No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. 1 John 4:12
A NOTE FROM PASTOR AILEEN - February 7, 2023
Among Christians, grief can often be an awkward topic of conversation. We all experience it. And yet, it seems to be an emotion that often evokes guilt. It is as if believing in Jesus Christ and the resurrection to eternal life excludes us from experiencing grief and lament. Nothing could be further from the truth.
As a pastor I have heard people confess, with some embarrassment, “I am just being selfish,” or, “I shouldn’t feel this way,” or, “They’re in a better place, I should be happy,” and various other similar words.
Please know that there is nothing wrong with grieving. It’s a normal part of being a loving human being. We are called to care for our families, to love our neighbors, to give aid to the dying and to care for the sick in our communities. One cannot engage in these activities without feeling love and when we love someone, we grieve their death.
Grief is Biblical. Job sat in sackcloth and ashes after the death of his children. He cried out to God and lamented the injustice of his children’s demise. God responded to Job’s outcries just as God responded to the lament and grief of the Israelites trapped in slavery in Egypt. Jesus wept at the death of his friend Lazarus. In fact, the Greek word for weeping is a moving deep within Jesus being. It was grief. The prophets frequently lament over the plight of Israel. At the death of Jesus, God’s grief was so raw that the earth turned dark and the temple curtain was torn in two from the top to the bottom. And the Psalms are full of words addressing grief; they are a literal outpouring of the depths of lament. Psalm 13 is a classic example, “How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I bear pain in my soul, and have sorrow in my heart all day long? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?”
Because grief is real, we gather at the time of death. We worship together acknowledging the reality of the loss and the accompanying pain. We sing songs at funerals, those of us who are able, carry the tune and the lyrics for those who cannot sing. Those of us who are able respond to the Good News of the Gospel in these moments with the powerful words of the Creed, carrying along those who cannot. When possible, we share the Eucharist as sign and symbol that the feast of life carries us forward in the presence, and with the presence, of Christ in our midst. Our worship accomplishes both an acknowledgement of our grief and of death as well as points us to hope and new life in Christ.
After a funeral or memorial service, the second part of our ministry to the grieving is a time of fellowship. As families gather for refreshment, we offer a space for caring and for sharing memories unencumbered by the need to attend to the details of feeding their guests. What happens in the fellowship hall is equally as important as what happens in the sanctuary.
The third aspect to our grief ministry is our ongoing Grief Support Group that meets on Thursdays at 3:30 pm currently on Zoom only. It gives those who are grieving space to remember, to shed tears, to ask questions and find others who will support and surround them in love in one of the most difficult times of life. As part of their ministry, we are all invited to gather on Thursday, Feb 16 at 4:00 pm in the sanctuary for a time of prayer and reflection. All are invited to join the Grief Support Group as they host this time for all of us.
The ministry of Christ’s church is responsive to the needs of God’s people at all times and in all circumstances of their lives. Thank you to those who participate in any way in offering comfort and hope to those who are experiencing grief. And may those of you who receive this ministry be blessed by the love that surrounds you.
In Christ’s peace,
Worship at 10 am and 5 pm. Masks are encouraged, but optional. Selected bulletins have a reading or prayer highlighted for those who wish to read. The 10 am service is on Zoom with the following link: us04web.zoom.us/j/573579627 If you do not have internet, listen by dialing 270-2524. After the greeting, enter conference ID 291-1296 followed by the # key. At the prompt, state your name, and press the # key again. The service will be recorded and can be accessed through Messiah’s Facebook page. Join us downstairs for Coffee hour following the 10 am service.
