Together Now and Forever in Jesus

We live in an amazingly connected world. Wifi, data plans, signal strength… these terms are new to our vocabulary but are often on our minds as we attempt to connect with people every day. It’s frustrating when we can’t connect and fantastic when we can.

Zion is use our website, email, Facebook, and other social media to share the Gospel and post photos that reveal the joys of God’s work in our life together in Christ.  It is beautiful!

For all the connection the internet is affording us, however, there is a growing sense that the time spent and satisfaction experienced there is gained at the expense of a deeper togetherness God has given for us to enjoy.  Online devotions and sermons, inspirational and informative videos, are helpful but are empty of the close, flesh-and-blood, in-person closeness and interaction that has always characterized Christian life.  This isn’t new.  The temptation to stay apart was addressed in the first century, in the book of Hebrews, as the author writes, “Let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another (Heb 10:24-25).”

Closer connection with each other is vital.  A young Christian woman I know in another state admitted over Facebook that she had attempted suicide twice, alone in her home, on the same days she had posted cheery words and glowing photos of herself smiling for all her friends to see and to “like”.  The internet didn’t provide the friendship, true knowledge, and encouragement she needed those days.  Fortunately, her suicide attempts failed and a new day is at hand for a better Christian walk together.

Time, Talent, Treasure, and…. TISSUE  You’ve perhaps learned in past years about the three T’s of stewardship: Time, Talent, Treasure.  You may not have thought much about a fourth T, which is “Tissue.”  …that is, flesh and blood tissue dedicated to God’s glory as we live, physically present in the lives of others. As we consider God’s gifts in our lives and how we might offer the first and best of ourselves to the Lord’s good purposes on Consecration Sunday (Nov. 20th), I invite you to consider that fourth T.  At home, in your neighborhood, at church, in near and far off places, how might the Lord use your physical presence and the encouragement that comes with it to extend His love and to others?

Death Disconnects but Jesus Connects

The book of Hebrews opens our eyes to the depth of connection we have through Jesus Christ both with God and with each other, even with those who have died in faith and are with Him.  It urges us to meet together, joined to Christ and all the saints in heaven and on earth, to rejoice in our togetherness and to encourage one another (Hebrew 10:19-25).  When we remember our baptism, we remember that we are spiritually united to Christ and all who also share in the Christian faith.  When we partake of the Lord’s supper we are physically united with Christ and all who are in him.  Do you long for nearness with your loved ones who are far away or who have died? The internet can be an amazing tool for sharing information and words of encouragement, but there are places it cannot go and limits to its power.  God offers us much much more. Jesus himself offers His flesh and blood for forgiveness and for comm-UNION with him, each other, and all who are with him in glory.  It’s real, it’s mighty, it’s spiritual and physical, it’s 100% His gift.

All Saints Day will be commemorated at Zion on Sunday, November 6.  We will speak the names of the Zion members who were called to heavenly glory in the past year and ring a bell in their honor.  As with every time we gather to receive Christ’s Holy Communion, we will experience the deep, enduring connection Jesus gives us with God and all the saints, rejoicing in His mercy and encouraged for the days to come.

In Christ’s love,

Pastor Stephen

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