Worship at Home for Sunday, September 4

Dear Friends,

Welcome to the Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost. As we live into God’s Promise, we will find ourselves being shaped like a piece of clay being molded by the potter. Reflect on how God may be molding you as you lean into God’s Promise.

If you would like a home visit, conversation, or home communion, please call me at 573-437-2779 (church) or 57 3-832-2475 (cell).

Announcements:

  • Items for the Dental Kits for the Festival of Sharing are being collected. Look for the box and list of needed items in the back of the sanctuary.
  • No Confirmation Class or Sunday, School on Sunday, September 4
  • Pastor leads a Communion Service at Gasconade Manor on Tuesday at 1:30.
  • Hand Bell Choir resumes at 4:15 on Wednesday.
  • Wednesday Confirmation Class Wednesday at 6:30
  • Choir Practice on Wednesday at 7:00 pm.
  • We will be making Apple Butter on Saturday, September 10 beginning at 7am.
  • Fun Church Picnic on Sunday, September11 at 4pm in Luster Park. Bring a dish to share and a chair.

Prayers and Blessings,

Pastor Stephanie DeLong

Scripture Lessons: Jeremiah 18:1-11, Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18, Philemon 1:1-21, Luke 14:25-33

Sermon: Living into God’s Promise

I know that this is a strange title for scriptures that demand so much of us. In Jeremiah we are the clay that is being reworked by God. In Luke Jesus asks us to place following him as more important than anything else. We are asked to let go and change for God so that we might live into God’s Promise for us. The promise of new life and the joy that comes with the cost of discipleship.

The crowds have witnessed the joy of following Jesus. They have seen people healed and restored. They have been fed by Jesus’ teachings and miracle feedings. All of this is great, but now for the hard stuff. Now it is time to be molded into the shape that God wants for us.

In Jeremiah the prophet is sent by God to the potter’s house to hear God’s word. Have you ever been to a potter’s house or a place where pottery is made? I learned some pottery in high school, but never learned to throw a pot on spinning wheel. I have friends who have and the process though fascinating is very messy.

In a potter’s house or room, there seems to be bits and pieces of clay everywhere. There is clay dust, clay droppings, clay on clothes and shoes. There is water for working to keep the clay moist and flexible. That water often ends up looking like a muddy soup. Then there are the piles of clay. Some of it is unworked clay ready to be unwrapped and shaped. Some clay is left over from projects. This clay is scraped up and mounded together with damp cloths to restores the clay’s mailability so that the clay may be used for other projects.

Then there is the clay on the potter’s wheel or in the potter’s hands being shaped by the potter. Sometimes the shaping goes well. Other times the process is frustrating, and the potter just mashes down to the clay to either start over or place the clay in a pile with the left-over scraps and damp cloth. The clay then rests before be reworked on another day.

Some people like to think of clay as passive and uniform, but clay does seem to have its own mind and comes in different textures and colors. Different types of clay may be used for different types of projects. Clay often has pockets of air bubbles that need to be kneaded out of the clay. If the air pockets are not removed the whole piece will explode when fired in a heated kiln. The exploding clay piece will often destroy other pieces in the kiln when it bursts.

Jesus is telling the crowds to let go of those pockets of air that can hold us back from completely following him. We need to let go of those excuses that we make that hold us back. “Hate” your family is a very strong word that Jesus uses, but Jesus is pointing to the difficult nature of following him. “Hate” your life is strong word to use too. What Jesus is telling the crowds and us too is that we must leave our past loyalties and move forward into God’s Promise for us in Jesus Christ.

Jesus illustrates his point with an economics lesson. Are you going to build something? Do not bother if you do not have the materials and the workers needed to finish it. There is nothing more depressing to look at than a house that has sat partially finished for years. Do not be a partially made follower of Jesus, be ready to do what is necessary to be a complete follower of Jesus.

What might we need to do? That probably is different for all of us. We may need to let go of a relationship that is holding us back from being faithful. We may need to give up a dream of retiring to a fancy community in Florida. (That’s my dream.) We may need to give up (fill in the blank) to share our money with those who do not have enough. We may need to give up resentments, addictions, preconceived notions, self-delusions, group delusions and more to follow Jesus.

What we will gain will be the deep joy that comes from following the one who truly loves us. This is not for the betterment of an individual, but for society. A place where all are fed and loved. A place of promise for this world and the next. Then we will be living into the promises of God.

Prayer: Loving God who seeks to shape us into more than we can be on our own. Help us to let go of those pockets of air that could cause us to explode and break others. Help us to give up what holds us back from following you. In Jesus name. 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, the family involved in the car crash on 50 last week,  and for peace in troubled and war-torn places.

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