(The most recent meditations are listed first.)
October 3, 2010 ~ Elder Janelle Eccleston
This is the Reconciling Offering 2010 as well as World Communion Sunday. World Communion Sunday celebrates our oneness as followers of Christ while the Reconciliation Ministry Offering confronts our continued divisiveness, The world which God has reconciled is present at every communion. Communion signifies what our world is to become, a universal communion in the Body of Christ, a Kingdom of justice, love, and peace in the Holy Spirit.
We are called to commit ourselves to transformation doing the works of Jesus. This transformation begins, as we are told in Romans, by “ accepting one another, as Christ accepted you, for the glory of God.” Transforming this vision into reality will take deliberate efforts, change, and a healing of wounds.
Jesus gave His life to unite us as one. This is the greatest sacrifice of all! Is it too much then to ask that we give up our own pride and our love of feeling superior? Jesus said of the bread, “ This is my body.” When we act as though we are divided, we then divide the Body of Christ. All members of Christ’s body are called to labor alongside the oppressed toward the freedom and respect which is promised to all with the coming of the Kingdom. The Lords Supper is but one reminder of our own unity. The Holy Bible repeatedly tells us that the church is also His body. When we break the bread at communion it binds us to one another in peace.
All people are the children of the same god. God is recognizable in the face of every woman, man, and child. Many of these people are still waiting to be recognized, for us to love them, and give them dignity and hope. The book of Ephesians sets forth the manner that ought to characterize Christians as they relate to one another. We have been instructed in the Lords ways: now we must walk in them and learn to live in harmony, unity, peace, and enduring justice for all. The dictionary definition of “enduring” is: to continue in the same state: to remain firm under suffering or misfortune without yielding: to undergo esp. without giving in. Enduring justice, then is to act justly not only when we meet on Sunday morning for worship, but every day and hour outside this church in places we may meet with resistance or people who even despise us and persecute us! We must be willing, as Jesus was, to risk rejection when we are obedient to Christ’s commands and His redemptive mission.
God seeks those who
are willing to go on mission with Him .When we live a life committed to
God’s mission on earth, all adversaries and enemies will become friends:
March 27, 2010 ~ Elder Carrie Culleen
As we come to the table today, I suggest that we take some advice from our Jewish Brothers and Sisters. Jesus invited his disciples to sit with him at the table of the Passover Celebration. At the Seder, the phrase “When we were captives in Egypt” is used. This claim, that we were captives, not our ancestors, but we ourselves, brings God’s miracles out of the past and into our very lives. Jesus himself spoke those words and claimed God’s power in the Exodus for himself and his disciples. We too need to claim, in the body and blood of Christ, the promise of the Passover. That promise is that God comes to us when we are enslaved and frees us. As we come to this table, let us celebrate not only that we are free from slavery, but also that Christ has freed us from sin.
March 14, 2010 ~ Elder Claire Munley
You may or may not
know this; the elders meet once a month on the first Tuesday of the
month. Every other month Pastor Allen presents an educational segment.
I'd like to share a part of the book, THE LAST WEEK, WHAT THE GOSPELS
REALLY TEACH ABOUT JESUS' FINAL DAYS IN JERUSALEM because I think one of
the points made connects communion with the theme the New Worship
Initiative team has chosen for the coming year: BREAKING DOWN BARRIERS.
Let us pray...
Heavenly Father, we thank you for the example of your son, Jesus, who
dined with sinners and outcasts. May this bread and this cup strengthen
in us the determination to follow in his footsteps; that we may truly
become "one in the body of Christ". It is in his name and for his sake
we pray. Amen.
February 14, 2010 ~ Jake Pruitt
We’re focusing today on breaking down walls. We’ve chosen a day which traditionally celebrates love to do it. Martin Luther King Jr. was a believer and proponent of using love to break down walls. I don’t mean to disregard Dr. King’s work as plagiarism, because he certainly was a very smart man who I believe was anointed of God to break down walls. But loving those who hate you was not a new concept in 1950’s America. It was expounded upon by One other great leader anointed to break down walls and free His people.
Jesus said “Love your
enemies, and pray for those who persecute you.” (Matt. 5:44)
Thank God that we have moved past all that!
Or have we?
Thank God we live in a nation where the Bible is no longer used as a weapon!
Or is it?
The bread and the juice are representations of the body and blood of Christ Jesus Who died for me. He died for you all as well, but in my heart of hearts, though we partake together, it’s just me and Jesus. Now that I am able to partake in this blessing each and every week, I don’t know how I lived my life without it. I truly love Pastor’s sermons, but here, at this table each week, we receive an even more tangible reminder of Jesus’ love and sacrifice. No matter what happened the week before, or what I’m dreading in the week ahead, communion is always there to remind me that Christ is always there for me.
