THE 2006 DAILY DEVOTIONAL GUIDE FOR EASTER


  • Meditation #1, April 16: Beth Heller
  • Meditation #2, April 17: Carol Rossbach
  • Meditation #3, April 18: Laura Thompson
  • Meditation #4, April 19: Peter Fenney
  • Meditation #5, April 20: Susan Heyard
  • Meditation #6, April 21: Darlene Milavickas
  • Meditation #7, April 22: Kay Davis
  • Meditation #8, April 23: Dale Jacobs
  • Meditation #9, April 24: Cindy Ferry
  • Meditation #10, April 25: Evelyn Moore
  • Meditation #11, April 26: Howard Dansizen
  • Meditation #12, April 27: Bob Lancashire
  • Meditation #13, April 28: Lorin Beaber
  • Meditation #14, April 29: Betty Tracy
  • Meditation #15, April 30: The Slease Boys
  • Meditation #16, May 1: Blair Woodside
  • Meditation #17, May, 2: Carolyn Elsass
  • Meditation #18, May 3: Jayne Schrader
  • Meditation #19, May 4: Fred Elsass
  • Meditation #20, May 5: Chris Thomas
  • Meditation #21, May 6: Mabel Snyder
  • Meditation #22, May 7: Pastor Sherwindt
  • Meditation #23, May 8: Janice Deibel
  • Meditation #24, May 9: Brian Walters
  • Meditation #25, May 10: Garry Leed
  • Meditation #26, May 11: Roberta Rownd
  • Meditation #27, May 12: The Artenos
  • Meditation #28, May 13: Mabel Kolarik
  • Meditation #29, May 14: Lisa Roman
  • Meditation #30, May 15: Brian Kay
  • Meditation #31, May 16: Julie McCartt
  • Meditation #32, May 17: Shirley Horton
  • Meditation #33, May 18: Mary Gsellman
  • Meditation #34, May 19: Jane Fairman
  • Meditation #35, May 20: Gregg Evanoff
  • Meditation #36, May 21: Suzanne Walters
  • Meditation #37, May 22: Ruth Elsass
  • Meditation #38, May 23: Mike Babich
  • Meditation #39, May 24: Anna Mae LeBeau
  • Meditation #40, May 25: Renee Schrader
  • Meditation #41, May 26: Juanita Bathol
  • Meditation #42, May 27: Chuck Danner
  • Meditation #43, May 28: Flo Jensen
  • Meditation #44, May 29: Steve Ross
  • Meditation #45, May 30: Lorraine Weinman
  • Meditation #46, May 31: Vicki Givler
  • Meditation #47, June 1: Helen Heller
  • Meditation #48, June 2: Debbie Fox
  • Meditation #49, June 3: The Ministry of Being There (author anonymous)
  • Footprints In The Sand

  • Sunday, April 16, Day #1: Beth Heller (Choir and Praise Team)

    SCRIPTURE READING (Psalm 148)


    Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD from the heavens, praise him in the heights!
    Praise him, all his angels, praise him, all his host!
    Praise him, sun and moon, praise him, all you shining stars!
    Praise him, you highest heavens, and you waters above the heavens!
    Let them praise the name of the LORD!
    Praise the LORD from the earth, you sea monsters and all deeps, fire and hail, snow and frost, stormy wind fulfilling his command!
    Mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars!
    Beasts and all cattle, creeping things and flying birds!
    Kings of the earth and all peoples, princes and all rulers of the earth!
    Young men and maidens together, old men and children!
    Let them praise the name of the LORD, for his name alone is exalted; his glory is above earth and heaven. Praise the LORD!

    MEDITATION: There is something inspirational and peaceful about this time of year, when the grass begins to green, the flowers begin to grow, and the spring lambs are born. Usually they arrive unexpectedly and we find them early in the morning, calmly sleeping or even standing beside their mother - all happening naturally, normally, just as it should happen in the peaceful, quiet, generally cool morning. Their arrival gives way to a quiet, reverent calmness.

    It is this quietness and reverence that draws me to worship, especially during the singing of the beautiful hymns which feed my spirit and deepen my faith, and most especially on an Easter morning such as this. It is in the praising through the music, or through the lambs being born, or through the new life of the spring flowers that I feel fulfilled and content. So absolutely! Praise the LORD! For all He does! Not only on this very special day of the Easter season, but for all days and for all seasons.

    PRAYER: Raise us up! Renew our lives! Father of life, we see the light again! We celebrate your love today. Help us feel your presence as you breathe upon us and open our hearts. So many times our eyes have been closed, but today we see the risen Lord in the breaking of the bread, in the singing of joyous hymns, in the fellowship we share among friends and family. Thank you for this morning of hope, thank you for such incredible love. In the glorious name of the Risen Lord we pray. Amen

    He Is Risen! He Is Risen, Indeed. Alleluia!


    Monday, April 17 Day #2: Carol Rossbach (Resident Artist)

    SCRIPTURE READING (PSALM 100)


    Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth.
    Worship the Lord with gladness; come into his presence with singing.
    Know that the Lord is God. It is he that made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
    Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise. Give thanks to him, bless his name.
    For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.

    MEDITATION: I remember learning this Psalm as a child, and as I read it now it seems to contain all the reasons that I go to church. "Worship the Lord with gladness; come into his presence with singing." We are told to worship gladly, which I do, and I have always loved to sing the hymns. I especially enjoy singing with my Zion family. The fellowship of the Zion family is very special to me, and I look forward to sharing it on Sunday in church and Sunday School, as well as Bible study during the week. "Know that the Lord is God." I also come to church to gain strength and wisdom by hearing His Word, which helps me focus on God's purpose for my life. "It is he that made us and we are his people." He created us and we exist for his purpose, not our own, and our primary purpose is to worship him as he has commanded. Every Sunday God forgives my sins when I fail to live as he has commanded.

    I have dealt with shyness all my life and I have tried all kinds of self-help books and meetings, but never seemed to find any confidence. I did not come to church for several years. Then about five years ago I came to Zion. I began to pray to God to help me with my shyness, so that I could go to the church dinners and speak up in Sunday School, and he did! It has been literally a life-changing time for me and I owe it all to God and so I "enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise". I come to church to give "thanks to him and bless his name" for my newfound confidence and all the other blessings he has given me. To do this I participate in as much of the life of the church as I am able.

    The song in our blue worship book called I, the Lord of Sea and Sky inspires me. The refrain says, “Here I am Lord. Is it I Lord? I have heard you calling in the night. I will go Lord, if you lead me." When asked to do anything connected with the church, I say “Here I am, Lord” and I hope that He equips me to do the task, whatever it is.

    "His steadfast love endures forever and his faithfulness to all generations." Attendance at church is one small way I can show God my love and faithfulness. I believe that attendance every Sunday is an important part of making Zion a healthy church. Also, when visitors are here it shows them that we believe it is important to be in God's house.

    PRAYER: Dear Lord, I come to you full of praise and thanksgiving for all that you have done for me. Thank you for the fellowship with my church family at Zion. I am grateful that I can come to you and have my sins forgiven time and time again, for your love never fails. Let me learn to listen to your call and let me always answer “Here I am, Lord. I will go where you lead me.” Help me to remember that life is not about my purpose, but your purpose for me. Help me to find the wisdom to know what it is that you want of me, in Jesus' name. Amen

    He Is Risen! He Is Risen, Indeed. Alleluia!


    Tuesday, April 18, Day #3: Laura Thompson (Council President)

    SCRIPTURE READING (1st Corinthians 15: 1-8)

    "Now I would remind you, brethren, in what terms I preached to you the gospel, which you received, in which you stand, by which you are saved, if you hold it fast…. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me….”

    This text is a pretty complicated passage, even if it is a regular for Easter. Its message is actually quite simple and almost straightforward. In the strongest language possible it confirms that Jesus was raised from the dead. The resurrection is an historical fact, with legally binding consequences for the people of God and the future of the world. The Apostle Paul makes it clear: there are witnesses, a whole lot of witnesses - Peter, the Twelve, five hundred others who knew Jesus during his ministry, and many others who knew him only as the Risen Lord, including Paul, and now us. This is Good News. "O sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done marvelous things!" (Psalm 98:1)

    MEDITATION: When I read Psalm 98, along with 1st Corinthians 15, I am reminded of one of the reasons I come to church. I come to church to express great praise and adoration for the Lord our God. He died for our sins, was raised on the third day and then appeared to the disciples and many others. He stood before them - full of grace and forgiveness, forgiving even those who he had been close to but had betrayed him. What a wonderful thing - to be able to open up your heart and forgive. I come to church to show my love and praise for our God who loves us so much that he forgives our sins, loves us so much that he gave his only son to die for our sins. My favorite hymn, How Great Thou Art, says it all. Let's just take a moment to take in the power and the meaning that come through the words of verse 3: “But when I think that God, His Son not sparing, sent him to die, I scarce can take it in, that on the cross my burden gladly bearing, He bled and died to take away my sin. Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to thee, How great thou art! How great thou art!” That's worth repeating: “Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to thee, How great thou art! How great thou art!”

    Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, thank you for your never-ending love and grace. Teach us to forgive and to act gracefully to others, as Jesus did to those who betrayed him. Help us to express each day our awesome wonder for your never-ending grace. Amen

    He Is Risen! He Is Risen, Indeed. Alleluia!


    Wednesday, April 19, Day #4: J. Peter Fenney (Council Member)

    SCRIPTURE READING (1 PETER 1:1-4)

    "Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To the exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappado'cia, Asia, and Bithyn'ia, chosen and destined by God the Father and sanctified by the Spirit for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy we have been born anew to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and to an inheritance which is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you…."

    MEDITATION: The motivation I have that makes me get up on Sunday morning and often skip breakfast so that I'm not late for church goes back into the dim past. It's a question I haven't asked myself very often if at all. It wasn't hard to drop into a lower gear where my life was initially concerned with boy-things … play and school and my young friends who were an important part of my life.

    Church, those early years, was mostly Sunday School once a week. I seldom had a chance to stay in bed past 7 o'clock because another member of my family had a regular routine including shouting upstairs to make sure I was awake. It usually took a couple of those calls to get me up and out. Then it was just a matter of dressing and heading for the kitchen where my breakfast was waiting. This completed, I was pointed in the right direction that led, some 4-5 blocks away, to the front door of Merriam Park Presbyterian Church.

    Inside I headed for the meeting room and Sunday School. We broke into smaller groups for lessons. There always was a teacher who helped us understand the words we were reading. Those years went by fast and soon I had to face standing in the sanctuary to answer questions before confirmation. The answers were memorized earlier in Sunday school but it still was scary when it came time to repeat the lines in front of parents. During those years my Mother was the force that kept me faithful. That changed after she aged and didn't always walk to church with me. By now I was committed to church and walked rain or snow.

    Then college came and that took me away from Merriam Park Church. The military didn't help my routine, and when I returned home it became a time of busy days run together as work made its demands. Then with marriage, church became essential again because there were young heads that needed to be set straight. Job moves meant my little family became members of at least five Lutheran churches. Often it seemed we didn't stay long enough to make good friends and feel as if church was home.

    Now, retirement gives more free time for Sundays and responsibilities on other days. Friends are always there with a new understanding of my religion and of God's purpose in my life. I'm alone now for the first time in many years, but church remains a major part of my life. For that I thank God!

    PRAYER: Dear Lord, give me the ability to value and use the teachings I was given by my parents, teachers and pastors. Help me continue to understand and adopt the ways taught over the years. I bless you for the grace given to me over the years, and especially for the promise of the life that will be ours in your kingdom. Amen

    He Is Risen! He Is Risen, Indeed. Alleluia!


