Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Remembering Our Sister Marie Fodor

Born in Stanton, KY on Mar. 29, 1919
Departed on May 28, 2011 and resided in Shaftsbury, VT.


Visitation: Thursday, Jun. 2, 2011 - 10:00 am - 11:00 am
Service: Thursday, Jun. 2, 2011 - 11:00 am
Cemetery: Chestnut Ridge Cemetery

Marie Mildred Fodor, 92, of Shaftsbury, VT, formerly of Weirton, WV, died Saturday May 28, 2011, at the Southwestern Vermont Medical Center in Bennington, VT.

Born on March 29, 1919, in Stanton, KY, Marie was a daughter of the late Jessie and Molly McIntosh Swango. She was also preceded in death by her husband, Earl Fodor, Jr. on September 28, 2008; two brothers, Paul and Silas Swango; and four sisters, Ruby Kulla, Jewel Fryer, Golden Mulberry, and Iola Gorsky.

Marie was a homemaker, who enjoyed cooking, baking pies, tending to her garden, and planting flowers. Her family meant the world to her, and she loved spending time with them especially her grandchildren, and great grandchildren.

She was a member of Cove Presbyterian Church, and the Order of the Eastern Star Chapter 147.

She is survived by her son, Randy (Linda) Fodor of Port Charlotte, FL; two daughters, Vicki (David) Reitter of Weirton, WV, and Mona Jo (Alan) Caton of Shaftsbury, VT; a sister, Wynonna West of Carollton, OH; six grandchildren, B.J. (Gina) Reitter, Brent Reitter, Jaime (Sean) Lash, Brianne Fodor, Derek (Brenda) McLain, and Jenna McLain; five great grandchildren, Reed and Gage Reitter, Brayley and Kason Lash, and Keegan McLain.

Visitation will be Thursday 10 AM until time of services at 11 AM, at the Greco Hertnick Funeral Home, 3219 Main Street Weirton, WV

Dr. Ed Rudiger will preside.

Interment will follow at Chestnut Ridge Cemetery.

Memorial contributions may be made to the American Diabetes Association PO Box 238 Hurricane, WV 25516

Share tributes and memories at grecohertnick.com

A New Devotion on Our Prayer Line - Not Required

Matthew 25:31-46

31-33 “When he finally arrives, blazing in beauty and all his angels with him, the Son of Man will take his place on his glorious throne. Then all the nations will be arranged before him and he will sort the people out, much as a shepherd sorts out sheep and goats, putting sheep to his right and goats to his left.

34-36 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what’s coming to you in this kingdom. It’s been ready for you since the world’s foundation. And here’s why:

I was hungry and you fed me,
I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,
I was homeless and you gave me a room,
I was shivering and you gave me clothes,
I was sick and you stopped to visit,
I was in prison and you came to me.’

37-40 “Then those ‘sheep’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?’ Then the King will say, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.’

41-43 “Then he will turn to the ‘goats,’ the ones on his left, and say, ‘Get out, worthless goats! You’re good for nothing but the fires of hell. And why? Because—

I was hungry and you gave me no meal,
I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,
I was homeless and you gave me no bed,
I was shivering and you gave me no clothes,
Sick and in prison, and you never visited.’

44 “Then those ‘goats’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or homeless or shivering or sick or in prison and didn’t help?’

45 “He will answer them, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you failed to do one of these things to someone who was being overlooked or ignored, that was me—you failed to do it to me.’

46 “Then those ‘goats’ will be herded to their eternal doom, but the ‘sheep’ to their eternal reward.”


A Devotion by Kim Sheard (Virginia)

In our reading for today, Jesus tells us that those who care for others as if for him are the sheep who will inherit the kingdom and that the others are the goats who will not. I have had some difficulty with this passage because I’m also familiar with Ephesians 2:8-9: “By grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God — not the result of works, so that no one may boast.” It had seemed to me that the two passages conflict with one another. Are we saved simply by accepting God’s grace, as Ephesians says, or should we strive to perform good works, as Matthew says?

But then I thought about the heart of a Christian. When we accept God’s grace and salvation and become believers, our heart expands — pushing us to perform good works, even though they’re not technically “required.” I see this in most Christians I know. They desire to perform these good works even though they don’t see them as requirements for getting into heaven.

Christian role models help us to see that good works don’t save us. Instead, good works are the natural response of Christians who are grateful for salvation and who cherish our God and our Lord Jesus Christ who sacrificed to bring salvation to us.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Yesterday's Sermon - Let God Sort It Out

1 Peter 3:13-22

13And then who will harm you, if you might become ardent about what is good? 14But even if you were to suffer on account of righteousness, then [you are] blessed. But their fear don’t fear nor be disturbed, 15but the Lord Christ, make holy in your hearts, be ready always to defend to everybody who asks you to account for the hope that is in you, 16but with gentleness and fear, and have a good conscience so that when you are maligned, those who slander you for the good behavior you do in Christ might be put to shame. 17For it’s better, as a doer of good, if it’s the will of God, to suffer than as a doer of evil. 18Because Christ also once, on account of sin, suffered, the righteous one for those who aren’t righteous, so that he might bring you to God; he who, on one hand, was put to death in the flesh but on the other hand was brought to life in spirit, 19in which also to those spirits in prison he went and preached, 20who didn’t obey at some time when the God’s patience waited in the days of Noah when he built an ark into which a few (there were eight persons) were saved through water, 21which also corresponds to baptism, now saves you, not as putting off dirt of the flesh but as a pledge of a good conscious to God, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22who is at the right hand of God and went into heaven and angels and powers and authorities submit to him.


Let God Sort It Out

We’re going to start this morning with a little history lesson, that trust me, will relate to the passage we just read from 1 Peter. About eight hundred years ago, Christianity was really under threat. You see, a new idea about God was spreading, particularly in southern France called Catharism.

Now in a nutshell, this is what the Cathars believed. Instead having one, they had two gods: one good and the other bad. They called the bad god the “King of the World,” and he represented everything that was physical and chaotic and powerful. In fact, he was the one who created the world, which of course they considered bad too. Now that was God number one. But God number two, well, he was the one they worshiped. He wasn’t physical at all but pure spirit. For them, this was the god of love and order and peace. And naturally, since this god was completely free from matter, he certainly didn’t become flesh; therefore, Jesus wasn’t God nor the Son of God, but rather a spokesman for god. Now this is what the Cathars believed.

And for several very important reasons, including politics and power, Catharism had become very popular, in fact, it had become so popular even within the church that it threatened Christianity. And for that reason, Pope Innocent III issued what’s called a papal bull declaring a crusade against the Cathar. Now in case you didn’t realize it, crusades weren’t just about knights fighting Muslims for the Holy Land. A crusade could be called against any group that was teaching something which the church considered heretical. Anyway, both sides had powerful friends and so they organized armies and started fighting. Now understand, although both sides believed they were fighting for God, those on the side of the church believed they were also fighting for Jesus Christ and the truth of the gospel, and so the fighting was intense. And it went on for about twenty years. There was a problem, though. since they were all French and sounded you know spiritual, it was sometimes hard to tell the difference between one side and the other.

And here’s where a monk named, Arnaud Amalric entered the picture. You see, when he was asked by a soldier who was wondering how to distinguish the Catholic friendlies from the Cathar enemies, Amalric said to just “Kill them all. For the Lord knows them that are His.” Of course, this is the origin of the phrase that I think has even been adopted by some modern armies: “Kill them all and let God sort them out.”

