Zion United Church of Christ
|Posted on September 23, 2020 at 11:42 AM|
In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your path. (Proverbs 3:6)
T.S. Eliot wrote, "We shall not cease from exploration and at the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time."
To transfigure vision, it requires faith. Things are constantly changing in our world and things should be constantly changing in our church. As uncertain as change is it has to happen.
I recently read a book that talks about things that are taking place and how you sometimes have to wait or step out of your comfort zone to a world of change. In the story you may recognize, The Wizard of Oz, it refers to Dorothy and how she is picked up, house and all, spinning, whirling as the house and her are taken to another place. You know the story, at first Dorothy is very worried, but as the hours pass she decides to wait calmly and see what the future holds.
Same with us, our hope lies in standing firm in the chaos and waiting calmly with trust in the God who loves us. Change can be scary, but if we step out of our comfort zone and have faith, God will deliver us somewhere amazing. In the midst of everything there is a great God that will heal and guide us. God is providing us with a sacred opportunity, that if we have faith and truly let him lead us, we will end up where we are supposed to be as a person and as a church. God does not want not to do this alone. He wants us to do our part as the disciples He has entrusted us to be.
Like Dorothy, she stepped out on the yellow brick road and so must we. We must tell people about our church. We must make attending church a priority in our lives. We must make working for the church a loving duty in our lives. Why would others want to attend, work and love our church if we aren't doing the same? God doesn't say tell me about it, He says show me. Walk the Walk of Jesus!
I have been privileged to have been on a wonderful journey over the last thirty some years as a minister, and more than that as a human being. I have never known what the future had in store but every time I put my trust in God. I feel I have always ended up where I was supposed to be. Every time I have waited in faithfulness, God has never let me down. It is never easy to move out of ones comfort zone to go in another direction, but God will never let you journey alone.
Whether it is a private journey of faith, or a new path that the church is taking. Have faith in our Lord and Savior. Rely on our God that He will plant us exactly where He wants us to be. Wait in faith and grow in the light of His love.
Yours in Christ, Rev. Walter Coy
|Posted on September 23, 2020 at 11:40 AM|
Me-Centric or Light Reflectors
It is a me-centric world today. Marriages are ruined because one or both partners are focused on their own happiness. Successful men and women are ruined by their own success believing they don't need anyone else's input. Churches lose sight of God's way and follow the outward and inward opinion. And for some, life's troubles are magnified because they believe life is all about them. The Bible is full of me-centric thinkers; so our generation is not alone. If only we could learn to live a God-centric lifestyle, it would free us to live life to the fullest.
When you think of it God raised his Son (Christ) from death and set him on a throne in deep heaven, in charge of running the universe. Everything from the galaxies to governments, no name and no power exempt from his rule. Forever! He is in charge of it all, has the final word. At the center of all this, Christ rules the church. Ephesians 1:20-22
When God looks at the center of the universe, he doesn't look at you or I. Our comfort is not God's priority. If it were, how do we explain death, disease, slumping economies etc.? God does not exist to make a big deal out of us. We exist to make a big deal out of him. It is not about us, it is about HIM.
Just like the moon generates no light, apart from the sun, the moon is nothing more than a pitch black rock. But properly positioned the moons beams, the moon reflects the greater light. You never hear the moon complain. The moon is at peace in her place. So can we be at peace with our place.
Jesus is the light of the world. We are his light reflectors, if we do our job right. Spreading kindness, love, respect, support and happiness to everyone we meet. The world sure needs some light reflectors from Jesus. Our government sure needs some reflecting. The reflecting that should be the easiest can end up being the hardest right here in our own church, and even in our own families.
So I have a question for you. Are you a me-centric or are you at peace in your place reflecting Gods light to the world?
Yours in Christ,
|Posted on September 16, 2020 at 12:52 PM|
Today - adv. 1. On or during the present day. 2. In the present time or age; nowadays. - n 1. The present day. 2. The present time or period.
YESTERDAY IS A CASHED CHECK; tomorrow is a promissory note. Today is cash in hand so use it- invest it. (John Haggai ; How to Win over Worry.)
