Zion United Church of Christ

Blog

view:  full / summary

What are you doing with your hyphen?

Posted on June 16, 2022 at 9:45 AM

What are you doing with your hyphen?

Joyce and I attended a Memorial Service for the brother of one of her friends who had died suddenly at the age of 58. The American Legion did a service, since the man was a veteran and in the service was a poem about the hyphen. It was a very vivid illustration about our beginning or our birth, and our ending on earth, our death. Two very important numbers! But even more important was the hyphen between the numbers. How we spent the days between our birth and our death, that is what is very meaningful to us and to God. How we loved and were loved. How we enjoyed others and gave enjoyment to others. Every waking moment during the hyphen did we live…….? I know we were alive, but did we use wisely the life God granted us?

Every new day, no matter how old we become we get a new chance to decide what we will do with the days until we go to meet our Lord and Savior. None of us know how many days that will be, I for one would not want to know, but each new morning as I open my eyes I rejoice that I have been given another day to make a difference in my own life and make a difference in everyone I run into that day. Just think a new day to say I am sorry to someone I have hurt. A new day to start over, with the forgiveness of our Lord and Savior. A new day to become the person I was meant to be.

Start today, when you are finished reading story, write your birth date and birth year on a piece of paper. An example is mine: March 15, 1949 (now put a hyphen after it) March15, 1949- if you are as lucky as I am and there is no ending date after the hyphen then it reaffirms that I am still alive. There is still a chance to LIVE. Be joyful, live, laugh, and love like there is no tomorrow!

WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH YOUR HYPHEN?

 

To the glory of God,

Rev. Walter Coy

 

Tale of Two Wolves

Posted on May 4, 2022 at 10:20 AM

A Cherokee elder was teaching his young grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me," he said to the boy. "It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil- he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, self-doubt and ego. The other is good- he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith. This same fight is going on inside you—and inside every other person, too."

The boy thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?"

The elder simply replied, "The one you feed.”

― Tsalagi Tale

Every year the buds on the trees start blooming. A miracle in itself, if you are willing to notice. Some of us just notice the watering eyes, the sneezing, and stuffiness. But if you notice it is a forgiveness of the winter. The trees lose their leaves, the flowers drop their buds, and everything looks like it is dying. But alas a miracle of spring and everything starts to grow, starts to bud, and start to blossom. What a miracle! But we have to notice what is going on and not just think it is the same old, same old. We look at the world around us and believe all this happens on its own. I know some say it is just science and it happens because of certain things that cycle through time and space. But not me because I believe it is a miracle! It is supposed to be a reminder that life can start anew. So in nature, so in our lives! We can go down that path living and thinking that we are in control that nothing we do matters. We can have what we want when we want and it doesn’t matter. Living for yourself, money, and believing sin today and live again tomorrow. But can we? Is that all life is supposed to be? We can stay home on Sunday and then problems come we turn to God and the church when we are in trouble. What if God and church is there to help you keep your life in tune? What if spring is a new reminder to look at what and who should important in your life? What if it is a reminder to be thankful to our Lord and Savior and the gifts of the people he has given us in our lives? All our lives can be better! God is willing to lead you but you have to ask Him. Blossoms can happen in all our lives. We need to come out of the darkness of evil and go to the light of God.

So read the story at the top of this page again.

WHICH WOLF ARE YOU FEEDING?????????

Yours in Christ,

Rev. Walter Coy

 

The Awesomeness of Easter!

