Too Wonderful?

“Is anything too wonderful for God?”
(Genesis 18:14)
 

Generations ago, God had a vision for the world. A vision of nations filled with God’s chosen people. God chose an elderly couple to be the parents of these nations: Abraham and Sarah. The problem, of course, was that they did not have any children. So, God sent messengers to Abraham to tell him that soon Sarah would conceive. “Impossible!” she cried, “I am too old.” But as the reality of this promise hit home, Sarah laughed and cried out, “Is anything too wonderful for God?” When her precious son was born, Sarah named him Isaac, which means laughter. Sarah learned that nothing is too wonderful for God! 

There are signs of God’s presence all around us, and we are reminded of how wonderful God truly is. God is at work in our lives. As a community, we have come a long way since I first walked in the door. We have persevered through the pandemic lockdowns, and we are starting to see what our new reality looks like. The world may seem different, but God’s wonderful presence still surrounds us and inspires us. Every step of the way.

And where do we see our wonderful God? We see God’s presence as we gather for worship with the added capability of providing virtual worship to those who can’t attend live worship at this time. The technology implemented during a time of crisis will benefit us for years, enabling us to reach out to our sisters and brothers in new and creative ways. We feel God’s blessings as children laugh at our neighborhood block parties. We see Christ reflected in the eyes of each person served at our Soup Kitchen and the newly formed Food Pantry. We see the Spirit blowing through our memorial garden, reminding us to embrace our faith. God’s presence is all around us, reminding us repeatedly that nothing is too wonderful for God… nothing is too difficult for God. God is with us, my friends, and speaks directly to our hearts and will bring us to the place that we are meant to be.

Is anything too wonderful for God? No, of course not! Praise be to God.
 
Blessings,
Pastor Katie


Sacred Peace

From that time Jesus began to proclaim, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”
~Matthew 4:17~
 
As I sat down to write, I turned off the news, which was filled with both the good news of the CDC guidelines that offer hope that the pandemic will soon be a distant nightmare and the horrible news of rockets being launched in Israel and Palestine. The past several months have been like that: a constant bombardment of both horrific and promising news that we do not have time to process before the next onslaught of information bombards us. The last several months have been defined by pandemic, gun violence, racial conflict, political dissension, and a general sense of both division and isolation. It’s enough to break your heart.
 
Over and over again, our lives are defined by the catastrophes in the news that break our hearts. It seems as if current events define the boundaries of our lives. Our entire world was dramatically changed twice by wars that spanned the globe in the early Twentieth Century. The assassinations of two Kennedys and Rev. Dr Martin Luther King Jr. changed an entire generation. Future generations were impacted by the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger and the shattering impact on September 11, 2011. These moments, these days define how we perceive the world. We focus on the horrors, then shake our heads in despair. “What is the world coming to,” we sigh. We wonder if we can ever recover… ever heal.. ever move forward into God’s healing space. But, Jesus shows us a different way. Instead of defining his life and ministry by current events, he looked beyond those boundaries and pointed us in the direction of God’s Holy place. The events of our world are important but Jesus reminds us that it is even more important that we keep God’s of wholeness and peace at the center of our lives. It is not that the shattering events of our time matter less; it is that God’s love is more powerful than any damage human beings inflict on each other. So let us give this day back to the God of history. May you instead receive Christ’s sacred peace, and may you share that peace with one another.
 
Blessings,
Pastor Katie


Spring Forth Like Dandelions

Look how the wild flowers grow: they don’t work or make clothes for themselves.
But I tell you that not even King Solomon with all his wealth had clothes as beautiful as one of these flowers. (Luke 12:27, Good News Bible)
 
 
I love dandelions. I love their vibrant color, as they spread through the green grass. I love the promise they
hold of the spring flowers and summer fruits that they follow.
 
One beautiful spring day when I was in first grade, I spent my entire recess picking the biggest bouquet of
dandelions that I could. Clutching it in both hands, I went into my classroom and gave this precious gift to my
teacher. With a look of disgust, she threw them all out the window and declared: “I will not have weeds in my
classroom!” I have remembered that moment periodically, when small children have come to me, clutching their
own bouquets of dandelions. I have always tried to treasure these gifts in the spirit for which they were given.
One person’s weed is another’s beautiful flower.
 
