May 14, 2023, Mothers Needed Here (Eastertide 5)

If you prefer to worship at home at this time or simply wish to listen to the service or sermon again, please click on the link below to watch the entire worship service as a video on your home computer, tablet or smartphone:

Link to Video:




If you would prefer not to view the video, you’re welcome to use the links below to have a time of worship at home. (Just right click on the link to “open link in a new tab” to play each hymn or the sermon in a separate tab, and close that tab when finished.)

CALL TO WORSHIP: (St. Teresa of Avila:)
Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which   He looks
Compassion on this world…
Yours are the feet with which He walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which He blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet,
Yours are the eyes, you are His body.
Christ has no body now but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which He looks
Compassion on this world.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.

HYMN 397 I Need Thee Every Hour
Randy Owen, The Isaacs – I Need Thee Every Hour [Live]

A TIME OF PRAYER (Testimonies, Joys & Concerns)

Congregational Prayer − Almighty God, through Jesus Christ you overcame death and opened to us the gate of everlasting life. Grant that we, who celebrate the day of our Lord’s resurrection, may, by the renewing of your Spirit arise from the death of sin to the life of righteousness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

Please pray for yourself and your neighbors, lifting up your needs to God while giving thanks for answered prayer.

The Lord’s Prayer: 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.

HYMN 191 Jesus Loves Me
The Barrett Sisters – Jesus Loves Me (Live)

MOMENTS WITH THE CHILDREN – If you are blessed to have children with you, ask them what they are thankful for, and then thank God together!

GIVING OF OUR TITHES AND OFFERINGS – these can be mailed to the church office.

MESSAGE: Mothers Needed Here
Text: John 21:1-19
Series: Instructions for Resurrection

Right-click, open in new tab to play … Sermon audioSermon slides as a PDF file.
Wesley Sermon Audio


1 After this Jesus revealed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tibe’ri-as; and he revealed himself in this way. 2 Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathan’a-el of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zeb’edee, and two others of his disciples were together. 3 Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat; but that night they caught nothing. 4 Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the beach; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. 5 Jesus said to them, “Children, have you any fish?” They answered him, “No.” 6 He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in, for the quantity of fish. 7 That disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his clothes, for he was stripped for work, and sprang into the sea. 8 But the other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, but about a hundred yards off. 9 When they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire there, with fish lying on it, and bread. 10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.”11 So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, a hundred and fifty-three of them; and although there were so many, the net was not torn. 12 Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” Now none of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. 13 Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and so with the fish. 14 This was now the third time that Jesus was revealed to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.

15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16 A second time he said to him, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” And he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. 18 Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you girded yourself and walked where you would; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish to go.” 19 (This he said to show by what death he was to glorify God.) And after this he said to him, “Follow me.”


HYMN 557 Blest Be The Tie That Binds
Blest Be the Tie that Binds -(a cappella) The Beyond the Walls Choir

BENEDICTION The Prayer of St Francis:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace
Where there is hatred, let me sow love
Where there is injury, pardon
Where there is doubt, faith
Where there is despair, hope
Where there is darkness, light
And where there is sadness, joy

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console
To be understood, as to understand
To be loved, as to love
For it is in giving that we receive
And it’s in pardoning that we are pardoned
And it’s in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.

All Scripture quotations are from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

If you worship at home, please let us know so we can pray for you!


We are still connected to the people who love us. That’s an important thing to remember today, when we think about the meaning of today – Mothers Day. Because, Lord knows, there’s a lot of trouble in our world, and you could almost put a sign up in front of every problem that says a mother is needed here.

Let me tell you a story that’s called The Keeper of the Spring. The late Peter Marshall, an elegant speaker, for several years the chaplain of the United States Senate, used to love to tell the story of The Keeper of the Spring, a quiet gentleman who lived high above an Austrian village along the eastern slopes of the Alps. The old gentleman had been hired many years earlier by a young town council to clean away the debris from the pools of water that were fed by a lovely spring that became a beautiful stream flowing through their town, and with faithful silent regularity, he patrolled the hills, removed the leaves and branches, wiped away the silt from the fresh, flow of water. By and by, the village became a popular attraction for vacationers. Graceful swans floated along the crystal clear stream. Farmlands were naturally irrigated and the view from restaurants was picturesque. Years passed.

