Mother Angelica, the spunky Italian nun,once said, “If it wasn’t for people, we could all be holy.” And it’s simply true. Which of us has not thought at one time or another that the path to sainthood would be so much easier if it were not for so-and-so who is a real thorn in our side?Relationships can be messy, fraught with misunderstandings, and at times not infrequent, a real source of anxiety. People can be jerks. They can be entirely insensitive to us and our needs. They can be outrageous with their rudeness or disregard for our wishes. They can annoy us with their grating personalities or frustrate us with their stubborn inflexibility. Grudges can be held. Tempers can flare and hot words can be exchanged.
Sometimes, these slights are perceived—mere misunderstandings manufactured by our minds. Other times, the cruelty and wounds inflicted can be very real and our hurt justified. People are imperfect, and no matter how hard we strive to maintain peace, we will encounter relational strife at one point or another. It is as inevitable as the rising of the sun. That is why it is no exaggeration to say that forgiveness is the condition of all relationship. You simply can’t relate to anyone without having to forgive them to one degree or another, for they will wrong you.
Our Lord was no stranger to strife. Not only was he hunted and persecuted by the religious authorities of his day, culminating in the cruelest rejection of the cross, but he was also scorned and mocked by a great many of the people who should have been his most devoted followers. Moreover, his disciples were constantly bickering about the pettiest things. Though they were grown men, they frequently acted more like quarrelsome children.Despite this constant relational turmoil, Christ forgave with patience and love. Even when He was being hoisted on the cross, He cried out to the Father, begging him to forgive his executioners. His forgiveness, both then and now, was infinite.
Likewise, he taught his disciples to imitate his infinite forgiveness. One of his hardest sayings was the commandment to forgive. Even St. Peter found it hard to swallow. After our Lord taught about the importance of reconciliation with others, Peter came to him and asked about the limit of this forgiveness. “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” he asked. That seemed extreme in his mind, but at least there was a limit to it. But Jesus’ answer was even more extreme, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times” (Matt. 18:21-22).
Saying seventy times seven, in the terms of his day, was equivalent to saying forgive infinitely, without end. That was not what St. Peter wanted to hear. But to reinforce the point, Christ went on to tell the parable of the unforgiving servant, who was forgiven an enormous debt only to demand that he be paid back a much smaller debt. His lack of mercy got him thrown in prison and punished severely. The point was clear: We must give mercy if we want to get it and forgive without condition and without end.
One of the most frequently offered excuses for unforgiveness is that an apology must be extended in order for forgiveness to be given. The conditions for said apology are often unrealistic things like: they must catalog all the wrongs they committed, acknowledge their wickedness in full detail, and express true contrition for each act until the hurt party is fully satisfied.In one sense, the desire for this detailed apology is understandable. We all want satisfaction. But the truth is such apologies are rarely if ever given. And even if they were common, Christ did not leave us a loophole for withholding forgiveness until we get an apology (or any loopholes for that matter). He simply tells us to forgive and to seek reconciliation, even if it is ultimately rejected.Relational brokenness is a fact of existence. The outcome of this brokenness, however, is up to us—it is determined by how we choose to respond to it, for it can make us either bitter or better.
That is not to say that forgiveness is always easy. Depending on the depth of the wound inflicted, it can be extremely difficult and take a great deal of time, effort, and prayer. At times, it can be even be one of the most difficult things we do. Yet, our Lord does not make exceptions on a case by case basis. We must forgive.Forgiveness is so essential that Christ tells us that we will not be forgiven by God if we do not forgive. The degree of mercy we receive is in exact proportion to the amount of mercy we extend. If you want God to forgive you without end, you must forgive without end. Do not expect great compassion if you will not extend it yourself. “As the Lord has forgiven you,” says St. Paul, “so you also must forgive” (Col. 3:13).
We all crave the benefit of the doubt from others. We all want others to forgive us and see the good intentions behind our actions. And we enter the Confession and Absolution expecting full forgiveness and mercy from God for our sins and wickedness. Yet, despite these expectations, we so often judge others severely, hold petty grudges, and think the worst of everyone. It is simply wrong.
