3/14 One Great Hour of Sharing offering 3/16 MLG Meeting 6:00 p.m. 3/18 Lent Bible Study contact the office for details 3/25 Lent Bible Study via Zoom contact the office for details 3/28 Palm Sunday Sunday School sings during worship
One Great Hour of Sharing
On March 14, Zion will collect offering in support of One Great Hour of Sharing. By supporting the One Great Hour of Sharing Offering, we let love flow into communities worldwide by providing hope in adverse times. When we share our resources, it also gives us a tangible way to be present in the world and to serve beyond our local communities. OGHS supports sustainable development, disasters, and refugee initiatives.
In 2020, during the devastating fires in Oregon, OGHS were able to be there to help leaders organize and prepare their immediate as well as long-term responses. OGHS was proud to stand with and support these communities in their time of need. Responding to the needs of our neighbors is the primary goal of the offering.
Please consider donating to this worthy cause.
Lenten Bible Study
Join us for a Lent Bible Study via Zoom on Thursday nights from 6:00-7:00 p.m., starting February 18th through March 25th.
We will read and discuss the Scripture for the following Sunday.
All are welcome.
Please contact the church office for details!
The Comfort Connection
Amid suffering, we might feel alone and wonder what good can come of it. But later we may discover ourselves equipped to serve precisely because of what we experienced.
Writer and civil rights activist James Baldwin stated: “You think your pain and heartbreak are unprecedented … but then you read. [Books] taught me that the things that tormented me the most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive or who had ever been alive.” Whether through books or direct human interaction, we often learn that our suffering connects us to other people and that our pain gains meaning by moving us to support someone else who’s hurting.
Paul writes of such connection: “Praise be to … the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4, NIV).
May you share the comfort you have received from God with others in pain. As a bonus, along the way you’ll realize you’re not — and never have been — alone.
The Power of Love
By comparing love to everything from oxygen and fire to wind and war, songs and poetry emphasize its immense power — for good or for ill. Christian author Patrick Morley uses metaphors that focus on love’s practicality in everyday life: “Love is the glue that holds us together and the oil that keeps us from rubbing each other the wrong way.” He also calls love “the WD-40 of relationships” because it “can seep into tight places where logic, threats and even promises just can’t seem to penetrate.” St. Augustine, who predated WD-40 by centuries, knew that love not only eases friction in personal interactions but, with God’s help, can change hearts and lives. “Love all [people], even your enemies,” he advises. “Love them, not because they are your brothers, but that they may become your brothers. Thus you will ever burn with fraternal love, both for him who is already your brother and for your enemy, that he may by loving become your brother.”
In the News!
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So roll up your sleeves, get your head in the game, be totally ready to receive the gift that’s coming when Jesus arrives. Don’t lazily slip back into those old grooves of evil, doing just what you feel like doing. You didn’t know any better then; you do now. As obedient children, let yourselves be pulled into a way of life shaped by God’s life, a life energetic and blazing with holiness. God said, “I am holy; you be holy.” -- 1 Peter 1:13-16 (MSG)
Dear Beloved of Zion UCC,
In this snowy cold mid-winter, we are bearing through a time that also feels cold and continues to limit and frustrate us. And we are preparing to enter into the season of Lent, which begins 40 days prior to Easter, starting on Ash Wednesday. Lent is a time when Christians are called to prepare our hearts for Christ’s resurrection of hope, by focusing more on spending time with God through more prayer and reflection, and taking a break from some things that distracts us from God. It may be hard to want to enter into such a time that we typically think of as taking time alone or taking things away when we are already feeling like we have done plenty of that in the past year. Many of us may feel lonely or lacking already. God hears these prayers of mourning and concern, and does not want to take more from us.
Still, there is something special about Lent, something helpful about acknowledging that there is a representation in our liturgical cycle for such a time. Maybe it feels different this year, but it is a reminder that such things can be productive, especially when we are using the time of prayer and fasting for dedicating ourselves to God, for spending time with God, and for focusing more on godly actions.
What are godly actions? Well, the traditional makings of Lent include prayer, confessing our sins, turning away from sin, giving to the poor, fasting, and reconciling ourselves to God. We are going to be talking about these in church and in our Lent Bible Study. I promise it will not be all doom and gloom, but we will enter into conversations about how these things apply to our current day lives, and how to turn what we lack into a deeper connection with God in spirit and action. We’ll walk with Jesus as he journeys to the cross, remembering what comes next. Let us prepare together, so that we can feel the full love and joy of Easter Day when it comes to us this year!
In Grace and Peace, Pastor Cal
Whatever happens today, dear Lord, help us remember that you are present. If we find ourselves in the shadows of disappointment or rejection or pain, let us see your comforting light. If we’re in the radiant light of success or acceptance or wholeness, may we acknowledge your providence and grace. Wherever we are, grant us the assurance of your nearness. Amen.
The Parable of the Lost Ring
Only three years after Paula and Joe Walter married, her wedding ring was lost as she played catch with their son. Naturally, she was heartbroken. Over the years, whenever family and friends gathered in the back yard, she urged everyone to look for the ring — but to no avail. Because the yard borders on woods, Paula feared the ring had flown into the trees, never to be seen again.
But just before the couple’s 40th anniversary, landscapers hired to do work in the yard brought her a surprise: They’d found the ring — right where Paula had been playing with her child so long ago! Like the woman in Jesus’ parable who finally found her lost coin (Luke 15:8-10), Paula rejoiced. God too searches until every person who has strayed or been flung away from the faith is found.
Sometimes the place we rediscover faith is right where we’ve looked before. What makes the difference? A different person helping us search? Light shining in a different way? We may never know. We simply rejoice — and so does God.
Zion United Church of Christ - 9105 Third St, PO Box 10, Baroda, MI 49101 - 269-422-1590 - e-mail - email@example.com