Pastor Koziol - The Dark Days of the World We Live In
I hear at least once a day that the world we live in is in its darkest days. Take a look around, or even just take a cursory glance at news headlines and it is enough to plunge one into anxiety. Mass-killings. Inflamed, hate-filled rhetoric. Mutual mockery. Reveling in perversion. Moral debauchery. Religious persecution. Terrorism. Scandals. These are the defining marks of our age, or so it seems.
And that is not to mention the divided discord of insults and hatred that social media has become. There is so much darkness. It is easy to feel as if it is closing in on all sides. What world will our children grow up in? And what, if anything, are we to do?
Some call for collective retreating, protecting, and rebuilding. Others recommend head on confrontation with evil through protests, marches, and movements. Still others would rather bide their time and do little of anything.
I will not say which route is best. That is up to each Christian to ponder and decide in the light of his conscience. But I will simply share this truth: Every disorder in the world begins in the heart. The chaos and darkness we see in the world today has its origins nowhere else than in the human heart. Should we really be surprised that the world has no peace, when it is so hard for us to find it within ourselves?
I would argue that none of the chaos in the world should surprise us in the least. Scripture speaks frequently of the darkness within breaking forth into the world through sin.
19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander” (Matthew 15:19).
17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:17-21). Here also are but a few other examples: James 4:1-2 and 2 Timothy 3:1-5.
It is safe to say, then, that it is not organizations, media, or governments that are to blame for the world’s ills, but rather unruly passions in the human heart. The evil and violence in the world, the chaos we see breaking out everywhere, begins within each one of us.
Now, it is easy to accept this truth on an abstract level. It is easy to look out at the darkness in the world and begin to place the blame upon others. The truly wicked people, the people committing sins and atrocities, are always everyone else. They are the sinners. They must repent. They must turn from their wicked ways and turn to the truth.
But doing this is misguided at best, and delusional at worst. For does not everyone, even the terrible sinners we blame, believe they are innocent and everyone else is at fault? It is true that not everyone acts on their evil impulses, and thank God for that, but in the words of Apostle John, “if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8). In the first garden, Adam blamed Eve for his sin. Denial of our own fault is not quite, but nearly, the original sin.
Whether we act on it or not, we all have the potential to commit grave evils. Sin lurks within all of us. Our passions constantly war against us, and often we find ourselves doing and saying things that we do not want to do; things that even we do not ourselves understand. We hurt people we love, we gossip and slander, we lust and consume others, we betray, we act selfishly and recklessly, we hate and will not forgive, as if driven by some mad unconscious force. Dark instincts lurk beneath the surface of respectability and conformity, but few of us face this fact—it is simply too painful. We would much rather blame others and absolve ourselves.
Yes, the world is a dark place. But the most practical thing we can do is not vilify and blame others. It is rather to look within our own hearts. For if we do, honestly and unflinchingly, we will often find that the real battle with evil is within.
May we all discover the true meaning of repentance, for it is nothing other than weeping and grieving over our own sins, the darkness and evil within our own hearts. We are all sinners. We are all responsible. May we all cry out, “Lord, have mercy,” in sincerity and truth, for repentance is the only way to peace.
Treasurer’s Report – Larry Beardsley
The bills are paid and a reasonable cash balance is on hand. Summer is a time when typically we do most of our building repairs, so I am standing by for the Trustees to start their projects. (Even though we are remodeling, there is still work to be done on the existing facility).
Our giving for May was down, but so were our expenses. Once again, we are thankful for our faithful members who support our church with their pocketbooks, their presence and their prayers.
The Church Year – June 2019 – Larry Beardsley
This year June is a month with several rapid transitions in the church calendar. The Season of Easter comes to a close as we celebrate the Seventh Sunday of Easter on June 2nd. On Sunday, June 9th, we observe Pentecost Sunday, the day on which the Holy Spirit was sent to the Apostles. On this day the Holy Spirit appeared as tongues of fire on the Apostles and they were given the ability to speak in other languages so that the Gospel could be spread to the Gentile world. Vestments and paraments for Pentecost are red.
Then, on Sunday June 16th, we celebrate Holy Trinity Sunday. Although it is an optional Creed, this is the Sunday on which the Athanasian Creed is used in the church service. The liturgical color for Holy Trinity Sunday is white.
Finally, on June 23 we start the “Sundays after Pentecost”; the Trinity season. This is the season we here at Zion call “the green season” for the color of vestments and paraments.
In the Lectionary, our readings for the Trinity season are identified as “Propers”. Our Lectionary contains Propers 3 through 29 (no – I don’t know what happened to Propers 1 and 2; ask Pastor). Because of the variation in the date of Easter, the start of Lent will vary from year to year, which causes the start of Trinity to vary. (Proper 29 always ends the Church Year). Because of this, it isn’t possible to assign a specific reading to an exact calendar week, so the readings for the Season of the Church are assigned by date. This year we are in the three year Lectionary Series C. The Proper for the first Sunday in Trinity (the second Sunday after Pentecost) is Proper 7. In June we will study Galatians for our Epistle lessons and Luke as our Gospel.
