or ask us to mail one to you.
  • To learn more about the Missouri Mid-South Conference click here to sign up to receive the weekly E Courier  email newsletter

Prayers and Blessings,

Pastor Stephanie DeLong

 

Scripture Lessons: Job 38:1-7; 16-17, Psalm 104:1-9,24, 35C; Hebrews 5:1-10; Mark 10:35-45

 

 

Sermon: God Shows Up

Do you ever stop and ponder about all the things that happen each day that are beyond your control? We wake up in the morning with the expectation that the sun will rise in the east and set in the west. That there is ground for us to walk on and water for us to drink. We expect that there will be life around us in the form of plants and animals. Even when the sun is not shining, we know that it is behind the clouds or waiting to reappear in the morning. There are stars in the sky and waves on the ocean. All of this happens without our doing a thing.

We are now in our third week in the book of Job. In week one we learned of Job’s good fortune, righteous life and serious suffering and loss. Week two has Job’s response to his friends who had the good manners to show up and grieve with him but kept berating Job with their theological insights that hurt more than helped. Now in week three God shows up in a whirlwind and answers Job.

The setting reminds me of the scene in the movie Forest Gump when Lieutenant Dan after another day of terrible trawling for shrimp asks Forest, “Where’s this God of yours?”. Then God shows up in a terrible hurricane. God’s power is so terrifyingly awesome that we as human beings cannot comprehend all that God is and does. Who are we to question God’s workings?

This is not the condescending “Who are you?” of the powerful and uncaring. This “Who are you?” is from a God who loves us enough to speak with us. God who created the universe and all that is in it. God who placed the stars in the sky and made the earth. Who are we to say how God works?

Human beings like to believe that we have a great deal of influence in how life works. We like to believe that we create our own good fortune and our own demise. Job’s friends kept insisting that Job must have done something wrong to cause his staggering pain and loss. Job persisted in saying that he was a man of integrity. Job was such a careful man that he would offer up an offering each morning on the chance that his offspring had cursed God in their hearts. There is a part of us that wants to believe that if we do the right thing that good things will happen. If we do something wrong, we will be punished.

I like to watch a television show called Young Sheldon. Sheldon Cooper is a character from another popular television show called The Big Bang Theory. Sheldon Cooper is a brilliant physicist who endearingly struggles with social situations and people in general. Young Sheldon offers up weekly episodes of Sheldon Cooper’s mythical childhood in the town of Medford, Texas.

In a recent episode, the family experiences a crisis which Sheldon compares to one billiard ball being hit into another ball and then into other balls thus causing a series of unintended consequences. During the family drama, Sheldon and his twin sister Missy sneak out of their bedroom to hide in a shed in the woods. When their mother looks for the twins after receiving a phone call that their father is in the hospital with a heart attack, she panics when she discovers that they are missing. Eventually the older brother finds them and gives the twins the bad news about their dad.

The good news is that Sheldon’s father recovers from his heart attack and returns home. Sheldon is glad that his father is home but concerned that he and Missy were never punished for sneaking out that night. Sheldon tells his father that he is troubled about not being punished. His father tells Sheldon not to worry about it. Sheldon is seriously troubled by this lack of consequences for his misbehavior. Sheldon who struggles with the whole concept of God has the conjecture that in the absence of a religious moral obligation that it is rewards and consequences for our actions that hold society together. In Sheldon’s personal universe, if Sheldon is not punished the whole of society could collapse.

We like to think that we can control and predict what will happen. The pandemic pundits have delivered all sorts of predictions. These models and predictions are important to help governments make plans, but they often prove incorrect. As Michael Osterholm who is an expert in data and epidemiology puts it, “We’re riding this tiger, we’re not driving it.” (Gustavus Adolphus College, Nobel Conference 57- Lecture by Michael Osterholm, PhD. I graduated from Gustavus and participated in the conference last week online.) In other words, as much as human beings like to think that we can control this pandemic, we cannot.

The good news is that it is not up to us to hold the universe together. God has laid the foundations of the universe and keeps things running. We will have good times and bad. There will be thieves, war, pandemics, and natural disasters. Good and bad people will be caught up calamities, but God is still there.

God runs the universe in ways that are beyond our understanding. Job’s friends had all sorts of theological concepts that placed humans in control of their destiny. In Job’s case, he did not bring the disaster upon himself. God shows up not to vindicate Job, but to show just how awesome and completely beyond comprehension God is.

God’s son Jesus tried to explain about God’s plan for salvation in his suffering on the cross. Jesus tells for the disciples for the third time that he will suffer and die on the cross, but once again the disciples fail to understand. James and John think that Jesus will be driving the tiger of glory into Jerusalem and ask to sit at Jesus’ right and left hand. Instead of glory the disciples will be riding the tiger of Jesus’ betrayal and suffering on the cross which will ultimately lead to salvation and new life for humanity. As followers of Christ our role is to be servants of God rather than riders of earthly glory.

God is there in our pain and our joy. God is there in the cross, the tomb and the resurrection. God is so amazing that we cannot comprehend all that God does in this world. So maybe we need to learn like Sheldon that sometimes people have bad things happen to them when they shouldn’t and to accept the grace of not being punished when we should. Let us just be awed by our God.

Prayer

God of the present and of ages past, be with us today as we rejoice and struggle with all that is happening in the universe. May we feel your presence in good times and bad. Amen.

 

Prayer list:

All who have been on our list in the past and Bev, Elizabeth, Beverly and Cheryl, Ty and Kaye’s family and Jean.

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