    Thursday, April 20, Day#5: Susan Heyard (Chancel Guild)

    SCRIPTURE READING (PSALM 111)

    "Praise the LORD! I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart, in the company of the upright, in the congregation. Great are the works of the LORD, studied by all who have pleasure in them. Full of honor and majesty is his work, and his righteousness endures forever. He has caused his wonderful works to be remembered; the LORD is gracious and merciful. He provides food for those who fear him; he is ever mindful of his covenant. He has shown his people the power of his works, in giving them the heritage of the nations. The works of his hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy, they are established forever and ever, to be per-formed with faithfulness and uprightness. He sent redemption to his people; he has commanded his covenant forever. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; a good understanding have all those who practice it. His praise endures forever!"

    MEDITATION: My reasons for coming to church have changed as I have grown older and have a deeper understanding of the Word. When I was very young there was no excuse for not attending church and Sunday school every week. Of course, I can remember that my grandmother's mink stole made a very soft pillow for napping during the sermon when I was six or seven. I had perfect attendance in Sunday school with the help of Mom and Dad getting me here every week. Attending Catechism classes on Saturday mornings was a way of life in Junior High School.

    After confirmation I became more active in church. I was Secretary and then President of Luther League. This was a wonderful time for fellowship and activities. One of the events that we all enjoyed was the paper drives. This was a lot of fun and rewarding as we would go door to door in North Canton collecting papers and magazines. WE would often tell the people about Zion and its activities. Teaching Sunday school class for 3 and 4 years olds still to this day amazes me. It was surprising that in spreading the Good News to this age group that they would remember from week to week what they had learned. About this same time I was pianist and organist for our Luther League choir and also the Junior Youth Choir. I was very active in Girl Scouts growing up and I received the God-Home-Country Award in 1968. This was an award that dealt with Scouting along with your church life.

    It was an honor to be asked to serve on Altar Guild. I am still active in Chancel Guild (as we are now called) having served as Directress for eight years, and I also serve as the Flower Chairperson. My favorite saying is “Lord, help me to remember that nothing can happen today that together you and I can't handle.” In talking with God every day, I have developed an inner peace where my daily life is involved (especially at work). I know that the Lord will provide and take care of me. I receive this reassurance every week at worship and through his body and blood.

    PRAYER: God, help me to remember that all depends on your graciousness. Thank you for all you provide. Amen

    He Is Risen! He Is Risen, Indeed. Alleluia!


    Friday, April 21, Day#6: Darlene Milavickas (Choir & Praise Team)

    SCRIPTURE READING (1st CORINTHIANS 15: 51-57, 58)

    “Lo! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable nature must put on the imperishable, and this mortal nature must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: 'Death is swallowed up in victory.' 'O death, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting?' The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

    MEDITATION: I know that Jesus' dying on the cross for me has made it possible for death to become a victory. I have always been around death and dying. It is something I have thought of often, but these verses have meant more to me since being diagnosed with cancer. It is very frightening to me, but I know that Jesus is always here with me, giving me the strength and peace to battle anything. Attending church service makes me feel closer to Jesus.

    Church has always been a large and important part of my life from childhood. My parents always brought us to church and Sunday school. My grandparents also had an influence on my attending church. Being on the farm with them, they were always showing us how we were to be thankful to God for all He provides: the weather to grow the crops, the animals for food, and so much more. Going to church was one of their ways of thanking God. As I grew older I could see that doing things in the church was a great way of thanking and serving God for me, too. I have always felt blessed with many opportunities to serve God. As a Radiation therapist I feel I'm serving and doing God's work each day. But the greatest feeling is when I attend church service and even more when I am involved in the service. Verse 58 has had a profound effect on how I have lived my daily life. “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”

    PRAYER: God, we thank you for giving us your Son, so He could give us victory over death and take the sting of death away for us. Help us remember that this is what Easter is all about. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen

    He Is Risen! He Is Risen, Indeed. Alleluia!


    Saturday, April 22, Day#7: Kay Davis (Chancel Guild)

    SCRIPTURE READING (PSALM 136: 1-9)

    O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.
    O give thanks to the God of gods, for his steadfast love endures forever.
    O give thanks to the Lord of lords, for his steadfast love endures forever;
    to him who alone does great wonders, for his steadfast love endures forever;
    to him who by understanding made the heavens, for his steadfast love endures forever;
    to him who spread out the earth upon the waters, for his steadfast love endures forever;
    to him who made the great lights, for his steadfast love endures forever;
    the sun to rule over the day, for his steadfast love endures forever;
    the moon and stars to rule over the night, for his steadfast love endures forever…

    MEDITATION: I find it very rewarding to attend Church. I love to give thanks to the Lord for being raised a Christian, for attending Sunday School at a young age, and for knowing that Jesus Loves Me regardless of age. This is a truth that the Bible tells me. It is a truth that my many experiences through life have affirmed. It is a truth that proves true even in the shadow of death. "Jesus loves me! This I know, for the Bible tells me so. Little ones to him belong; they are weak but He is strong! Yes, Jesus love me! Yes, Jesus loves me! Yes, Jesus loves me! The Bible tells me so."

    I know and have seen the wonders of this great earth that God has made. Steadfast love endures with old and new friends. The source of this steadfast love can be seen with the sun ruling over the day and the moon and stars at night. Because of God's great and steadfast love, it is my heartfelt desire and steadfast commitment that with each day of my life I will display the fruit of the Spirit, which is "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control." (Galatians 3:20) With the support of my friends at church, through the joy of the worship we share, and by listening to the Pastor's message, I know that God's steadfast love is with me, surrounding me always, and providing the things that will sustain my faith for another week.

    PRAYER: Heavenly Father, we thank you for the countless blessings you have bestowed upon us. We praise you for the warmth of friendship. As we become aware of the needs of others, may we strive to show love and concern, knowing that each of us can make a difference in someone's life. Amen

    Jesus loves me still today … walking with me on my way,
    Wanting as a friend to give … light and love to all who live.
    Yes, Jesus loves me! Yes, Jesus loves me! Yes, Jesus loves me! The Bible tells me so.

    He Is Risen! He Is Risen, Indeed. Alleluia!


    Sunday, April 23, Day #8: Dale Jacobs (Choir and Praise Team)

    SCRIPTURE READING (PSALM 98: 4-9)

    Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises!
    Sing praises to the LORD with the lyre, with the lyre and the sound of melody!
    With trumpets and the sound of the horn make a joyful noise before the King, the LORD!
    Let the sea roar, and all that fills it; the world and those who dwell in it!
    Let the floods clap their hands; let the hills sing for joy together before the LORD, for he comes to judge the earth;
    He will judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with equity.

    MEDITATION: My favorite days of the week are Wednesdays and Sundays. Choir and Praise Team rehearsal are on Wednesday, and, of course, we worship and sing on Sunday. The opportunity to raise my voice in praise to God is priceless. However, it is not the only joy that draws me to Zion. My brothers and sisters in Christ are the real draw. I cannot begin to explain how much their friendship, fellowship, generosity, and genuine unconditional love mean to me. It is God's grace with a human face. My greatest victory is - and continues to be - knowing that when I make a joyful noise, when I roar and fill the air, it makes a difference in people's lives, if only for a moment.

    PRAYER: Heavenly Father, when we gather for worship to praise you, inspire us to sing for joy together, in Jesus' name. Amen

    When in our music God is glorified,
    and adoration leaves no room for pride.
    It is as though the whole creation cried, "Alleluia!"

    How often, making music, we have found
    a new dimension in the world of sound,
    as worship moved us to a more profound, "Alleluia!"

    Let ev'ry instrument be tuned for praise!
    Let all rejoice who have a voice to raise!
    And may God give us faith to sing always. "Alleluia!"
    [With One Voice, #802]

    He Is Risen! He Is Risen, Indeed. Alleluia!


    Monday, April 24, Day#9: Cindy Ferry (Council Member)

    SCRIPTURE READING (JOHN 14: 1-7)

    "Let not your hearts be troubled; believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And when I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way where I am going." Thomas said to him, "Lord, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?" Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also; henceforth you know him and have seen him."

    MEDITATION: I can't imagine a life without my faith. It's knowing that - whether it's an awesome day or the most awful of days - you have someone that's always there and loves you in spite of your shortcomings. It's coming to Church to worship and say thank you for the many blessings that we've been given each and every day. It's caring for the Lord's house and spreading the Good News to those who may be unaware until the time when we're called to our heavenly home.

    Why do I go the church? John 14 says it best. "Let not your hearts be troubled…." These are words we hear at the gravesite when mourning the loss of loved ones. They are words Jesus shared with his friends to let them know that, while he was going away to be with the Father in heaven, he would continue to be with us here on earth. It's a mystery, and a comfort. Christ is everywhere, and right here. God's love is so great that it extends to the whole world, and it is so good that it embraces me, with all of my cares, my struggles, my strengths, the people I love, the hopes I hold dear.

    PRAYER: Lord, we don't want to wait until we're called home to find out about this Good News. Help us to know you as the way to true life. Help us to share this Good News with everyone who needs to feel your love embracing them every day, in Jesus' name. Amen

    He Is Risen! He Is Risen, Indeed. Alleluia!


    Tuesday, April 25, Day#10: Evelyn Moore (Chancel Guild)

    SCRIPTURE READING (PHILIPPIANS 4: 4-7, 8, 11-13)

    “Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I say Rejoice! Let all peoples know of your forbearance. The Lord is at hand. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your heart and minds in Christ Jesus.

    “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things…..
    “I have learned, in whatever state I am, to be content…. I have learned the secret of facing plenty … and want. I can do all things in him who strengthens me.”

    MEDITATION: I became a member of Zion when my parents joined along with my three brothers about 75 years ago. Zion has been my home church ever since. I was confirmed here, and Larry and I were married here. Our daughter Susan and our son Tim were baptized, confirmed and married here at Zion. Susan is still a member. My mother was a great inspiration in my life. She made sure we attended Sunday School and Worship Service every Sunday. She taught us to respect our church, God's house, and to live by the Ten Commandments. I taught Sunday School for 45 years.

    It was an honor and privilege to be asked to serve Zion as Church Office Secretary when Ruth Storch resigned and moved away. I served in that capacity over 15 years - resigning both from teaching and as secretary to take care of my father who was ill. Gert Meyer, still a member and a dear friend, worked with me two days a week, as we published and mailed a newsletter every week to over 325 families - mimeographing, folding and stapling by hand! During my time as Secretary, our church family and our Pastor trained seminary students by preparing them for the ministry. My, how our office has changed.

    I have been a member of Chancel Guild over forty years and served as Directress. Larry and I enjoy working with a great team of volunteers for Zion's Food Pantry. We enjoy knowing that we are helping and serving others. We attend Worship Services on Saturday evening. I come to grow in grace, sing praises to God, listen to the lessons and sermon, serve in whatever way I can, and take Holy Communion with our friends and members, where I am reminded that God is loving, caring and forgiving. My favorite Bible verse is Philippians 4:13, which reads, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” God is faithful to each of us and gives us new strength and blessings each and every day, and guides and directs us to do things pleasing to Him.

    PRAYER: Kind heavenly Father, thank you for the courage, blessings and strength you give to us, and for your love for us in all our comings and goings; in Jesus' name. Amen

    He Is Risen! He Is Risen, Indeed. Alleluia!


    Wednesday, April 26, Day #11: Howard Dansizen (Zion's Web-Master)

    Wednesday, April 26, Day #11: Howard Dansizen (Zion's Web-Master)

    SCRIPTURE READING (PSALM 9: 7-11)

    But the LORD sits enthroned forever, he has established his throne for judgment,
    and he judges the world with righteousness; he judges the peoples with equity.
    The LORD is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.
    And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you.
    Sing praises to the LORD, who dwells in ZION! Tell all the nations of his deeds!