One of my favorite signs of spring is when the dandelions show their sunny faces. I smile as the dandelions
blanket my lawn because I am reminded that everything and everybody that God created is beautiful and
valuable in God’s eyes. And, everything was designed with a purpose.
 
We can learn valuable lessons from the dandelion. Every gift is valuable and worthy of a smile. We should honor
every gift given, just as God honors our gifts. No matter what we bring to the table, God never throws us out
of the window and declare us worthless!
 
Bright, yellow dandelions have blanketed lawns all over the world. They are strong and resilient, withstanding
gardeners’ attempts to annihilate them. No matter how hard we try, they always seem to spring forth the next
morning full of life. And then, when a strong wind blows, their seeds are spread far and wide,
So let us try to live our lives like the dandelion – small and hearty and full of life. And when it is time, our
gifts and our love will be blown to bring hope and healing to the farthest corner of the world, our
neighborhoods, and our homes.
 
So, this year try to remember, even though you can’t see the dandelions at dawn’s break, that doesn’t mean
they are not there. Just like our faith, which is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things
unseen. The dandelion springs forth with new life when exposed to the morning sun, just as our faith becomes
alive when we’re exposed to the light of God’s love. And only then are we ready to fully love God’s purpose for
us.
 
Blessings,
Pastor Katie


 
 

Weekly Schedule

Sunday School @ 9:45am weekly

Sunday School is offered most Sundays from 9:45 am to 10:45 am with opportunities for all ages and styles. For more information visit our Christian Education page.

*Sunday School is available weekly in the fall/winter schedule from Labor Day to Memorial Day. More Info.

Sunday Worship @ 11am weekly

Worship in-person at the church in our historic sanctuary or virtually every Sunday at 11am.

Tuesday’s Supper & 1-Stop Shop

Every Tuesday from 5-6:30pm in the lower-level of church. Carry-out and dine-in options available. Free dinners for ALL and the 1-Stop Shop Food Pantry is available to help accentuate your food needs throughout the week.

Lower-level entrance located in rear of building via Suter Avenue.

More Info

January 22nd, 2023

Join us at 11am Sunday mornings for worship!

Sunday School at 9:45am.

Virtual worship options available.

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Get this week’s Worship Guide here.

Find the current newsletter here.

Tristate Medical Debt Relief Campaign

A $1 donation to the Tri-State Medical Debt Relief Campaign, on average, abolishes $100 of medical debt. Donate today and help relieve medical debt across Maryland, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania. Donate through the church by marking your donation for “Medical Debt Relief”:

Give by Mail: Mail a check or money order marked “Medical Debt Relief” to Zion Reformed UCC, 201 N. Potomac Street, Hagerstown, MD 21740.

Ukrainian Relief Fund

Zion’s Ukrainian Relief Fund provides monetary support to the World Central Kitchen’s Ukrainian relief efforts and to the UCC’s ACT Alliance which directly supports Ukrainian relief efforts. Monies raised will be split equally between both of these vital outreach organizations providing much needed humanitarian assistance such as food, shelter, training, and more. Please prayerfully consider making a donation to the church marked “Ukrainian Relief Fund” and drop it in the Ukrainian Relief Fund donation box or by mail. Let us also continue to pray with our Ukrainian siblings for peace and safety in Ukraine and around the world.

Micah’s Backpack Monthly Collection

Help us “fill the truck” for our Micah’s Backpack program by donating the requested item for each month to fill the truck for Micah’s Backpacks which help feed neighborhood children over the weekend. Any and all donations are greatly appreciated!

 

January: Soup, Vegetable, Chicken Noodle, etc.

February: Peanut Butter

March: Pudding and Jell-O cups

April: Juice Boxes

May: Granola Bars

Rooted In Love Face Mask Policy

Please remember face masks and social distancing are Strongly Encouraged at all activities of the Church when not seated in a pew for worship to ensure everyone’s safety as we practice our mission to love one another as Christ teaches. Additionally, we ask that everyone physically distance when interacting and during worship sit in every other pew.

If you are feeling under the weather or are immunocompromised please always wear your face mask. If you are experiencing fever, shortness of breath, fatigue, and other COVID-related symptoms or have been potentially exposed, please worship virtually and consider being seen by your doctor. Your health is of utmost importance to us!

Let us look out for one another in love!