It puts me in mind of
all the others who are discriminated against in the worldwide church,
and the people who may not be able to receive communion in other
sanctuaries for a whole host of reasons. Some because they’re
homosexual. Some because they are HIV positive. Some because they
weren’t born in this country. Some simply because they can’t afford a
ride to church or are unable to walk up the stairs. And, yes, even some
because of the color of their skin.
Let’s not forget as we continue in our work here that there will always be someone who feels rejected. There will always be someone who is considered “the enemy” by those around them. Whether it’s due to their race, their sex, their sexual orientation, their HIV status, their income level, where they live, where they work, who they love, how they smell or what they look like. Everyone needs Jesus. Everyone. And right now, someone somewhere needs us to introduce them to Him.
Jesus told us to bless those who persecute us. We should indeed strive to be obedient to His will. Yet I have a challenge to add to that. I think we should not only bless the people who persecute us; we should bless the OTHER people they’re persecuting as well.
There is so much that is new and different in this body right now. All of it is aimed at not only us as a congregation, but at the world outside these walls. There are broken and hurting people all around us who could not only benefit from the love and support of a church family and a relationship with their Lord, but who truly, desperately need it.
As we eat this bread
and drink this cup, let’s not only do it in remembrance of Jesus and His
sacrifice. Let’s do it to remind ourselves of our commitment to tear
down walls and reach everyone with the love of Christ, no matter where
they are physically, emotionally, financially, or spiritually.
December 20, 2009
I have this bracelet,
it reads, “KEEP CHRIST IN CHRISTMAS.” How could we do that? Going back
to the rituals. The daily things we do without thinking. Not really
understanding. Now think about the Christmas Tree. I did some research
and though I did find a Snowman, Snowflake, and Reindeer tree topper. I
found lots of stars and angels. I wonder why? If we keep Christ in
Christmas, the star showed the way and the angel spread the good news.
Think of the bread, the body of Christ as the angel, telling you to come
to the table there is room for you. Think of the juice, the blood of
Christ as the star, showing where to come for all the forgiveness in the
world, never to fade.
December 13, 2009 -- Elder Michelle Brown
Thinking back, we can
compare notes. My mistake was thinking putting presents under the tree
would be fine. When your child starts school, it all changes. Kelly
looked at all the presents under the tree and said “that one has my
name.” I told her we could not open them until Christmas. Every ten
minutes after that she would ask, “Is it Christmas yet?” The torture I
was putting her through, waiting for time to pass. This made me think of
Jesus and his disciples. At the Last Supper Jesus said “one of you would
betray me, and one will deny me.” The torture started. Would it be me? I
wouldn’t do that, would I? Here’s you present, Jesus shared with them
anyway. True Love
December 6, 2009 -- Elder Michelle Brown
Advent, the time to
prepare for Christmas. Who needs it. Busy stores, rude people, and
trying to find that one gift, going to four different stores and still
can’t find it. Who needs it. The “Reason for the Season” Jesus. How many
of us would share our birthday with the whole world? I know I wouldn’t,
but Jesus shares all with us. His birth, his life, his death, and even
prepares a home for us in Heaven. Most things to us become ritual to us,
losing its meaning. We take communion every week to bring Christ into
our lives and make sure he stays with us. It is not just bread and
juice. It is the body and blood of Christ for us.
April 5, 2009 -- Elder Michelle Brown
Why should we come to
this table? I don't know your reason but here is one of mine. I come to
this table for encouragement. God and Jesus work in mysterious ways. I
remember my calling to ministry and Pastor Allen was excited for me.
Then someone said to me, "How can you be a minister with your vision?" I
didn't understand how my vision was a problem. The only thing I can't do
is drive. A group of us were talking and Pastor Allen said, "When I was
in New York we didn't have a car." Jesus sent my encouragement. Driving
does not mean you can or can not be a minister and it does not decide
whether you will be a good minister or not.
April 12, 2009 -- Elder Michelle Brown
Why should we come to
this table? I don't know your reason but here is one of mine. I come to
this table for support. I can remember my first meditation. I was so
nervous. Scott told me "What is there to be nervous about you have to do
it anyway." The whole time I sat up here I thought about it and the next
thing I knew it was over. Then there was the time I did my first solo
preaching. Once again I was nervous and looked over hoping to see Pastor
Allen's face but he wasn't there. Instead Jim looked at me and just
smiled. Jesus works in mysterious ways. I got my support through a
statement and a smile.