Finally, there came a day when the town council met for its semiannual meeting, and someone on the council noticed the budget line item, the small amount that they paid to the keeper of the spring. A motion was made that that was an unnecessary expense. It wasn’t needed, and they did away with it.

For several weeks, nothing changed. By early autumn, the trees began to shed their leaves, small branches snapped off and fell into the pools, hindering the rushing flow of water. One afternoon, someone noticed a slight yellowish-brown tint in the stream. A couple of days later, the water was much darker. Within another week, a slimy film covered sections of the stream along the banks, and a foul odor was detected. The mill wheels moved slower and some finely ground to a halt, the swans left, as did the visitors. Clammy fingers of disease and sickness reached deeply into the village.

Embarrassed, the town council called a special meeting, realizing their error in judgment. They hired back the old keeper of the spring, and within a few weeks, the river began to clear up.

What’s the moral of the story? Nothing in this life works forever unless someone cares enough to take care of it. The first time I heard this story, it was a part of a Mother’s Day sermon. Because the preacher wanted us to understand how one of the things that mothers did was to take care of families so that they were physically healthy and emotionally healthy.

Now, we know not every mother is perfect. And in fact, tragically, some families are incredibly injured and hurt. But the reality is, someone has to provide the love and care that causes things to work.

Let me tell you about what is probably the greatest health problem our nation is dealing with. No, not the coronavirus epidemic. This past week, US Surgeon General, Vivek Murthy, warned Americans once again, in an official advisory issued on May 3rd, the devastating health effects of loneliness and social isolation. At any moment, he wrote in The New York Times, at any moment about one out of every two Americans is experiencing measurable levels of loneliness. Loneliness is more than just a bad feeling, Doctor Murthy stressed. When people are socially disconnected, their risk of anxiety and depression increases, so does their risk of heart disease – up 29%, dementia – up 50%, and stroke – up 32%. The increased risk of premature death associated with social disconnection is comparable to smoking daily and maybe even greater than the risk associated with obesity.

Let me quote some other studies: if you join a small group of people that meets once a week, you will literally cut the risk of your dying in the next year by one-half. And as Doctor Murthy stated, it has a better benefit for your health than quitting smoking.

Loneliness and isolation hurt whole communities. When we are less invested in one another, when we are less connected, in other words, we are more susceptible to polarization and less able to pull together to face the challenges that we can not solve alone. The epidemic of loneliness has fueled other problems. The occupant of disconnection has fueled other problems that are killing us and threatening to rip our country apart.

We are made by God to be connected to each other in loving relationships. And we’ve gotten distracted from the importance of that. So let me ask the question for you and I and our world today, who is the keeper of our springs? Who is the cure for human loneliness and disconnection? Who brings us together and connects us together? Who notices? Who provides when we have a need? Let me say it even more plainly: who loves you, who models the kind of love our world needs, who teaches us to also be loving people?

Now you’re in church here on Sunday. If this was a children’s sermon, you would know that the answer to these questions, what you should do is shout out, “Jesus.” And you know that’s true; Jesus loves us. But sometimes, we need what somebody once called Jesus with skin on: an actual person. And we become aware of Jesus when the love flows toward us from someone who loves Jesus. And in fact, I’ll be frank with you: almost two centuries of study on missions and evangelism, it’s clearly scientifically illustrated that people come to Jesus Christ because they experience the love of Jesus Christ through another human being.

In the very last chapter of the gospel of John. Simon Peter says to the disciples, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. The way they fished in those days is they would row in a big circle and they would feed out the net and then they would bring the net in, heavy and wet. Whatever was inside of it, that’s what they caught. All night long, they did this. They caught nothing. But Jesus noticed.

Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the beach, yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. In that really early silvery light of early dawn, you might notice you can’t see facial features at a distance. Jesus said to them, “Children, have you any fish?” They answered Him, “No.” And he said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” Now, you can imagine: they worked all night; professional fishermen; caught nothing. Somebody shouts from the beach, “Try the other side of the boat.” So they did it. And now, they were not able to haul it in for the quantity of fish.

The disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is Lord.” You see, Jesus had done this one other time. And when they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire there with fish lying on it and bread. And Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have caught.” And Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” You see, Jesus provides. And you can ask the same question, who provides? And it seems odd to me, but quite often, one of the most meaningful questions you can ask someone is who makes breakfast. Who makes breakfast?

And then come the resurrection instructions because Jesus is teaching them how he wants the church to be after the resurrection. So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus and Simon Peter have a conversation. You see, Peter had denied Jesus three times. And the general idea is that Jesus is renewing Peter’s place by asking him three questions. “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” This question kind of reflects Peter’s competitiveness. But Peter simply says to him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” And Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.”

A second time he said to him, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter said to him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said to Peter, “Tend my sheep.”

He said to him a third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” And Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” And he said to him, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.” And Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.” And after this, he said to him, “Follow me.”

Let me ask you the question on Mother’s Day. Who is the keeper of the springs in your life? I’d like to introduce you to my mother, Dorothy McKnight Kueker. This picture was taken around 2003 and you’ll notice that even though I’m 20 years younger, I’m every bit as handsome today as I was then. [laughter] But I simply want to bear testimony today that my mother had a profound influence upon my life.

Now my father was a good man and my grandparents were good people and many people influenced me, but today I need to give honor to my mother because so many of the things that have to do with treating people honestly, kindly, and fairly simply come from her. And in fact, I’ll be honest with you, I can’t go against her principles.

My mother incredibly disliked when somebody would pop over to the house and knock on the door. She was someone who would frequently wear a slip around the house and was not really ready to receive visitors. So someone knocking on the door, that was not a good thing. To this day, I am unable to pop by your house by surprise. I literally cannot do it. That’s how much influence a mother can have, especially when it’s good influence.

We need to realize that there are people who profoundly help us to be better people. We need to identify who they are, not just so we can be thankful, but simply because, friends, here’s the great transition in life: There comes a time where we need to shift from being someone who receives love to being someone who also gives love. And just like we have been guided, we need to take part in guiding others.

So let’s apply these questions of Jesus, which really when you think about it, they are instructions on how to live after the resurrection. A second time, He said to him, “David, son of Dorothy, do you love me?” And I said, “Yes, Lord. You know that I love you.” And Jesus said to me, “Tend my sheep.” You see, this question comes to us. You’ll notice down underneath that middle saying, I put a picture of Gerri Molina. Some of you, it’s really tragic; you don’t know her. But if there ever was someone who literally mothered an entire town, it was Gerri Molina. And very specifically, Gerri Molina had a long list of people that she prayed for, that God would help them. And I think that’s a good answer to how we’re supposed to tend sheep. We pray for them. We love. We show love.

But the traditional question, or the traditional way this question is answered– do you remember the parable of the Good Samaritan? Do you remember Jesus told them to love your neighbor as yourself, and this scribe instantly said, “Well, who is my neighbor?” And you know the point of that question? “I want to pick. Because I’m going to pick the people who I like to love as my neighbor.” And Jesus tells the story of the Good Samaritan, which basically says your neighbor is who’s ever right there in front of you.

“Tend my sheep,” Jesus says to David Kueker. “As the Father sent me, even so, I send you, David Kueker. Tend my sheep,” Jesus says the same to each of us.

And so let me tell you, brothers and sisters, what the cure for loneliness is. Lonely people simply need to reach out to other people. Because they’re every bit as lonely as you are. The cure for loneliness, when you can’t be with the ones you love, God will give you someone local to love. This has always been God’s plan. It’s called loving your neighbor.

I would like to tell you that I love my granddaughter, Damali, who fell on Friday afternoon and broke her arm. And there’s nothing more than I want to do at this moment but to jump in the car and drive down there to Austin, Texas, so that I can see her and sign her cast. But we don’t always get to go to the people we love who are far away. And sometimes, the reason people feel lonely is everyone they love is 30 miles, or 60 miles, or 100 miles, or even on the other side of the world.

But God will give you people to love, right here, if your heart is willing to love them.

So here are some Resurrection instructions. Basically, they can be summarized as, “Love one another.” Last week, we talked about three tasks that Jesus wants us to do in the Resurrection.

Number one is, “The Father has sent me. Even so, I send you.” Everything that Jesus said and did in the Bible, he will now do through us. Us. So when you read the words of Jesus, you can anticipate that this is something that’s going to happen to you. What you’re reading about may happen in your life and then you’ll be ready. It’s the instruction manual.