Now, like I said, I have a reason for telling y’all all this, beyond the fact that as an old history teacher I think this stuff is really neat. I believe that we as Christians need to take a similar attitude as we go about our living, at least as it applies to the second part of the phrase. In other words, although I don’t think we should or could ever justify “killing them all,” that’s ridiculous, I do believe there are times when we should have enough faith and enough courage to let God sort it out.

And in fact, that’s kind of what I think Peter was getting at the passage we just read. Now to understand what he had in mind, you’ve really got to read a little bit of what he’d already said, you know, the context. I mean, right before our passage, this was what he wrote: “Finally, all of you, have unity of spirit, sympathy, love for one another, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or abuse for abuse; but, on the contrary, repay with a blessing. It is for this that you were called—that you might inherit a blessing. For ‘Those who desire life and desire to see good days, let them keep their tongues from evil and their lips from speaking deceit; let them turn away from evil and do good; let them seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.’” In other words, simply put, Peter wrote that Christians should do things that are good. That’s how Christians should live.

And I’ll tell you, if this is a surprise to anybody here, you know, that we should be doing good things for others, I only have one word for you: daaa. Of course, God wants us to do good, to do what’s right, to follow the example of Jesus. And although I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes I’m not nearly as good as I could or should be, (I mean, ask Debbie or Maggie, if you catch me on a bad day, watch out) in other words, when I’m on the bad side, it’s not because I’m also ignorant. No sir, the reality is that sometimes I do and say things that are not good, things that are just plain wrong, but it’s not because I don’t know better. Because I’ll tell you, when I do, I know that as a Christian I need to change. My gosh, it’s not rocket science. And so it really shouldn’t be a surprise that Peter wrote that those who claim to follow Christ, that we should be good.

And you know, it’s interesting, according to Peter, living this kind of life, makes a lot of sense whether you’re a Christian or not. I mean, he wrote, “And then who will harm you, if you might become ardent about what is good?” In other words, Peter recognized that most of the people we run into each and every day, that they won’t hassle us when we’re doing good. And again, that makes sense. Good night, give me a break, most folks probably have no problem with food being given to the hungry no matter who’s doing it or shelter to the houseless or protection to the abused. And let me ask you, who do you most respect, someone who has a kind word to say about everybody or a person who seems to get energized when they’re trashing people? Again, daa. The reality is that if you do good thing, most people will not respond with evil.

And if this were true for all people, then doing good would be a cake walk. But fortunately it’s not, because even if most people appreciate the good, there are some that just plain don’t. And that’s something Peter also knew and that’s why he wrote: “But even if you were to suffer on account of righteousness, then [you are] blessed.” Now, I guess we can spend time tying to figure out why this is case, why some folks are especially hostile when they see someone taking positive action. Good night, we could study the reasons for this kind of stuff until the cows come home. But you know, it’s not really relevant. What is important is that it happens. It stinks, but it still happens. People get dumped on and criticized for trying to do what is good and right. That’s just the way it is.

And I’ll tell you, when it happens especially to us, it’s right here that it’s important for us to trust that God’s going to sort it out. I mean, instead of taking vengeance into our hands, instead of stooping to the level of those who for whatever reason, repay good with evil, and instead of jeopardizing our relationship with God and our witness to others by striking back, instead of doing any of that kind of nonsense, we can recognize that God is in control. And that he knows exactly what’s going on. And that he has the power to turn the unjust suffering that we face into a blessing. We can let God sort it out. Now that’s what we can decide. And I’ll tell you, once we’ve made it, once we’ve decided, then we can get back to doing the good we know is right. Without anger and bitterness and frustrations becoming a distraction, we can do exactly what Peter wrote we should be doing. In other words, we can step away from the values and perspectives and assumptions of the haters and decide that we’re not going to be controlled or disturbed or misled by whatever it is that drives them. Instead, we’re going to make the Lord Jesus Christ holy, set apart, special in our hearts and minds and hands. And we’re not going to back off our witness. We’re not going to stop doing what’s right. And we’re not going to allow them to win. Instead, we’re going to be ready to defend the hope we get from our faith. In other words, we’re going to be ready to explain why knowing that we are in the hands of a loving God is better than not knowing. We’re going to be ready stand up on our hind legs and continue to show the kind of love that Christ showed us even if it ticks some off, but we’re going to do it with gentleness and with respect, even with love, because Jesus didn’t tell us to love only the good people. We’re responsible to love the stinkers too.

And as a result, we’re going to have a good and a clear conscience, knowing that we’ve done the best we could with what we had. Who knows, we might even get a little bit of added confidence because we can trust that “those who slander [us] for the good behavior [we] do in Christ [will] be put to shame.” You see, once we let go and continue to do good, not only will we be following the example of Christ, who continued to care for others even after his death, but we’ll be honoring the promise that was made at our baptism. This is what can happen, but only if we let God sort it out.

But you know, it’s interesting, that decision, well, it only really impacts us. It really doesn’t effect God. I mean, regardless of what we decide, he’s still in control, and we don’t have the power to frustrate his will. But this decision can still have make an enormous difference in our lives. Trusting that God will sort it out frees us to move forward with focus and with faith in the face of whatever opposition we may face. As a matter of fact, it actually does for us the same thing Arnaud Amalric’s comment did for the soldiers fighting for the church during Cathar Crusade, with one important difference. Instead of encouraging us to kill them all, it can enable us to do what is right and good and to follow Jesus Christ to the very end.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Minute for Mission - Presbyterian Heritage

In early twentieth-century India, cultural and religious strictures prevented most women from seeking medical care from male doctors. To address this need, the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. appointed several women doctors to the field, including Adelaide Woodard (1874-1945). At age forty she was assigned to Fatehgarh, a densely populated area served by the North India Mission. When Dr. Woodard arrived in 1915, there was only a small dispensary and one trained nurse. In just five years, she oversaw the construction of Memorial Hospital and the start of formal nurses' training.

Dr. Adelaide Woodard performs an operation
(from Women and Missions, October 1935,
 Presbyterian Historical Society).
The work was not easy. "Prices are so high and funds so low that this year has been very difficult. We have used every native plant and drug that we could, torn up our old clothes for dressings and used things that at home would be impossible,'' Dr. Woodard reported in 1918. "We are sadly in need of equipment.'' By 1925, Dr. Woodard had secured funding from the First Presbyterian Church of Seattle for iron beds, operating room furniture, electric lights, an X-ray machine, and running water.

Dr. Woodard also traveled into outlying areas to provide medical services and Christian outreach. "We carry boxes and bags packed with medicines and dressings, some basins, an instrument and many disinfectants, a Bible, a hymn book and a roll of bright-colored pictures. These are our weapons with which to fight disease, dirt, ignorance, superstition and sin.''

Called the "Bari Doctor Miss Sahiba,'' the great lady doctor, Dr. Woodard retired in 1936. A new generation of women physicians appointed by the PCUSA continued her work in Fatehgarh into the 1960s.

— The staff of the Presbyterian Historical Society

Friday, May 27, 2011

Getting what we deserve

by Faith Bonyak
Wednesday, May 25, 2011

There are many things in my past I've done that I am not proud of. Specifically, I am thinking of a particular act. If you are one of my closest friends, you know what I am thinking of.

Through some in depth discussions with an amazing person whom I admire, I've discovered many things I had been denying to myself.

Due to the afore mentioned incident, I've asked forgiveness from all appropriate persons including God. I left myself out. I've never allowed myself the opportunity to forgive me.