Communion isn’t just another word for receiving the Lord’s Supper—though the Lord’s Supper is indeed the fullest expression of communion on earth. Communion means participating in the life of another; sharing in that life so intimately that your happiness is bound up in theirs, that you become part of each other’s existence.As Christians, we are called to communion both horizontally and vertically—with God and with our neighbor. We are called to commune with the Divine life, to share in the life of the Trinity in love. It is a tremendous truth. But it doesn’t end there. We are also call to commune with our neighbor in love. Who is our neighbor? That person right in front of us, no matter how annoying or hurtful they may be.
Unforgiveness is a poison that severs communion. It destroys the very relationships, horizontal and vertical, for which we were made. And that is why we are called to forgive. For just as God restored communion with us by forgiving our sins, we must restore communion with him and with our neighbor by forgiving those who have hurt us.Forgiveness restores communion. It breathes life into what is dead, it restores and heals what is broken. In that sense, it is one of the most holy and God-like things we can do. Let us resolve to always have hearts full of forgiveness, for he who extends great mercy without end will receive it in the same measure.
Treasurer’s Report– Larry Beardsley
As the Treasurer I need to call your attention to a disturbing pattern I have seen in our giving over the summer. Our 2019 budget estimated a need of $3,287 per week to meet our expenses. Since the first of May, we have fallen well behind in our budgeted giving. We had a couple of good Sundays after Labor Day, but as every farmer knows, it takes more than a couple of good showers to end a drought. Unfortunately, our expenses have been close to what we predicted, and we have drawn down our checking account appreciably to meet them. “Winter’s coming”, and if this trend continues, we will have to make some hard decisions as we come closer to the end of the year. As your fall schedules settle down, please look at your giving and consider making up any missed offerings; perhaps, a half a week at a time.
Church Year– Larry Beardsley
The Church Calendar has almost become routine. As in September, October has no specific holidays, and we continue in The Time of the Church, The Season after Pentecost (17th through 20th Sundays). During this time, we study readings that tell us about the nature of the Trinity, Epistle readings that reinforce the role of the church and us as members of Christ’s body.
Our Gospels for the first three Sundays are taken from the Gospel of St. Luke and show Jesus teaching His disciples through direct instruction as well as parables. On the last Sunday, October 27th, Reformation Sunday – our readings remind us of how Luther changed the focus of the church from what we have to do make ourselves acceptable to God to what God has done to redeem us from our sinful nature. It was October 31st, 1517 when Dr. Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses (topics for academic and theological discussion) on the door of All Saints Church in Wittenberg, Germany.
On Reformation Sunday, red vestments and altar paraments are used to celebrate a Festival Day. For the remaining Sundays, altar paraments and vestments are green.
Three Festival days fall in October:
October 18th - St. Luke the Evangelist;
October 23rd – James of Jerusalem, Brother of Jesus and Martyr;
October 28th – St. Simon and St. Jude, Apostles;
Zion Lutheran Cemetery Association
Saturday, September 21st was a Cemetery work day. Dave Swogger, Heath Eshelman and Larry Beardsley brought front end loaders, hammers, saws, trowels and shovels to tend to a number of tasks. We were rained out of last year’s workday, so some of these tasks have been waiting a year to get done. Several graves needed finishing touches put on them; the soil covering the interment had settled and needed a cover of topsoil to level things out. These graves were leveled and seeded, and the fall rains should set a nice start to the grass.
Also, on the list of things to do was finding our cemetery markers. Our cemetery has rows laid out with markers set every 8-feet to define plot boundaries. Over the years these markers have sunk below ground level and when we need to find a plot boundary (especially if it is in mid-December, 18-degrees, three inches of snow on the ground and a 20 mph wind blowing) knowing where these markers are is very important. As we worked our way northward up the west row, we were able to find all of our missing markers. Then, we went prospecting from the center lane to the south.