2, 2008 – Elder Patty Groetsch
October 5, 2008 ~ World Communion Sunday -- Elder Randy Buckingham
The Communion Meditation October 5 2008
World Communion Sunday
Around the world Christians meet on the
Lord's Day to observe Communion, the Lord's Supper. Every hour
somewhere around the world Christians are celebrating the beautiful
supper left to the Church by Jesus himself. We come to the table from
the North and South, the East and the West. It is a great privilege to
share this meal. While there is no cost to us, the cross is there to
remind us of the great cost to the host. It is the Lord's Table, and all
the people of God are invited to come and feast. It is the table of
unity. God intends all our hearts to be one in Christ. It is sad
that we have made it the table that divides. Keep the supper today and
pray for the unity of the Church. . As you partake of the elements-SNOW
try to think of what it means to be a member of that one great
Church-the people of God in this place and in all places around the
August 28 - Special Worship Service
Meditation ~ Pastor Allen
June 22 ~
Elder Sharon Thomas
~ Elder Sharon Thomas
Sunday, April 27, 2008 - Elder Sharon Thomas
I was at St. Augustine
book sale & the book "One Month To Live" jumped out at me, so I
purchased it. It's by Kerry & Chris Shook. After I began
reading it, I realized I could use it to send Pastor Allen off for his
Renewal Time & adapted it accordingly. Here goes:
Easter Sunday, March 23, 2008 - Elder Michelle Brown
On Maundy Thursday I
shocked twelve disciples. I did not serve one. I felt he was not worthy.
The human facter we judge and don’t mean to. We know it is not our place
but God’s to judge. Jesus sat with his betrayer and denier. He still
served them just like everyone else. He died to let us live. He gave up
His life to forgive us our mistakes. He lives because He lives in us.
Oh, I did serve that disciple.
Sunday, March 16, 2008 - Elder Michelle Brown
Palm Sunday, the
beginning of a journey, knowing the big picture, and still He went
ahead. I wonder if we knew the big picture would we still go ahead.
Jesus knew the end of the story and still he never doubted His love for
us. Take a moment to reflect on the love He has for us and the love we
have for Him.
Sunday, March 9, 2008 - Elder Michelle Brown
After my meditation a
JAMer asked me about Latin Heritage Month. So, here it is Sept. 15-Oct.
15 is National Hispanic Heritage Month. We are all God’s children. God
has never left us though sometimes it is difficult to believe God is
with us. He knows everything and cares for us not just in the moment but
the future. God not only knows but sees the big picture. We only see the
part of the picture in front of us right now. If Jesus can put all His
trust into His father why can’t we. The fear of the unknown is probably
what is holding us back. So open your heart, have faith and believe God
knows all, sees all, and can do all. After all He is God.
Sunday, March 2, 2008 - Elder Michelle Brown
Here is a little
history lesson. We just finished Black History Month. After watching
Nick News with Kelly it got me thinking. Kids like it but some thought
it was just bring back bad memories. During the month they are seen as
human people, however the rest of the year they are seen as the bad
guys, the drug dealers, the robbers. An Asian girl said she wished they
would do that for all cultures. Well, here we go: Jan. is National
Mentoring Month, Feb. is Black History Month, March is National Women’s
History Month, April is Celebrate Diversity Month, May is Asian Pacific
Month, June is Gay and Lesbian Pride Month, Oct. is National Disability
Employment Awareness Month, National Work and Family Month, Polish
American Heritage Month, Italian American Heritage Month, and German
American Heritage Month, Nov. is National American Indian Heritage
Month, and Dec. is Universal Human Rights Month. I don’t know about you
but I never knew any of this. We should know about our history, all of
our history. After all, we are all humans, no one better than another. I
once told a child at the After School Program I don’t see color, I just
see a person in front of me. We are all human no matter skin color.
February 3, 2008 - Elder Albert Betts
In this church we need to have a Saturday work day with Claude. If you can help him on other days, please let him know. What day and what you can do.
Michelle Brown could use help processing the Messenger. We just restarted the After School Program after input from the youth would stated they would like to have it on Saturday and Sunday to fill a void not being used. As adults in this church we need to lend our time and talents. We could sign up if we are musically talented to teach piano or other instruments.
The proficiency tests are coming. We took help with math skills, reading, or what is need to pass this test.
But the one thing we can lend to our youth and senior adults is being a listener. The youth need to have someone to talk to and just be a good listener.
The other day, in the paper in Regina Britt's article was a opening statement that young 17 old teen was expecting her 7th child. She was listening to the older teens who had babies and was following peer pressure. These teens need someone to listen to them and give them proper advise.
As we come to the
table let us lend our time and talent this Lenten time, for others.
From A Former Elder:
If I were still an Elder and had the
honor of presiding at the Table I would talk about the 23rd Psalm...but
only the first two lines: "The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not WANT.
Sunday, December 30, 2007 ~ Elder Michelle Brown
Family is being part of a church. You
walk through the doors and know your safe. You see all the people who
care through smiles and hugs. I heard a story of a boy who associated
candles with birthday. They went to a funeral and the parents sat
towards the back. After the service they lit the four candles around the
coffin and without missing a beat, at the top of his lungs the little
boy sung Happy Birthday. The parents try to stop him. When he was done
the priest said “What a wonderful way to send him home, for today is the
first birthday of his eternal life.” When we are at home everything is
ok. This church has seen me and many of us through hardship. They will
always be there for us no matter what. That is why I am glad Kelly has
such a wonderful family here at Franklin Circle. We all do.