To be completely honest, I am not ready to forgive myself, though I am taking steps to bring that into reality. I don't feel I deserve to be forgiven. I guess that will be the hardest step; to actually begin to believe I don't deserve to be punished any more.

Even through all this self doubt of what I deserve and don't deserve, God knows what I need.

Throughout my life, he has sent some very special people to me that not only provided me with forgiveness but with Grace.

I've always been so excited about God being a gracious God, but when my friends and husband gave me grace after what I had done, I was in shock. After all I had done to be met with understanding and grace was so new to me. It actually angered me. How did I get to be so lucky?

Honestly I believe God knew what I needed was grace. Do I deserve grace? No. Do any of us deserve grace? No.

Grace is the reason Jesus died. Did Jesus deserve to die? No, of course not, but he knew we NEEDED grace, not that we DESERVED it.

This may be a bit hard to swallow. We are all lead to believe that we get what we deserve, good or bad. That isn't how God works. He's fair, but His grace exceeds all we may deserve. His grace is what allows us to get into Heaven! Heaven isn't what we deserve, but His grace makes Heaven possible for us. My friends could have easily judged me for what I did, but I got grace instead. Can you imagine how we'd all feel if we dealt out more grace instead of judgement??

Announcements

Below are the announcements as they appear in Sunday's bulletin:

OUR NURSERY FOR CHILDREN . . .
(infant thru five years) is open during Sunday School and the Worship Service, under the direction of Jenna Maine. We still need some volunteer help. If you can spare time to supervise the little ones please see Jenna after the service. We thank you in advance for caring for the future member of our Cove family.

DON’T FORGET SUNDAY SCHOOL . . .
we meet every Sunday morning at 9:45 a.m. Think about trying out one of our classes. We have a variety of classes to chose from to fit your needs.

WHEN WE BEGIN THE SERVICE. . .
our children carry red, orange and yellow streamers. This represents the coming of the Holy Spirit, filling the sanctuary as we prepare to worship. At the end of the service, they carry the streamers out, challenging us to carry the Spirit into the world.

JESUS TIME OFFERS THE YOUNGER CHILDREN . . .
of our congregation, between the ages of 3 and 11, the opportunity to worship in a special experience just for them. The children are dismissed to Jesus Time after a Special Time for Children.

MEMORIAL DAY IS . . .
tomorrow, Monday, May 30. The church and office will be closed in observance of the holiday.

THE BROWN BAG BIBLE STUDY WILL MEET . . .
Thursday, 12:00 p.m. We're discussing the Gospel of John, and during this meeting we're looking at John 21:1-25. Grab your lunch and join us as we study God’s word.

SCHOLARSHIP SUNDAY . . .
sponsored by the Endowment Committee will be observed next Sunday, June 5 during the worship service.

HOT DOG LUNCHEON. . .
sponsored by the Deacons will be held next Sunday, June 5 after the morning worship.

SPROUTS OF FAITH . . .
Children’s Music Program last session in the series entitled, “Jesus Loves Me.” will be held on Monday, June 6th at 10:00 a.m. in fellowship hall. Classes are open to children infant through preschool. For more information contact LoLou Roseberry at 304-794-6802.

THE DEACONS WILL MEET . . .
Monday, June 6 at 7:00 p.m. in the board room. This will be the last meeting until September. All members are urged to try to attend.

MYRTLE MCHENDRY FRIENDSHIP TRIP. . .
is scheduled for Tuesday, June 7 to the Ponderosa Golf Course. The caravan will leave the state parking lot at 11:30 a.m. For more information or for a ride to the event contact President Betty Virtue at 304-748-8196.

PRESBYTERIAN WOMEN’S BOARD WILL MEET . . .
Wednesday, June 8 at 10:00 a,m, in the board room.

THE CHANCEL AND BELL CHOIRS . . .
will not practice on Wednesday evenings again until August. They are taking a well deserved summer break. We thank them for their dedication throughout the year!

PLEASE RETURN YOUR PRAYER BOXES. . .
if you have a Prayer Box from our Ash Wednesday Service please return it to the basket on the table in the narthex.

IF YOU LEAVE AN ITEM AT THE CHURCH . . .
for someone or for a specific committee, please take a moment to write the name of who is to receive the item. If there is no name on the item we will assume it is for the church in general.

WE ARE BLOGGING!
We now have six blogs that you can check out for information and on which you can leave comments. They're listed below:
• The Cove Community (www.thecovecommunity.blogspot.com) - This is for the whole church. I'll post sermons and announcements. I also invite y'all to send in material that you'd like to share with other members of the congregation. And please feel free to comment on anything you might read.
• Cove Kids (www.covekids.blogspot.com) - This is tailored for the preteen young people in our church. Again I'll post announcements. You're also invited to send in any writings, photographs and art work you'd like to post. And they don't have to all deal with the church. We also post artwork from Jesus Time.
• Glue (www.cove-glue.blogspot.com) - Our teens are running their own blog site; therefore, I have no idea what will be posted.
• Bible Talk (www.cove-bibletalk.blogspot.com) - We've established this blog to give pastors and lay people the chance to discuss Scripture. The weekly passages are from the Common Lectionary, and we're posting the pastor’s translation of the Greek text. We want you to read any or all of the passages and to leave any comment or ask any question that you feel is appropriate. Please include any research you've done. As we share our ideas and insights, we hope that we'll all come to a better and deeper understanding of the Bible. Each passage is linked to a website that offers some informative information.
• Let’s Talk About It (www.cove-talk.blogspot.com) - Through this site, we hope to encourage a conversation on a variety of topics. Since this blog is sponsored by a church, we expect most of the issues to involve the Christian faith. Still we don't want to limit ourselves or you. If you have a topic that you'd like us to discuss, include it as a comment to a previous issue. Please phrase it as a question and offer a summary of at least two positions. We'll add a new item to discuss every three weeks. We hope this challenges you to apply your faith to issues that are important to you.
• The Bible in a Year (www.cove-bibleinayear.blogspot.com/) - Each day, we'll post passages so that you can read the Bible in one year.

SHOP ON LINE . . .
use Good Search and Good Shop search engines to find what you are hunting for. Just list Cove Presbyterian Church as your charity and a percent of your purchase will come back to the church. It’s a simple way to raise money for the Cove Deacons while shopping for yourself!

IT IS OFTEN DIFFICULT TO HEAR PRAYER REQUESTS . . .
on Sunday mornings. If you would like to have someone added to the prayer chain please drop a short note into the collection plate with their name and any other information you would like to share. You may also call the church office or e-mail the church with the information.

IN THE HOSPITAL? HOMEBOUND? RECENT ILLNESS?. . .
if you are unable to attend services and would like to arrange for a visit from Rev. Ed Rudiger please contact the church office. Also if you would like to be included in our weekly bulletin mailings contact the church office.

WE CAN ALWAYS DO A BETTER JOB MINISTERING . . .
to the needs within this congregation, community and world. Please feel free to offer any suggestions as comments.

LOOSE CHANGE OFFERING . . .
Session has approved the Deacons collecting a “Loose Change Offering” that will be used to assist the Deacons with their utility assistance outreach program for Weirton residents or Cove Church members. We hope church members can help with the assistance program by donating some of their spare change. A container is placed in the Narthex each Sunday morning before church. The Deacons thank you for your continuing support of their projects.

VASES OF FLOWERS. . .
can be purchased for a service. The cost is $16.00 a vase. Silk flowers can be purchased for an additional cost. The flower calendar is located on the far wall in the church narthex or you can telephone the church office to place your order. After the service, the flowers will be placed in a plastic vase for you to take with you.

IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR NEWSPAPER CLIPPINGS. . .
newsletters from old friends or articles about or by members of Cove Church, check out the bulletin board located in the hallway by the church offices. Past event pictures are also on display in that area.

WE’RE UPDATING OUR PRAYER AND DEVOTION LINE . . .
about four times a week. If you would like to call and hear a devotional, please call 304-748-7900.

ONGOING MISSION PROJECTS . . .
• Used Can Tabs are being collected for the Ronald McDonald House in Morgantown, West Virginia. Deposit your tabs in the container located in the main hallway downstairs.
• Campbell’s Labels are being collected by the Presbyterian Women and can be dropped off in the container located in the main hallway downstairs. These labels are being collected for the Weirton Christian Center.

SHOE BOX PROJECT . . .
Kyle Truex, an Eagle Boy Scout with Troop 334 has extended his Eagle Scout Project to include continuous donations for Appalachian Outreach Inc. Brochures with envelopes attached are located on the table in the narthex.

Memorial Day

Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation's service. There are many stories as to its actual beginnings, with over two dozen cities and towns laying claim to being the birthplace of Memorial Day. There is also evidence that organized women's groups in the South were decorating graves before the end of the Civil War: a hymn published in 1867, "Kneel Where Our Loves are Sleeping" by Nella L. Sweet carried the dedication "To The Ladies of the South who are Decorating the Graves of the Confederate Dead" (Source: Duke University's Historic American Sheet Music, 1850-1920). While Waterloo N.Y. was officially declared the birthplace of Memorial Day by President Lyndon Johnson in May 1966, it's difficult to prove conclusively the origins of the day. It is more likely that it had many separate beginnings; each of those towns and every planned or spontaneous gathering of people to honor the war dead in the 1860's tapped into the general human need to honor our dead, each contributed honorably to the growing movement that culminated in Gen Logan giving his official proclamation in 1868. It is not important who was the very first, what is important is that Memorial Day was established. Memorial Day is not about division. It is about reconciliation; it is about coming together to honor those who gave their all.

Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on 5 May 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his General Order No. 11, and was first observed on 30 May 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. The first state to officially recognize the holiday was New York in 1873. By 1890 it was recognized by all of the northern states. The South refused to acknowledge the day, honoring their dead on separate days until after World War I (when the holiday changed from honoring just those who died fighting in the Civil War to honoring Americans who died fighting in any war). It is now celebrated in almost every State on the last Monday in May (passed by Congress with the National Holiday Act of 1971 (P.L. 90 - 363) to ensure a three day weekend for Federal holidays), though several southern states have an additional separate day for honoring the Confederate war dead: January 19 in Texas, April 26 in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi; May 10 in South Carolina; and June 3 (Jefferson Davis' birthday) in Louisiana and Tennessee.

In 1915, inspired by the poem "In Flanders Fields," Moina Michael replied with her own poem:

We cherish too, the Poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led,
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies.

She then conceived of an idea to wear red poppies on Memorial day in honor of those who died serving the nation during war. She was the first to wear one, and sold poppies to her friends and co-workers with the money going to benefit servicemen in need. Later a Madam Guerin from France was visiting the United States and learned of this new custom started by Ms.Michael and when she returned to France, made artificial red poppies to raise money for war orphaned children and widowed women. This tradition spread to other countries. In 1921, the Franco-American Children's League sold poppies nationally to benefit war orphans of France and Belgium. The League disbanded a year later and Madam Guerin approached the VFW for help. Shortly before Memorial Day in 1922 the VFW became the first veterans' organization to nationally sell poppies. Two years later their "Buddy" Poppy program was selling artificial poppies made by disabled veterans. In 1948 the US Post Office honored Ms Michael for her role in founding the National Poppy movement by issuing a red 3 cent postage stamp with her likeness on it.

Traditional observance of Memorial day has diminished over the years. Many Americans nowadays have forgotten the meaning and traditions of Memorial Day. At many cemeteries, the graves of the fallen are increasingly ignored, neglected. Most people no longer remember the proper flag etiquette for the day. While there are towns and cities that still hold Memorial Day parades, many have not held a parade in decades. Some people think the day is for honoring any and all dead, and not just those fallen in service to our country.

There are a few notable exceptions. Since the late 50's on the Thursday before Memorial Day, the 1,200 soldiers of the 3d U.S. Infantry place small American flags at each of the more than 260,000 gravestones at Arlington National Cemetery. They then patrol 24 hours a day during the weekend to ensure that each flag remains standing. In 1951, the Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts of St. Louis began placing flags on the 150,000 graves at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery as an annual Good Turn, a practice that continues to this day. More recently, beginning in 1998, on the Saturday before the observed day for Memorial Day, the Boys Scouts and Girl Scouts place a candle at each of approximately 15,300 grave sites of soldiers buried at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park on Marye's Heights (the Luminaria Program). And in 2004, Washington D.C. held its first Memorial Day parade in over 60 years.

To help re-educate and remind Americans of the true meaning of Memorial Day, the "National Moment of Remembrance" resolution was passed on Dec 2000 which asks that at 3 p.m. local time, for all Americans "To voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a Moment of remembrance and respect, pausing from whatever they are doing for a moment of silence or listening to 'Taps."

The Moment of Remembrance is a step in the right direction to returning the meaning back to the day. What is needed is a full return to the original day of observance. Set aside one day out of the year for the nation to get together to remember, reflect and honor those who have given their all in service to their country.

http://www.usmemorialday.org/backgrnd.html

Prayer Requests

The following are needs we'll lift to God on Sunday. If you have anyone to add, please let us know. Thanks.

Adults
• Virginia Welch
• Phyllis Manley
• John Brothers
• Rhonda Bruich
• Paul Buck
• Mr. & Mrs. Mario Whitehead & Joyce
• Dave Bever
• Taylor Harris
• Pam Haller
• Mary Torchio
• Bonnie Kirtley
• Rachael
• Connie Francis
• Mary & Jack Games
• Betty Kraina
• Vicki Williams
• Jennifer Dahlem
• Charles Saffle
• Bob Saffle
• Andrea Vincent
• Rose Mader
• Jimmy Jones
• Christy Cybulski
• Chum Robert
• Andy DiRemigio
• Ruth Riggs
• Donna Jenkins
• Bill Churchman
• Judy Dobbins
• Greta Billham
• Don Billham
• Eleanor Williams
• Julia Maine
• Ruth Gilmore
• Karen Tomich
• Jenn Johnson
• Maxine Bulick
• Melaine & Denny
• Karen Wilson
• Dr. James W. Valuska, Sr.
• Kelly Stephens

Kids
• Jonah Becker
• Shelby Kamarec
• Brody McUmor
• Zoe Purcell
• Daisy Emmerick
• Georgie Platt
• Audri King
• Brandon Wares
• Hunter Stafford
• Michael Liptak
• Justus Loughry
• Jeffrey Konovich
• Sierra Huey
• Maia Metcalf

Military
• Michael Criss
• Jonathan Criss
• Chad Peppler
• Kendra Mader
• Stephen Mader

Troops
Our troops all around the world need our prayers for strength, endurance, and safety.