Number two, Jesus said, receive the Holy Spirit. Because what we do, we do with the help of the Holy Spirit.

Number three– and I said to you last week, this came as a surprise. One of the things we do in the resurrection is to pray for people’s sins to be forgiven. This past week, I actually made what I’m calling a Forgiveness List. I made a list of everyone who hurt me, who broke my heart, who betrayed me, everyone where, still down there inside my heart at whom I’m still really very angry. And I’ve started praying for them every morning. And it brings those old feelings back. But I need to forgive people.

But as I also said with you last week, I think when Jesus tells us to do this, he’s not just talking about the people who’ve hurt us. But if you and I are walking through a crowd and we see someone and something stirs in our heart, even if we don’t even know who they are– Lord Jesus, forgive them their sins. And part of that, if they’re not a believer, is “Lord Jesus draw them to you. Lord Jesus, increase their faith. Lord Jesus, help them to understand what it means for you to be Savior and Lord of their life.” That’s the task.

But what we need to remember – and this is what we talk about today – is this task has a target. There are people whom God wants us to love. And you can ask yourself a question, who are you noticing? Well, maybe that’s someone who needs your love.

Who are you praying for? What a tragedy it would be if the only person you prayed for was yourself.

How are you providing help to others? Who are you connecting with, perhaps simply by saying hello?

To say it just like Jesus said, “Who are you feeding? Who are the sheep you’re tending?” Or to summarize it the way Jesus did, you can also just simply ask, who is your neighbor?

One of the phrases that has meant a lot to me – when people summarize what Jesus actually did, they like to point out that Jesus walked slowly through the crowd. This meant that he noticed when people were noticing him. And consequently, most of the New Testament is about Jesus stopping to have a conversation with someone that turns into a prayer, that turns into a lesson, that turns into a miracle.

So one of the things I can encourage us to do, and I’m trying to certainly do myself, is to walk slowly through the crowd and pay attention to the people. Because it could just be that one of them, possibly even someone I don’t even know, would be someone Jesus wants me to care about. To care for. It will be almost as much there’s a light around them that I’ve come to recognize is a message from my heart, from God, that I need to pray for that person. I need to watch over them. They’re one of the lambs – my lambs. They’re one of the sheep – my sheep.

And the other thing I’ve learned the hard way is to keep a list. Maybe you don’t have a prayer list. Maybe you want to start one. So you’re not just praying for somebody on a bad day. It’s not just praying when life is going to hell because they need your prayer every day, just like you need a mother’s love every day.

Please pray with me. Lord Jesus, today we thank you for mothers and all those who noticed our needs, all those who sought to provide for what we needed. Lord, help us to be people who remember that You also loved, that You also provided. Help us, Lord, to be like You. And even though naturally, Lord, our hearts go to our own families, even though naturally, Lord, our hearts go out to people who are in tragedy, help us to be connected to people who are local so that we can give and receive what human beings need through that connection. Help us, Lord, to love one another. Help us, Lord, to love our neighbor. We ask this in Jesus name. Amen.

QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION: Let’s have a conversation! Please reflect upon the questions below as you consider the material presented above. In a comment, share your thoughts and additional questions. What would you like to know?

What grabbed your attention?
What is the human need or problem?
What questions do you have about any quotes provided?
Does the Bible say anything about this?
What solutions do you see for the problem?
What specifically could we begin to do to make a change?

Additional Resources

Kinmundy United Methodist Church is located at 308 E. Third Street, Kinmundy, IL 62854. Worship begins at 9 am Sundays. The building is handicap accessible.
Wesley United Methodist Church is located at 3381 Kinoka Road, Patoka, IL 62875 in the country between Kinmundy and Patoka. Worship begins at 10.45 am Sundays.
VISION: We are a functional family of God, where Jesus is Lord and people grow.
MISSION: Every layperson is called to carry out the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20); every layperson is called to be missional. (¶126 of the 2016 Book of Discipline)
Paradigm: There are two kinds of people in this world: people who need to become disciples and disciples who need to become disciple makers.

(If you wish, you can listen to the Prayer of St. Francis being sung:
Sarah McLachlan – Prayer of St. Francis )

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