Sunday, December 23, 2007 ~ Elder Michelle Brown
Family usually includes a child. A child
everyone knew about. A child who would grow up to be a wonderful man.
Have followers and worshipers listening to Him. He taught them all to be
kind to everyone, to love everyone, to care for everyone. He gave them
hope and still today He gives us hope. He is the ONLY ONE who can save
you. He is the ONLY ONE who will always care for you. He is the ONLY ONE
who will always love you unconditionally. He is Jesus.
Sunday, December 16, 2007 ~ Elder Michelle Brown
Family includes a mother. After all, we had to come out of someone. We always appreciate our Mom on Mother’s Day but after this meditation that might change. How many times have you thanked God for your mom? Mom’s how many times have you thanked God for your child or children? I wonder why? It is God who puts us together. Mary chose to listen to God and have a child. God gave me to my mom and gave Kelly to me. God knows what He is doing even if we don’t understand. So maybe God is a woman. Always right, knows what’s best, loves us no matter what we do. Sure sounds like a mother to me.
Let us pray: Dear God, thank you for my mom and daughter. Thank you for the green grass, flowers, and even the cold snow. You always do what is best for us even when we don’t know what is best for us. You make everything better. Your love and forgiveness is what will always bond us. Thank you for our time at the family table with you. Amen.
Jesus took a loaf of bread blessed it by giving thanks for it and said "This is my body broken for you, each time you do this remember me.
Jesus took a cup of wine blessed it by giving thanks for it and said "This is my blood shed for your forgiveness, each time you do this remember me.
Sunday, December 9, 2007 ~ Elder Michelle Brown
Family usually includes a father or
stepfather. Joseph was both. The father present yet by blood only a
stepfather. When you think about their really isn’t a difference other
than the title. Joseph accepted Jesus as his own. He raised him and
protected him. Truth is accepting life and dealing with it.
Righteousness is rolling with the punches. Justice is doing what is best
for everyone involved no matter what it may be. Family trees are just
like life big and sometimes confusing but at least we all get to hang
Sunday, December 1, 2007 - Elder Michelle Brown
Family what does that even mean? In the
dictionary family means a group of people related to each other,
including cousins, grandchildren etc. Some families are big and some are
small and some are both. To start a family and not know the out come.
Noah got lucky and took his family on the ark with him. Family to me is
always being there for each other. If one needs something the family
pitches in and tries to help. I got sick this week so my mom told me she
would do the after school program for me but only if I stayed in bed.
Family looks out for each other, takes care of each other. And of
course, share meals together. Join me at the table.
Sunday, October 28, 2007 - Elder Michelle Brown
As a child, we really don’t think. As a
parent, we know the day will come. All will fall short of the Glory of
God. Thank God for forgiveness. We have all made mistakes and asked for
forgiveness. We receive this forgiveness by apologizing, admitting we
were wrong. We can tell God all the good deeds we’ve done and all the
people we’ve helped but what matters most is that we can admit our
mistakes. No one is perfect. The one is perfect died for us and now we
join Him at the family table.
Sunday, October 21, 2007 - Elder Michelle Brown
Blessings is good gifts from God to His
people. We are so blessed and most of the time don’t know it. The little
things that matter go unnoticed. Life is not always good but it all
depends on how you deal with it. I am so blessed because of all of you.
You have touched my life in one way or another. I know I have a second
family and home here. Through my mom God has brought me here and I am so
glad He did. I love teaching my class but they are no longer my class
they are my children. I would do anything for them and that is exactly
what Jesus did for us.
Sunday, October 14, 2007 - Elder Michelle Brown
The recent school
shooting got me thinking. One of a joke: These two men walk into a
church dressed in all black and ski masks. Holding a gun they ask if
anyone is willing to die for Jesus. If not you may leave now. After the
pastor and about 10 people stayed seated the two guys take off the masks
and say “Ok preacher, now you can preach. The second thing was back in
1999. Columbine School shooting happened and in my social studies class
the teacher saw my cross and ask me “If a gun is pointed to your head
and they tell you if you believe in God I will shoot you” what would you
do?” I replied “ Yes, I believe in God.” My teacher said “and now you
are dead. I would lie and say I don’t believe in God so I could live.” I
smiled and said “And if he shoots you anyway at least I will join God in
Heaven. You Got to Have Faith.”
Sunday, April 22 ~ Elder Al Betts
Last Sunday in the Parade (magazine) they had a list of people and what they are paid for their job. The one job no noted, and I believe parenting is the most important and never-ending (job).
Case in point: Several years ago my daughter called me at 5:30 in the morning. I hurried to answer the phone, fearing the worst. She stated, "Sorry, Dad, but I have a problem. Could you tell me how to relight the hot water tank?" I walked her though it. She got it lit and thanked me, and hung up.
Several days later I was at her house for a party. Both of my other daughters sat down to talk to me privately about different issues. I asked my daughter why did she call me when her husband was available. She stated that he gets home from work at 2 a.m. She said that if she woke him, he would be grouchy and unbearable to be around. "I knew if I called you, you would help me." Maybe I would be a little crabby, but I would forgive her because, "You are my father."