TIME IS SIGNIFICANT because it is so rare. It is completely irretrievable. You can never repeat it or relive it. There is no such thing as a literal instant replay. That appears only in films. It travels alongside us every day, yet it has eternity wrapped up in it. Although this is true, time often seems relative, doesn't it? For example, two weeks on a vacation is not at all like two weeks on a diet. Ben Franklin said of time," that is the stuff life is made of". Time forms life's building blocks. The philosopher William Jones once said, "The great use of life is to spend it for something that will outlast it." (Lloyd Cory, quote Unquote)
Sometimes when we say to someone, "What time is it?" they will say "three o'clock or "quarter past two." But other times they may say “time to get going" or “time for lunch." For answers like those you don't really need a clock, do you? Or, if you come late to supper or to get into the car to come to church, somebody who has been waiting might just say, "Well, it is about time!" Usually we don't feel very good when they say it then, because they are impatient and have been waiting for us to hurry up and come.
God is interested in time, just as we are In fact God has told us that we only have a certain amount of time. After that it will be all gone and it will be too late to do any more of the things we want to do. We wonder how much of the time God will give us. Nobody knows except God. We need to remember that time is a special gift to us from God. When we look at a clock, we could say, "Well, the hands on the clock just keep going around and round so time never really runs out." But we need to be careful not to think like that, because time does run out. And sometimes the clock will even stop. Then there is no more time.
God has a lot of time, but we don't. The Bible says "for God, one day and a thousand years are the same thing." But for you and me, the clock is running down. God wants us to use our time carefully. Some day we will get surprised. The clock will stop and we will run out of time to do good things for God. In one way that will be wonderful, because then we can go to live with God. But before that happens, we have a lot of work to do, don't we? Don’t leave this earth without saying I love you, please forgive me for that mistake that was made against someone, and don't forget to say a kind word to someone every day. Don't gossip against someone. Don't think that the good or the bad goes unnoticed by God. Remember we all have an animal of good on one shoulder and an animal of evil on the other shoulder. Which of them that survives is the animal you feed the most.
In Christian Faith,
Rev. Walter Coy
|Posted on July 16, 2020 at 10:43 AM|
THE KEEPER OF THE SPRING
The late Peter Marshall, art eloquent speaker and for several years the chaplain of the United Sates Senate, used to love to tell the story of "The Keeper of the Spring,' a quiet forest dweller who lived high above an Austrian village along the eastern slopes of the Alps. The old gentleman had been hired many years ago by a young town council to clear away the debris from the pools of water up in the mountain crevices that fed the lovely spring flowing through their town. With faithful, silent regularity, he patrolled the hills, removed the leaves and branches, and wiped away the silt that would otherwise choke and contaminate the fresh flow of water. By and by, the village became a popular attraction for vacationers. Graceful swans floated along the crystal clear spring, the millwheels of various farmlands were naturally irrigated, and the view from restaurants was picturesque beyond description.
Years passed. One evening the town council met for its semiannual meeting. As they reviewed the budget, one man's eye caught the salary figure being paid to the obscure keeper of the spring. Said the keeper of the purse, "Who is the old man? Why do we keep him on year after year? No one sees him, for all we know the strange ranger of the hills is doing us no good. He isn't necessary any longer!" By a unanimous vote, they dispensed with the old man's services.
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 the sparkling water. One afternoon someone noticed a slight yellowish-brown tint in the spring. A couple days later the water was much darker. Within another week, a slimy film covered sections of the water along the banks and a foul odor was soon detected. The millwheels moved slower, some finally ground to a halt. Swans left as did the tourist. Clammy fingers of disease and sickness reached deeply into the village. Quickly, the embarrassed council called a special meeting. Realizing their gross error in judgment, they hired back the old keeper of the spring and within a few weeks the veritable river of life began to clear up. The wheels started to turn, and new life returned to the hamlet in the Alps once again.
Fanciful though it may be, the story is more than an idle tale. It carries with it a vivid, relevant analogy directly related to the times we live. And the value we place on jobs that may go unseen. The importance of where we place our faith. What the keeper of the spring meant to the village, Christian servants mean to our world. The preserving ray of light may seem feeble and needless but God helps any society that attempts to exist without them! You see, the village without the Keeper of the Spring is a perfect representation of the world system without salt and light.
Yours in Christ,
|Posted on May 13, 2020 at 6:00 PM|
The Christian holiday of Pentecost, which is celebrated fifty days after Easter Sunday, commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and other followers of Jesus Christ while they were in Jerusalem celebrating the Feast of Weeks, as described in the Acts of the Apostles( Acts 2:1-31).
Definition of Success
Jesus redefines success for us. To Jesus, the measure of success has to do with doing God’s will. If we were to compare Jesus’ life with our modern definition of success, he would fall far short. He did not have many earthly possessions. He had no place to lay his head. Many of his friends left him. And yet, Jesus is the definition of a success. He completed the work that God gave him to do. He could say that he accomplished all of the goals set for him. How many people can say that about themselves? Jesus finished the work that God gave him to do. He did not do what others wanted him to do. As hard as they tried, he never let others take his eyes off of the work that God gave him to complete. Jesus did not do what others wanted, but what his Father wanted.