This has been a hard season for us at Messiah. If you would appreciate a time of prayer, the opportunity to light a candle, or remember a loved one or fellow disciple, please join us in the sanctuary on Thursday, February 16 at 4:00 pm for a time of quiet prayer, readings and remembrance. (See Pastor Aileen’s note above)
Green Tip of the Week: The Problem of Plastic, Brighton Memorial Library and online, Monday, Feb 13, 6:30 pm. Learn about the overproduction of single-use plastic, and solutions. To register: 784-5300, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Black/White Churches: Addressing Systemic Racism. All are welcome to a free workshop on Racism and White Privilege 101 February 25, 2023 - 9 am to 3 pm at John Knox Presbyterian Church, 3233 W. Ridge Rd. “An awareness and understanding needs to be created of how racism hurts everybody, and this awareness needs to extend beyond our physical walls into the wider community. Educating individuals about the effects of racism on both people of color and white people is a necessary step to begin the healing process of wounds caused by racism. In this workshop, we will explore how racism, through power, privilege, and difference can affect our capacities in shared sacred and candid dialogue, reflection and action for racial and social justice. Our focus will be engaging a common language on racism; exploring white privilege, fragility, supremacy; and ways local congregations can begin to make a difference.” To Register: Contact First Presbyterian Church of Medina at (585) 798-1264 or by email at: email@example.com Include email & phone contact information and number attending.
Messiah’s Library After church, why not check out Messiah’s Library? Lots to choose from - Cookbook Exchange, Jigsaw Puzzle Exchange, vintage music CDs and movies, and lots of books. Our new Wellness section contains a wide variety of books, such as “The Blue Zones Kitchen” and “How Not To Die.” There are books about Social Justice issues, Stewardship, Coping with Grief, Martin Luther (way up on the top shelf), Prayer and Devotions, and lots of “Chicken Soup for…” Books. We also have a large selection of Christian fiction- stories about people like you, living good lives. There is a wide variety of children’s books and DVDs, available to be borrowed in the Nursery. If you do borrow a book, please sign it out on the yellow pad on the counter and return it within the month. Thanks. Enjoy!
In Greece this tax season, AARP will be in Dean Hall at Greece Baptist every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday by appointment from 10 am until 4 pm through April 7th. This year's appointment line phone number is: 351-3400. Any questions please call Wayne Reabold.
Thrivent Night at the Strong National Museum of Play Sunday, February 19, 2023 4 to 8 p.m.
Event details 4 to 5:30 pm - Thrivent Member Pre-event Gathering: Enjoy dinner and a Thrivent update. Each Thrivent client with membership can bring up to three guests. 5:30 to 8 pm - Open Play – Thrivent Members, friends and family can enjoy all the museum has to offer. Non-members can register for Open Play. Admission & parking are free. Pre-event registration is necessary for all attendees. Space is limited so register today at bit.ly/thriventstrongmuseum, or visit the Events page on thrivent.com/northeast.
Food Distribution needs: Canned veggies and fruits, peanut butter, pasta, and white rice. Place in bin under the table by the stairs or call the church office to arrange a time. Checks and gift cards (Aldi’s especially helpful) are always welcome. Place in the offering plate or mail.
New office hours: Monday-Friday 8 am – 1 pm. .
Annual Reports were sent by email. Hard copies are on the benches outside the sanctuary. If you would like one mailed to you let the office know.
Thursday morning Bible Study All are welcome as we study the book of Proverbs. Join us in person in the conference room from 10:00 am to 11:30 or on Zoom at https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85946152750?pwd=d2ZONTVESFg5MVhKL2ZPNWVYY2lyZz09
Meeting ID: 859 4615 2750 Passcode: 369438
The Spiritual Growth Group meets by zoom the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of each month at 7 pm for study, prayer, lively discussion, and discovery to understand how we can engage the world as Christ’s disciples. Please join us at: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81810845014?pwd=S2VhaStUVEIvQXZDRGc4elFmUHBldz09
or Audio only: (929) 205 6099 Meeting ID: 818 1084 5014# Please note, we will not meet February 14
Ripples Chair Yoga every Wednesday at 10 am. Zoom link for Yoga & Meditation: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89642768133?pwd=Y0JpcjF6eUNoKzBQN3pFYzBhMGxLZz09
If you prefer to navigate from the Zoom interface: Meeting ID: 896 4276 8133
Mindful Meditation with Joyce Callen each Wednesday after Chair Yoga from 10:45 am - 11:05. Join us to learn how 20 minutes of meditation can bring composure and calmness to your life. Any ?s, contact Joyce.
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