Worship at Home for Sunday, August 28

Dear Friends,

Welcome to the Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost. Our theme for this Sunday is Invited to the Banquet. Meditate this week on banquets that you have attended. What would Jesus say about these banquets and who would Jesus have invited?

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 in the back of the sanctuary.
  • Wednesday Confirmation Class Wednesday at 6:30
  • Choir Practice resumes on Wednesday at 6:30pm.
  • No Confirmation Class or Sunday, School on Sunday, September 4 (Labor Day Weekend)
  • Fun Church Picnic on Sunday, September11 at 4pm in Luster Park
  • We need to pick a date for Apple Butter Making. Would Saturday, September 17 or 24 work best for you? Let Rodney, Pastor Stephanie or the Church Office know.
  • We are still collecting items for the “Christmas in July” for the Advent Tea in November. If you need an ornament and/or help shopping, give me a call.

Prayers and Blessings,

Pastor Stephanie DeLong

Scripture Lessons: Jeremiah 2:4-13, Psalm 81:1, 10-16, Hebrews 13:1-8, 15-16, Luke 14:7-14

Sermon: Invited to the Banquet

Have you ever been invited to a banquet? When I was a child, I thought that banquets must have incredibly amazing food. Some of banquets have great food, but mostly banquets seem to be an event to honor someone or something. Sadly, the food is often an afterthought to the occasion. Banquets are about speeches and handing out awards. Quite frankly my first banquet was quite disappointing with plated food being quickly (or slowly) served by the catering staff while the honorees sat at the head table trying look important. There were lots of speeches and a few individuals clambering for attention. Quite frankly I was happy to be sitting at a back table where no one noticed us. It was somehow freeing.

But for those who enjoy recognition sitting at the head table is important. I remember a banquet marking a major anniversary of the Swedish Council of St. Louis. My mother, as a founding member of the Swedish Council, was an honoree at the banquet. When we arrived at the banquet location, my mother informed me that I was not important enough to sit at the head table with her. I was a bit miffed as I had driven her to the banquet and paid for her ticket. During the banquet I had several people come up to me and ask why I wasn’t sitting with my mother. I told them that my mother said that I was not important enough to sit with her. They just shook their heads. Truthfully, I had a lot more fun with the unimportant people at the table where I was sitting.

Then there was the Junior Patriots Football Banquet that I attended with Eddy. The food was good (barbecue from a local restaurant). The atmosphere was family friendly and fun. Then it was time for the Coaches’ speeches and the awards. Eddy’s coaches stood up and praised the team. Then they talked about how they were bringing back “The Mr. Patriot” award for a player who had really impressed them that year. They spoke about the player’s dedication and willingness to work hard. Then they said the player’s name, Eddy DeLong. They had to say the name a couple of times before Eddy realized that it was for him. Eddy’s friends had to shake him and encourage him to head towards the podium. The award was a pleasant surprise! Eddy being invited forward was what Jesus advises banquet attendees to do.

However, I am more interested in who Jesus tells us to invite to the banquet. Jesus tells us to invite those who cannot repay us with a return invitation or a promotion to a position of importance. I believe that Jesus wants us to enjoy the meal with those fun people from the unimportant tables. The food should be good stuff like barbecue and fried chicken. Instead inviting those who can repay us, invite those who would really appreciate a good dinner.

The text from Hebrews encourages us to show love and welcome people. I have always loved these verses from Hebrews, “Let mutual affection continue.  Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it.” (Hebrews 13:1-2, NRSV Imagine that you may be entertaining angels by sharing a meal with strangers. There have been times when strangers showed kindness and hospitality to me. I pray that I have done the same in return. God blesses us when we open our hearts with hospitality to all. We are invited to show love not to just our friends and family members, but to those we do not know, to those who cannot repay us, to those who vex us and more. If we open our hearts and lives to others, we will be rewarded by God in ways that we cannot fathom.

Prayer: God may we be willing to sit at the unimportant tables at a banquet. Save us from the clamoring for power and open us up to the possibilities of your love. May we reach out to those who are often left out of the banquets and bless them with food. 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 and for peace in troubled and war-torn places. Everyone returning to school. 

The family and friends of Jim Verhulst who passed away on August 18.

 

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