Posted on April 6, 2022 at 1:50 PM

The Paschal candle is one of the most sacred and enduring elements in Christianity. Made of beeswax to represent the purity of Christ, the candle’s wick signifies Christ’s humanity, and the flame His Divine Nature. It is adorned with one or more Christian symbols, often the cross to represent His redemptive sacrifice; the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet - Alpha and Omega – to signify that He is the beginning and the end; symbols of wheat and grapes, or a chalice and host, for the Eucharist - the true presence of Christ and our spiritual strength; the 12 Apostles – witnesses and scribes to the passion, death, resurrection and ascension of Christ; and other symbols such as the Good Shepherd, the Lamb, the Sacred Heart, and the Risen Christ. The Paschal candle remains in the Sanctuary on its special candle stand during the full 50 days of the Easter season, and is lit for liturgical services during that time. After Pentecost the candle will be placed next to the baptismal font. The candle is lit during all baptisms throughout the year, passing the light of Christ to each person baptized, and each catechism class. The candle may also be used at funeral services, and placed next to the casket during a funeral Mass. At funeral services it is a reminder that the sacrament of Baptism is itself a death and resurrection in Christ, and testifies to Christian certainty in the resurrection of the dead and life with Christ in the world to come. With Christianity the word “paschal” took on a new meaning, referring to Our Lord’s passion, death, resurrection, and glorification. These events stand at the center of our faith. God's saving plan for us was accomplished by the redemptive suffering and death of Jesus. His resurrection and glorification are our assurances of eternal life - if we follow His words and His way.

When you next see the Paschal candle in your church, may you too think of its long and sacred past, the death and resurrection of Our Lord which it represents, and the faith, hope and eternal life it means for all of us

We have so much to be thankful for. We have so many wonderful traditions. In this troubled world we live in how can we live without the loving grace of God and His Son Jesus? Even though the journey to the cross was very emotional, is very emotional, it always hits home, to me, all Jesus went through for us! For the forgiveness of our sins and for our salvation. We are sinful by nature and God knew this. Because He knew this He knows we all need grace and a loving Father who will forgive us as long as we are sincere in our hearts as we repent. None of us are worthy but with the Grace of God we are loved and forgiven. With this great gift what does God want from us? Well there are 10 Commandments that would make Him very happy. Following these commandments will also make us live a happier life. God knew it would not be easy but what in life that is worthwhile is easy? So where are you on this Easter journey with the journey to the cross and wonderfully the empty tomb? God has kept his promises to us. Our hope is in Jesus our Savior! Look to the empty cross and tomb. Take into your heart all that Jesus is offering. Come to church on Easter and every Sunday this year; look at the wonderment of our risen Savior. He is Risen Alleluia!

Glory to God in the Highest,

Rev. Walter Coy

 

March 2022 Pastor's Pen

Posted on March 10, 2022 at 1:15 PM

Love is a choice, not a matter of destiny. It is a choice renewed each day!

-Dean Francis Alfar

We are starting into our journey of Lent. Lent is definitely a journey but as humans I sometime get the feeling that we work towards the completion of Lent rather than working on the journey through Lent to change our lives. Jesus’ life was predetermined. He knew what his purpose was and what his end would be. Unfortunately we as humans did not surprise Him. Yet it was the fulfillment of His life that made the difference. It was not only what we were to be given in the end that mattered, as miraculous as that is, it was the journey of lessons He was giving us that mattered so much but sometimes goes right by us. It was the change in our lives He was trying to achieve! As He walked among us we had a chance to see and believe. Now it can be a bit harder because we need to believe to see. We have a forty day journey to remind us to work on us. Even though the journey is about what God has done for us, it can be a preparation for what we can do to honor what has been given to us through grace alone .

Our tradition is usually to give up something for lent. In the end we just replace whatever we gave up with something else. Giving up is teaching us self-control. Maybe it would be better to try to take on something to honor God. Usually if you are taking on something else in your life daily you end up giving up something to fit it in so same end result. But in the long run it changes your life? Have you ever thought about adding something into your life for positive changes? Reading the bible daily, going for a walk or an exercise program, or start back to church. Buy someone a cup of coffee when they need it. Joyce and I love the pay it forward where you pay for the person behind you in line at Duncan Donut or in any fast food drive thru. You are gone before they can thank you. We have had this done to us, the feeling it gives you is wonderful. Remember lent is about God and a chance to get your heart in shape before Easter. The part we all play is to get us in practice for God honoring habits along the way.

If you feel the need to give up something go ahead. I always laugh when I think of my wife Joyce. She does not eat sweets, they don’t agree with her and she has been a vegetarian since 1995. For her to give up any more food would mean she would have only water left! She has always lived by doing things to make herself better tomorrow than she was today. Whatever you end up doing I hope it helps you to find your way closer to God and the Gospel this Lenten season as we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He is waiting for us if we make the journey day by day to prepare our hearts for Him.

