Pastor Debra Schaffran
Cell 952-240-3836 | debraschaffran@gmail.com

500 Clark Street, Mora, MN 55051 | 320-679-2713
Office Administrator Hours Wed. – Fri., 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Office: moraogilvie.umcs@gmail.com
Handicapped Accessible

Pastor Debra Schaffran
Cell 952-240-3836 | debraschaffran@gmail.com

500 Clark Street, Mora, MN 55051 | 320-679-2713
Office Administrator Hours Wed. – Fri., 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Office: moraogilvie.umcs@gmail.com
Handicapped Accessible

Message for April 18, 2021

Worship April 18, 2021

Welcome

God, we are grateful and stand in awe of how you see us How you see our sin and forgive us!

How you see our woundedness and heal us! How you see the purpose of all people and call us!

How you see those on the margins and center them in Your story! God, we are grateful and stand in awe of how you see us

Opening Prayer

Gracious God break our reliance on the things of comfort. Break our desire to turn to the things of tradition that exclude and push away. Help us to see every piece of what we do as full of possibility. Help us to work towards inclusion and justice, where all means all. Amen.

Hymn    UMH #89                              Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee

Scripture                                              Number 27:1-11

The Daughters of Zelophehad

27 Then the daughters of Zelophehad came forward. Zelophehad was son of Hepher son of Gilead son of Machir son of Manasseh son of Joseph, a member of the Manassite clans. The names of his daughters were: Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah. They stood before Moses, Eleazar the priest, the leaders, and all the congregation, at the entrance of the tent of meeting, and they said, “Our father died in the wilderness; he was not among the company of those who gathered themselves together against the Lord in the company of Korah, but died for his own sin; and he had no sons. Why should the name of our father be taken away from his clan because he had no son? Give to us a possession among our father’s brothers.”

Moses brought their case before the Lord. And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: The daughters of Zelophehad are right in what they are saying; you shall indeed let them possess an inheritance among their father’s brothers and pass the inheritance of their father on to them. You shall also say to the Israelites, “If a man dies, and has no son, then you shall pass his inheritance on to his daughter. If he has no daughter, then you shall give his inheritance to his brothers. 10 If he has no brothers, then you shall give his inheritance to his father’s brothers. 11 And if his father has no brothers, then you shall give his inheritance to the nearest kinsman of his clan, and he shall possess it. It shall be for the Israelites a statute and ordinance, as the Lord commanded Moses.”

Meditation          Sisters are Doing It for Themselves                             

I See You – Week 2

Prayer

Last week, we saw the importance of listening to the voices on the edge, on the margins. Our scripture was about a blind beggar on the side of the road named Bartimaeus. We did not learn a lot about Bartimaeus, but we know he called out to Jesus and even as others tried to hush him, Jesus heard his voice. Hearing Bartimaeus call out “Jesus Son of David, have mercy on me!” Jesus called Bartimaeus to him. Jesus listened and took action – the action of healing Bartimaeus of his blindness.

Today in our Scripture we learn about listening followed by taking action. You see it is not enough to just listen. We must also act.

My friend Shirley talks about a time she needed a friend. I tell the same story except I tell the story about a time I saw someone that needed a friend. This friendship now goes back about 20 years.

For many years I sang in church choirs, at the time of this story I was singing in the Normandale Hylands United Methodist Church choir. My voice is not the best or the surest but when I was sitting near someone with a strong sure voice, I sang out with a strong and sure voice.

Shirley has that strong sure voice, and our seats were close enough that I could lean on her for the vocal support I needed. At some point during this particular worship service Shirley started to cry, and she continued to cry. Shirley was new to the choir, new to the church and even new to Minnesota. I do not remember if I even knew her name at the time but I knew I needed to offer her comfort and so I did. If Shirley told you this story she would tell you the exact words I said to her. Shirley and I became friends and have maintained that friendship for all these years. Listen to those on the edge, even if that listening is observing tears then acting on what you heard/observed.

Stories of our churches reaching out to help others go back to the late 1800’s. The Ogilvie United Methodist Church, being located across the street from the school, was for many years an unofficial “youth center”. Kids flocked to the church for afterschool activities, activities that included homework help, crafts, fellowship and snacks. Members of this church made sure the church was open, supervised, safe and welcoming. This unofficial “youth center” served many a youth over many years.

