Worship at Home for Sunday October 30

Dear Friends,

Welcome to the Twenty-First Sunday after Pentecost.  Our theme for worship for the next few weeks will be “Watch”. This Sunday we will seek to Welcome Jesus into our lives.
If you would like a home visit, conversation, or home communion, please call me at 573-437-2779 (church) or 573-832-2475 (cell).

  • We still have apple butter for sale!
  • Celebration of Life for Phyllis Nicks on Saturday, October 29 at 11am at Gottenstroeter’s Chapel. Visitation is from 9am-11am.
  • Hand Bell Choir on Wednesday at 4:15.
  • Confirmation Class on Wednesday at 6:30
  • Choir Practice on Wednesday at 7pm.
  • Laurie Rieckhoff and I will be attending the Conference Annual Gathering Virtually October 27 through October 29. I hope to attend in person on Friday, October 28.
  • The Turkey Supper will be on Saturday, November 19. We will need help serving, in the kitchen, baking pies and more. There will be a Silent Auction and Country Store.
  • The Advent Tea will be on Saturday, December 7. Reservations for seating are being taken.
  • Cookie Sale Date: Dec 10th 9 to 1 or when we run out. Selling by the pound. Choose your own cookies and pack your own box. Place: St Peters downstairs

o Bakers: please bake 3 different kinds. 3 dozen of each kind. Need cookies put down in the kitchen by noon on Friday December 9th Thanks to all the bakers and candy makers!

Prayers and Blessings,

Pastor Stephanie DeLong

Scripture Lessons:
Habakkuk 1:1-4; 2:1-4, Psalm 119:137-144, 2 Thessalonians 1:1-4, 11-12, Luke 19:1-10

Sermon: Welcome Jesus

What do you do when you plan on welcoming someone into your home? Do you clean? Fix a meal? Put out the good dishes? Put the pets into the back bedroom? Buy fresh flowers? When Jesus invites himself into Zacchaeus’ home, Zaccheaus finds himself preparing to welcome Jesus.

First how did Zaccheaus the chief tax collector and rich man become Jesus’ host in Jericho? The story starts with this very wealthy and probably powerful man climbing a tree. A ludicrous image to say the least. Can you imagine a rich and powerful businessman climbing a tree without regard to his dignity and expensive clothing to see a religious leader? Though Zacchaeus being a Roman tax collector was more like a Mafia Don than an honest businessman. Still the image is humorous.

The short in stature but long in wealth Zacchaeus found himself in the back of a crowd who was watching Jesus enter Jericho. Rather than pushing his way to the front, Zaccheaus climbs a sturdy sycamore tree to catch a glimpse of the famous rabbi. Zaccheaus wanted to see Jesus, and he did. Then Jesus looked up and saw Zacchaeus.

When we put ourselves in a position to see Jesus, Jesus will look upon us with welcome and love. It doesn’t matter who we are or what we have done, when Jesus turns his gaze upon us, we are welcome to be in his presence. Jesus wants to come and spend time with us in our homes, in our private and special places.

Zaccheaus sought out Jesus in a public place, but Jesus wants to enter Zaccheaus’ personal place. Jesus asked Zaccheaus for friendship and hospitality. Jesus calls out to Zaccheaus to hurry down the tree because Jesus must stay in his home tonight. Jesus invites Zaccheaus to welcome him.

I wonder what Zaccheaus thought and felt as he scrambled down the tree. Now if it was me, I would be wondering if there were clean sheets on the bed and do I have enough food in the house to feed a crowd of hungry disciples. Zaccheaus being a rich man would have servants to take care of these details. We are not told what Zaccheaus was thinking, but we do learn that the crowd was grumbling.

Tax collectors weren’t just ordinary sinners. They were crime bosses in cahoots with the occupying Roman government. The grumblers had good reason to grumble. They would have been subjected to the extortions of various tax collectors. Zaccheaus was the chief of extortionists in their opinion.

Zaccheaus needs to clean his personal house in preparation for Jesus. He begins by giving half of his possessions to the poor. Wow! Talk about spiritual and physical decluttering. He then offers to repair the system which made him rich by offering to repay those he has defrauded by four times the amount. Just how rich was this man! Zaccheaus has cleaned his house to welcome Jesus. Jesus then declared that salvation has come to Zaccheaus house.

How can we welcome Jesus this day? What corners of our spiritual homes need to be cleaned to welcome Jesus to all the parts of our lives? Let’s face it we all have closets and corners of our homes physical and spiritual that we would prefer to keep private. Jesus wants to invite himself into our entire home. Like Zaccheaus we all have some things that we need to change when we welcome Jesus.

How can we welcome Jesus today and every day? Each of us will need to reflect on this question with self-examination. Like Zaccheaus we all have areas of our lives that need to be cleaned up. Private corners of our hearts that Jesus’ love will move us to change. Maybe like Zaccheaus we need to repair the damage caused by systematic injustices. Or perhaps we need to let go of resentments like the grumblers when Zaccheaus changed. Jesus came to seek out and save the lost. When Jesus sees us, we are saved. Being saved inspires us to welcome Jesus by becoming who Jesus welcomes us to be.

Prayer: God who sees us in trees and in prayer, we invite you into our lives today. Help us to repair what is wrong in our lives so that we can welcome you with our whole hearts. 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 Phyllis Nicks who passed away on October 15, 2002.

 

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