Yours in Christ,

Rev. Walter Coy

 

The Story of St. Valentine

Posted on February 16, 2022 at 1:40 PM

Story of St. Valentine

The story of Valentine's Day begins in the third century with an oppressive Roman emperor and a humble Christian Martyr. The emperor was Claudius II. The Christian was Valentinus.

 

Claudius had ordered all Romans to worship twelve gods, and had made it a crime punishable by death to associate with Christians. But Valentinus was dedicated to the ideals of Christ; not even the threat of death could keep him from practicing his beliefs. He was arrested and imprisoned.

 

During the last weeks of Valentinus's life a remarkable thing happened. Seeing that he was a man of learning, the jailer asked whether his daughter, Julia, might be brought to Valentinus for lessons. She had been blind since birth. Julia was a pretty young girl with a quick mind. Valentinus read stories of Rome's history to her. He described the world of nature to her. He taught her arithmetic and told her about God. She saw the world through his eyes, trusted his wisdom, and found comfort in his quiet strength.

 

"Valentinus, does God really hear our prayers?" Julia asked one day.

 

"Yes, my child, He hears each one."

 

"Do you know what I pray for every morning and every night? I pray that I might see. I want so much to see everything you've told me about!"

 

"God does what is best for us if we will only believe in Him," Valentinus said.

 

"Oh, Valentinus, I do believe! I do!" She knelt and grasped his hand.

 

They sat quietly together, each praying. Suddenly there was a brilliant light in the prison cell. Radiant, Julia screamed, "Valentinus, I can see! I can see!"

 

"Praise be to God!" Valentinus exclaimed, and he knelt in prayer.

 

On the eve of his death Valentinus wrote a last note to Julia, urging her to stay close to God. He signed it, "From your Valentine." His sentence was carried out the next day, February 14, 270 A.D., near a gate that was later named Porta Valentini in his memory. He was buried at what is now the Church of Praxedes in Rome. It is said that Julia planted a pink-blossomed

almond tree near his grave. Today, the almond tree remains a symbol of abiding love and friendship. On each February 14, Saint Valentine's Day, messages of affection, love, and devotion are exchanged around the world."

 

Faith, love and devotion. All of these are needed in a human relationship. They are surely needed in a relationship with our Lord and Savior. You can find this story in books, and on the internet. It is very easy to find words of love in cards. You can write letters and say nice things to people you love. Now! Faith is believing in things you cannot touch or see. God answered Julia's prayers. God does what is best for us if we only believe!

 

Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7) May your Valentine's Day be full of love, happiness and know that God does what is best for Us if we only Believe.

 

Yours in Christ,

Rev. Walter Coy

 

January 2022 Pastor's Pen

Posted on January 12, 2022 at 11:20 AM

Well, we have made it through another year. We are all making New Year hopes and wishes. I hope starting to attend church is one of them. If you already attend church l hope one of your wishes is to become more dedicated in your spiritual life and more dedicated to your church life. We start a New Year looking ahead to all the possibilities. It can also be a deep cleansing breath of making it through a tough past year. A year where you felt darkness all around you. A new year can make you believe of a better way, a better year of making smarter choices. Remember there is always hope, always someone to take your hand and lead you out of the darkness. For that to happen you must be willing to step out of the darkness and into the light. Our Lord and Savior never leaves us, it is all of us who let go of his hand and goes their own way. Leaving God behind is never a better way. It may seem like it is easier to go on your own accord, do what you want, whenever you want to. We live in a world where everyone wants to get things now. In the darkness we think there are no rules it is okay to do what you want. Just get in line. Picked from a menu and drive through with our order of what makes us happy today. We may feel good with our order today but tomorrow, next week, next month we may look back and see that our quick order for happiness was not as great as we thought. Only God can make our lives great! Only God can turn our sorrow into peace. We stop listening to God because it isn't easy to follow his rules for our lives. But He knows best. He knows what the future holds. He knows what His plan is for each of us. It is not easy to be patient and let Him lead us. It's not easy to live knowing He knows what we need and it is very rarely what we want. If you are sad, turn to God. If you are lonely ask Jesus to be your companion. If you are in desperate darkness go to the light and Jesus is waiting for you. If your past year was wonderful, great, then don't forget to thank our Lord and Savior for all He has given you. Show Him your gratitude by being a better person. We can all make improvements. Be the best we can be! Be better tomorrow than we were today! With God all things are possible! With God it is easier to endure anything! With God by our side our New Year can be a great. All our wishes may not come true but with God by our side we can be forgiven and our lives can be brighter in this New Year. Start by asking God what l can do to be a better follower of your son Jesus Christ! This New Year can be the difference for all our tomorrows. The year won't be perfect but it will be better with Christ by our side. May the Love, forgiveness, and peace come into your lives this New Year! The difference will be the best experience you will ever know!