Feasts for June:
June 1st Pentecost Eve
June 11th St. Barnabas, Apostle
June 24th Nativity of St. John the Baptist
June 29th St. Peter and St. Paul, Apostles
Tin Caps News
As has been noted in our weekly news and notes, the annual Lutheran Night for the Tin Caps is Monday, July 22. There will be select concession items, such as hot dogs, popcorn, soft drinks, and pizza slices, for just $1.00 each. There will also be fireworks after the game. This year’s proceeds go to a scholarship fund at Lutheran Life Villages for staff who want to earn their RN licenses. Each ticket is $10.00. Ticket orders need to be in no later than June 23rd. There is no order form, just please put cash or a check (made out to Zion) in my mailbox with the number of tickets you want.
Thanks and Blessings, Becky Beardsley
Are you trying to think of some special way to recognize a birthday, an anniversary or another significant day? One way to do this is to purchase and dedicate the Altar Flowers on a special Sunday. There is a Flower Calendar on the bulletin board in the Fellowship Hall where you can sign up for flowers on any Sunday.
We have a great arrangement with Baker’s Flowers in Kendallville – for $30.00 per Sunday they provide us with an arrangement of fresh flowers for our altar and FREE DELIVERY. There is a form on the calendar to let the secretary know details about flower dedications. Sign up for a Sunday and your occasion will be noted in the bulletin for that Sunday. Simply mark “Flowers” on your special offering to cover the flower expense.
Stewardship – Becky Beardsley
There is a lot going at Zion right now. And thanks to your offerings and pledges we are managing to provide what is needed to keep our building safe and in good condition. And now it’s time to begin planning next year’s budget. I would like the first meeting of the Finance Committee to be around the middle of July. (Look for the date on the July calendar.) I would like one more member for the committee. We only meet about 3 times from July to September and usually after church. Please let me know if you are interested.Thank God for having so many faithful and loving members at Zion who support our church.
CALENDAR NOTES /EVENTS FOR JUNE
JUNE 2 – CHURCH COUNCIL MEETS – 11:00 AM
JUNE 9 – LADIES AID – 11:00 A.M.
JUNE 16 – FATHER’S DAY
JUNE 19 – MAKE ICE CREAM – 11:00 AM
JUNE 20 – ICE CREAM SOCIAL 4:00-7:00 PM
JUNE 23-26 – VBS 5:30 Meal 6:00 Program
JUNE 30 – RENOVATION CELEBRATION 11:00 A.M.
History – The Passing of an Architectural Feature
As we get further along into the remodeling project, we will see the passing of one of Zion’s architectural features that dates back to the 1885 enlargement of the church. In 1885, as far as we can tell from the few records we have, Zion’s congregation enlarged the original rectangular box shaped church to the cross shaped church we have today. (The arms of the cross are called the “transept”, we sit in the “nave” and the altar is located in the “apse or sanctuary”.)
On each side of the transept were doorways. When you parked your buggy or wagon in the area that is now the Fellowship Hall or alongside the road in front of the parsonage, the side doors were convenient entrances. These doors were notable in that the architect who designed the 1885 addition used the peaks of the doors to match the peaks of the stained glass windows. The doors were one piece doors with arched peaks. The east transept doorway went away when the Fellowship Hall was added in the 1970’s. The west transept door remained until the current remodeling project.
As I talk with folks who have been here longer than I, they recall that in the 1970-ish time period, the peaked doors had come to the end of their service lives and had to be replaced. Rather than duplicate the complex carpenter work of the peaks, the tops of the doors were closed in and a plain square door installed. Until just a few weeks ago, the original peak could still be seen as a separate wooden insert above the door. I asked if this arched peak might have been a stained glass or glass window, but it was actually the peak of the door.
For a number of years there have been issues with the west transept door; it would either stick closed or need a chair to hold it closed, depending on the season of the year.
It had been on a “do something one of these days” list for several years and when we looked at the expense of repairing vs. closing the doorway, the decision was made to just close it over.
MISSIONS BOARD – Charles Martz
- The Mission Board would like to remind everyone about the Ice cream Social!! We will make the Ice cream on June 19th at 11.00 AM. The Social will be June 20 from 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM.
- The church remodeling project is going well, but nicer weather would bring faster progress!
- Pastor and Tanner have been doing a fine job and we will miss Tanner very much. Good luck to him and his Vicarage.
- Thank you from Charlie Martz, President
A Celebration luncheon is scheduled for Sunday, June 30th after worship. Rev. Dr. Cameron MacKenzie will be the guest speaker/preacher that day. The entire congregation is invited to attend the Goeglein catered meal – there will be a sign-up sheet at church so we can get them a meal count by June 16th. [However, if you cannot get to that sign-in sheet, please contact the church so we can get you on the list!!] After the meal, Ladies Aid will provide pies to go along with ice cream.
– Children’s Sunday School classes have ended for the summer and will resume on Rally Day in August. However, all families are encouraged to attend the adult classes!!
- The theme of this year’s VBS is Miraculous Mission. VBS will be held from June 23-26 during the hours of 5:30-8:00 P.M. with a meal provided each night. Please plan now so that your children can be a part of this most Miraculous Mission!!