November 7, 2021 (Pastor's Message)

Twenty-Fourth Sunday After Pentecost


 Scripture Readings: 

Old Testament Reading:  Ruth 3: 1-5 & 4: 13-17

New Testament Reading:  Mark 12: 38-44

 

Message:  "Risk and Restoration"

 

We so casually go to the supermarket and pick up a loaf of bread. The task is so easy; it defies comment. In our world, every corner store, every food warehouse has shelves of bread: white, whole wheat, multi-grain, rye, barley, cornbread, egg bread, pita bread, sliced, unsliced, plastic wrapped, paper bagged, and unwrapped. The bread comes in loaves of all shapes and sizes: long bread sticks, round loaves, brick shaped, or loaf shaped as the dough determines. All we have to do is choose the one we want.

Unlike most of the people of history, we do not know the farmer who planted the seeds that made the grain to make the bread. We do not know the farmer's name. We do not know where, nor do we know how, to find the place where the wheat was threshed to get the grain to make the flour to make the bread. Nor do we know who took the trouble to bake the bread and transport it to us. Nor do we care.

In ancient times, you and I would have lived or died if the seeds were not planted, if the rain did not come, if the wheat was not harvested, if the grain was not threshed, the flour ground, and the bread baked. There was nothing casual about a loaf of bread!

Everybody was quite aware of the fact that the seeds needed to be planted, rain was needed for there to be a harvest, the grain needed to be threshed, and the ground flour was needed to have the bread of life so that one would not die. One picked up a loaf of bread with sacred reverence.

Between the planting of the seeds and the making of the bread was a pivotal ritual: the grain needed to be threshed -- the wheat needs to be separated from the chaff before you can make the flour that you need for the bread.

We may have a question for Naomi's motives when we read the opening of chapter 3 when she was giving Ruth instructions on how to connect with her well-to-do kinsman, Boaz. We might question whether Naomi was self-interested or whether she was really concerned about getting her daughter-in-law, Ruth, a home and a husband. This question is one for us, but not for the people of the time. They were too close to the soil, too close to life and death, to be able to be phony.

Our story lives or dies on the principle that Naomi, Ruth, and Boaz were all people of sterling character. The actions of the text, the interchanges, the connections made, the consequences, and the resulting marriage of Ruth and Boaz, all hang on the genuine integrity of these individuals.

It goes without saying that Naomi predates feminism. She was a woman living in a man's world, but we would be in error to think that she did not have power. Naomi used her wisdom, her position in the community, and her knowledge of custom, culture, and men to instruct Ruth in how to connect positively with Boaz.

Ruth was fortunate because she had a mentor in her mother-in-law, Naomi. Ruth had someone she could confide in and trust implicitly. Naomi was one who had "been there, done that, and had the video." The two women were powerfully joined by love, trust and integrity. They acted powerfully by the fact that they were not only women of character, but their relationship moved and flowed with the impulse of absolute trust.

Naomi chose a man of character, in the person of Boaz, for the best interests of her beloved Ruth.

Then Naomi instructs Ruth in the best way to connect with Boaz. She tells Ruth to wash and anoint herself, put on her best clothes, and wait until Boaz has had his meal. Then she is to uncover his feet, lie down at his feet, and do as he says. Her coaching has the desired effect as the closing verses have Ruth marrying Boaz and conceiving a son, Obed, who was to become the father of Jesse, the father of David.

The women of the community affirm that the love of Ruth is more important to Naomi than having seven sons. They affirm that God has blessed Naomi in restoring her family status and she becomes a nurse for the baby boy, Obed.

The story came together on the threshing floor, the place where the late afternoon breeze separated the chaff from the barley for the bread to be made. In this case it was not only the bread to be eaten but the bread of relationship: the chaff was separated from the grain. In all the possibilities of all of the variables of men and women who could have connected, the chaff was separated from the grain and Ruth became married to Boaz; thus the royal line of David went on. The spiritual thread that weaves its way through this story is the sterling character of these God-fearing people, Ruth, Naomi, and Boaz. The rightness of it all is confirmed by the wisdom and blessing of the women of the community.

Where are the threshing floors of our lives? Where is it that we can separate the chaff from the grain of the people we meet? Where is it that we can connect with the women and men of character to whom we might join our lives and live in blessedness? The threshing floor is and must be a place of nurture and character development and discernment. My friends, in the absence of places to take the grain, our entire lives have become our threshing floors!

Because we casually pick up our loaves of bread, and we don't have any threshing floors anymore, we need to forge our characters in our homes and our families and our churches. We need to teach our children how to discern character in the people they meet and in whom they choose to marry if we are to establish royal lines of character in our families. We need to honor the grief and pain of our lives on the threshing floors that exist.


When we treat the chaff in people we meet like they were wheat, we and our children get into destructive and dangerous trouble in our relationships. We need to be able to separate the chaff from the wheat.

The bread is on the shelf, but we still need to separate the chaff from the grain in our lives, and we still need to build character, because that is what makes it work. Real character is what makes life come together in positive and blessed ways.

Character is a principle. The character of Naomi connecting with Ruth and on to the man of character in Boaz is what moved the story on. The scripture is telling us that character connecting with character is what life is all about.