Here is a little story for you to enjoy!!!!

The Wise Man

People have been coming to the wise man, complaining about the same problems every time. One day he told them a joke and everyone roared in laughter.

After a couple of minutes, he told them the same joke and only a few of them smiled.

When he told the same joke for the third time no one laughed anymore.

The wise man smiled and said:

“You can’t laugh at the same joke over and over. So why are you always crying about the same problem?”

Moral of the story:

Worrying won’t solve your problems, it’ll just waste your time and energy.

(Dan Western)

 

Happy New Year,

Rev. Walter Coy

 

December Pastor's Pen

Posted on January 12, 2022 at 11:20 AM

“Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1

Believing in what God demands from us, knowing that it is right and true!

As I get older I realize that God knows my heart before my feelings get there. I know that God expects certain things from all of us. There are rules to live by and if you live by those rules your life will be better on earth and magnificent with our God in heaven. So why is there a problem? Why is it so hard for us to follow His rules? Look at all He has done for us. Beauty everywhere we look, possibilities every day of our lives, and a risen Savior to help us on our journey. Here is another Christmas Holiday and the story is the same. Baby Jesus is born in the wonderful journey that God designed. Since none of us were there our faith is needed to believe the story. It is not a perfect story because in comes the devil who infiltrates people and tries to change the outcome. Jesus became our brother to destroy the Devil and the power he holds in our lives and even in death. As humans we take the miracle of the baby Jesus and in comes Santa, shopping for people and anything else that takes away from the true meaning of Christmas. If none of us went into a store this Christmas, the Christmas story, Jesus being born, would still have taken place. I understand the story and how we got to this point from Mary and Joseph traveling to Bethlehem, Jesus being born, the wise men, and all the evil that was taking place all around them. From the moment an angel visited Mary our lives were changing. Jesus’ life from birth to the cross is all about God’s love for us. God knew that we would not be able to handle all that He had blessed us with. He knew our lives would get out of control. He knew if we were to survive we would need redemption. He knew we would not follow His rules we would change them in our human way just like our traditions of Christmas. Jesus became human flesh so He could share in our humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death--- the devil. It is one of the great mysteries of God that the Son of God, Jesus needed to become the Son of Man- human to save us all from the devil and death You can’t look at the birth of Jesus without feeling His brutal death on the cross. Our humanness takes us to the courtyard as we are part of the crowd yelling Crucify him. Now comes in Grace. Who doesn’t need grace in their lives? The grace of God! Grace is an unmerited gift from a giving God. Grace is something we need but we don’t deserve. If we got what we deserved, we would all be lost. But God does not give us what we deserve. He gives us what we need—Grace.

Through our faith and the grace of God we have peace. Peace is not a place it is a state of mind that we only attained through our faith in God. It is not having the storms calm around us it is being at peace in the storm with our God at our side. No peace talks and no political agenda would settle conflicts of the human heart in Jesus’ time or in our present day with all its struggles, religious conflicts, and political disagreements. Only the Prince of Peace can answer our prayers. The answer is clear. God could have created whatever He desired, but He made a deliberate choice. His son was born the way He was because it was part of a divine plan. Who are we to question it?