Bereaved Families
The Family of Colleen Wetzel

Church Families
Kitty Heilman
Ben, Stephanie & Hayden Hilt
Christine Trushel & Leah Hinchee

Local Church
Christian & Missionary Alliance Church

Other Presbyterian Churches
• The Training and Development Committee
• The Worship Committee
• The Youth Council

Special Friend
Kitty Heilman, 1215 Glencairn Road, Weirton WV  26062-4323

In the Hospital
Ruth Gilmore, Lifeline Hospital, 200 School St, Wintersville, OH 43953

Also Remember in Prayer
Chambrel at Montrose, 100 Brookmont Rd, Akron OH 44333-3091
• Thelma Longacre, Unit 210

Wyngate, 100 Wyngate Dr, Weirton WV 26062
• Father of Mary Ann Ianni

Carriage House, 3106 St. Charles Dr, Steubenville, OH 43952
• Ruth Gilmore, Room 215

The Laurels, 500 Stanton Blvd, Steubenville OH 43952
• Connie Francis

Weirton Geriatric Center, 2525 Pennsylvania Ave, Weirton, WV 26062
• Marge Black, Room 353
• Mary Kay DePaolo
• Dorothy Sobolak, Room 223
• Bob Morgan
• Mike Valiga
• Alice Orr

Serra House Grace Cottage, 195 Eden Drive, Weirton WV 26062-3664
• Julia Maine

Thursday, May 26, 2011

A New Devotion on the Prayer Line - A Very Present Help

James 1:2-5

2My friends, be glad, even if you have a lot of trouble. 3You know that you learn to endure by having your faith tested. 4But you must learn to endure everything, so that you will be completely mature and not lacking in anything.

5If any of you need wisdom, you should ask God, and it will be given to you. God is generous and won't correct you for asking.


A Devotion by Margaret Gordon (Auckland, New Zealand)

All my life I have been active in church, choir, pastoral work, and our church’s women’s fellowship. When I was 20, I married the young minister who came to our church. We shared 44 years of life together and grew spiritually in our faith and commitment.

After my husband died, I worked in hospital chaplaincy training and continued serving God. However, as the years passed, I began to feel despondent about my lack of faith and trust in God. I worried and became anxious about problems I had to face alone. I prayed and searched for answers. I was greatly comforted by the words in Psalm 46:1. “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”

The word present is important in this verse. For me, it means that God is my constant support and friend who is with me every minute of the day and, even more importantly, every night. A sense of God’s presence renewed my faith and continues to give me courage to go on and offer this assurance to others. Now I am sure we are never alone.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

PDA Situation Report - U.S. Spring Storms

May 23, 2011

Tornadoes ripped through more United States towns this past weekend, including Joplin, Missouri, and Minneapolis, Minnesota. Since spring began, there have already been 18 federally declared major disasters in 14 states due to severe storms, tornadoes, or flooding.

Georgia is one of 14 states with federally
declared major disasters this spring due to
tornadoes, storms, or flooding.
Photo by Judith Grafe, FEMA.


Today PDA has been in contact with Synod Executive Nancy Kahaian of the Synod of Mid-America and the acting general presbyter for John Calvin Presbytery, which serves southeastern Kansas and southwestern Missouri, where the massive tornado struck Sunday, May 22. Kahaian has been in touch with Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) congregations in the area. At least one Presbyterian Church was damaged, and some members of the denomination are among the many families who have lost their homes. In addition to homes, the community has suffered major damage to public structures, including schools, fire stations and a hospital. Both triage centers and emergency shelters filled quickly, reports the Associated Press.

Georgia is one of 14 states with federally declared major disasters this spring due to tornadoes, storms, or flooding. Photo by Judith Grafe, FEMA.

PDA National Response Team members have been requested in Missouri and are en route to the affected area.

NRT members are also seeking information following the tornado which struck the Minneapolis, Minnesota, area on Sunday, killing one person and injuring 18 others. The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) General Assembly was held in Minneapolis in 2010.

One Great Hour of Sharing funds are available to assist Middle Governing Bodies with immediate needs as they begin to assess the impact of a disaster on their communities and how they can help respond to that impact.

Future Volunteer Teams
PDA’s new Associate for Hospitality, Rick Turner, is in conversation with several congregations that are interested in potentially hosting volunteer work teams in disaster-affected communities across the United States in the coming months. NRT members will work with such congregations to assess the level of need in their communities, the capacities of the congregation and their presbyteries, and resources available from PDA to assist with hosting. If they determine that there is an appropriate level of need and capacity, they will work together to organize hospitality for clean up and/or reconstruction volunteers.

A critical component of PDA’s ministry of disaster recovery reconstruction, Long Term Recovery Organizations (LTROs) review the needs of impacted families and determine what resources are available to assist in their recovery. These organizations are essential to work with case management – matching together the willingness of volunteers with needs in the community. “PDA is a long-term, needs-driven organization,” says Turner. When PDA National Response Team members visit a presbytery that has been impacted by disaster, one of the issues they discuss is the need for LTROs.

PDA is grateful to the many teams who understand the need to walk with survivors when they are ready to rebuild, which is often after the media attention has faded. More than 100 volunteer work teams have already registered their interest in serving. Teams also continue to serve in volunteer work team hosting sites in other areas affected by disasters over the past few years.

Please continue to stand in the GAP for survivors in this response.

Give
Gifts to One Great Hour of Sharing support this and other disasters immediately when they occur. Additional gifts to DR000148 support disaster relief and recovery around the world where most needed, and gifts to DR000015 support disaster response in the United States, including response to the many spring storms across the nation during the previous weeks.

Act
Request the PDA Rapid Information Network email newsletter to receive email notices about this and other disaster responses.

Register your volunteer work team for upcoming or current opportunities around the United States by calling (866) 732-6121, or register your team’s interest online.

Assemble Gift of the Heart Kits. After disasters, Church World Service hygiene, clean-up, school, and baby kits are often needed. Because congregations and other groups work throughout the year to keep the distribution sites stocked, the kits are ready to be disbursed as soon as disaster strikes. With recent storms widespread, there have already been many requests for kits, and they continue to arrive.
More than 14,000 hygiene kits have been distributed since the spring storms began, and nearly 500 clean up buckets have been shared. Please consider this hands-on mission of assembling hygiene kits or clean up buckets. Instructions are now available as a bulletin insert.

Pray
Pray for disaster survivors, loved ones of those who have been lost, congregations in the affected communities, and rescue workers helping in the response. Pray that the God of peace will guide all those involved, and that the hope of Christ will be evident through those offering assistance.

The Office of Theology and Worship has provided a new Service of pastoral care for those who have lost a home to earthquake, fire, flood, hurricane, tornado, or other disaster. It can be adapted for specific needs and local circumstances.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A New Devotion on the Prayer Line - Grandmother God

Psalm 149:1-5

1Shout praises to the LORD!
Sing him a new song of praise
when his loyal people meet.

2People of Israel, rejoice
because of your Creator.
People of Zion, celebrate
because of your King.

3Praise his name by dancing
and playing music on harps
and tambourines.

4The LORD is pleased
with his people,
and he gives victory
to those who are humble.

5All of you faithful people,
praise our glorious Lord!
Celebrate and worship.


A Devotion by Cynthia Clarke (New York)

My grandmother was the kind of grandparent children wish for. Although we never lived close to her, she came to visit often, arriving in a cloud of lavender perfume, with cinnamon drops tucked into her pockets. As soon as she settled into the guest room, I would approach her with the big jar of buttons that my mother kept by the sewing basket. I loved to sort them into piles and to set them out in patterns as my grandmother sat beside me on the bed, patiently watching and commenting. I remember thinking how lucky I was to have a grandmother who loved buttons as much as I did. Of course, now I realize that she didn’t love the buttons; she loved me.