May God give us the grace to discern that our families and our churches are the threshing floors where we might build character and discern it in those with whom we choose to share our lives. Amen.

 

Blessings and Peace, 

Pastor Betty

 

 

 

 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 



When This Is Over. . .          

Author Unknown

When this is over,
May we never again take for granted
A handshake with a stranger
Full shelves at the store
Conversations with neighbors
A crowded theater
Friday night out
The taste of communion
A routine checkup
A school rush each morning
Coffee with a friend
The stadium roaring
Each deep breath
A boring Tuesday
Life itself
 
When this ends,
May we find
That we have become
More like the people
We wanted to be
We were called to be
We hoped to be
And may we stay that way --
Better for each other
Because of the worst


 Christian Giving:  Developing a Lifestyle of Generosity

To the members of the EUCC: 

As Christians, each one of us has a strong impact in making important decisions in our lives. This is especially true in times of trouble when we are facing difficult choices. It doesn't matter whether it's a natural disaster like a fire, tornado or hurricane; a financial or health crisis; or if you lose your job because of a plant closure. And, this is especially true now during the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.  

As Christians, we know that God calls us to be generous people, but our sensitivity to that calling is often diminished by the many other aspects of life that put demands on us. And, the coronavirus virus has certainly put especially high demands on everyone.  

Even though the church's on-site worship services may have been cancelled, it is important to remember that the church's ongoing mission and ministry continues. 

Giving allows us the opportunity to experience the joy in giving. As nice as it is to get gifts, it is even more meaningful to give them. When we give, we quickly discover true joy. In Acts 20:35 Jesus said, "It is more blessed to give than to receive."  

The church invites people to give as they can, but also understands that economic reality may prevent people from giving at or anywhere near the level they are used to.  

As you are aware, the UCC is still heavily dependent on gifts that are made in an offering plate when people are physically in church. For the church to make it through this crisis and to continue to support people during this crisis will require people to continue to give. Many expenses, like utilities, insurance, salaries, donations to the community, etc. continue to occur during this closure.  

If you have not been able to give your normal offering, we suggest you do the following: 

  • Send your donation through the U.S. Postal Service. 
  • Drop the donation off at the church in the mailbox marked "for church use” 

In these challenging times, Christians need to find a way to remain faithful in their giving responsibility to the Lord and their church in order that our church's mission will thrive and not suffer. And, this will also allow our church to have the funds needed to continue to pay our bills and remain open to continue our ministry, as well. We appreciate your help in this matter. God bless and keep you. 

Sincerely,

EUCC Finance Committee

EUCC Church Council


 



Evangelical United Church of Christ

"Sharing Bread through Christ"

 Serving our Pulpit

 Pastor - Melody Smith

700 East Spring Street,  Boonville, Missouri 65233

(660) 882-5501

Office Hours 

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday

9:00am - 2:00 p.m.

Pastor's Office Hours:

9:00 - 2:00 p.m. on Monday & Wednesday

 Church Office E-mail:  eucc5501@gmail.com

Secretary/Web Master: Rosemary Fleharty

 

 


JOIN US FOR WORSHIP

Sunday Mornings


 Children's Sunday School (not held during summer months)

 Adult Sunday School (second and fourth Sundays) (not held during summer months)

9:00 am Worship Service 

Open Communion

1st Sunday Of Each Month


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Educational Building

The Educational Building is located South of the Church, 416 7th St, Boonville, Mo. The building was dedicated April 24, 1956. This building currently houses the Pastor's Office and the Church office. It offers a kitchen, a Fellowship Hall, complete with a stage, handicapped bathrooms and several sunday school rooms. It is also available for rent. Please call the church office for information on rental  charges and availability.

 

 

 

 Serving Evangelical United Church of Christ

 ROSEMARY FLEHARTY - Church Secretary

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WE'RE ON FACEBOOK!

 

 

 

 

 

 GOD LOVES YOU,

JUST THE WAY YOU ARE!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

  DID YOU KNOW OUR SUNDAY BULLETINS ARE  AVAILABLE ON THIS SITE?

          Look for the button at the top of our Home Page, "2015 -2020 Weekly EUCC Bulletins". 


You can see all our Birthday's, Anniversaries, Weekly News, and other Announcements, with ease.  Just make sure you have Adobe Reader downloaded to your computer,

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God's Blessings to each of you!



:

PLEASE NOTE:
 INCLEMENT WEATHER POLICY
ADOPTED BY
EVANGELICAL UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST.
December 20, 2013


This will apply to all weather announcements. Please note the Council will no longer be doing individual calling. They are asking that you check your local TV stations, KOMU (8) in Columbia, KMIZ (17) in Columbia, KRCG (13) in Jeff City or listen to FM Radio Stations KMMO 102.9 in Marshall, KRES 104.7 in Moberly or KWRT 1370am in Boonville, or contact a Church Council member for more info by using your Church directory, or info listed in the 2015 Church Council and Committee members section of this website.
Please see tab above.

 

 

 

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NEWS AND NOTES

 

 

 

 

 

OFFICIAL WEBSITE FOR THE

UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST...

www.ucc.org