As we come to the table, let us remember it does matter how we sometimes forget our Heavenly Father is always there for us.
Also, let us remember at this time to keep the Virginia Tech victims and their loved ones in our prayers, and especially the killers parents.
Sunday, October 7 ~ Elder
Sunday, October ? ~ Patty Groetsch
The only survivor of a shipwreck washed up
on a small, uninhabited island. He prayed feverishly for God to rescue
him, and every day he scanned the horizon for help, but none seemed
forthcoming. Exhausted, he eventually managed to build a little hut out
of driftwood to protect him from the elements, and to store his few
July - Elder Ralph Eyring
August - Elder Leila Streidl
September - Elder Patty Groetsch
October - Elder Ralph Eyring/Elder Randy Buckingham
November - Elder Mary Brogan
December - Elder Patty Groetsch
May 7 - Betsie Zenda
When I look at a patch of dandelions, I see a bunch of weeds that are going to take over my yard. My kids see flowers for Mom, a way to determine if you love butter, something to play Susie had a baby and its head popped off, and blowing white fluff you can wish on.
When I look at an old drunk and he smiles at me, I see a smelly, dirty person who probably wants money and I look away. My kids see someone smiling at them and they smile back.
When I hear music I love, I know I can't carry a tune and don't have much rhythm so I just sit and listen. My kids feel the beat and move to it. They sing out the words. If they don't know them, they make up their own.
When I feel wind on my face, I brace myself against it. I feel it messing up my hair and pulling me back when I walk. My kids close their eyes, spread their arms and fly with it, until they fall to the ground laughing.
When I pray, I’m serious, I use formal words. I ask for healing, assistance, or forgiveness. My kids say, "Hi God! Thanks for my toys and my friends. Please keep the bad dreams away tonight. Sorry, I don't want to go to Heaven yet. I would miss my Mommy and Daddy."
When I see a mud puddle I step around it. I see muddy shoes and dirty carpets. My kids sit in it. They see dams to build, rivers to cross and worms to play with.
I wonder if we are given kids to teach or to learn from?
No wonder God loves the little children!!
Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.
My wish to you.... Mud Puddles and Dandelions… and may God bless this day for you!
Let us pray: Lord, help me
appreciate your beautiful day like my children do. Give me the wisdom to
remember the fun in little things like puddles and “flowers” and to take the
time to interact with, rather than step around, those things. When I have this
communion meal with you today, as you wash away my sins, open my mind to your
will and the joy in your world. Help me remember we are all your children, so
regardless of our chronological age, we can make wishes on dandelions and fly
with the wind, and smile at everyone. Amen.
May 14 - Betsie Zenda
Happy Mothers Day to all the ladies who will be moms someday, to those who are already Moms, and to those who have graduated to be Grandmothers. Earlier this week, I got an email titled Why God Made Moms. I thought it was prefect for today. Someone posed the following questions to children. Their answers are food for thought.
- Why did God make mothers? She's the only one who knows where the scotch tape is. Mostly to clean house. To help us out of there when we were getting born.
- How did God make mothers? He used dirt, just like for the rest of us. Magic, plus super powers, and a lot of stirring. God made my Mom just the same like he made me. He just used bigger parts.
- What ingredients are mothers made of? God makes mothers out of clouds and angel hair and everything nice in the world and one dab of mean. They had to get their start from men's bones. Then they mostly use string I think.
- Why did God give you your mother and not some other Mom? We're related. God knew she likes me a lot more than other people's moms like me.
- What kind of little girl was your Mom? My Mom has always been my Mom and none of that other stuff. I don't know because I wasn't there, but my guess would be pretty bossy. They say she used to be nice.
- What did Mom need to know about Dad before she married him? His last name. She had to know his background. Like is he a crook? Does he get drunk on beer? Does he make at least $800 a year? Did he say NO to drugs and YES to chores?
- Why did your Mom marry your dad? My dad makes the best spaghetti in the world. And my Mom eats a lot. She got too old to do anything else with him. My grandma says that Mom didn't have her thinking cap on.
- Who's the boss at your house? Mom doesn't want to be boss, but she has to because dad's such a goof ball. Mom. You can tell by room inspection. She sees the stuff under the bed. I guess Mom is, but only because she has a lot more to do than dad.
- What's the difference between moms and dads? Moms work at work and work at home, and dads just go to work at work. Moms know how to talk to teachers without scaring them. Dads are taller and stronger, but moms have all the real power 'cause that's who you got to ask if you want to sleep over at your friend's. Moms have magic; they make you feel better without medicine.
- What does your Mom do in her spare time? Mothers don't do spare time. To hear her tell it, she pays bills all day long.
- What would it take to make your Mom perfect? On the inside she's already perfect. Outside, I think some kind of plastic surgery. Diet. You know, her hair. I'd diet, maybe blue.