You as a church also saw a need to serve those that have food shortages. It is said that the Ogilvie food shelf would not exist without what the United Methodist Church has done. You have provided the leadership and the service to support the needs of many people over the years.

Even today this church supports the food needs of people by being a distribution site and storage location for organizations that meet the needs of the hungry.

The long history of the Mora United Methodist Church listening and acting goes back to the beginning of the church. As the fist church in the town it became a gathering place for young and old alike. Hosting others no matter of the affiliation was importation to the Episcopal  Methodist in Mora.

In September of 1894 the Mora Methodist church became an aid station for hundreds of people impacted by the great Hinkley fire. The people of the church took on the roles of nurse, doctor, food service provider, clothing provider and offered rest to anyone in need. Our forefathers heard of the need listened to the stories and took action. We welcomed the stranger, listened to their stories and felt moved to take action.

More recently, during the current COVID-19 pandemic the Mora United Methodist Church Women in Christian Service created and distributed fruit baskets to the healthcare workers at Welia Health. Hearing stories and observing the needs of frontline healthcare workers’ the WICS group were moved to create and distribute this gift to each of the departments at Welia.

Recently this same group reached out to the Kanabec County Public Health group and offered to provide a noon meal to all those working at a vaccination clinic in Mora. So far WICS group has purchased and delivered meals twice to vaccination clinics.

These are times the Ogilvie UMC community and the Mora UMC community heard about or saw opportunities to serve and felt moved to act on behalf of others.

Ancient Israelite tradition gave the right of inheritance to sons only. Women were thus not able to inherit property. However, despite this cultural practice, Zelophehad’s daughters challenged the tradition of their time by speaking to the leaders. When their father died, Zelophehad’s daughters, all named in the text, asked Moses and the other leaders for their father’s property. Imagine how bold this move was. The daughter of Zelophehad were what I might call trail blazers for all women.

When the women spoke to the leaders, the leaders did not dismiss their appeal but instead listened and took it to God. God listened to the daughters and affirmed them saying, “What Zelophehad’s daughters are saying is right.” Because of this, the legal code was re-written to give the inheritance to one’s daughters if they had no sons.

Biblically, this is not an isolated incident. Jesus openly challenged laws and traditions that were exclusive by nature. He saw the image of God reflected in those whom society deemed unworthy and enthusiastically invited them into the Kingdom of God.

God will step in to break tradition in order to bring justice to those who, up until now, have been excluded or deemed unworthy. But God includes us in bringing about justice. The women stood up for what they believed to be right. They acted on their convictions. Likewise, Moses first listened and then acted.

There was a time in my life that I faced a situation that I knew was wrong. Because of long-held tradition pay practices were unfair. This situation was at a place I was employed. Keep in mind that this happened about 40 years ago. I worked in human resources so had access to all employment records. In an audit I discovered that one particular person was paid a significantly higher rate of pay than others in the same position. I took this information to leadership thinking it was somehow an oversight and over time could be rectified. Instead of an oversight I was told that because this person was a single parent she needed more to live.

So here we had the same job, same duties, roughly same performance but a married people were intentionally paid less because there was a spouse with an income. I was livid! This didn’t impact me nor was there anything in it for me, but it was wrong. Neither employee knew about this and to the best of my knowledge they never found out. I fought hard to get this changed, it was wrong and needed to be rectified. Well my memory has faded and today I do not remember the end result. I just know that I tried to rectify a wrong.

In this text, God extended the table wider to include those at the margins: women. We have a lot of traditions in our churches, communities, and world. Sometimes we are not sure why the traditions exist in the first place. Some even inadvertently exclude people. How is God calling us to widen our table to include people and voices that have been excluded? Who do we need to listen to and how are we being called to act for justice?

And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: “The daughters of Zelophehad speak what is right; you shall surely give them a possession of inheritance among their father’s brothers, and cause the inheritance of their father to pass to them. And you shall speak to the children of Israel, saying: ‘If a man dies and has no son, then you shall cause his inheritance to pass to his daughter. If he has no daughter, then you shall give his inheritance to his brothers. If he has no brothers, then you shall give his inheritance to his father’s brothers. And if his father has no brothers, then you shall give his inheritance to the relative closest him in his family, and he shall possess it.’ ” And it shall be to the children of Israel a statute of judgment, just as the LORD commanded Moses.

The normal rule in Israel, as a patriarchal society, was that inheritance was passed from the father to the sons. But here something new is started. The move from the old generation to the new in the wilderness gave rise not only to new life in the promised land for all, but to new possibilities for women in particular.