Joyce and I were in line at Duncan and the car ahead of us had a bumper sticker that read,” When the power of love, overcomes the love of power, there will be Peace.” Well I investigated where this statement came from and you may be surprised to find out it was out of the mouth of Jimi Hendrix. God demands this Christmas as with all other Christmas’s that we stop hating and start loving; stop being a tale bearer and start being a peacemaker. Stop being a lukewarm, compromising Christian take charge of the Grace you have been given and start serving the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind and body. Remember to get your Sunday right! It is Gods day, not ours. Our baby in the manager has grown up. He is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. He will be coming again in the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. This is the real meaning of Christmas. This is the true spirit and the secret of peace and goodwill.

 

May the peace and love of God be with you,

 

Rev. Walter Coy

 

A Short Lesson on Gratitude

Posted on November 11, 2021 at 11:45 AM

A Short Lesson on Gratitude

Today I want to share a short story I found with you about gratitude. We are coming near Thanksgiving and I believe we can never be as thankful as we ought to be.

A blind boy sat on the steps of a building with a hat by his feet. He held up a sign which read, “I am blind, please help.”

There were only a few coins in the hat – spare change from folks as they hurried past.

A man was walking by. He took a few coins from his pocket and dropped them into the hat. He then took the sign, turned it around, and wrote some words. Then he put the sign back in the boy’s hand so that everyone who walked by would see the new words.

Soon the hat began to fill up. A lot more people were giving money to the blind boy.

That afternoon, the man who had changed the sign returned to see how things were. The boy recognized his footsteps and asked, “Were you the one who changed my sign this morning? What did you write?”

The man said, “I only wrote the truth. I said what you said but in a different way.”

I wrote, “Today is a beautiful day, but I cannot see it.” (written by Nick Ortner)

Both signs spoke the truth. But the first sign simply said the boy was blind, while the second sign conveyed to everyone walking by how grateful they should be to see… When your life seems full of troubles, it seems difficult to maintain an attitude of gratitude, doesn’t it? All we see are our problems, like storm cloud casting a dark shadow over our lives. We often don’t realize the wonderful blessings we have and who they have come from.

 

We take every day for granted. We take all our bodily functions like we have earned them. We walk through life like everything is owed to us. Even God owes us! We can never be thankful enough. We can never thank God enough! We live our lives like there is no tomorrow. We expect things to go great and when they don’t we blame God. God knows what we need. We only know what we want! He knows all too well that tomorrow comes quicker than we think.

Look around you. I just lost a very good friend from childhood. Even though his earthly body is gone from me I know he is with our heavenly Father. But I know him and he had plans for many days, years ahead. Isn’t that how we all are? Only God knows our true past. What is in our hearts. Only God knows what lies ahead for each of us. We need to thank our wonderful Savior for everything in our lives, our family lives, our church and the wonderful people in it doing God” work. Look at what you support in life. Is it more important than your relationship with God? If everything in your life doesn’t glorify God you are just wasting a day the Lord has given you. We have another blessing. As we squander the wonderful days of our lives Jesus paid the price for all our sins. He paid it all. To give us a chance to overcome sin, change our lives and be the best, for Him, we can be. God never promises a constant rose garden to live with. God gives us the hope of a better tomorrow. Give thanks to all you are. Give thanks for everything you have, and that includes a wonderful church to give thanks in. This thanksgiving I hope is a reminder to live in the glory of what and who has been given to you.

Dear Lord and Savior of us all. Help us to see that life without you, life without giving thanks is a waste of our tomorrows. Thank you for everything we see and everything we cannot see. In your name we pray. Amen

Blessings and gratitude to all of you,

Rev. Coy

 

September-October Pastor's Pen

Posted on October 14, 2021 at 10:45 AM

There was a man who had four sons. He wanted his sons to learn to not judge things too quickly. So he sent them each on a quest, in turn, go and look at a pear tree that was a great distance away.

The first son went in the winter, the second in the spring, the third in summer, and the youngest son in the fall.

When they had all gone and come back, he called them together to describe what they had seen.

The first son said that the tree was ugly, bent, and twisted.

The second son said no – it was covered with green buds and full of promise.

The third son disagreed, he said it was laden with blossoms that smelled so sweet and looked so beautiful, it was the most graceful thing he had ever seen.