    MEDITATION: What a great passage from Scripture. What Good News of God, and for us. "Sing praises to the Lord, who dwells here at Zion." I find it very calming and peaceful to come to church. I enjoy the sense of community and belonging. I believe that God reigns over his entire universe. He is fatherly toward all who become children of his through Jesus Christ. As Paul writes, “Yet for us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live.”(1 Corinthians 8:6)

    PRAYER: “O Father, give us the humility which realizes its ignorance, admits its mistakes, recognizes its need, welcomes advice, accepts rebuke. Help us always to praise rather that to criticize, to sympathize rather than to discourage, to build rather than to destroy, and to think of people at their best rather than at their worst. This we ask for thy name's sake. (Prayer of William Barclay, 20th century theologian and scholar)

    He Is Risen! He Is Risen, Indeed. Alleluia!


    Thursday, April 27, Day#12: Bob Lancashire (Council Member)

    SCRIPTURE READING (JOHN 15: 12-17)

    "This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no man than this: that a man lay down his life for his friends…. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide; so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. This I command you, to love one another."

    MEDITATION: Christ directs us to love each other as He loved us. His example is that of laying down His life for us. The fact is that we did not choose Him, but He chose us. He called us to produce the fruit of love. When we need help and ask in His name, God will supply what we need. My parents had taken me to church before I could walk. I was an acolyte from ages twelve through seventeen. I learned about God's covenant in the Old Testament. After the loss of my brother and then my father, I had trouble believing that God was with me. I was helped by the church family through those difficult times, but still did not accept that this was evidence of God at work. I was on my own. When I met and married Linda, I believed that we made a contract to love and to cherish each other. Then, Linda's parents, who had become very much my own loving parents many times over, passed on. Grief took its toll again. I was back on my own, and believed that God was not with me.

    A number of years ago, Lutheran Marriage Encounter came around, and God joined Linda, my best friend, and me in a special covenant relationship of mutual support. We learned how creating a covenant is God's desire for marriage. It was only then that I discovered what a covenant relationship is, how it works, and what happiness God had blessed me with. Our marriage was a covenant of love, blessed in the presence of God and sealed with a pledge of faithfulness, not a contract guaranteed under penalty of law. Through my growth in understanding our covenant, and through increasing involvement in Lutheran Marriage Encounter, the joy we have shared, both with ourselves and with others, has exceeded all hopes and dreams. There is strength in knowing we are loved by God because of the covenant God made with us in Christ. Christ's relationship with the church is the model for our relationship in marriage. I have taken heart in Paul's words in Ephesians 5:32, where he compares our love in marriage to Christ's love for the church. That's where I found the need, not only to attend church but to become an active part of the mystery, where God's love teaches us how to love.

    PRAYER: Dear Lord, because you loved us, we can love one another. Your love is the source and the model of true and lasting love. We thank you for the faithfulness with which you pledge your love and your life, and we ask that, through your grace and power, we may learn to live this love with the heart of a servant; in Jesus' name. Amen

    He Is Risen! He Is Risen, Indeed. Alleluia!


    Friday, April 28, Day#13: Lorin Beaber (Council Member)

    SCRIPTURE READING (ISAIAH 40: 28-31)

    Have you not known? Have you not heard?
    The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.
    He does not faint or grow weary, his understanding is unsearchable.
    He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength.
    Even the young shall grow weary and faint,
    and young men do on occasion fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength,
    they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and never grow faint."

    MEDITATION: It seems so obvious that everyone should know it, but not everyone does. Sometimes I forget during the course of living my life. We all do. As a parent, we want our children to know that the Lord is God. That's why I come to church.

    Personally, I come to be renewed in strength and spirit through the body and blood of Jesus Christ. Socially, I want to be in the company of fellow believers to refresh my mind, knowing that others want and need the same feelings of friendship and fellowship.

    As a parent, I want be a good example for our children. I want to raise them under the watchful eye of the Lord, to give them a baseline that they can always return to should they become lost later in life. As a believer, I want to grow in Christian love and maturity so that I can be a better disciple and evangelist, leading others to Christ.

    I come to thank the Lord and praise Him for all that He gives us each and every day, and especially for sending His Son to die for our sins so that we should have eternal life through His grace.

    PRAYER: What a great day we look forward to, when we shall run and not be weary, when we shall walk and never grow faint. Help us to know that strength today. Let the presence of your Spirit fill us, guide us, use us, and shape us to know and do your will. This we ask in Jesus' name. Amen

    He Is Risen! He Is Risen, Indeed. Alleluia!


    Saturday, April 29, Day#14: Betty Tracy (Chancel Guild)

    SCRIPTURE READING (JOSHUA 24: 1, 3, 5, 13-15)

    Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel at Shechem, and summoned the elders, the heads, the judges, and the officers; and they presented themselves before God. And Joshua said to all the people, “Thus says the Lord the God of Israel, 'I took your father Abraham from beyond the River and led him through all the land of Canaan…. I sent Moses and Aaron, and I plagued Egypt, and brought you out…. I gave you a land on which you had not labored, and cities which you had not built….' Now therefore fear the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and in faithful-ness…. And if you be unwilling to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the people in whose land you dwell; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

    MEDITATION: My brother who lives in Nevada calls me often, and usually he gets my recorded message. There's always the question, “Where were you, at the church again?” Well Yes! The church has been my whole life since childhood. Our father was a Methodist minister and we didn't have a choice but to attend church as a family.

    My brother's response is, “I had enough of church growing up.” No matter how I try to witness to him he doesn't think it's necessary to be faithful at worship and actively involved. Well, I do!

    Gratitude to God for His love, for sacrificing His own Son for the forgiveness of my sins, is reason enough for attending worship. But there is more. I need to be strengthened by the Word through Pastor's sermon, to be renewed and forgiven in the sacrament of Holy Communion. The meaningful words of praise, thankfulness and comfort found in the hymns and choir selections are all special and uplifting to me.

    To be in God's house of worship, to draw nearer to Him and fellow believers gives me a sense of belonging and sharing the Good News. We share the Good News by serving in the many activities of the church and community as we have time and ability. So, may I and all members remain steadfast and faithful in the word and worship.

    PRAYER: Precious Father, may your Holy Spirit continue to guide and direct the lives of our families and church members so that your saving grace will be known to all. Amen

    He Is Risen! He Is Risen, Indeed. Alleluia!


    Sunday, April 30, Day#15: Wayne & Matt Slease (Praise Team)

    SCRIPTURE READING (PSALM 150)

    Praise the LORD! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty firmament!
    Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his exceeding greatness!
    Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp!
    Praise him with timbrel and dance; praise him with strings and pipe!

    MEDITATION: (The first word from Wayne) Since joining Zion's choir in 1968, and recently joining the Praise Team, I have truly found a way to praise the Lord that makes me happy! I found out a long time ago that when you turn your life over to God, it makes things so much easier. Through the years, I have lost both of my parents, my father-in-law, and, at one time, my job. The constant stabilizing forces through all of these trials were my family and my church. Most of my friends are members here at Zion. I have always loved church activities, especially choir practice, youth activities, and teaching Sunday school. When you have forces like these in your life, you feel like no matter what, it's fun to go to church because worship is a very real reminder that everything is going to be okay.

    Praise him with sounding cymbals;
    praise him with loud clashing cymbals!
    Let everything that breathes praise the LORD! Praise the LORD!

    MEDITATION: (The last word from Matt) Being a member of the Praise Team has given me a sense of fitting in and having a purpose here at Zion. It gives me a chance to participate in the worship service by helping to provide a very important part of worship - music! All of us on the Praise Team have our own unique way of praising God through voice and instruments. Music has always been an important part of my life and I'm thankful I can contribute to our contemporary service. It's good to see how the congre-gation has been so receptive to this new way of worship for us. Through serving as an acolyte, participating in Sunday school, and being a member of our Bible Bowl teams, I've been able to get to know many members of Zion. Being a member of the Praise Team has been a great way to worship God and enjoy playing music at the same time!

    PRAYER: “Let everything that breathes praise the LORD! Praise the LORD!” Amen

    He Is Risen! He Is Risen, Indeed. Alleluia!


    Monday, May 1, Day #16: Blair Woodside (Longtime Member)

    SCRIPTURE READING (PSALM 100)

    Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands.
    Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing.
    Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that has made us, and not we ourselves.
    We are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
    Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise:
    Be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
    For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endures to all generations.

    MEDITATION: The year was 1927. That was the year that “Lucky Lindy” made his solo flight from New York to Paris and became the most famous man in the world. My parents and my younger brother and I had recently moved into a rental house on 3rd Street SE in Canton, Ohio directly across the street from the Mennonite Mission Church. My parents regarded themselves as Christians but had no church affiliation. I had been baptized as an infant because I was critically ill and my mother feared for my salvation. Each night my brother and I prayed the Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep prayer, but that was pretty much the extent of our religious activity.

    Soon after “Lucky Lindy” made his famous flight, the Mennonite Church across the street opened their doors for Vacation Bible School and most of the kids in the neighbor-hood took advantage of the opportunity to learn about Jesus. As an almost seven year old child I experienced one of those famous “mountain top” experiences and became a devoted follower of Jesus Christ. That same year my cousin, to whom I was quite close, became ill and died from “infantile paralysis”. He was buried with a Lutheran burial service and shortly thereafter my entire family - Parents, Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, etc. - took instruction from Pastor O. C. Mees and joined Martin Luther Lutheran Church on Walnut Avenue NE, and the rest is history.

    My wife, Marjorie, who was raised in the Roman Catholic discipline became Lutheran shortly after our marriage and we transferred our membership to Zion after moving to North Canton and soon after the new facility here on Lindy Lane was completed in 1960. We were active members for many years and made many friends in the congregation. Sunday morning worship was central to our family's activities and we seldom missed a worship service until my wife's tragic accident almost fourteen years ago. [Marge suffered a fall in her home, which severed her spinal chord and has left her paralyzed from the neck down ever since.]

    As I approach my eighty-sixth birthday anniversary, I realize that eighty years have passed since I had that “mountain top” experience at that little Mennonite church in Canton and what my association with my Savior through the church has meant to me and my family as well as my church family. Incidentally, the Psalm at the beginning of this brief meditation was one which I was required to commit to memory during Vacation Bible School during the summer of 1927.

    I would like to conclude this meditation with a direct quote from a “mountain top” sermon delivered by Pastor Sherwindt on July 23, 2002. “This is what Paul writes in 1st Corinthians 12:27. 'Now you are the Body of Christ, and individually membranes of it.' Claim the life, and live it, not for your own good alone, but for the good of the whole body, through which the mind of Christ and the power of the Spirit turn individuals destined for death into membranes infused with the gift of God's eternal life, which is ours as we dedicate our lives to His service, a sacrifice of praise, which we offer … in Jesus' name." Amen

    He Is Risen! He Is Risen, Indeed. Alleluia!


    Tuesday, May 2, Day #17: Carolyn Elsass (Chancel Guild)

    SCRIPTURE READING (COLOSSIANS 1: 2-5a, 9-14)

    "Grace to you and peace from God our Father. We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love which you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven.

    "And from the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, to lead a life worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the dominion of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins."