How do we open the door wider? What are we missing and what do we do about it?

The daughter of Zelophehad experienced an unjust action, today we would call it a discriminatory action. We need to ask ourselves what is happening today that needs to change. Who is on the side of the road that we are not listening to?

Earlie this week my morning devotion included a reading that spoke to me about our duty to act and I will close with this from He Still Moves Stones by Max Lucado

April 14, 2021

A Noble Motivation

At dawn on the first day, Mary Magdalene and another woman named Mary went to look at the tomb – Matthew 28:1

It isn’t hope that leads Mary and Mary Magdalene up the mountain to the tomb. It is duty. Naked devotion. They expect nothing in return. What could Jesus give? What could a dead man offer? The two women are not climbing the mountain to receive, they are going to the tomb to give. Period!

There is no motivation more noble. . .

Service prompted by duty. This is the call of discipleship.

Amen

Pastoral Prayer and The Lord’s Prayer

Dear God,

Thank You for Your work in our lives. You bless us, You guide us, You discipline us, and You bless us by meeting our basic needs.

Lord, sometimes we are tempted to trust in our own resources. We scheme and plan without consulting You. In other instances, we forget that it is “not by might, nor by power, but by Your Spirit.”

Despite our failures, You seek to prod us in the right direction. Sometimes You turn events or failures into great blessings for good, and sometimes what seems to be a blessing brings distress and unhappiness. You remind us how much we need You to interpret life and guide us through the confusing straits.

Father, we pray for our church family. Every one of us is struggling in some way. Some of us are struggling with patience. We find it too easy to fly off the handle or answer others harshly. Some of us are struggling with doubt. Others are struggling with depression. Finances, marriage, children, parents, friends, siblings, the job, the neighbors, or our walk with You can be stresses for us. We need one another. We need to encourage and be encouraged. We need to pray for others, and they need to pray for us. But more than these things, we need Your power, wisdom, and guidance for our lives. We ask You right now: please allow Your Spirit to fill us with His power, grant us wisdom for the challenges we face, and guide us in our decision-making. Whatever You want, Lord, that’s what we want too!

Our Savior, Jesus Christ, demonstrated Your great love for us by freely laying down His life. “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us,” Your Word tells us. You have certainly bought us with a steep price, and we want to faithfully serve You in response to Your love for us. We are Your representatives to this world, Your ambassadors. O Lord, help us to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with our friends, neighbors, and family members. We pray that soon we would experience the blessing of leading someone to faith in Jesus Christ our Lord.

And now, Lord, as we focus in upon Who You are, what You have done, and Your will and instruction for our lives, open our hearts. May the Word of God affect us in some small way so that, over time, our lives and minds would be conformed to Your image.

And together in the name of Christ, we pray.

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.

Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses,

As we forgive those who trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen

Offering

God calls us to work together to extend the welcome table to include those who sit on the margins among us. Let us give

today in a spirit of welcoming and widening our circle.

God of justice and mercy, we give you thanks for all the blessings you pour into our lives. We long to serve you with

good stewardship of all we have. We also long to act justly. May you guide us and grant us discernment in how we use

our resources. Help us to be open to receive your guidance, to listen wholeheartedly so that we can make a difference in

this world creating a society of justice, love, and peace. We ask you to bless the givers and bless the receivers. Multiply

what we offer abundantly so we can continue to serve you as we bring forth the kin(g)dom of God. In the name of our

Savior, Jesus the Christ, amen.

Praise Team                                         I Have Decided Medley                                                                     Arranged by Russell Mauldin

Brentwood Benson (used with permission)

Prayer of Dedication

God of justice and mercy, we give you thanks for all the blessings you pour into our lives. We long to serve you with

good stewardship of all we have. We also long to act justly. May you guide us and grant us discernment in how we use

our resources. Help us to be open to receive your guidance, to listen wholeheartedly so that we can make a difference in

this world creating a society of justice, love, and peace. We ask you to bless the givers and bless the receivers. Multiply

what we offer abundantly so we can continue to serve you as we bring forth the kingdom of God. In the name of our

Savior, Jesus the Christ, amen.

Hymn   UMH #555                            Forward Through the Ages

Benediction       

May the LORD bless you and protect you.
May the LORD smile on you
and be gracious to you.
May the LORD show you his favor
and give you his peace.

 

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