In my memory of my grandmother is a beautiful image of God. Often, I feel God draw near, not because God is particularly interested in what I am doing but because God is interested in me and what I love. The Creator of the universe chooses to share my simple joys because this amazing God delights in me.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Yesterday's Sermon - Living Stones

1 Peter 2:1-10

1Now put off all wickedness and every deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all evil-speaking. 2Then as new-born infants, spiritual, unadulterated milk long for, so that within you, you might be nurtured into salvation, 3if you taste that good is the Lord.

4As you come to him, a living stone which by people has been rejected but by God is chosen and valuable, 5also you yourselves, like living stones, are built as a spiritual house into a holy priesthood to offer a spiritual sacrifice which is acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6So it says in the scripture, Behold, I’m laying in Zion a stone, a corner chosen and valuable, and the one who believes in him will absolutely not be put to shame. 7Now to you, the honor of those who believe, but they don’t believe a stone which the builders rejected, this has become the head of the corner 8and a stone which causes stumbling and a rock of scandal, which caused them to stumble because the word they didn’t obey to which end they were appointed to do.

9But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his possession. Thus the virtues you might proclaim of the one who from darkness called you into his marvelous light. 10Once no people, but now are God’s people. Ones who had not received mercy, but now people who have received mercy.


Living Stones

What do you think of the cover of the bulletin? Now in case you didn’t realize it, it’s a picture of some plants called lithops, from two Greek words: λίθος (lithos), meaning “stone,” and ὄψ (ops), meaning “face.” They’re native to driest parts of southern Africa. Now, according to what I read, they avoid being eaten by blending in with surrounding rocks, and for that reason, they’re often known as pebble plants or living stones.

And of course, that’s why they’re on the cover of the bulletin, because isn’t that exactly what Peter called us in the passage we read just a little while ago? Remember he wrote, “As you come to him, a living stone which by people has been rejected but by God is chosen and valuable, also you yourselves, like living stones, are built as a spiritual house into a holy priesthood to offer a spiritual sacrifice which is acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”

You see, in Peter’s eyes, Jesus was like a living stone, because he was the one who came to give life. Now this is something that Peter repeats over and over in this letter, that Jesus is the one who “...bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that, free from sins, we might live for righteousness and by his wounds [we] have been healed.” And he’s the one whom God used when, “by his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” And because of that, we “have been born anew, not of perishable but of imperishable seed, through the living and enduring word of God.”

I’m telling you, life was a big deal for Peter, and that’s why he called Jesus a life-giving stone, which was valued highly by God. In fact, he was chosen to change the entire world. I mean, right here we’re talking about the one Isaiah wrote about when he said, “thus says the Lord God, See, I am laying in Zion a foundation stone, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation: ‘One who trusts will not panic.’ And I will make justice the line, and righteousness the plummet; hail will sweep away the refuge of lies, and waters will overwhelm the shelter.” For Peter, that’s who Jesus was and that’s what he came to do, to bring a new kind of life. And that was true even though he was rejected by the very people he came to save. Remember, just like it said in the Psalms, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.” You see, in this way, Jesus is certainly a living stone.

But Peter didn’t stop there, because he also called us living stones. Again, “also you yourselves, like living stones, are built as a spiritual house into a holy priesthood to offer a spiritual sacrifice which is acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” Now, just think about what that means. We are like Jesus, that’s what we’ve been called to be. Remember, last week we talked a little bit about this, you know, when Peter wrote that “...if you do something good and suffer, then you endure it; this is a grace from God. For into this you were called, because also Christ suffered for you, leaving you a pattern so that you might follow in his footprints.” We are like Christ in that we suffer.

But here, in this passage, we have more in common with him than just suffering; we’ve also been called to be life-giving stones as well. And I think that’s what Peter was getting at when he wrote that we’re being “built [by God] as a spiritual house into a holy priesthood to offer a spiritual sacrifice which is acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” Now, brothers and sisters, whether we like it or not, this is exactly what we’ve been called to be and to do. In other words, we are living stones. And because of that, Peter wrote that we have some pretty clear responsibilities and opportunities. And let’s just think about the responsibilities first.

They’re right here at the beginning of the passage. Peter wrote, “Now put off all wickedness and every deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all evil-speaking. Then as new-born infants, spiritual, unadulterated milk long for, so that within you, you might be nurtured into salvation, if you taste that good is the Lord.” Now that’s what he wrote, and it seems to me that this applies to us in two ways. I mean, on one hand, there are certain things we should just plain stop doing. And they’re not exactly rocket science; my gosh, they’re listed right here. And I’ll tell you, even though it’s seems like quite a list, most of the things Peter mentioned involve what we say and how we relate to one other. Of course, this shouldn’t be a surprise, especially given that he just wrote, “when we have been purified by the obedience to the truth in brotherly love which is sincere, from a clean heart, love earnestly one another.” In other words, right along with life, how we treat our brothers and sisters was also a big deal to Peter. And that’s what he said right here. I mean, we should get rid of every kind of evil and malice we have, the kind of stuff that, according to Paul, might lead to “bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander.” That should be gone. Right along with lips that speak lies and insincerity, you know, the kind of baloney we hear a lot in our world. And as it comes to envy and bad-mouthing someone, well, Peter wasn’t the only one who thought that was rotten. Paul included envy right up there with “murder, strife, deceit, [and] craftiness.” And James wrote, “Do not speak evil against one another, brothers and sisters. Whoever speaks evil against another or judges another, speaks evil against the law and judges the law; but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge” and for Paul, slandering one another was just as bad as “quarreling, jealousy, anger, selfishness, gossip, conceit, and disorder.” Simply put, Peter wrote that we should knock off this kind of stupidity.

And when we stop acting like idiots, we’ll have all kinds of time to do things that are a lot more positive, like longing for the spiritual milk that the Lord offers. Yesterday, I watched Maggie play soccer. And all of a sudden, the referee blew his whistle and gave the ball to the other team. Now when it happened, Debbie asked me why, and before I could make something up, I felt words leave my lips that no man likes to say: “I don’t know.” It tasted really bad, but I didn’t know why they’d stopped the game. And even though Eric Minor, who happened to be sitting by me, said that we were off-sides, and as a man, I nodded like I understood, I still don’t know. It’s like icing in hockey. Who really understands that? I don’t. And right there it hit me, if I ever want to understand this game that my daughter enjoys, I need to learn the rules. And I’ll tell you, the same thing applies to living as a Christian. If we want to understand the lives we been called to live, it’s not going to come by pretending like we already know. Now we may be able to fool some of the people with that for a while. But if we’re really serious, the time is going to come when we better start reading the book. You see, right along with knocking down the stuff that divides us, we have a responsibility to drink the spiritual milk that God has given us. And that’s half of what it means to be a living stone.

And the other half, well, to me, that’s a lot more exciting, because not only do we have responsibilities that others don’t have, we also have a whole bunch of opportunities, and I’m talking about opportunities to make a radical difference in the world around us. You see, brothers and sisters, according to Peter, we have the opportunity to show the world Jesus Christ. I mean, just listen to what he called us. “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his possession. Thus the virtues you might proclaim of the one who from darkness called you into his marvelous light.” Now, I think it’s important for us to remember that this is something God has already done. Peter didn’t tack a “but” at the end or an “if” or a “when.” To tell you the truth, frankly, I think we need to get the “but” out our faith, because this “but” gets in the way of our appreciating just how awesome God is. I mean, give me a break, how can we ever appreciate how lucky we are that, because of God and his mercy and love, we were “...once no people, but now are God’s people. [We were once] ones who had not received mercy, but now people who have received mercy,” how can we ever lift up our hands and give thanks to almighty God if we tact at the end of this, “but it wouldn’t have happened if we hadn’t let it happen.” Lord have mercy. As Peter wrote, God has made us into “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his possession.”