    MEDITATION: I have always enjoyed coming to church to worship among fellow parishioners. Over the years I recited the Apostles' Creed, mostly by rote, not really thinking about the meaning of the words. Somehow, the phrase communion of the saints seemed like a non-Protestant term, which I didn't concern myself with. What a surprise I had when I studied the Apostles' Creed and found that communion of saints was exactly what I had been doing all these years on Sunday! Saint is a New Testament word for Christian believer, and communion is an intimate spiritual relationship. What a warm and wonderful feeling it is to sit in church with fellow Christians and share in the sacraments - and in the singing, and the praying, all of it, truly, holy communion.

    PRAYER: Lord, help all of us to glory in this joining of saints every Sunday, instilling in us a special feeling of togetherness in worship. Let your blessing touch each one of us, especially our church family; in Jesus' name. Amen

    He Is Risen! He Is Risen, Indeed. Alleluia!


    Wednesday, May 3, Day #18: Jayne Schrader (Council Secretary)

    SCRIPTURE READING (PSALM 119: 1-5, 10, 12-18)

    Blessed are they whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the LORD!
    Blessed are those who keep his testimonies, who seek him with their whole heart, who also do no wrong, but walk in his ways!
    Thou hast commanded thy precepts to be kept diligently.
    O that my ways may be steadfast in keeping thy statutes!
    With my whole heart I seek thee; let me not wander from thy commandments!
    Blessed be thou, O LORD; teach me thy statutes!
    With my lips I declare all the ordinances of thy mouth.
    In the way of thy testimonies I delight as much as in all riches.
    I will meditate on thy precepts, and fix my eyes on thy ways.
    I will delight in thy statutes; I will not forget thy word.
    Deal bountifully with thy servant, that I may live and observe thy word.
    Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.

    MEDITATION: "Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law." I have been a Lutheran all of my life, and a member of Zion for thirty-eight years. I was married here, and my children were baptized and confirmed here, and my father's funeral was here. During that time I have met many people that I feel are a part of my extended family. Being an active member and watching my children grow up and become active members of the congregation has given me great joy.

    My faith has been nurtured and continues to grow, not only from gaining more knowledge about God from the sermons and scripture lessons, but also from attending Sunday School, from enjoying the enthusiasm of the Praise Team, and especially from walking into the Sanctuary on Sunday and seeing all of the familiar faces that are Zion's family and mine.

    I once read that faith is not a means of getting man's will done in heaven; it is the means of getting God's will done on earth. I think that that is exactly right. "I will delight in thy statutes; I will not forget thy word." It is because of my faith that I want to be at worship. I want to learn about God's will and about God's love. I want to give God glory and honor and thanks for all He has given me, especially for the gift of His Son.

    PRAYER: Dear Heavenly Father, I place my faith in you and thank you for your faithfulness to me. Amen

    He Is Risen! He Is Risen, Indeed. Alleluia!


    Thursday, May 4, Day #19: Fred Elsass (The Men of Zion)

    SCRIPTURE READING (EXODUS 20: 1-11)

    And God spoke all these words, saying, "I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Therefore, you shall have no other gods before me; for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.

    You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.
    Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work; but the seventh day is a sabbath to the LORD your God; in it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your manservant, or your maidservant, or your cattle, or the sojourner who is within your gates; for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day and hallowed it….

    MEDITATION: Yesterday's Scripture reading said it well. My delight is in the law of the Lord. I meditate on the Lord's precepts, and I will not forget God's commandments. Today's Scripture reading focuses on the Third Commandment, remembering the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. This Scripture says that God labored six days to create the earth, the seas, heaven and everything visible and invisible. He rested on the seventh day and made it holy. He hallowed this day, which means he set it apart for a day or time for worship.

    I'd like to ask you a question. Why is it, do you think, that we worship on Sunday, when the Jewish people took Saturday to be their Sabbath day of worship? Christians changed the Sabbath day to Sunday because that is the day that God raised Jesus from the dead, turning the death of our Lord on Good Friday into the promise of new life for all people. This Resurrection Day is the day God hallowed in Christ. It is the day we set aside to remember the new creation, when in Christ, God made all things new.

    That said, let me just say that when I come to worship and associate with fellow Christians on the Sabbath day, it gives me spiritual strength and religious understanding. I then have the personal feeling that I am in God's house. This enables me to walk in the light of the Lord with a living faith in Jesus my Savior.

    PRAYER: Most gracious Lord, I thank you for the blessings you have bestowed upon me. I thank you for your unselfish love and for the gift of life. I thank you for the right use of my mind, and for my freedom to worship you because of the sacrifice you made for me through Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray. Amen

    He Is Risen! He Is Risen, Indeed. Alleluia!


    Friday, May 5, Day #20: Chris Thomas (The Men of Zion)

    SCRIPTURE (COLOSSIANS 2: 6-10)

    “As therefore you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so live in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.
    “See to it that no one makes a prey of you by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the universe, and not according to Christ.
    “For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have come to fullness of life in him, who is the head of all rule and authority.”

    MEDITATION: There has never been anyone like Jesus. For starters, Jesus was not conceived in the womb of his mother through natural means. He was supernaturally conceived in the womb of the young virgin named Mary. Because of his supernatural conception, Jesus, who is wholly God, also became wholly human.

    Though Jesus is God, he chose to lay aside the privileges of His deity to live on earth as a man. The Bible, describing the sacrifice Christ made in becoming a man, says that Jesus made himself nothing, he took the humble position of a servant and appeared in human form. And in human form he obediently humbled himself even further by dying a criminal's death on a cross. Since he loved me so much that he gave his life for me, I feel like I should find ways to give my life - my time, my talents, and my treasures - for him.

    It is extremely important to note that Jesus did not cease to be God when he came to earth. He simply set aside his divine privileges and walked the earth as a man. In doing so, he was personally able to experience the gamut of human emotions, ranging from happiness to deep sorrow. He felt what it was like to be tired, cold and hungry.

    Moreover, he came to this earth with a clear objective in mind: to bridge that gap between us and God. He's done that for me, and that's why I come to church to worship. I come to offer my thanks. I come to offer my prayers. I come to offer my praise.

    PRAYER: Lord Jesus, you gave up everything - your seat in heaven, your privileges on earth, even your very life - to show how much God loves us. Help us to find ways to give our lives - our time, our talents, our treasures - in response. We pray in your precious name. Amen

    He Is Risen! He Is Risen, Indeed. Alleluia!


    Saturday, May 6, Day #21: Mabel Synder (Choir Member)

    SCRIPTURE READING (Psalm 105:1-4)

    Give thanks to the Lord, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done.
    Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wonderful acts.
    Glory to his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.
    Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.

    MEDITATION: When I was young we would always attend Church. We went even when the weather was bad. Things were not as easy in those days. My parents made it a point to even go to Lenten services. Before I was confirmed I used to baby sit my brother and two sisters. When we got a new pastor, Pastor Rempe, there was no choir in the church; so he started a Junior Choir with children from 9 to 14. I was not quite old enough to start then, but I did start when I was 10. My older sister started with the first ones. I started soon after with my younger sisters and brother.

    Back then, people would stay in the choir until they graduated and moved away; so they had high school members in the Junior Choir. We would take the horse and buggy to go to practice on Saturday afternoons. I also went to Catechism class by horse and buggy. My older sister would take me. I continued to sing in the choir, except when I was working second shift and could not get there. As long as I can remember, I always wanted to go to church every Sunday. If I was unable to go to church I just didn't feel right for the whole week. When we went on trips we would look up a church to go to the local church. Sometimes it was not Lutheran, but it was church.

    Throughout the years I have been involved in all sorts of different things in the church. I was Sunday School Treasurer. I was President of the Women of the Church. I felt that there were other people who could do some of these jobs better than I, so I made room for them to get involved. I taught the second nursery class for a long time, and I am still singing in the choir. I was a member of the Altar Guild for quite a long time. I give thanks to God that he has given me a voice that I can sing in the choir. I give thanks to God for all that He has equipped me to do. It is for the praise of the Lord and all his benefits that I have continued to come to church and sing his praise all these years.

    PRAYER: Dear Lord, help me that I can continue to be a part of your church as long as I live. Help me that I may be an influence on others to see that it is right to worship every Sunday. Help others to see their own need of Thy message each and every week. For all your blessings we thank Thee, in Jesus' name. Amen

    He Is Risen! He Is Risen, Indeed. Alleluia!


    Sunday, May 7, Day #22: Mark Sherwindt (Zion's Pastor)

    SCRIPTURE READING (JOHN 10: 11-15)

    "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He who is a hireling and not a shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hireling and cares nothing for the sheep. I am the good shepherd; I know my own and my own know me, as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep."

    MEDITATION: Many know that the name Sherwindt is Jewish, with immigrant grandparents who traveled to New York from the little village of Schirwindt, just outside of Konigsberg, Germany. My mother was Lutheran, and my father, Jewish. The texts for Good Shepherd Sunday have always elicited deep reverence, flowing from the two-fold sources of that rich tradition of our Judeo-Christian heritage. The Great Shepherd of Israel, the Good Shepherd in Jesus, who became more than just a shepherd, but the lamb of God as well: images abound that tie the God of Israel and the Church of Christ together in the mysteries of love, liberation, and salvation.

    One image that has been seared into my soul is the austere sight of what was once the historic concentration camp known as Dachau, right outside of Munich in southern Germany. All of us know well the wonderful feelings of assurance that are inspired by images of the Lord's being the Shepherd described in the 23rd Psalm. Dachau turned this image upside down and inside out, reminding me of another well known image, the lamb of God that was silently led to its slaughter in Isaiah 53. There on the grounds of Dachau I saw what Isaiah meant, "like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth."

    Dachau was quiet on the day that Marilyn and I stood on its grounds. We were struck by how close it was to bustling downtown of Munich; yet, it was too silent even back then, when, as Elie Wiesel describes it through his personal story in Night, eyes could see, but none heard the cries of "the little faces of children, whose bodies I saw turned into wreaths of smoke beneath a silent blue sky." We come to church for many reasons. I come to church to remember things I must never forget, to remember the sin that stains my soul, the sin that stains our world. I come to church to remember the price of arrogance, to see the gentle love of the lamb of God who gave his life for me, for us.

    PRAYER: Lord, give us the courage to remember, the humility to repent, and the boldness to rejoice in the Good News that you have given your life in death so that we might see true love and, through your power, learn to live it … in Jesus' Name. Amen

    He Is Risen! He Is Risen, Indeed. Alleluia!


    Monday, May 8, Day #23: Jan Deibel (Daughter of Zion)

    SCRIPTURE READING (PSALM 66: 1-4)

    Make a joyful noise unto God, all you lands:
    Sing of his glorious name!
    Tell the world how wonderful he is.
    How awe-inspiring are your deeds, O God!
    How great your power!
    No wonder your enemies surrender!
    All the earth shall worship you and sing of your glories.

    MEDITATION: “Make a joyful noise unto God….” You'll note here, it says a joyful NOISE. It doesn't say you have to be able to sing like an opera star, or even a rock star. Just open your mouth and make a joyful noise. This is one of the parts of worship that draws me in every time. I love to sing. I love to sing loud! Yes, as I get older, my notes are not always right on pitch, but I still love to sing - loud! Yes, some folks with hearing aids do not like to sit in front of me. Sometimes children turn around and stare. But I still continue with my joyful noise. Why, you might ask? Because this is the way I enjoy expressing my love for the Lord. Hey, he commissions me to do this. It's proven in the verses above…right?!

    Many authors, inspired by God, have written Bible verse into song. Some of the “old Lutheran songs” are my favorites, because they are staid and true - like faith. Yes, like many of you, I am resistant to change. I like the old words. They remind me of my childhood church experiences. They draw me in. They draw me closer to God. The Church's One foundation is Jesus Christ her Lord; Built on a Rock, the Church Doth Stand: these are great testimonies to a church, a body of believers, held together by Christ who died for each one of us. This is a great message, and deserves to be declared … in song … and loudly!!