- If you could change one thing about your Mom, what would it be? She has this weird thing about me keeping my room clean. I'd get rid of that. I'd make my Mom smarter. Then she would know it was my sister who did it and not me. I would like for her to get rid of those invisible eyes on her back.
We chuckle at the humor and wisdom of a child's perspective. But lets go back to the original question Why did God make mothers? Maybe he made moms to find items like scotch tape, missing homework, and car keys. Maybe he made them to cook, clean, and heal. Maybe he made them to act on his behalf for the young, to teach them his words and to forgive their small sins. As we get ready to come to his table today, let us give thanks for all the reasons he created mothers. Let us pray: Dear God, There are so many reasons to thank you for mothers. We do not know what your real purpose was for creating mothers who care for us. But we are grateful. Help us to remember to offer mom words of thanksgiving more often that just Mothers Day. Just as we offer our thoughts and prayers more often to you. As we come to this table today, we are grateful for mothers and for your son, who gave his life for the forgiveness of our sins. Amen.
May 21 - Betsie Zenda
I started this month with two
meditations honoring moms since Mother’s Day is in May. This meditation is also
about parent child relationships. As you listen, parents you will nod because
you have been there with your own children. I want you to think about yourself
as a child of God. Are you old enough to see, understand, and appreciate God’s
May 28 - Betsie Zenda
My meditations this month have
focused on the relationship between parents and children. This one does too, but
its main point is a father teaching his son.
Finally, the day came when the
boy didn't lose his temper at all. He told his father about it and the father
suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to
hold his temper. The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his
father that all the nails were gone. The father took his son by the hand and led
him to the fence. He said, "You have done well, my son, but look at the holes in
the fence. The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they
leave a scar just like this one. You can put a knife in a man and draw it out.
It won't matter how many times you say I'm sorry, the wound is still there.”
At this time of communion, we invite you to the Lord’s Table. Communion is a time to talk with the Lord. Tell him of any times this week when you were more like the young boy in my meditation than you would like to be. Ask for his forgiveness. Let us pray: Dear Lord, Anger can be a hard emotion to overcome. Help me find better ways to deal with my anger. Help me to ask for forgiveness to anyone I have been angry with. While I know that you will grant me forgiveness today at this table, help me forgive myself. We know that you are our father and teacher, Lord. Help us see and learn all the lessons you present and try to teach us in this coming week. Amen.
A few weeks ago Allen mentioned the pillars that support the roof. It reminded me when I was helping Claude during the remodeling of the church, Brian had to remove the steps for the handicap ramp. To see the strong foundations that the church was built on was a sight to behold because they had built it to last until eternity.
Today is Pentecost Sunday, when the disciples were in hiding wondering what was going to happen. Suddenly they were overcome with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in tongues and preaching the Gospel of Jesus. the men on that day gave us a strong foundation on which Christianity was based upon and they were willing to die for their beliefs.
Today we can celebrate a strong physical foundation to worship in and a strong spiritual foundation established by those disciples so long ago. Prayer:
We thank you, God. We ask as we come for communion to remember that Jesus died for us, but also the disciples who died for their beliefs. Amen.
June 11 - Al Betts
Last month we celebrated Mother's Day and there was an article in the Plain Dealer that if Mother's were paid for the job they did, how much money they would receive. Being next Sunday is Father's Day I wonder how much he is worth. Several years ago I found out.
My son, Raymond, his daughter, Katherine (who was about 6), Gary Boska, and I were at an Indian's game. My granddaughter, who was a good reader, kept noticing the ads in the jumbo screen for free food. Of course, she didn't realize you had to sign up for a credit card to receive the food voucher. She said, "Papa Boom, they're giving away free food." Me being one not to miss an opportunity for some fun told her to order to receive the free food one would have to trade in a child.
This is when it is fun, when we realized something she said. "Wait a minute, my daddy is your son. We can trade him in." I asked what she thought we should trade him for. Without a thought, she said, "Cotton candy!" So my son is worth Cotton Candy to his daughter!
As we come to our time of communion we need to reflect on our Father in Heaven and his worth. He is always there when we need him and he's there when we think we don't want or need him. I want to think he's worth more than we can imagine and he gives us his only son to die for our sins.
Thank you, Heavenly Father.
Happy Father’s Day!
Before I begin I just wanted to say that the Communion Meditation is one part of our service that I like. As the word “Meditation” infers, it is something for us to think about, but it is from a different perspective than that of the pastor or the guest preacher. Like the sermons, it is like speaking in tongues: the Meditation may be meaningful to some and not to others. After this week I would encourage you to let our elders know if the Communion Meditation was meaningful to you. Believe it or not, we try our best to make the Meditations meaningful. As in all things, our “best” varies from week to week, but that is taken into consideration along with the feedback in preparing the next Mediation.
