Our Lords’ own words in Holy Scripture begins with the account of creation. God Himself informs us that He pours out His very creativity and handiwork in not only making the world, but also filling it with life and abundance. And on the sixth day of creation, God creates mankind, made in His own image, as the culmination and the crown of His labors. Our Lord’s life-giving, and life-saving words say, “And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good” (Gen. 1:31).
In the creation account, we see that blessing is nothing other than declaring something’s inherent worth and innate goodness. When God blesses creation, He proclaims it “very good.” Likewise, when we bless God, we declare Him goodness itself; the source of all that is, the eternal spring of life and joy.
Within each of us is a desire to be blessed. That is, we long to know that, beyond the accidents of personality or appearance, the core (being made in the image and likeness of God) of our being is good, even very good. We desire someone to tell us that it is good that we exist.
We want—no, we need—to know that we are not mistakes; that though because of sin we are flawed we are not unworthy of love. If we do not receive this blessing, it is deeply painful to us, though this pain often remains unconscious. Without this blessing, we can develop all kinds of harmful and even pathological behaviors in the quest to find the affirmation we crave.
The greatest gift a father can give a child is his blessing. A father is uniquely positioned to grant this blessing, for the moment a child becomes aware of his father’s existence, he/she desires his affirmation, his approval, and his love (just like his mother!).
Fathers bless your children! Clearly communicate to them in your words and by your actions that: “It is good that you exist. Beyond your skills, your performance, or your intelligence, beyond anything that you do, I delight in you. I possess a love for you that cannot be earned, but that flows from the fact that you are loved.”
What life-giving truths! How many of our lives would be different if we had been blessed in such a way? A father’s blessing is communicated beyond words. More often, it is bestowed through the gift of attention, the gift of presence, the gift of listening. It is found in rejecting the fatherly tendency to make our children in our own image; to force them to achieve some distant measure of success; to compel them to become what we failed to be.
“You may not be rich; you may be unable to bequeath any great possessions to your children,” said St. Ambrose, “but one thing you can give them: the heritage of your blessing. And it is better to be blessed than to be rich.”
The crisis of our culture is a culture of fatherhood. Weak, absent, or even abusive fathers are largely responsible for the decay of society, and there is research to prove it. The healing of the culture, then, will only flow from fatherhood truly embraced and lived. It will flow from fathers who bless their children, not only in word but in deed.
Treasurer’s Report – Larry Beardsley
As I write this in late January, I am reminded of what we need to render unto Caesar. IRS tax stuff is done: W-2’s. W-3’s, 1096’s and 1099’s have been prepared and mailed. The Indiana WH-3 has been filed and the differences reconciled. Hopefully I didn’t make any errors that require the submission of MORE FORMS! 2018’s books have been closed and I am getting ready for the annual audit. 2018 closed out well as far as the Treasurer is concerned. As usual, I encourage everyone to remember that even if we don’t have church, we still have bills that come due. Please continue to make up your giving for Sundays that you are not able to attend. I believe that this one habit is an important factor in meeting our adopted budget.
The Church Year – February 2019 – Larry Beardsley
In February our world settles down to the slow nasty days of winter. Clouds, snow, rain, cold and mud (yeah, lots of it) mark our environment with rare days of sunshine to break the monotony. But, even in this season of darkness and clouds, we have the Light of the World before us.
Epiphany is a season of enlightenment, a time when we see that Light. In 2019 we have seven Sundays (plus Transfiguration Sunday) in Epiphany. Epiphany began on Sunday, January 6th and ends on Ash Wednesday, March 6th. Easter falls late this year, making Ash Wednesday late and giving us a long Epiphany season. The word Epiphany itself means an awakening, an enlightenment or a realization – an “ah-ha” moment. During this season we study the life and works of Jesus, looking at specific events and happenings as we become more familiar with His earthly ministry. The color of vestments and paraments for ordinary Sundays in Epiphany is green.
Feasts and Festivals in February
This year February has only two Feasts and Festivals on the church calendar:
2/2 The Purification of Mary and the Presentation of our Lord (White)
2/24 St. Matthias, Apostle (Red)
CALENDAR NOTES /EVENTS FOR FEBRUARY
FEBRUARY 3 – CHURCH COUNCIL MEETS 11:00 AM
FEBRUARY 10 – VOTERS MEETING 11:00 AM
FEBRUARY 13 – LADIES AID EVENT – 6-8 PM
FEBRUARY 24 – ELDERS MEET – 11:00 AM
Building Committee – Lance Hoffman
To the members of Zion from the Building Committee:Glory to God in the highest and peace to his people on earth!
Christmas is over and the Epiphany season is passing fast. Lent and Easter will be here before we know it.The renovation of our church home is approximately halfway finished. The three main buildings are roofed and although some things are temporary until the siding is completed, they look good. The congregation voted on January 13th which stone to put on the sanctuary walls… Cave Stone (B) the one on the right side/pulpit side as you exited was the overwhelming selection. The percentages were 87.5% to 12.5%; so a clear choice was made. The stone has been ordered and should be ready to go on the exterior as soon as the weather allows. Hopefully, in March the weather will allow for preparation work to begin and the goal is to be finished by June 1st.
Money Talk….! In brief, the total project should be covered by the funds that Zion has had for approximately 20 years. The wise and prudent thing to do is try to replace as much of those funds as we can. On February 10th (at the Voters Meeting) we will kick-off the campaign to do just that. Replace what we are spending so in the future Zion will be in a strong financial position when the next major project needs to be done. We want the entire Zion family to engage in and contribute to this endeavor. No contribution is too small…. No contribution is too big. We are raising this money not for the current project, but for the projects of the next generation! Details will be announced at the February 10 Voters Meeting. Please plan to attend!
From President Charles Martz,
I want to thank the Zion Congregation for your great response to our Building Drive. It is great to know the people stand behind improving the church. I thank God for your commitment and all your prayers!
Ladies Aid – Linda Hoffman
There are $449,159 still needed for the LWML to reach its grant goal of $2,075,000. That is very exciting! We are part of something so big, contributing to outreach around the world! We may not be able to train as missionaries, or travel, or translate the Bible, but we have the power of prayer and that very Bible teaches us the power of a mite.
February is Share the Love month at Zion, so bring your cash and coin to put in the jar each Sunday. Together, we can make a big difference!
Hopefully, most of you have recovered from the holidays. However, some of you may still be recovering financially. And as we enter this new year, the church will be asking us for more money on top of our regular giving. Our first thought may be that we just cannot give any more money. However, as stewards of God we manage everything that belongs to God and taking care of our church is a big responsibility. This is not something that is done on one particular day or one particular time of year. And being good stewards is not just about money!
The next voters’ meeting is February 10. The attendance at past meetings has tended to be rather low. There will be a great deal of updating about the building project presented then. You may have questions and concerns about what is going on. So please plan to attend!
- In Christ, Becky Beardsley Sunday School
Students have been studying more deeply about the Christmas story. We know that Christmas has passed, along with Epiphany, but the children worked so hard getting ready for their Christmas service, that now is a good time to reflect on what it all means. For example, although many nativity scenes will include the Wise Men, it seems that their journey to Bethlehem would have taken a year or two. Mary and Joseph would not be living in a stable, but would have been in a house by then. The gifts they brought for toddler Jesus were unusual, but showed His value as revealed to them. Gold – fit for a king. Frankincense – used in worship. Myrrh – used in the preservation of the dead. Jesus: King, High Priest, Redeemer. Be sure to make the commitment for all the children of Zion to attend these important lessons. We look forward to seeing you!