    So when you are in church, listen to the sermon, pray, and MAKE A JOYFUL NOISE! PRAISE HIM! Let others know you are not afraid to commit to Jesus by singing His praises. He will bless you for your efforts!

    PRAYER: Dear Lord, our Heavenly Father, thank you for many ways to express our love for you! We can witness, pray, and make a joyful noise! You have given us so much. You have given us your Son, who suffered to save us from eternal damnation. Help us all to believe, and to express praise to you every day! We love you Lord! Amen!

    He Is Risen! He Is Risen, Indeed. Alleluia!


    Tuesday, May 9, Day #24: Brian Walters (Choir & Praise Team)

    SCRIPTURE READING (MATTHEW 5: 14-16)

    Jesus said, "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven."

    MEDITATION: Ever since I was a small boy, my father and grandfather taught me that God gives each of us special talents, and it is a sin not to use these talents to glorify Him. It was often discussed by my father that he wasted his special gifts that God had given him, and he did not want me to do the same.

    I suppose it has been this underlying lesson that has always driven me to develop, learn, and use whatever special talents God has given me to help bring others closer to God. That is why my dedication to giving of my time and abilities, whether singing, painting, designing, or building keeps me coming back to church to try and do God's will.

    Singing praises to God is not just the literal act of vocalizing; it is reaching out to others in ways to help them see the great things that God can do in their lives if they dedicate the time and effort to do His will.

    We all have special talents to help one another in so many ways. Let your light shine for others to see, and by doing so, you will help others find their way to the Lord.

    PRAYER: Take my life that I may be consecrated, Lord, to thee; take my moments and my days; let them flow in ceaseless praise. Take my hands and let them move at the impulse of thy love; take my feet and let them be swift and beautiful for thee. Take my voice and let me sing always, only, for my King; take my lips and let them be filled with messages from thee. Take my silver and my gold, not a mite would I withhold; take my intellect and use every power as thou shalt choose. Take my love; my Lord, I pour at they feet its treasure store; take myself, and I will be ever, only, all for thee. Amen
    [The Lutheran Book of Worship, #406]

    He Is Risen! He Is Risen, Indeed. Alleluia!


    Wednesday, May 10, Day #25: Garry Leed (The Men of Zion)

    SCRIPTURE READING (MATTHEW 5: 1-9)

    Seeing the crowds, Jesus went up on the mountain, and when he sat down his disciples came to him. And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying: "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God."

    MEDITATION: The truth be told, I go to church to discover how to serve others more effectively. Jesus preached that the blessed ones are those whose greatest desire is to do what God requires. My experience at Zion Lutheran has been that God affords opportunities by which members can serve others both inside and outside of the church community, and we can often be of immense help. Going to church is a reminder that there is absolutely nothing more important, significant, or meaningful than truly helping a person besides oneself. The spiritual church has everything to do with images, feelings, relationships, and working together as fellow servants.

    Sometimes I wonder whether we use the wrong measure at church in focusing on worship attendance and the number of members. The spiritual rewards for participation in worship and activities at Zion Lutheran cannot be measured. They can only be expressed or felt by the good servant through memories, inspiration, peace, or a simple reassurance that how we helped another person made all the difference in both of our lives.

    PRAYER: Gracious Lord, open our eyes and our hearts to the truth that we find true happiness through serving others. Help us create memories, enjoy peace, find inspiration and give it through the simple acts of kindness of caring for my neighbors near and far. Help us never to miss the opportunities you provide to serve others who need your love and ours. Teach us to serve as Jesus served, and lead us to that place in life where we know that we are blessed, in Jesus' name. Amen

    He Is Risen! He Is Risen, Indeed. Alleluia!


    Thursday, May 11, Day #26: Roberta Rownd (Choir Member)

    SCRIPTURE READING (PROVERBS 3: 5-6)

    "Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make straight your path."

    MEDITATION: When I enter through the doors to the church I always hope to feel friendship, warmth, smiles, security, good music and commitment. Almost always these things are present. But these are just feelings, and the real meaning of Why I Go to Church is much deeper.

    In meditating on Proverbs 3: 5-6, the first word "trust" gets me right from the start. To fully trust, with all my heart, and not rely on my own insight is asking a lot. I can grasp this much better if I think of having child-like faith. A child doesn't go through life wondering what is going to trip them up during the day. A child doesn't worry about the negative happenings of the world. A child is only thinking of the here and now. A child trusts that their day will go smoothly, and they will laugh and be happy. Why can't we as adults trust God like this? Wouldn't life be much easier and our lives more faithful?

    Looking at the verse which starts, "In all your ways acknowledge him", going to church and participating in fellowship helps me to acknowledge the Lord. It is not my will being done but His. My thoughts about work, money, uncontrollable or unseen world events seem to diminish as I focus on the sermon or the prayers being said aloud. I realize that I have much more peace when I take the time to focus on God. Exodus 14:14 says, "The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace." We need to always remember that God has the map of our life before Him. He is our navigator and our guide. He understands us even when we lose track of ourselves.

    During this Easter season, let's take time to slow down and say a prayer. Remember, Christ was hung up for our hang-ups. We can, therefore, stand up with confidence.

    PRAYER: Gracious Father, you know our needs even better than we do. Help us to place our trust in you, not only when it comes to understanding what we need, but also when we need to know where we're going. You know the way, and learning how to trust in you is the way to peace, strength, and security. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen

    He Is Risen! He Is Risen, Indeed. Alleluia!


    Friday, May 12, Day #27: Michele and Tony Arteno

    SCRIPTURE READING (PSALM 118: 1, 5-6, 8-9, 14-17, 28-29)

    O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his steadfast love endures forever….
    Out of my distress I called on the LORD; the LORD answered me and set me free.
    With the LORD on my side I do not fear. What can man do to me?
    It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.
    It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes….
    The LORD is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.
    Hark, glad songs of victory in the tents of the righteous:
    "The right hand of the LORD does valiantly,
    the right hand of the LORD is exalted,
    the right hand of the LORD does valiantly!"
    I shall not die, but I shall live, and recount the deeds of the LORD….
    Thou art my God, and I will give thanks to thee; thou art my God, I will extol thee.
    O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!

    MEDITATION: What is the shortest chapter in the Bible? Answer: Psalm 117. What is the longest chapter in the Bible? Answer: Psalm 119. Which chapter is in the center of the Bible? Answer: Psalm 118. There are 594 chapters before Psalm 118. There are 594 chapters after Psalm 118. Add these numbers up and you get 1188. What is the center verse in the Bible? Answer: Psalms 118:8. Does this verse say something significant about God's perfect will for our lives?

    The next time someone says they would like to find God's perfect will for their lives and that they want to be in the center of His will, just send them to the center of His Word! Psalms 118:8 says, "It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man." Now isn't that odd how this worked out, or was God in the center of it?

    PRAYER: Father, bless our friends in whatever it is that you know they may be needing this day! And may their lives be full of your peace, your grace, and your power as they seek to have a closer relationship with You, as they seek to place you right in the middle of their lives. Amen

    He Is Risen! He Is Risen, Indeed. Alleluia!


    Saturday, May 13, Day #28: Mabel Kolarik (Chancel Guild)

    SCRIPTURE READING (PSALM 51: 6-12):

    Behold, you desire truth in the inward being; therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.
    Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
    Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have crushed rejoice.
    Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.
    Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.
    Cast me not away from thy presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
    Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.

    MEDITATION: When I was a child in Sunday School, I remember the teacher telling us that when we pray on our own we should first thank God for all our blessings, ask for forgiveness of all our sins, and then we could ask for help for our family, friends, and ourselves. Luther's morning and evening prayers do this in a concise way. Jesus has taught us how to pray with the Lord's Prayer.

    I go to church because of those same thoughts that I was taught as a child: (1) to worship and to give thanks to God for always being with me and my family; (2) to hear the music and to be able to sing in worship with the voice (good or bad) that God gave me; (3) to humbly ask for forgiveness for all my sins of commission or omission. All of this sounds really grand; but I know there are times when I just go for help, for peace, and for comfort, as in the poem Footprints in the Sand, when I am being carried and my feet don't even touch the sand.

    PRAYER: Lord God, Heavenly Father, thank you for your church where we can worship and praise you with fellow members in community. Thank you for our pastor and teachers that we may gain wisdom. Blot out all our sins, and wash us that we may be whiter than snow. Create in us a clean heart, and put a right spirit within us. Let your Holy Spirit be with us and restore in us the joy of your salvation. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen

    He Is Risen! He Is Risen, Indeed. Alleluia!


    Sunday, May 14, Day #29: Lisa Roman (Christian Education)

    SCRIPTURE READING (MATTHEW 22: 36-40)

    An expert in the law ran up to Jesus to ask an important question: "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?" Jesus said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets."

    MEDITATION: Read the passage again. It took me two times for the message to really sink in, and move me. Close your eyes, and imagine. Imagine what it would be like if every one of us on this planet believed in and lived the message of this passage, “Love God with all your being, and love your neighbor (worldwide) as you love yourself.”

    Imagine the power of a world that loves God, above all else and with every fiber of their collective being; no more wars, nothing to fight over, nothing but kindness and love; to borrow from a favorite John Lennon tune, “Imagine all the people living life in peace.” That is where this passage leads me - to the promise of a world full of people living in peace with those two commandments serving as the foundation for civilization. And what allows me to go where the passage leads me? It is my faith, a faith that is refreshed each time I attend worship, and am reminded that my congregation, extending to all Christians, follows the word and the witness of a Lord whose teachings are based on these two commandments. Then I can face the next week, and imagine…

    PRAYER: Lord, help us all to imagine a world based on your two great commandments, and to do our part to make this less of a dream and more of a reality. Help us, each one, to put You foremost in our thoughts, actions and lives. Help us to feel your love for us and then share that love with all of our neighbors. In your name, Lord Jesus, we pray. Amen

    He Is Risen! He Is Risen, Indeed. Alleluia!


    Monday, May 15, Day #30: Brian Kay (The Men of Zion)

    SCRIPTURE READING (Hebrews 12: 1-2)

    "Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God."

    MEDITATION: As I read from Hebrews, I am quickly reminded of the March madness craze with those who follow college basketball. Every athletic team with a winning tradition feels the pressure to live up to the standards of earlier, successful teams. That pressure is especially present when members of the former teams attend the games as spectators to evaluate the new kids. Part of the message from Hebrews 12 is that every Christian lives within an historical tradition of faithfulness and every Christian is responsible to hand the tradition of faith and obedience on to another generation. We are who we are as Christians because of the Apostle Paul and Martin Luther and a host of lesser known pastors, teachers and Christian models.

    Part of the responsibility of faithfulness is not only faithfulness to God but also faithfulness to the long living stream of faithful people who delivered the faith to us and expect us to pass it on to others. The opening of Hebrews 12 states a motivation similar to that, in exhorting that we should faithfully run the Christian race. Paul makes a very interesting shift in this first sentence. The cloud of witnesses clearly refers back to the great faith heroes described in Chapter 11. There they were on display as models for us and they were attested by God. Paul turns the tables in Hebrews 12:1. Now it is the readers who are on display, called to become faith heroes who now will be doing the attesting to the faith to others.

    If the game or race is to be successful the athlete must lay aside every weight. This is a common feature of a competitive athlete. The athlete is streamlined and in top condition to perform with maximum efficiency. Likewise, the Christian race is run with endurance. Paul makes it clear that Christianity is more than a momentary decision; it is a life-long commitment.