Using marker # 96 as a reference, we found markers up through #106 – an additional 20 burial plots that we did not know had been laid out! All of these markers were uncovered and brought up to ground level so we can locate them easily – even in a snowstorm! In the older part of the cemetery, one of our Founder’s tombstones was leaning – it had lost all of the mortar holding it in its base. We framed it upright and put a collar of concrete around it to keep it straight.
Last of all, we had several markers that were loose on their bases or were broken and in danger of falling apart. We have some really good epoxy that is made especially for repairing tombstones – so we mixed up a plate full and repaired three monuments that were most in need of attention. There are more to be tended to, but they are not in critical need of repair.
A good clean up was also done around the cemetery. Many memorials left on graves had reached the end of their useful lifetime and had become a distraction. The old American Flags placed for Memorial Day were replaced with fresh flags for the winter. Broken plastic vases and disintegrating Styrofoam wreath forms were removed. This makes it easier for the lawn service to mow and just keeps the cemetery looking nice.
Thanks to Dave, Heath and Larry for battling the heat, humidity and mosquitoes to care for the resting places of the Saints who have been entrusted to Zion’s care as they await Christ’s return.
Greetings to Zion Lutheran Church Family,
I am Joshua Benish and I was installed as Field Worker this past Sunday. I am excited to begin field work here at Zion and to meet all of you as we work together in the Gospel. I am from Tomah, Wisconsin which is in the South-Western side of the state. Here are a few clues for finding the town if you happen to be in Wisconsin: it is about 45 minutes west of Wisconsin Dells and if you stay on I-94, you will come right to it, it is also about 45 minutes from the Mississippi River, and Tomah is where I-94 and I-90 split. I have lived there my whole life with my Mom, Grandma, and Papa. My home church is Good Shepherd Lutheran Church and my home pastor is Rev. David Wurdemann, a recent graduate of CTS Fort Wayne. One thing that Wisconsin is known for are the cheese curds!
I attended Concordia University Wisconsin for my undergraduate studies with a major in Theological Languages and a minor in Philosophy. While at CUW, I met my girlfriend. Her name is Talitha Marshall and she is in her last year at Concordia with a major in English and a minor in Theater. She was a transfer student from Calvin College (which has just recently become a University). Her father is Rev. Robert Marshall, a retired LCMS pastor, and he works for Lutheran Heritage Foundation (LHF). She hopes to be a part of a theater company once she graduates and she also wants to do some editing if she can. She is the most caring, loving, kind, strong, and quick-witted person I have ever met, and I thank God every day for having her be a part of my life. We have been together for about 7 months and it has been the best 7 months of our lives. Keep us in your prayers as we continue in this relationship with the goal of marriage.
I love watching classic comedy movies such as: The Three Stooges, Abbott and Costello, Peter Seller’s Pink Panther (all 6 movies), and Airplane. I also enjoy watching sports; my favorite sport is hockey. My favorite team is the Chicago Blackhawks. I limit my NFL football to only one team: The Green Bay Packers. I would not call myself a die-hard Packer fan, but I watch them about every Sunday. I watch Baseball occasionally, although this year I was able to watch most of the Milwaukee Brewers games. Since I am from Wisconsin, I also pay attention to the Badgers.
Again, I am so excited to be here with you at Zion Lutheran Church and I look forward to working with you and serving you with Pastor at the Altar as we receive His Gifts which He freely gives. This is going to be a fun year and I will see you Sunday!
Joshua Adam Benish
The Finance Committee has finalized the budget for 2020. It has not been officially approved by the Council. That will happen in October. You will receive the final proposal soon. Please review this. The goal is to have any questions and/or concerns addressed before the Voters’ meeting in November. At that point, we should be prepared to vote without a great deal of discussion. It is often more difficult to address concerns at the last minute. So please review this final proposal. Again, if you have any concerns or questions, please see one of the committee members or call or email me: 260-749-1794 email@example.com. Committee members are Larry Beardsley, Phyllis Casselman, Teri Williams, Sandy Bartolin, and Heath Eshelman.
LADIES AID – Linda Hoffman
The ladies of Zion met in September and enjoyed a carry-in lunch. Thanks to everyone who attended. We are excited to celebrate the LWML organization on Sunday, October 6th. Wear purple in church that day to show your support for Lutheran ladies everywhere who work to get the Gospel in all the world. Stay for cupcakes after the service and find out what the Ladies of Zion do and what this support looks like.
