Categories: Worship

by Admin


Categories: Worship


We gather for a Worship Service on this Sunday, February 18th, 2024, First Sunday in Lent in person at the Chapel (2700 W 14th Street) at 11:00 a.m.

To join us at the Chapel, buzz Zion Church (Bob Bucklew) from the Directory at the front of the 2700 Building on the campus of San Sofia apartments or enter from the accessible ramp from the rear parking lot. When you arrive, call Bob at 216-375-5323 to open the parking lot gate.

The Sunday Bulletin is attached in PDF format. You may use it as a devotional during the week.

The Season of Lent

The day of Ashes marked the opening of Lent in the liturgical season. For six- and one-half weeks, Christians around the world will prepare themselves spiritually for the celebration of their highest Holy Day: Easter. Many of us will take on spiritual disciplines – prayer, charity, and fasts (make personal  sacrifices), focusing through these long days on the sacrifices Jesus made as he set his face toward Jerusalem.

The liturgical calendar is asking us to do this in the Lenten season: prepare ourselves spiritually for our collective celebration of life overcoming death.

The season of Lent invites introspection, an inward act, that often gets made concrete through spiritual disciplines, action, to reinforce their meaning and to translate them into a way of living. If the spiritual transformation is missing, however, the actions become meaningless and a mockery. Repentance, reconciliation, and repair require an inward  transformation of mind, body, and spirit – represented by the heart. In ancient Hebrew tradition, the heart reflected more than emotional response; it encompasses both reason and feelings in an integrated fashion.

To rend one’s heart is to deliberately open ourselves to revitalized thoughts, attitudes, and emotions. It is to become vulnerable and malleable.

Other faith traditions have something very similar to this: whether it is the arduous month-long fast of Ramadan practiced by Muslims, the 24 hours of fasting practiced by the Jewish people during the annual time of Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement), or the various means of using fasting for spiritual awakening by many Native American tribes. It seems almost universally accepted that an intentional and thoughtful act of self-sacrifice can not only deepen spiritual connections with the Sacred, but also make us all more mindful of the excesses with which we are prone to live and grow oblivious to.

No matter what your spiritual pathway is, or how you explore and deepen connections to the Sacred, take time to assess your spiritual health. Discover ways that the entrapments of this world burden you – whether in the ongoing and seemingly insatiable pursuit of treasures and pleasures that attract, or in the simple fact that such treasures and pleasures, once acquired, only serve to distract us from our higher callings.

Open yourself up to the ancient rituals that invite us to turn away from things that distract us from, or learn anew spiritual disciplines that focus us on, spiritual awakening.

During this season of Lent, may you be encouraged to lighten your load if it be overladen with excesses that distract; may you be invited into times of spiritual wholeness that come when we are less distracted; and may the Eastertide find you ready to celebrate once again the joy of life over-coming death. May you deepen your relationship with the Sacred on this, your journey Into the Mystic.

The Focus Scripture Reading is Mark 1:9-15

Mark’s account of Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness is scant on the details, so the Gospel lesson also includes Jesus’ baptism before he went into the wilderness, and the beginning of his ministry in Galilee, in these verses. Again, all three of these stories are expanded in Matthew and Luke. Mark simply lets us know that before Jesus began his ministry, he was baptized by John the Baptizer; he was affirmed by God as the Beloved, God’s Own; he was driven into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit, and he was tempted by Satan. Jesus had all of these experiences happen to him, and then, Jesus went and proclaimed the Gospel, that the reign of God had come near. The action shifts, and Jesus knows he must go out on his own, as baptized, affirmed, and driven by the Spirit. How our past experiences shape us into sharing the Gospel may be one angle in which to reflect upon this story.

Sermon/Reflection: “Even a Dangerous Desert Can Become Holy” by the Rev. Scott Rosenstein, based on the reading of Mark 1:9-15.

Other Readings this Sunday – Introductions:

Genesis 9:8-17

During Lent, the selections from the Hebrew Scriptures focus on stories of God’s covenant. For the first Sunday in Lent, the story is of the covenant between God and Noah and all of creation— all flesh—that God will never again destroy the earth by flood. The sign of this covenant to Noah and all future generations is the rainbow—God’s weapon. God has hung up the bow and will no longer make war on creation. This covenant to the people showed how God was different than the other gods, and how God will remember on their part that they are not a God who makes war on the people or the creatures of the earth.

Psalm 25: 1-10

Psalm 25 is a song of trust in God. The psalmist desires to draw closer to God’s ways, and prays for deliverance from their enemies. While they long for a response from God to their situation, they also pray that God would not hold against them their previous sins. Instead, the psalmist focuses on the goodness of God, and how those who keep God’s faithfulness will know God’s steadfast love.

1 Peter 3: 18-22

The author of 1 Peter 3 writes in verses 18-22 how Christ’s suffering for sins unites all believers to God. Christ descended into the place of the dead, “the spirits in prison,” to proclaim the good news. The writer of this letter also interprets the story of Noah as a story of baptism, saving all of humanity before Noah from their sins through the floodwaters, and now baptism saves the believers who are alive.

Please join the Zion Church community to give thanks to God this Sunday in-person in the Chapel!

Pastor Scott Rosenstein
216-273-7561 – church
216-577-1514 – mobile

Bulletin Cover Image:
The Temptation in the Wilderness
by Briton Riviere, 1898
(British artist of Huguenot descent)
Location: Guildhall Art Gallery, City of London
Medium: oil on canvas
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