    Our worship should cause us to reflect on the gracious majesty of God and Christ, contrasted to our own unworthiness. God does not have to have our worship, but we must worship God to please Him. Our singing, praying, studying His word, giving, and communion are designed by God to bring us closer to Him and to cause us to think more like He thinks, thus becoming more like Him. James 4:8 tells us to, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.”

    PRAYER: Father God in Heaven, help us not to take for granted our worship. May our thoughts be pure and may we also worship you in spirit and truth. Amen

    He Is Risen! He Is Risen, Indeed. Alleluia!


    Tuesday, May 16, Day #31: Julie McCartt (Newer Member)

    SCRIPTURE READING: (3rd JOHN 1:11a)

    “Beloved, do not imitate what is evil but imitate what is good.”

    MEDITATION: Years ago, when I first moved to Akron, I had an employer who was a Christian. He would always tell me to avoid the appearance of evil. He was speaking of this verse in the Third Epistle of St. John. This verse has always stayed with me as something to aspire to as a Christian.

    One theme for this devotional is Why I Go To Church. When I think about why I attend Zion, or any other church, I remember this verse. One reason that I attend church and church activities is simply to find out what to imitate and what not to imitate. I have always looked to a pastor, or to elders in the church, to show me and teach me what evil is and how to avoid imitating it. This is such a simple verse to remember, but it gives us a lot to think about: what is evil, what things do I do to imitate evil, how can I imitate what is good?

    PRAYER: Dear Heavenly Father, please help me to understand what you would have us imitate in our lives. Help us to search our hearts to find the ways that we imitate evil. Help us to rid our lives of the evil that we imitate, and help us to avoid the appearance of evil. Amen

    He Is Risen! He Is Risen, Indeed. Alleluia!


    Wednesday, May 17, Day #32: Shirley Horton (Resident Musician)

    SCRIPTURE READING (PSALM 57: 8-11):

    Awake, my soul! Awake, O harp and lyre! I will awake the dawn!
    I will give thanks to thee, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing praises to thee among the nations.
    For thy steadfast love is great to the heavens, thy faithfulness to the clouds.
    Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let thy glory be over all the earth!

    MEDITATION: Our call to worship declares that God is with us right here and right now. Of course, God is with us everywhere and always. He lives in the shop during the height of the day at mid-afternoon as surely as He is present in the sanctuary at 8:00 o'clock on Sunday morning. It's just that I'm not as aware of Him during the busy times of each day as I am in the quiet of the here and now at church. Everything has been formed to draw my attention to God's presence: the architecture and symbols of the sanctuary, the prelude to begin the service, and the gathering of our congregation for worship, all of these enable me to feel God's presence.

    Worship gives meaning to my life. It reminds me that I am related to God. It invites me to celebrate this Good News with His people. It gives joy to life, both knowing God and sharing this gift with God's people, the community of friends who gather with me on Sunday mornings at Zion.

    PRAYER: Lord, we thank you for meeting us in worship. Help us to recognize your presence among us during the quiet time on Sunday mornings and during our busiest times during the week. In Christ we pray. Amen

    He Is Risen! He Is Risen, Indeed. Alleluia!


    Thursday, May 18, Day #33: Mary Gsellman (Choir Member)

    SCRIPTURE READING (PSALM 121)

    I lift up my eyes to the hills. From whence does my help come?
    My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
    He will not let your foot be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber.
    Behold, He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
    The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand.
    The sun shall not smite you by day, nor the moon by night.
    The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life.
    The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.

    MEDITATION: First and foremost, when I wonder why I go to church, it's mostly to renew my faith and give me strength through the coming week. That's probably why most of us go to church. Unexpected incidents crop up in our daily lives, and it is wonderful to draw on Bible verses and psalms. A favorite of mine is Psalm 121: 1-2. “I lift up my eyes to the hills. From whence does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” I have in my mind said it to myself many times.

    What a blessing it is to know that the God we worship loves us, wants to help us, and accompanies us on life's way. As verses 7-8 say, “The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.” Life is like a road where one drops off here, one there. After all, isn't life a thin line? God is life's source and end. God is the driver and our friend. He lets us off at our stop, and then accompanies us on our way.

    PRAYER: “Lord, take my hand and lead me along life's way. Direct, protect, and feed me from day to day. Without your grace and favor I go astray. So take my hand, O Savior, and lead the way.” Amen [Lutheran Book of Worship, Hymn #333, verse 1]

    He Is Risen! He Is Risen, Indeed. Alleluia!


    Friday, May 19, Day #34: Jane Fairman (Chancel Guild)

    SCRIPTURE READING (PSALM 122, verse 1):

    “I was glad when they said unto me, "Let us go into the house of the Lord.”

    MEDITATION: Worship makes us happy. It is an innate desire that is satisfied only in worship. We are reminded that God is over our lives. We remember from where our strength comes and from whom we are blessed.

    When we hear the Word, it helps us to realize what is important in life and can see our priorities more clearly. We are refreshed at the Lord's Table and reminded that we are cleansed from our unrighteousness. What an uplifting experience! We are given the opportunity to interact with our church family. From them, we receive friendship, compassion, and understanding.

    Many years ago, a soft drink company used the slogan, The Pause That Refreshes. We leave worship each week refreshed and patiently waiting for the next Sunday and the much anticipated pause that refreshes.

    PRAYER: Thank you God for leading and guiding us and giving us the opportunity to renew our lives each week in your house with your family. Amen

    He Is Risen! He Is Risen, Indeed. Alleluia!


    Saturday, May 20, Day #35: Gregg Evanoff (Newer Member)

    SCRIPTURE READING (LUKE 10: 25-28)

    Behold, a lawyer stood up to put Jesus to the test, saying, "Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus said to him, "What is written in the law? How do you read?" And he answered, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself." And he said to him, "You have answered right; do this, and you will live."

    MEDITATION: It is amazing to me when I look back on my life and realize how different I felt without knowing CHRIST. Little did I know where to find my strength, peace and the meaning of so many different parts of my life. Just about this time last year, for the FIRST time, Easter meant something more to me than Easter eggs, candy and my Mom's Easter ham. Granted, all those were good, and I always believed in GOD; so I felt good about Easter. Listening to Pastor's sermons, talking to my Mom and my sister, meeting many of the wonderful people at Zion: all of these things showed me I had so much to learn, but more importantly, helped me to realize that I missed out on so much more, namely, God's love, guidance and forgiveness.

    Each Sunday as I sit in the pew, I always at some point feel a warmth deep inside, almost like a recharging of my batteries. Odd sounding I know, but real for me nonetheless. The smiles on everyone's face at Zion and sharing God's love each Sunday is something that I would not want to live without. It truly has made me a different person. An added bonus is that I get to share this with my Mother as well. [Gregg's mother, for those who may not know, is Carol Rossbach, who offered the Meditation on April 17.] I have watched over the past few years at what a transformation she has gone through. What a delight it is that I get to experience that with her, truly my greatest friend. My journey to learn more about God's blessings and lead a Christian life has only just begun, but as I look back on my life I know now that HE was always there.

    Prayer: O Lord Jesus, gentle and humble of heart, full of compassion, thank you for helping me grow in faith. I want to know you and what your passion and resurrection can do. Give me grace to make every effort to keep that faith with moral courage, self-control, patience, forgiveness, and love. May this keep me both active and bring me to the deep knowledge of you, Lord Jesus Christ. Amen

    He Is Risen! He Is Risen, Indeed. Alleluia!


    Sunday, May 21, Day #36: Suzanne Walters (Music Director)

    SCRIPTURE READING (PSALM 23)

    The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want; He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters; He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of my enemies; thou anointest my head with oil, my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

    MEDITATION: The words to this psalm, as well as the words to my favorite hymn, Lord, Let My Heart Be Good Soil, are poetic lyrics which summarize the reasons I go to church. I go to church to be righted in the course of my life; to be guided along the right path in this world. The hymn offers a simple prayer, "Lord, let my heart be good soil, open to the seed of Your word. Lord, let my heart be good soil, where love can grow, and peace is understood." This moving text reminds me to continually try to seek the Lord's way, to put His will before mine, and to strive to be a more loving person, a more peaceful member of the Body of Christ.

    "When my heart is hard, break the stone away. When my heart is cold, warm it with the day." God understands that I am a sinner, that I will not always put His will before mine, that I will not always put others before myself. This lovely song gently reminds me to ask the Lord for help in keeping my priorities in order. "When my heart is lost, lead me on Your way." Our psalm responds, "He guides me in right paths for His name's sake." These reassuring words help me to stay focused on trying to do the Lord's work, to rejoice in being busy doing His work.

    Within the last couple of years, my level of commitment at Zion has increased considerably, exponentially it sometimes seems! Life in the Walters household is crazy busy, 100% of the time. Yet I still feel a sense of peace doing the work that I'm doing at church. Did Brian and I have extra time on our hands to form and lead a Praise Team and a new contemporary service? Apparently we did! We just didn't know it. The Lord helped us find the time, the will, the effort, the commitment. "In verdant pastures he gives me repose; beside restful waters he leads me; he refreshes my soul."

    I thank God that I have been given the privilege to assist in leading worship on a regular basis. It is a great honor, and something that I never envisioned for myself. I pray that I will do an honorable job and will stay focused on the work of the Lord, with my heart in the right place. "Lord, let my heart, Lord, let my heart, Lord, let my heart be good soil."

    PRAYER: Lord, thank you for blessing me with gifts to share, and for the opportunities to share them. "My cup overflows." Thank you for my family, and for the Zion community, and for your presence in my life and in my heart. "I shall dwell in the house of the Lord for years to come." Thank you for inspiring words in scripture and in song that keep my heart and mind focused on you. "You are at my side with your rod and your staff that give my courage." Amen

    He Is Risen! He Is Risen, Indeed. Alleluia!


    Monday, May 22, Day #37: Ruth (and Verle) Elsass

    SCRIPTURE READING (1st JOHN 4:19):

    “We love, because He first loved us.”

    MEDITATION: Verle and I have parents [although my parents have died] who first loved us. Our parents knew how important God should be in our lives. God was first. Dad (Fred) Elsass was a Stark County Sheriff patrol seeing about the handling of prisoners, and my Dad, R. Leo Snyder, was a farmer who knew everything from planting seeds to care of the animals. Both lines of work require a lot of trust. There was never any doubt that going to worship God came first … period.

    Verle and I married, and then came the babies. Todd was first, and at 14 months he was very sick and in the hospital. The doctor said, “There is nothing more I can do, it is up to God.” That was, and is, certainly true. Then, Faye (now Shankle), at eleven years old, became very ill and was in the hospital. The doctor said the same thing, and it was still just as true. That is when I learned about the family of God. Everyone in the church supported us with their prayers. What a great gift! I try never to take it for granted.

    There were two other children then - Gail (now Vogt), and Kenneth (with yet our fifth child, Eric to join us a little while later) - to care for. I did not drive. So, I came to appreciate how so many others were there to help, Grandpa and Grandma for sure, and many others, who cared for us and took me to and from the hospital. Faye and Todd were both healed. What a miracle!

    Why do Verle and I worship? God first loved us and gave us parents who loved us and taught us to love, too. Jesus said, “Now faith, hope and love abide, but the greatest of these is love.” That is most certainly true. So, we worship to give thanks and praise to God. We worship to join with the family of God, learning to love and be loved. We worship, and then we serve. That's how it works.

    PRAYER: Lord Jesus, we thank you for showing us how much God loves us. We thank you for parents who showed us how much God loves us. We pray that our children will learn about your wonderful love through the love we share with them, and not only with them, but with everyone who needs your love and ours, in Jesus' name. Amen

    He Is Risen! He Is Risen, Indeed. Alleluia!