The last son disagreed with all of them; he said it was ripe and drooping with fruit, full of life and fulfillment.

The man then explained to his sons that they were all right, because they had each seen but one season in the tree’s life.

He told them that you cannot judge a tree, or a person, by only one season, and that the essence of who they are – and the pleasure, joy, and love that come from that life – can only be measured at the end, when all the seasons are up.

If you give up when it’s winter, you will miss the promise of your spring, the beauty of your summer, fulfillment of your fall.

Don’t judge a life by one difficult season. Don’t let the pain of one season destroy the joy of all the rest. (Happy Life)

This enjoyable story is so true. After I met Joyce she told me you need to know someone for all the seasons before you think about marriage. She made me wait for an extra year of seasons before she told me she would marry me. For us she was right. We will be married 36 years this October. Through all the seasons of your life, you can find something to be thankful for. You have to look! God brings you through many lessons, some easy and some that are painful. For some reason we remember the hard lessons when our faith is tested. The easy lessons just flow down the river with no waves and we forget to be thankful for that blessing we were given. As a church we do the same thing. We remember the good times when people cared about the church and took time from their week to give thanks to God. Today, with sadness we look at our empty church and see people are too busy. Parents who have other priorities than seeing their children go to church and learn about God; let alone take time to go themselves.

Do you think the world is better off in the season of life we now are in? Do you think that the world is better off with God at the sidelines? What will it take to get back on the path by the tree in the story to realize you cannot skip a season of life? The tree would die without spring before summer or fall before winter. There is a reason for everything. There is a reason God sent his only Son to give us a chance to be forgiven and go on to the next season of our lives. Without God and His Son, Jesus, we are not fulfilling the purpose we are here on earth for. We are heading to the season of fall. This could be the season you were waiting for to recommit to your Savior, your life, and the church. Step into the light and feel the glory God is waiting to give you. Only you can make the choices that will affect all your seasons to come.

 

In Faithfulness,

Rev. Coy

 

Building Your House

Posted on August 12, 2021 at 11:10 AM

Building Your House

An elderly carpenter was ready to retire. He told his employer-contractor of his plans to leave the house-building business to live a more leisurely life with his wife and enjoy his extended family. He would miss the paycheck each week, but he wanted to retire. They could get by.

The contractor was sorry to see his good worker go & asked if he could build just one more house as a personal favor. The carpenter said yes, but over time it was easy to see that his heart was not in his work. He resorted to shoddy workmanship and used inferior materials. It was an unfortunate way to end a dedicated career.

When the carpenter finished his work, his employer came to inspect the house. Then he handed the front-door key to the carpenter and said, “This is your house… my gift to you.”

The carpenter was shocked!

What a shame! If he had only known he was building his own house, he would have done it all so differently.

So it is with us. We build our lives, a day at a time, often putting less than our best into the building. Then, with a shock, we realize we have to live in the house we have built. If we could do it over, we would do it much differently.

This story that I found says it all. What are you doing for your house? Our wonderful God has given us free will hoping we will stay true to the commitment he has made for us and the commitment that we fall short on every day to Him. I think one of the biggest mistakes we make is not believing that Satan is around us every day and underestimating his power. He will keep you in the worldly way and God will lead you in the path of righteousness.

Each day is a new beginning to get back on the right track. God is always waiting for you. Oh we don’t think that little things matter but evil doesn’t take over you in a moment. It slowly takes over your life and makes it a new way of life. And where is GOD? He waits. Oh, skipping church today won’t matter! Or does a new habit start that you build each Sunday you miss? One rumor or a dishonest action won’t matter! Or does it build another weak wall in your house that might someday fall. Oh, the church will be there forever! Will it? It is true God will always be there for you but if you build your walls without His strength, will you return to his side in time before your house falls apart? How are you doing with helping your children learn how to build their house? With God all things are possible!

But, you cannot go back. You are the carpenter, and every day you hammer a nail, place a board, or erect a wall. Someone once said, “Life is a do-it-yourself project.” Your attitude, and the choices you make today, helps build the “house” you will live in tomorrow. Therefore, Build wisely!

Hope to see you in Church!!!!!!

Rev. Coy

 


Rss_feed