Categories: Worship

by Admin


Categories: Worship


We gather for a Worship Service in-person at the Chapel (2700 W 14th Street) on Sunday, April 21, 2024 – on this fourth Sunday in the Easter season, sometimes known as Good Shepherd Sunday, with the message of Jesus who lays down his life for his sheep, and takes up again his life in the resurrection. The United Church of Christ encouraged congregations to set aside one Sunday each year, preferably the Sunday closest to Earth Day (April 22), as Earth Sunday – festival of God’s Creation, celebrating God’s gracious work in creating the earth and all living things. Many congregations recognize the day in worship; others have special events or projects to observe it.

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.

Genesis says it was God who created the very first Earth Day: “The second day God said, ‘Let there be space to divide the waters into two parts.’ And it was so. God called the space Sky. ‘Let the waters under the sky be gathered together into one place and let dry land appear.’ … God called the dry land Earth and the waters that were gathered together, Seas. God saw that it was good.” Genesis 1:9-10, (New Revised Standard Version).

On April 22, 1970, the United States began celebrating Earth Day annually, creating a movement that now motivates people around the world to use the day to consider the planet, demonstrate their love for it and enact ways to protect it. Organizers anticipate more than one billion people around the globe will take part in events this year engaging in environmental issues.

The United Church of Christ is among 37 national faith bodies, including Protestant denominations and Orthodox communions, as well as regional faith groups, and congregants working with ecumenical partners, Creation Justice Ministries, to protect and restore God’s Creation.

The Focus Scripture Reading is John 10:11-18

Jesus is the Good Shepherd in these verses of John 10, the one who lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand runs away when the wolf comes, but the Good Shepherd cares for the sheep and knows them. The Good Shepherd knows there are sheep not of this fold but will bring them together (alluding to Gentiles). In John’s account, no one has the power to take Jesus’ life—only Jesus has the power to give it up, and Jesus does so by laying down his life for all, so that life may be taken up again.

Sermon/Reflection: “Our Shepherd Is Calling” by the Rev. Scott Rosenstein, based on the reading of John 10:11-18.

Earth Sunday always falls in Easter season, and this year it lands on the Sunday we celebrate as Good Shepherd Sunday. Scripture gives us many different ways to imagine Jesus. In the Gospel of John, for instance, Jesus calls himself “the bread of life” (John 6:35), “the light of the world” (John 8:12) and “the true vine” (John 15:1) – images with their own resonance and meaning – but Jesus “the good shepherd” is the image that many of us treasure most.

I, for one, am grateful that this year Earth Sunday coincides with Good Shepherd Sunday, for I need to be drawn again into Jesus’ consoling and empowering presence. Maybe some of you do, too. As we take stock of the living world around us and consider the faltering health of our planet, we confess that the path that society has traveled for the last two centuries has led to an unprecedented human emergency: we are hurtling toward climate catastrophe and we are watching the web of life unravel before our eyes. In the United States and in many places around the world, are already experiencing the effects of a fast-warming climate, from extreme weather events to droughts and wildfires.

When we turn to the Good Shepherd, we touch the sacred unity within and beyond all things. We touch the Ground of our being. We meet the One in whom all things hold together (Colossians 1:17) – everything within us, everything around us.

That’s what it’s like to experience the Good Shepherd: in the midst of a world in which everything seems to be divided and falling apart, we sense an underlying wholeness and unity. We sense a love that embraces all things, connects all things, sustains all things. On the surface, in the realm of our five senses, we see mainly differences, what divides us from each other, but in the deep center of reality we meet the good shepherd who holds everything together, drawing us into community with each other and drawing us into communion with God.

In addition, in this month of April, please join us in wishing Muslim and Jewish friends and neighbors:

Muslims: “Eid Mubarak” (Blessed Eid) or “Eid sa’id” (Happy Eid). Eid-al-Fitr – which began on April 10th, 2024 – is a three-day festival celebrating the completion of the fasting month of Ramadan by Muslims across the world.

Jews: “Happy Passover” or you could also say “chag sameach,” which means happy holiday in Hebrew. This year, Passover starts before sundown on Monday, April 22, and concludes after nightfall on April 30 in the United States. Many Jewish communities will host Seders the first two nights of the holiday. Passover is considered the “festival of freedom” – a celebration of freedom – of God’s deliverance of the Jewish people from enslavement in Egypt. The holiday is rooted in the biblical story of Moses and the 10 plagues, which contributed to freeing the Jewish people from Egypt.

Please join us this Easter season to give thanks to God and to seek the companionship of Christ in-person at Zion Chapel.

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

Bulletin Cover Image:
The Good Shepherd
by Kally Latimore
painted for The Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd of Athens Ohio
Kelly Latimore Icons.