    Tuesday, May 23, Day #38: Mike Babich (The Men of Zion)

    SCRIPTURE READING (PSALM 104, select verses)

    Bless the LORD, O my soul! O LORD my God, you are very great!
    You are clothed with honor and majesty….
    You set the earth on its foundations, so that it should never be shaken….
    The trees of the LORD are watered abundantly, the cedars of Lebanon which He planted; in them the birds build their nests….
    O LORD, how manifold are thy works!
    In wisdom you have made them all; the earth is full of your creatures….
    I will sing to the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have being.
    May my meditation be pleasing to him, for I rejoice in the LORD.

    MEDITATION: I grew up with the traditions of Serbian Orthodoxy, with incense in the Sanctuary and memories of St. John the Baptist as our family's patron saint. That meant that on January 20, the day set aside on the church calendar to commemorate the witness of John the Baptist, our family, with all its branches and tributaries, was in church, and that the priest would visit our home that afternoon during our family's celebration of John the Baptist's watchful care.

    While not yet a young man, as an American studying in Europe at the onset of World War II, I remember Sunday mass presided over by a Catholic priest who, like many of us, had been interned by the Germans during the war. As a young man serving in the American military, I enjoyed the worship services led by our chaplain, again, a Catholic priest, who was a down-to-earth kind of guy, who met his death on the front lines with soldiers in Korea.

    I became a Lutheran with marriage, and have been a member of Zion for close to fifty years. I recall the wonderful sounds of the choir on Maple Street, which at times sang from the loft above us. I can still feel the pride of moving over to Lindy Lane, with pews filled and families at worship, rows and rows of parents with children sitting straight and focused forward following the directions of the disciplinarian, Pastor Ruth.

    Worship is our holy obligation of service to God, and a privilege among a free people. So much has happened in my life, that when I enter the Lord's house I am thankful, humble, happy to be alive, side by side with people I love, and proud to be a small part of what God is doing here on earth through the church and through me. To God be the glory.

    PRAYER: Almighty God, you once called John the Baptist to give witness to the coming of your Son and to prepare his way. Grant to your people the wisdom to see your purpose and the openness to hear your will, that we too may witness to Christ's coming and so prepare his way; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

    He Is Risen! He Is Risen, Indeed. Alleluia!


    Wednesday, May 24, Day #39: Anna Mae (and Ellis) Le Beau

    Scripture Reading (Ephesians 3:12-13)

    “Remember that in those days you were living utterly apart from Christ. You were lost, without God, without hope. But now you belong to Christ Jesus, and though you once were far away from God, now you have been brought very near to him because of what Jesus Christ has done for you with his blood.”

    Meditation: I was eleven years old before I was given the opportunity to go to church and Sunday School. My family consisted of my only friend, my sister, who was thirteen months older, my mother and my stepfather, the only father I ever knew. We moved frequently, over four states, and we attended nine schools before we enrolled in the seventh grade at Baxter School in Canton. I met the most wonderful family next door, such friendly, caring, Christians. Soon I got permission from my father to attend church and Sunday School with them, and my first Bible was a gift from them.

    The more I read, the more concerned I became about not being baptized. They sensed this and arranged it with my parents. My baptism was one of the most memorable days of my life! The following year we moved into our own house, built in Jackson Township. I was very upset, but I felt God was with me now and that He would arrange for me to continue going to church. He did! In a very few weeks I'd made a new friend whose family drove right past our house every Sunday; so my prayers were answered!

    God blessed me by arranging it so I could stay in Jackson school, not only for the eighth grade, but for all four years of High School! Ellis and I rode on the same school bus, were in many of the same classes, and were married in his family church, Zion Lutheran, over sixty years ago. I will never doubt that God has guided us and our family through all these years!

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, as we humble ourselves under your mighty hand, grant us insight into your will for us. Give us joy in speaking to those who are indifferent toward You and Your kingdom. May our witness be vibrant, as we discover the power of the message of salvation for everyone we meet. Amen

    He Is Risen! He Is Risen, Indeed. Alleluia!


    Thursday, May 25, Day #40: Renee Schrader (Council Member)

    SCRIPTURE READING (PROVERBS 1: 7-9)

    The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge;
    the foolish despise wisdom and instruction.
    Hear your father's instruction, reject not your mother's teaching;
    for they are a fair garland for your head, and pendants for your neck."

    MEDITATION: Every morning I read a page in a devotional calendar, my favorite quote in the entire calendar is this: “God made you as you are in order to use you as He planned.” I think about that saying a lot. I can have a horrible day and think that I wasn't a good teacher or a good person or whatever and then I remember the quote. I am His. He made me unique and he has a plan for me.

    My job is very simple; do all that I can in life to live up to that plan. Follow the rules, be respectful, let God guide me in all that I do, and live life to the fullest. Lucky for me, I have great role models in which to follow. My parents, especially, have taught me what it means to be kind, generous, patient, and caring. They love me completely! God does, too, and that is a great and wonderful gift that He gives freely and forever.

    So why do I go to church? How can I not is the real question. I want to be all that He wants me to be. I want to help fulfill the great plan he has for me. Going to church helps keep me grounded in what the important things in life are. Faith, love, family, laughter, and kindness, if you have those you are set for life, both here and in heaven.

    PRAYER: Dear God, please help me be the person that you want me to be, use me as you have planned and guide me in all that I do. Amen

    He Is Risen! He Is Risen, Indeed. Alleluia!


    Friday, May 26, Day #41: Juanita Bathol (Prayer Chain)

    SCRIPTURE READING (1st CORINTHIANS 3: 9-11, 16)

    The Apostle Paul writes, "We are God's workers; you are God's field, God's building. According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and another man is building upon it. Let each man take care how he builds upon it. For no other foundation can any one lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ…. Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you?"

    MEDITATION: God's field, God's building, God's temple: I come to church and love to worship because God's spirit dwells within me and urges me to be in His house. We are all His temples and should follow these urgings to worship Him. Meeting with God's loving people is a bonus as we fellowship and worship together. Sharing the peace of God with others adds to our worship and sharing God's peace with those we do not yet know is an excellent opportunity to get to know them. Those of us who are a part of Zion's Prayer Chain offer our worship daily as we bring persons in need to the attention of our Father in heaven. Prayer is a powerful ministry. Recently, someone for whom we prayed reported that our prayers were all that saved her. "Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you?" These words urge us to come to church and worship, and they urge us to worship wherever we are, in all that we do, with the love we share and the prayers we offer.

    PRAYER: Father, we offer our feeble efforts to your glory. Bless each one of us and guide us in paths that are pleasing to you. This we pray in Jesus' name. Amen

    He Is Risen! He Is Risen, Indeed. Alleluia!


    Saturday, May 27, Day #42: Chuck Danner (Visitation Assistant)

    SCRIPTURE READING (EPHESIANS 5: 8-10, 13-16)

    “For once you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk, therefore, as children of light. For the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true, and learn to do what is pleasing to the Lord. As it is said, 'Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give you light.' Look carefully, then, how you walk, making the most of the time….”

    MEDITATION: There is a great song in With One Voice that sings what I like so much about the image of walking as a child of the light. Not surprisingly, it's entitled I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light. “I want to walk as a child of the light. I want to follow Jesus. God set the start to give light to the world. The Star of my life is Jesus. In him there is no darkness at all. The night and day are both alike. The lamb is the light of the city of God. Shine in my heart, Lord Jesus.”

    Walking as a child of the light for me is synonymous with walking with all of our parishioners at Zion. As we walk together we follow Jesus, we support one another, and even in some small way we carry each other. What a privilege to be a part of God's family here at Zion.

    Recently I had an inspiring visit with a parishioner in which he described how Jesus had been his friend for his life's journey, including times of great difficulty. Jesus walks with us as we walk together. No matter how old we get, no matter how much maturing we've enjoyed, the simplicity of a child's trust in our heavenly Father is the key to walking in the light, as a child of God.

    PRAYER: Lord, walk with us so that we can walk with one another on the path that follows your will for our lives. Amen

    He Is Risen! He Is Risen, Indeed. Alleluia!


    Sunday, May 28, Day #43: Flo Jensen (Chancel Guild)

    The inspiration for this Meditation comes from one of the songs in With One Voice that we sing almost every Sunday, a real favorite at Zion: "Lord, let my heart be good soil, open to the seed of your Word. Lord, let my heart be good soil, where love can grow and peace is understood. When my heart is hard, break the stone away. When my heart is cold, warm it with the day. When my heart is lost, lead me on your way. Lord, let my heart, Lord, let my heart, Lord, let my heart be good soil."

    While this song relates to many passages in Scripture, it brings to mind the passage in Mark 4, where we are told that Jesus taught many things in parables: “Listen! A sower went out to sow; and as he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it. Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it had not much soil, and it sprang up immediately, since it had no depth of soil; and when the sun rose it was scorched, and since it had no root it withered away. Other seed fell among thorns and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. And other seed fell into good soil and brought forth grain, growing up and increasing and yielding 30-fold and 60-fold and 100-fold."

    There are many parables that come to life through song. My favorite is a song called Lord, Let My Heart Be Good Soil. When you read the parable in the Scriptures, the disciples ask for further explanation. Once you learn to love this song, you know what Jesus means, and you want to become the seed and the soil that yield one hundredfold.

    "Lord, let my heart be good soil, open to the seed of your Word." I pray that with the gift of good soil surrounding me in our community at Zion and the seed of God's Word planted in my heart, I will grow stronger in faith within and stronger in love for others. "Lord, let my heart be good soil, where love can grow, and peace is understood." The peace that comes through worship settles me and refreshes me daily. This song goes on to express the prayer I pray every day. "When my heart is hard, break the stone away." Jesus tells the disciples that even good seed has trouble penetrating hard soil, and can't grow well in rocky terrain. Roots can't penetrate deep enough to anchor faith when it must resist temptation and sin. "When my heart is cold warm it with the day." The warmth of Jesus' love is the light that takes the cold away. And with Jesus' light shining upon me, I am certain that Jesus will be there as I pray, "When my heart is lost lead me on your way."

    PRAYER: Dear Lord, lead us on your way, each and every day. In your most holy and precious name we pray. Amen

    He Is Risen! He Is Risen, Indeed. Alleluia!


    Monday, May 29, Day #44: Steve Ross (Council Member)

    SCRIPTURE READING (MATTHEW 6: 25-33)

    "Do not be overly concerned about your life, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For just about everyone seeks all these things; and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well."

    MEDITATION: Life, for me, has been a quest, a quest that I have been pursuing since my age was in single digits. And it is a quest that I'm sure I'll be pursuing for many more years. I pray that I'll ultimately find it. Dismiss the images of King Arthur searching for the Holy Grail. My quest is not so romantic. But, since I was a youth, my introspection was spent dreaming and planning for true happiness. Most of those dreams involved wealth and self indulgence, but my quest has changed as I've grown. I have much less time to reflect than I once did and my quest has been rerouted by a job and family and all of the demands that they bring. My search for happiness seems to have refined into a search for peace and contentment. Self-indulgence, as a means to that end, has been replaced with a more external focus on loved ones, community, and the world around me. In spite of these changes, it is still the same quest, and as I get closer to the goal, I've come to understand it better and define it differently than when I began.

    My quest began independent of my faith or beliefs. In fact, initially, my faith was weak or non-existent. I was skeptical of the events told in the Bible and found ways to explain, or at least to doubt the validity of, most miracles. When it came to faith, I was self-reliant and had no need for church. In fact, I felt that church was counter-productive to reaching my goals, being an investment of time and money that could be better spent elsewhere. As I've grown, I've come to realize that what I was pursuing (wealth & self-indulgence) would not bring me what I was seeking (happiness). I also began to recognize that the Bible contained the same truths that I had learned over years of gradual maturing. So, it dawned on me that the Bible held truths that I was only just beginning to understand and I might learn from it. That is when church and the Bible became, for me, a means to clarify and get closer to achieving my goal.