First, Jesus said, “I have revealed you” (V. 6). Jesus’ work included revelation. He revealed who God truly was. He took the world beyond the definition of God given to the people by the religion of his day. He presented God as one who “so loved the world” Jesus said, “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father”. He revealed God’s true character to humankind.
Second, Jesus said, “I gave them the words you gave me” (v. 8). The Word that was made flesh brought the words of God to us. With both authority and compassion, Jesus changed the world with his words. His words instructed, comforted, convicted, and guided.
As he prayed, Jesus was living in the midst of his final work. Ultimately, his final work was completed on the cross when he exclaimed, “It is finished”.
The question arises, what if Jesus had not completed the work that God gave him to do? What if any part of the work had been left unfinished? The significance of that question brings on new meaning when we ask. What are the consequences of tasks that we have left unfinished?
Hope to see you in church soon!
|Posted on April 8, 2020 at 4:29 PM|
An Easter Journey
Every honest person comes to Easter with questions. The unbeliever asks,”Could such a thing happen?” The Christian asks,” Why can’t I live a purer, higher Christian life with the power of the Resurrection available to me?” And many folks come to Easter with disillusionment with modern disciples: “Why don’t church people show more of the power and the presence of the risen Christ?”
We all know the Easter Story. The women’s journey to the tomb. Matthew’s account of the great earthquake. The angel rolled back the heavy door stone of the tomb; and sat on it while the soldiers fainted. The women nearby were told the facts, Jesus has risen: come and see: go and tell. This does raise a question about angels, doesn’t it? Wouldn’t you think if you saw an angel you would believe what he or she told you? But then we have to remember they don’t always have on white gowns with wings and halos. The angels at the tomb where just young men. Mary saw Jesus standing near the tomb and did not recognize Him. Would we? It is understandable because Resurrection is unnatural and unbelievable until you and I actually experience the Resurrection in our own lives. Easter is where in Jesus we receive the power to exchange the old for the new, the dead for the living, the earthly for the heavenly. Easter is where broken dreams and the power of Jesus’ resurrection meet. Easter is where disappointment and angels clash. Easter is where the worst the devil could do is destroyed by the power and love of God.
A Quote from C.S. Lewis “Aim at Heaven, and you’ll get earth thrown in. Aim at earth, and you’ll get neither.”
Today, seek the things that are above. Lift up your hearts and seek the risen Christ.
|Posted on March 31, 2020 at 7:56 PM|
As we are getting closer to Palm Sunday we are reminded of how the people in Jerusalem were hoping that Jesus would bring them the peace that they needed. Jerusalem means”city of peace” or “foundation of peace”. How did the Jewish Leaders respond to the “Triumphal Entry” of the Lord? As they watched the great crowd gather and honor Jesus, the Pharisees were quite sure that Jesus had won the day. Perhaps Jesus would perform a great miracle and in that way capture the minds and the hearts of the restless people. How little they understood the heart and mind of this man called Jesus. As Jesus was coming down the narrow streets of Jerusalem thousands of people were there to cheer him. Throwing their robes on the ground for Jesus to ride over. The crowd was cheering and shouting praises to God. The Pharisees in charge thought it was wrong and told the people to be quiet. Jesus answered them (Luke19:40) I tell you that if you keep the people quiet the stones in the street would cheer. Now of course none of us have ever heard a stone say anything but Jesus knew that the people were not going to stop praising God on such a glorious day. So Palm Sunday is upon us. We will be physically apart and unable to worship together. Are you going to praise God for all that he has blessed us with? Or are you going to expect the stones to do all your cheering?
Yours in Christ
|Posted on March 23, 2020 at 10:01 AM|
Lent is the period of 40 days which comes before Easter in the Christian calendar. Beginning on Ash Wednesday; Lent is a season of self-reflection and preparation before the wonderful event of Easter. By observing the 40 days of this wonderful season; Christians are reminded of the many sacrifices of Jesus Christ. Easter celebrates the resurrection of Jesus after his death on the cross. Christian churches that observe Lent use it for a time for prayer and penance. Here is a story to help remind you to pray frequently during Lent.