The LWML Kendallville Zone Fall Conference will be October 26th at Prince of Peace in Stroh. Registration is $5.00 and Jared, a Comfort Dog from Ft. Wayne will be there! We will join in fellowship with ladies from nearby congregations to worship, lunch, and learn more about the importance of Comfort Dogs for those in need. This all begins at 8:30 am. A carpool will leave from Zion a little after 8:00 am if anyone wants a ride. All are welcome!
Keep those plastic lids coming! It is a small thing to collect plastic lids and drop them off at church, but they will make a big difference! Aside from keeping them out of landfills, they can be melted down, reformed, and repurposed. Most often, our lids become benches for school or park playgrounds, but this month, Collect for a Cause! A young boy near our own community needs chemotherapy. 10 lbs. of plastic lids will buy him one treatment. You collect the clean lids, bring them to church, and we will see they get to the right place to make a big difference to this family! Thank you!
“We’re not afraid to speak the truth that every human life, in and out of the womb, has purpose. We have the greatest (humanly unplanned) true story ever told in a courageous teen mother, a father who chose adoption over abandonment and a child who would become the Savior who changed everything.” – The Radiance Foundation You are invited to attend the Uniting our City for Life Banquet on Monday, Oct. 14th . This event is organized by Allen County Right to Life. We must all continue the fight to end abortion and speak plainly to everyone about the sinfulness of such practice. Human lives are carelessly ended for convenience, and our laws support this. Ryan Bomerger of the Radiance Foundation will be the guest speaker. Call 260-471-1849 for more information, and if you cannot attend, keep these organizations in your prayers.
Gail McKinley is in rehab at Betz Nursing Home, 116 Betz Road, Auburn, IN 46706. Consider sending a card!
Notes from President, Charles Martz:
Zion was very busy with Sunday meetings in September. It’s nice to see everyone attending to get things done. The Mission Board had a meeting Sept. 22 and talked about the Ice Cream Social and a couple other projects.
Scrip – Becky Beardsley
When I wrote this, the September order had not been placed. There will be another opportunity to purchase cards before Christmas. That date will be on the November calendar. We always need a minimum order of $350. The list I give you is only a small portion of what is available. Check out www.scrip.com for more. Think about the things you use on a regular basis and keep those on hand – especially food and gas. Kids and grandkids going back to school love the fast food and gas cards. (I speak from experience!) Please contact me if you need any help. Thanks for your support to Ladies’ Aid.
In Christ, Becky Beardsley
CALENDAR NOTES /EVENTS FOR OCTOBER
OCTOBER 6 – LWML SUNDAY! Wear Purple!!
- CHURCH COUNCIL MEETS 11:00 AM
OCTOBER 26 – LWML FALL CONFERENCE
OCTOBER 27 – ELDERS MEETING – 11:00 AM
Children in Sunday school are learning about the leaders in the Old Testament chosen by God to be judges and kings. Joshua, Deborah, Gideon, Samson, Ruth, Samuel, Saul, and David are all people your child should get to know! Sunday school is at 9:00 am each Sunday and children from age 3 and up are welcome. We will begin working on the Christmas service later this month, so please be sure to come to Sunday school and be a part of it. Let the children come- Matt. 19:14.
THINK YOU’LL MISS SUMMER???
One taste of Zion’s own churned ice cream can bring it right back! Available now for $5 a quart or $10 a gallon!!
LUTHERAN MILITARY VETERANS AND FAMILIES MINISTRIES - Is celebrating their 12th birthday!
You are invited to DINE TO DONATE on October 23rd!!!
GRANITE CITY FOOD & BREWERY will donate 20% of what you pay for your meal and drinks between 11 AM and 10 PM on that day. These funds will help LMVFM to continue providing free counseling and programs to our Veterans, Military Contractors, and their families. Granite City is located at 3809 Coldwater Road in Fort Wayne. Questions?? Call: 260-471-3030