    I may never actually find pure contentment, nor ever actually shed my self-indulgent vices, but I am sure that Christ can get me closer to the goal. Attending church and sharing my faith with others is the best way I've found to gain a better understanding of Christ's teachings. By attending worship, I am able to focus my attention on God and listen for the direction he provides, and that brings me a glimpse of the peace that we all enjoy as Christians.

    PRAYER: O God, in your love you have given us gifts that previous generations would have found unimaginable. It is easy to become so occupied with the quest for material things that we forget the things that are spiritual. Open our eyes to see the things that endure, that lead to true life and lasting joy; in Jesus' name. Amen

    He Is Risen! He Is Risen, Indeed. Alleluia!


    Tuesday, May 30, Day #45: Lorraine Weinman (Choir Member)

    SCRIPTURE READING (PSALM 145: 1-3a, 8-13, 15-18)

    I will extol thee, my God and King, and bless thy name forever and ever.
    Every day I will bless thee, and praise thy name forever and ever.
    Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised….
    The LORD is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love.
    The LORD is good to all, and his compassion is over all that he has made.
    All thy works shall give thanks to thee, O LORD; all thy saints shall bless thee!
    The eyes of all look to thee, and thou givest them their food in due season.
    Thou openest thy hand, thou satisfiest the desire of every living thing.
    The LORD is just in all his ways, and kind in all his doings.
    The LORD is near to all who call upon him, to all who call upon him in truth.

    MEDITATION: It is good to feel at peace. Nowhere is this feeling stronger than in God's house. Being in His house and worshipping there puts a person at peace. No matter what the worry, sadness, concern or uneasy feeling, it can be calmed by putting it in God's hands. And when we are happy and already feeling at peace, worship helps us share those feelings and makes us remember to thank Him for all He has provided and helped us with in our lives and the lives of those near us.

    Worship can be like flying a kite. When the winds get strong and the kite starts to lose its control and toss to and fro, worship can be like that little tug on the string to right the kite in its flight. It's God's hands tugging on our lives. It renews our strength and reminds us of the love God has given to us. It makes us fly right and straight and strong. It's that little tug that we at times need. Sometimes it is just that little something that we need that makes us stronger and see things a little clearer. I am drawn to the strength that worship can give me. It is a warm and secure feeling. It feels good to be at peace. And regular worship can do that for a person.

    PRAYER: Make me a channel of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me bring Your love; where there is injury, Your pardon, Lord; and when there's doubt, true faith in You: O Master, grant that I may never seek so much to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love with all my soul. Make me a channel of Your peace. Where there's despair in life, let me bring hope; where there is darkness, only light; and where there's sadness, ever joy. Make me a channel of Your peace. It is in pardoning that we are pardoned, in giving to all men that we receive, and in dying that we're brought to eternal life. Amen [A Song based on the Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi]

    He Is Risen! He Is Risen, Indeed. Alleluia!


    Wednesday, May 31, Day #46: Vicki Givler (Choir Member)

    SCRIPTURE READING (PSALM 37:3-4)

    Trust in the Lord, and do good; so you will live in the land and enjoy security. Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

    MEDITATION: As a child I attended worship with my parents because it was expected. As I grew older and learned about Jesus I felt compelled (from within) to keep learning. Now I come for the fellowship, the celebration, the deep sense of security. As a child and teenager I attended St. Paul's, the Roman Catholic Church in North Canton. There was a Sister that I had as a teacher who inspired me. She made learning about Jesus fun. At one point I wanted to be a Nun when I grew up.

    When I first became a member of Zion I was content to stay in the background and attend worship, which I did almost every Sunday. Then I felt like I was needed to do more; so, I became involved with Sunday School. I served as a teacher's assistant, a teacher, an officer, and now I serve as the Chairperson of Christian Education. During my tenure as Chairperson I was asked to serve as an Elder on Church Council. Basically, I am a quiet, shy person. I would rather follow than lead; but about three years ago I heard God calling me to serve in ways that brought me out of the background. Serving as an Assisting Minister at worship helped me come out of my shell. Serving as a Lector, joining the Senior Choir, singing a solo during worship: all of these roles in worship required that I learn to trust in the Lord.

    I still find it difficult to take the lead, but I feel that with God's grace, with the love and support of my family at home and my family at church, all things are possible. Many folks know that I love the song, Blessed Assurance. I love the way that my life at Zion has been able to live the song I love: "This is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior all the day long!"

    PRAYER: Holy Spirit, whose ways are wisdom and whose power is love, impart your knowledge, understanding, and counsel to all your children, that we may discern your guidance and know the vocation wherein we can best serve you. Give us courage and strength to follow your will. Guide our uncertain steps, strengthen our resolution, fashion our minds, fill our hearts and lead us in the way that leads to life in your name. Amen

    He Is Risen! He Is Risen, Indeed. Alleluia!


    Thursday, June 1, Day #47: Helen Heller (Choir Member)

    SCRIPTURE READING (PSALM 16)

    Protect me, Lord God! I run to you for safety, and I have said,
    “Only you are my Lord! Every good thing I have is a gift from you.”
    Your people are wonderful, and they make me happy….
    You, Lord, are all I want! You are my choice, and you keep me safe.
    You make my life pleasant and my future is bright.
    I praise you, Lord, for being my guide.
    Even in the darkest night your teachings fill my mind.
    I will always look to you, as you stand beside me and protect me from fear.
    With all my heart I can celebrate, and I can safely rest.
    I am your chosen one. You won't leave me in the grave or let my body decay.
    You have shown me the path to live, and you make me glad by being near to me.

    MEDITATION: All of us were invited to reflect on why we come to church. There is a saying that one goes to school to learn the three R's - reading 'riting, and 'rithmetic. I am a list-maker, an organized and efficient doer. I go to church for many reasons. I've come up with a list, a list that includes more than three R's. How about an even dozen! For me, worship offers the opportunity to: reassure my spirit; refresh my hope; reflect on life; rejoice in my blessings; relieve my burdens; relinquish my problems; renew my faith; reset my calm; restore my strength; reveal my weaknesses; reshape my thoughts; replenish my courage. I am sure that you can add to our list of “R's”, creating even more reasons for recognizing the rewards that are ours as we return to remember and enjoy the relationships we have with God and others through worship.

    PRAYER: Dear Heavenly Father, I thank you for the privilege of attending worship. I thank you also for walking with me all the days of my life. You give me strength and guidance both in easy times and in hard times. I give you thanks in all things! Amen

    He Is Risen! He Is Risen, Indeed. Alleluia!


    Friday, June 2, Day #48: Debbie Fox (Christian Education)

    SCRIPTURE READING (JOHN 16: 5-15)

    "Now I am going to him who sent me; yet none of you asks me, 'Where are you going?' But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your hearts. Nevertheless I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you…When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you.”

    MEDITATION: How many times have you felt lost, or have you actually been lost? I know that I have encountered both. The solution is easy when you are lost while taking a trip - a map or directions! But what is the solution when you are feeling lost emotionally? Well, this brings me to one of the reasons I go to church! By going to church, we are offered the foundation for faith, love and guidance in our lives. The Bible is our roadmap or directions for life, and God sends the Holy Spirit to help us read and understand that roadmap and guide us through our lives. John 16:13 tells us just that. Jesus tells his disciples that they will basically feel lost when he is gone, but he must go so that God can send the Holy Spirit to help them and all of us.

    I am so grateful for the gift God gave us in his Son, Jesus. This is the most important lesson I could have ever learned as a child. I have always believed that if I ask for forgiveness, and I truly believe with my whole heart, everything will be okay. This has given me comfort and purpose throughout my life. I have never questioned my faith in God no matter how terrible things have been or seem like they could be. This is something I want for my children, too. I have always trusted in God and his plan for me, and only hope I can teach my children to do the same. Going to Sunday School and Church as a young child taught me many important lessons, and I have carried those lessons with me throughout my life. I feel that this will also happen for Nathan and Jeremy as they learn and grow here at Zion.

    So, why do I go to church? Simply, because it's the right thing to do! It's a place where I can grow - and have grown - spiritually. It's a place where I am part of an amazing family. It's a place where my children learn about God and about helping and loving others. It's one of the places where I can serve God by using the talents with which He has blessed me. It's a place where I know I am loved and forgiven, and it's the place where I have learned an unshakable faith in God that helps me through the good and the bad times. It's a place where I never have to feel lost - and I can take that feeling with me everywhere I go!

    PRAYER: Dear God, thank you for giving us the gift of your Son, Jesus, and for your Word that is a roadmap for our lives. Thank you for sending the Holy Spirit to help guide us through life. Help us to always know - to believe and have faith - that you will always lead us down the right path, in Jesus' name. Amen

    He Is Risen! He Is Risen, Indeed. Alleluia!


    Saturday, June 3, Day #49 (Eve of Pentecost): Author Anonymous

    Years ago, while reading through a monthly edition of The Newletters' Newsletter, I ran across an article written by an author unknown from a Christian congregation in Georgia, which summed up for me the key reason why getting oneself to church for worship is important. Of course, we worship because we know that it is our duty to God; certainly, we benefit personally through the way that worship enriches our life, forms our character, while also strengthening the confidence and hope with which we greet each day. But there is another dimension to the value of worshipping in the community of believers. It is what we offer others with our decision to stand among them, lifting up our praise, growing in God's grace, and sharing the love that is in us. As our last meditation for the season of Easter, Saturday, June 3, the eve of Pentecost, I am sure you will agree that The Ministry of Being There captures an aspect of why we worship that we must never forget.
    THE MINISTRY OF BEING THERE
    It is a genuine ministry for you to be present at worship. It is a ministry, first of all, to yourself. You need worship, study, and other activities because your Christian life needs attention, nurture, and support.
    It is a genuine ministry for you to be present at church … for the rest of us who attend. When you are here, you strengthen my resolve to follow Christ. I enjoy it when you sing with me. I am enriched when you share with me what God is doing in your life.
    It is a genuine ministry for you to be here for those who are seeking Christian fellowship and looking for a church home. When you are here others sense that God is real and necessary. When you are absent, God does not seem as important. When you are here, we see a different testimony.
    Think about this the next time you are tempted to say, "I won't be going to church today. No one will miss me." What difference does it make whether or not you are here? It makes a difference to you, to those who enjoy your presence and are strengthened by your gifts, and to those who are looking for some kind of evidence that God is worth the effort.
    First Church in Gracewood, Georgia

    He Is Risen! He Is Risen, Indeed. Alleluia!


    Footprints in the Sand

    One night a man had a dream. He dreamed he was walking along the beach with the LORD.

    Across the sky flashed scenes from his life. For each scene he noticed two sets of footprints in the sand: one belonging to him, and the other to the LORD.

    When the last scene of his life flashed before him, he looked back at the footprints in the sand.

    He noticed that many times along the path of his life there was only one set of footprints.

    He also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times in his life.

    This really bothered him and he questioned the LORD about it:
    "LORD, you said that once I decided to follow you, you'd walk with me all the way.
    But I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life, there is only one set of footprints.
    I don't understand why when I needed you most you would leave me."

    The LORD replied: "
    My son, my precious child, I love you and I would never leave you.
    During your times of trial and suffering, when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you."

    [A Poem by Marty Stevenson, 1936
    Inspired by Psalm 138, verse 7a:
    "Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou dost preserve my life…."]

    He Is Risen! He Is Risen, Indeed. Alleluia!