The Pretzel is a food commonly associated with the season of Lent for some 1500 years now. There are different versions of the story. A common thread in these stories is that a young monk who lived during the early 600s somewhere between France and Italy was baking unleavened bread; which is a Lenten fasting food. A common posture for prayer for these early Christians was to stand with their arms folded across their chest with each hand touching the opposite shoulder. Some versions of the story say it was accidental, others say it was on purpose; that the monk used some leftover unleavened bread dough to create a shape that we now call a Pretzel. It is also said that the monk used his creation to remind his fellow monks to pray during Lent. He called his creation “little arms” which in German is “Bretzel.” It is also said that the monk used his Bretzel as a reward for the Children saying their prayers. As with the Monks or the Children we need to be reminded at Lent and throughout the year to pray. Our reward is not only the tasty Pretzel but that Easter will come. Our Lord and Savior did conquer death; so YOU can count on Jesus Christ every day of your life! Now go enjoy a delicious Pretzel and don’t forget to pray!
In Christian Faith,
Rev. Walter Coy
|Posted on April 23, 2014 at 2:08 PM|
I recently drove to North Carolina to sit with an old friend during the end times of her life. Connie was an active member of Zoar United Church of Christ where I served as pastor many years ago and I became close friends with her and her entire family. Not too long ago she moved south to live near her daughter and son as she battled cancer.
We are all aware of the difficulties of watching a friend or family member struggle at the end of their life. We want to help in some fashion but the time comes when it seems there is little we can do except be present. However, I believe, there is always something that helps – prayer! Honest and heart-felt prayer brings a sense of peace and calmness, especially when we are in a situation we cannot control. Jesus often went off by himself to pray to gather strength to deal with the next situation in his life.
Prayer isn't magic. We can pray for healing or a miracle – and that is okay – but ultimately life is in God’s hands. Prayer isn't so much about changing a situation as it is about gaining the strength to handle it. Prayer is a faith event. We will not always like or understand the results of our prayers, especially when dealing with illness, but we need to remember that those who are part of God’s family, will always be a part of God’s family – in this life or some future life. In faith we offer prayers to God and then we trust.
One of the positive experiences I had after sitting with my old friend was what happened after I returned. I went on Facebook and asked for prayers. For those of you who do not understand what I am talking about, Facebook is like writing a letter. Only it is done electronically and is received instantaneously, not several days later. A Facebook message goes to everyone who is a Facebook friend.
After I asked for prayers, within a few hours 25 people from all over the country offered their prayer support and many others even made comments of concern. These were close friends, acquaintances, school friends, church friends and family members. It was like a church prayer circle where people are called on the phone to pray, except it is faster and touches more lives.
As we rejoice in the resurrection of our Lord Jesus we also need to rejoice in the fact that when we want to communicate our hopes, dreams, fears and frustrations with the Lord, he is always just a prayer away. May the days of your life be filled with peace and joy and may you always find time for prayer.
|Posted on March 12, 2014 at 2:37 PM|
The Easter season has begun, or as the season is more technically known, Lent is here. So many thoughts come to mind for me as this special time of the year begins. First off, spring is near and for most of us that will be a positive and refreshing change of pace. Before you know it flowers will be bursting forth, the grass will turn green, and the birds will be chirping their joy. Secondly, Daylight savings time has arrived and that can be a psychological boost as we get more sunshine and less darkness.
Every special celebration during the year is also a time of memories. I have vivid memories of dyeing eggs with my mother and sister as Easter approached. Remember the old methods? My mom boiled eggs on the stove top and put vinegar and dye tablets in cups. Then I would put a hard-boiled egg on one of those metal egg holders and dip the egg into my favorite color. I always tried to be creative and dip the egg into several colors, which, of course, resulted in a dark brown egg. I did the same thing year after year hoping the results would be different, but they never were. I also have fond memories of an Easter basket filled with candy. What are your Easter memories?
Ultimately, however, Easter is all about Jesus. With the Lord as our focus, Easter becomes a Holy day. When our focus is on candy, and bunnies, and all of the secular activities, Easter becomes just another holiday. For the next several weeks we need to turn our attention more closely to the teachings of Jesus. This is a good time to ask ourselves questions about our level of faith. Am I closer to the Lord now then I was last Easter? Are my problems weighing me down and am I willing to let Jesus take greater control in my life? When I feel a moment of joy as a result of a faith experience, do I have the courage to share my feelings with someone else?
This is the season of Good News. God sent a son named Jesus into the world to give us a light in the darkness. Although Jesus was crucified by people who didn’t understand him, death and sin were vanquished and the love of God triumphed. Jesus was resurrected and as a result we can be forgiven and our lives can be renewed and we have received the promise of eternal life.
Jesus is alive, yesterday, today and tomorrow! Rejoice and be glad! Praise God from whom all blessings flow!