A week and a half ago I was privileged to attend the funeral service for Bob Mock. It was a little disconcerting to some of us that no one came up to say anything about Bob after Ted Brogan. I was upset with myself for not saying anything. I let the fact that I didn’t really know Bob as well as I should have after all these years, to get in the way of saying something nice about a nice guy. What I should have said was that the Bob Mock that I did know was the epitome of a “nice guy.” If I did a Google search or looked in the dictionary under “nice guy”, I would expect to find Bob’s picture. I think that it helps to bring recognition to those, who did a good job, just as we pray “Thy will be done, on earth…”. As the prophet Micah said, “…what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8)
Our society likes to portray humble people as “nobodies”, but as Letty M. Russell says in her book Church in the Round, Jesus went around naming the nobodies. He looked at the nobodies. He paid attention to the nobodies. He even had dinner with them. The Church is here to say that even “nobodies” in our society are “somebodies” with God. Communion is our dinner with Jesus. If you would like to have dinner with Jesus, we invite you to take up the emblems and the cups s they are passed, and renew your faith in God. Let us pray:
Dear Lord, thank You for all the nice people You have put in this world, so that we can continually be reminded of Your presence. We pray that You will give us the strength to fight the temptations of our society in the glorification of doing “wrong” under the guise doing “right,” and to especially fight the temptation of our egos to be controlling and judgmental. As we take these emblems and these cups, let the example of Bob Mock ‘s life remind us to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with You. Amen
June 25 - Al Betts
We are approaching the 4th of July. We all know what that means. We celebrate our independence from English Rule. All year long we have various reasons to celebrate certain evens or happenings, that have been established over the years, and made national holidays.
Here in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) we come together to celebrate every Sunday. We celebrate the life of Jesus Christ who sacrificed himself for each of us. We have the Lord's Supper spread before us on the table. A simple meal of bread and wine. However, their meaning for us is not simple.
they remind us of his body and blood, through which we are promised eternal life and forgiveness of our sins. Just as we remember the patriot's sacrifice of life for our freedoms, let us remember Christ's sacrifice of his life that we have forgiveness, and the promise of a better life after death.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, bless this bread and cup as we celebrate this morning, in remembrance of your son. May we be strengthened through them to continue to serve you through his example. We pray in His name, Amen.
July 9 - Ralph Eyring
Prelude to the Meditation: I have the privilege of being able to sit in front of my house each morning with a cup of coffee and the morning paper, and enjoy what I call my "quiet time." From 6 to 8 a.m. there is little activity on W. 130th St. there are cars zipping off to work, but other than that there are a few squirrels scurrying in the oak trees and the deer with their fawn cavorting across the street. It is quite peaceful. We all can't have this, so that is why it is important that we have this part of the service today.
Meditation: Now is the time for each of us to put all our thoughts and concerns aside, and find the time to bring ourselves closer to the peace that can only be found by knowing that Jesus is with us.
Some of us have the time during the busy week to look around and appreciate all of God's goodness. Others have daily routines that are more demanding of our time. We all need these times to reflect on our blessings, or we get caught up in every day concerns that leave us without those peaceful moments that are so necessary to our well being.
How fortunate we are to have this time each Sunday, for those who didn't, to clear your mind and find the peace that comes in knowing that through these emblems of communion, Jesus is reminding us that he is watching over each and every one of us.
Prayer: Dear Father, thank you for the gift of your son, Jesus. We are so in need of his care and guidance in our lives. make us more aware of this in our daily living so that we may know the peace it brings to us. Bless the bread and cup as we receive theme, knowing they are the body and blood of our savior. In his name we pray, Amen.
The scripture is from Mark 10:45
"For the Son of Man also came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom from many."
What does Jesus expect of us, day by day, as we follow Him? Someone has asked, "What would Jesus do?" implying that He would expect us to do what He would do. The answer, of course, lies in what Jesus did when he lived in person on earth. The Apostle Paul says that Jesus "emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, becoming obedient unto death, even death on a cross." This brief statement sums up what Jesus did to bring new hope and life to men. The Lord's Supper is a constant and dramatic reminder of what he did. It would seem that he is saying to us at his table, "This is what I did. What will you, My followers, do?"
'It seems clear, here at the Lord's Table, that we must voluntarily empty ourselves of those desires for things, and the creature comforts which things can provide, and that we must commit ourselves to the role of servants of men in their need. We must give our lives as servants to our brother man even as "The Son of Man also came not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."
Our commitment to the role of servant must be without qualifications or limitations. It must also be beyond the point of no return. The Lord's Supper is for the committed and for those who sincerely seek Christ's Spirit in commitment. The selfish can never be comfortable at this table. Worship at the Lord's Supper demands sacrificial commitment and can never be experienced cheaply.
Let Us Pray:
We come around your table, O Lord, today and each Sunday to commemorate the great sacrifice Christ gave in love for us. Open our hearts and minds to accept the strength you offer to each of us. Help us to remember that when we show our love for others, we are also showing our love for you. Put on our lips the words to witness for you and in our minds the knowledge we need to improve the world around us. Now as we receive the bread and cup representing His body and blood we thank you for the promise of forgiveness and the hope for eternal life. As we go from this table into our neighborhoods and work places, allow us to feel your presence as we live our lives closer to you. In His name we pray, Amen.
As we receive the bread let us remember that it reminds us it was his body broken for you. Likewise, as we drink of the cup it stands for his blood shed for our sins. This do in his name. Amen.
August 13, Leila Streidl
It takes time to be a Christian: time to read and feed upon the matchless words of Jesus which are recorded upon the pages of the Gospels: time to enter into the closet and pray in secret, "with Jesus alone;" time to commune with Him around His table on the Lord's day. So many people get caught in the rush of the world, and the things that are in it, that they find no time to cultivate those spiritual virtues without which it is impossible to live a full Christian Life.
Only as we abide in Christ's word, which is the truth, shall we know that the power which liberates us and makes us free from the things of this world. Only as we spend much time in prayer shall we discover the keys which unlock the doors to the great spiritual warehouses of God's universe. Only as we take time out from a world which rushes on in its pursuit of those things which pass away, to commune with the risen Christ, shall we find ourselves in the company of those who do the will of God and abide forever. Only as we take "time to be holy" to be "whole" rather than spasmodic and fragmentary in our Christian life, will our friends and the world behold Christ's likeness in our conduct. We will never attain unto "wholeness or completeness" in Christian character, until we take time out of the busy life which most of are forced to live, to cultivate the old fashioned Christian graces and the practice of what the great mystics have called "the presence of God."
It is their love of the world which keeps many people away from the worship services of the Church today, and from supporting the Church and Christian causes with their material wealth in a larger measure. The demands of the world are always heavy. When they come first in the life of a church member, the cause of Christ always suffers.
Let us pray:
While the world rushes on, Father, blinded by those things which satisfy only the physical senses, and unheedful of the importance of spiritual values, we would commune with the risen Christ and our Christian friends around this sacred table. May we find something in the fellowship of this sacred hour which will help to dull our love for the world and increase our love for Christ and His cause in the world. Help us to create within our church an atmosphere which will impress people with the abiding value of God's word and free them from the bondage of material things which cannot abide forever. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Bread: Our father, we give thanks for the bread which makes us one with all Christians everywhere. On this he first day of another week we come to the Lord's table to seek strength and guidance for the days which lie ahead. Bless each silent prayer of this communion time. Amen.
Cup: We accept this cup as a symbol of the great sacrifice which Jesus made on the cross, that we might come to know the way, the truth, and the life. Accept the prayers offered in quiet meditation here this day. Amen.
August 20, Leila Streidl
In their last days with Jesus, the Disciples seemed weak and uncertain. Cowardice led one to deny him. the power of darkness led another to betrayal. As for the others, Gethsemane and Golgotha found them falling away when their presence was needed the most. Unfortunately, the Disciples were not able to model for us the traits of strength and self-discipline needed in a critical hour.
Do we display any more self-confidence in our living today? Crime abounds, so we keep our doors shut tight with deadbolt locks. Intent on future security, we shelter insurance policies and heirloom jewelry in safe deposit boxes. We keep our precious bank cards and checkbooks close at hand to fund our latest whims. We are truly creatures who relish security.
Today, when we partake of the bread and cup, let us remember that the Jesus of the Last Supper beckons us to set aside all fear -- even fear of death. Fear drives out our confidence and trust; and without confidence and trust, we lack the necessary building blocks for right relations and faithful living.
We all long for peace -- in our friendships, on the job, and between and among nations. As we come face-to-face with one another around this table, we discover an added dimension to our faith, that in this fellowship is the true condition for peace within ourselves and the world. In this feast we discover the gift of peace, given by our risen Lord. What happens at the Lord's table opens us to God's Spirit of power and love. May this Spirit come alive in us today, to cast out our fear and establish peace.
Let us pray: Almighty God, our Father, as we stand before this communion table we are keenly aware that our deepest need is for your redeeming grace. Help us to see our faults clearly, and to be willing to exchange them for newness of life. As we eat this loaf and drink this cup, teach us to remember that our salvation cannot be obtained through any goodness of our own, but must be accepted as a gift of your free grace, offered to us through Christ our Savior. Amen.
Bread: O Gracious God, as we come to Christ for forgiveness, we all meet at the focal point: the loaf of bread in communion. As we partake of this bread, may we be reminded once again of his words to us, "I am the bread of life." As he shares his life with us, so may we leave this table ready to share his life with others.
Cup: We rejoice in the wonderful ble3ssings that we receive from you, O God. Our lives are continuously filled with your love, even when we don't deserve it. We come asking your forgiveness for the times when we have failed to love others as you have loved us. As we drink this cup, may we go forth knowing that we are forgiven and accepted through the power of the One who first loved us.
November 5 –
November 26 - Mary Brogan