And as such, we have some unique opportunities. I mean, as a chosen race, we have the chance to demonstrate the same kind of compassion and kindness, humility and meekness, and of course, patience shown by Christ, the one whom Peter reminds us was also chosen by God. And as a royal priesthood, we can show through our lives and faith that all people can have a direct access to God. You see, we’re a holy nation, not because we’re Americans, but because we’ve been chosen by God; we’re a commonwealth of believers that God has put out among all the other nations to be like salt, seasoning the entire world. And we are people who belong to God, not to other and not to ourselves but to God, men and women who know enough about him to praise his glory and who’ve been saved through our Lord Jesus Christ and who, right now, can proclaim the good news. You see, through the lives we live, the words that we use, the friends we make, the support we offer, and the compassion we show, we can “proclaim the one who from darkness called us into his marvelous light.” Now this is the opportunity we have.

Why? Why do we have these responsibilities and opportunities? Simple, because we are living stones, following in the footsteps of Jesus, whom God has built into something new and exciting. You see, it’s through the Spirit working in us that the world can understand who Christ is, because we are his body. And so as we leave here this morning, lets do the same kind of thing the lithops do, you know, those little plants on the cover of the bulletin. Let’s bring a little life to the dessert that surrounds us.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Announcements

Below are the announcements as they appear in Sunday's bulletin:

OUR NURSERY FOR CHILDREN . . .
(infant thru five years) is open during Sunday School and the Worship Service, under the direction of Jenna Maine. We still need some volunteer help. If you can spare time to supervise the little ones please see Jenna after the service. We thank you in advance for caring for the future member of our Cove family.

DON’T FORGET SUNDAY SCHOOL . . .
we meet every Sunday morning at 9:45 a.m. Think about trying out one of our classes. We have a variety of classes to chose from to fit your needs.

WHEN WE BEGIN THE SERVICE. . .
our children carry red, orange and yellow streamers. This represents the coming of the Holy Spirit, filling the sanctuary as we prepare to worship. At the end of the service, they carry the streamers out, challenging us to carry the Spirit into the world.

JESUS TIME OFFERS THE YOUNGER CHILDREN . . .
of our congregation, between the ages of 3 and 11, the opportunity to worship in a special experience just for them. The children are dismissed to Jesus Time after a Special Time for Children.

SPROUTS OF FAITH . .
Children’s Music Program is running a five week session entitled, “Jesus Loves Me.” The classes are on Mondays at 10:00 a.m. in fellowship hall. Classes are open to children infant through preschool. For more information contact LoLou Roseberry at 304-794-6802. You may also stop down to view a session with your child.

BOOKMARKS, COVE’S READING GROUP . . .
will meet on Monday, May 23 at 6:30 p.m. in the church parlor.

THE CHANCEL CHOIR NOT WILL PRACTICE . . .
on Wednesday evenings again until August. They will continue to sing Sunday anthems thru the end of June. July and August will be summer break for the choir with special music each week.

THE BROWN BAG BIBLE STUDY WILL MEET . . .
Thursday, 12:00 p.m. We're discussing the Gospel of John, and during this meeting we're looking at John 20:1-31. Grab your lunch and join us as we study God’s word.

PLEASE RETURN YOUR PRAYER BOXES. . .
if you have a Prayer Box from our Ash Wednesday Service please return it to the basket on the table in the narthex.

IF YOU LEAVE AN ITEM AT THE CHURCH . . .
for someone or for a specific committee, please take a moment to write the name of who is to receive the item. If there is no name on the item we will assume it is for the church in general.

MEMORIAL DAY IS . . .
Monday, May 30 the church and office will be closed in observance of the holiday.

SCHOLARSHIP SUNDAY . . .
sponsored by the Endowment Committee will be observed on Sunday, June 5th during the worship service.

HOT DOG LUNCHEON. . .
sponsored by the Deacons will be held on Sunday, June 5th after the morning worship.

WE ARE BLOGGING!
We now have six blogs that you can check out for information and on which you can leave comments. They're listed below:
• The Cove Community (www.thecovecommunity.blogspot.com) - This is for the whole church. I'll post sermons and announcements. I also invite y'all to send in material that you'd like to share with other members of the congregation. And please feel free to comment on anything you might read.
• Cove Kids (www.covekids.blogspot.com) - This is tailored for the preteen young people in our church. Again I'll post announcements. You're also invited to send in any writings, photographs and art work you'd like to post. And they don't have to all deal with the church. We also post artwork from Jesus Time.
• Glue (www.cove-glue.blogspot.com) - Our teens are running their own blog site; therefore, I have no idea what will be posted.
• Bible Talk (www.cove-bibletalk.blogspot.com) - We've established this blog to give pastors and lay people the chance to discuss Scripture. The weekly passages are from the Common Lectionary, and we're posting the pastor’s translation of the Greek text. We want you to read any or all of the passages and to leave any comment or ask any question that you feel is appropriate. Please include any research you've done. As we share our ideas and insights, we hope that we'll all come to a better and deeper understanding of the Bible. Each passage is linked to a website that offers some informative information.
• Let’s Talk About It (www.cove-talk.blogspot.com) - Through this site, we hope to encourage a conversation on a variety of topics. Since this blog is sponsored by a church, we expect most of the issues to involve the Christian faith. Still we don't want to limit ourselves or you. If you have a topic that you'd like us to discuss, include it as a comment to a previous issue. Please phrase it as a question and offer a summary of at least two positions. We'll add a new item to discuss every three weeks. We hope this challenges you to apply your faith to issues that are important to you.
• The Bible in a Year (www.cove-bibleinayear.blogspot.com/) - Each day, we'll post passages so that you can read the Bible in one year.

SHOP ON LINE . . .
use Good Search and Good Shop search engines to find what you are hunting for. Just list Cove Presbyterian Church as your charity and a percent of your purchase will come back to the church. It’s a simple way to raise money for the Cove Deacons while shopping for yourself!

IT IS OFTEN DIFFICULT TO HEAR PRAYER REQUESTS . . .
on Sunday mornings. If you would like to have someone added to the prayer chain please drop a short note into the collection plate with their name and any other information you would like to share. You may also call the church office or e-mail the church with the information.

IN THE HOSPITAL? HOMEBOUND? RECENT ILLNESS?. . .
if you are unable to attend services and would like to arrange for a visit from Rev. Ed Rudiger please contact the church office. Also if you would like to be included in our weekly bulletin mailings contact the church office.

WE CAN ALWAYS DO A BETTER JOB MINISTERING . . .
to the needs within this congregation, community and world. Please feel free to offer any suggestions as comments.

LOOSE CHANGE OFFERING . . .
Session has approved the Deacons collecting a “Loose Change Offering” that will be used to assist the Deacons with their utility assistance outreach program for Weirton residents or Cove Church members. We hope church members can help with the assistance program by donating some of their spare change. A container is placed in the Narthex each Sunday morning before church. The Deacons thank you for your continuing support of their projects.

VASES OF FLOWERS. . .
can be purchased for a service. The cost is $16.00 a vase. Silk flowers can be purchased for an additional cost. The flower calendar is located on the far wall in the church narthex or you can telephone the church office to place your order. After the service, the flowers will be placed in a plastic vase for you to take with you.

IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR NEWSPAPER CLIPPINGS. . .
newsletters from old friends or articles about or by members of Cove Church, check out the bulletin board located in the hallway by the church offices. Past event pictures are also on display in that area.

WE’RE UPDATING OUR PRAYER AND DEVOTION LINE . . .
about four times a week. If you would like to call and hear a devotional, please call 304-748-7900.

ONGOING MISSION PROJECTS . . .
• Used Can Tabs are being collected for the Ronald McDonald House in Morgantown, West Virginia. Deposit your tabs in the container located in the main hallway downstairs.
• Campbell’s Labels are being collected by the Presbyterian Women and can be dropped off in the container located in the main hallway downstairs. These labels are being collected for the Weirton Christian Center.

SHOE BOX PROJECT . . .
Kyle Truex, an Eagle Boy Scout with Troop 334 has extended his Eagle Scout Project to include continuous donations for Appalachian Outreach Inc. Brochures with envelopes attached are located on the table in the narthex.

Opportunites & Responsibilities

Yesterday, I was watching Maggie play soccer. And it hit me that God has been pretty good to me. I mean, he's given me a lot of unique opportunities. For instance, he's led me into a community that has all kinds of positives and to a congregation where I'm free to use the gifts and talents with which he's blessed me. I'm in a denomination that's open to the movement of the Holy Spirit, even when it moves in ways that are controversial and challenging, one that has the courage and strength. And he's given me a wife and daughter whom I love even more than football or autographs, and that's something I never thought possible. And I appreciate all the people whom God has moved into my life, men and women who have made and are making me a better person. In my life, the opportunities are many.

And because of that, so are the responsibilities. You see, what I've been given, I'm called to appreciate. For example, I have a responsibility to care for my community and church, working to make both the best they can possibly be. And with the people in my life, I'm called to treat them and everybody with respect and concern. In other words, I have a duty to love them all, including a few that I may not particularly like. These are just a few of the responsibilities that I have.

And on Sunday, that's what we're going to discuss. We'll look at the following passage from 1 Peter:
1Now put off all wickedness and every deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all evil-speaking. 2Then as new-born infants, spiritual, unadulterated milk long for, so that within you, you might be nurtured into salvation, 3if you taste that good is the Lord. 4As you come to him, a living stone which by people has been rejected but by God is chosen and valuable, 5also you yourselves, like living stones, are built as a spiritual house into a holy priest to offer a spiritual sacrifice which is acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6So it says in the scripture,
Behold, I’m laying in Zion a stone,
a corner chosen and valuable,
and the one who believes in him will absolutely not be put to shame.

a stone which the builders rejected,
this has become the head of the corner 
8and 
a stone which causes stumbling
and a rock of scandal,
which caused them to stumble because the word they didn’t obey to which end they were appointed to do.

9But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his possession. Thus the virtues you might proclaim of the one who from darkness called you into his marvelous light. 
10Once no people,
but now are God’s people.
Ones who had not received mercy,
but now people who have received mercy.
 
7Now to you, the honor of those who believe, but they don’t believe 
We'll use this passage to understand better the opportunities and responsibilities we have as Christians or, as Peter called us, living stones.

Prayer Requests

The following are needs we'll lift to God on Sunday. If you have anyone to add, please let us know. Thanks.

Adults
• Virginia Welch
• Phyllis Manley
• John Brothers
• Rhonda Bruich
• Paul Buck
• Mr. & Mrs. Mario Whitehead & Joyce
• Dave Bever
• Taylor Harris
• Pam Haller
• Mary Torchio
• Bonnie Kirtley
• Rachael
• Connie Francis
• Mary & Jack Games
• Betty Kraina
• Vicki Williams
• Jennifer Dahlem
• Charles Saffle
• Bob Saffle
• Colleen Wetzel
• Andrea Vincent
• Rose Mader
• Jimmy Jones
• Christy Cybulski
• Chum Robert
• Andy DiRemigio
• Ruth Riggs
• Donna Jenkins
• Bill Churchman
• Tricia Smith & family
• Karen Darin
• Ila Shingler
• Michael & Kaylie Keffer
• Numero Phiri
• Cara Smith
• Mel Olson
• Paula Leather
• Steve Cordle
• Eleanor Williams
• Julia Maine
• Karen Tomich
• Jenn Johnson
• Maxine Bulick
• Melaine & Denny
• Karen Wilson
• Dr. James W. Valuska, Sr.
• Kelly Stephens

Kids
• Jonah Becker
• Shelby Kamarec
• Brody McUmor
• Dustin Parr
• Zoe Purcell
• Daisy Emmerick
• Georgie Platt
• Audri King
• Brandon Wares
• Hunter Stafford
• Michael Liptak
• Justus Loughry
• Jeffrey Konovich
• Tyler Trushel
• Sierra Huey
• Maia Metcalf

Military
• Michael Criss
• Jonathan Criss
• Chad Peppler
• Kendra Mader
• Stephen Mader

Troops
Our troops all around the world need our prayers for strength, endurance, and safety.

Church Families
• Jack & Sandy Hatala
• Robert, Jackie & Crystal Hawkins
• Susan Hawkins

Local Church
Marland Heights Community Church

Other Presbyterian Churches
• The Stewardship Committee
• The Stewardship Education Task Force
• The Synod Commissioners: The Rev. Robert Nagy, Elder Bill Alexander and YAAD Emily Harden

Special Friend
Bob Morgan, 2525 Pennsylvania Ave., Weirton WV 26062-3652

In the Hospital
• Ruth Gilmore, Lifeline Hospital, 200 School St, Wintersville, OH 43953

Also Remember in Prayer
Chambrel at Montrose, 100 Brookmont Rd, Akron OH 44333-3091
• Thelma Longacre, Unit 210

Wyngate, 100 Wyngate Dr, Weirton WV 26062
• Father of Mary Ann Ianni

Carriage House, 3106 St. Charles Dr, Steubenville, OH 43952
• Ruth Gilmore, Room 215

The Laurels, 500 Stanton Blvd, Steubenville OH 43952
• Connie Francis

Weirton Geriatric Center, 2525 Pennsylvania Ave, Weirton, WV 26062
• Marge Black, Room 353
• Mary Kay DePaolo
• Dorothy Sobolak, Room 223
• Bob Morgan
• Mike Valiga
• Alice Orr

Thursday, May 19, 2011

A New Devotion on the Prayer Line - Wildflowers and Weeds


1 Corinthians 1:22-31

22-25While Jews clamor for miraculous demonstrations and Greeks go in for philosophical wisdom, we go right on proclaiming Christ, the Crucified. Jews treat this like an anti-miracle—and Greeks pass it off as absurd. But to us who are personally called by God himself—both Jews and Greeks—Christ is God’s ultimate miracle and wisdom all wrapped up in one. Human wisdom is so tiny, so impotent, next to the seeming absurdity of God. Human strength can’t begin to compete with God’s “weakness.”

26-31Take a good look, friends, at who you were when you got called into this life. I don’t see many of “the brightest and the best” among you, not many influential, not many from high-society families. Isn’t it obvious that God deliberately chose men and women that the culture overlooks and exploits and abuses, chose these “nobodies” to expose the hollow pretensions of the “somebodies”? That makes it quite clear that none of you can get by with blowing your own horn before God. Everything that we have—right thinking and right living, a clean slate and a fresh start—comes from God by way of Jesus Christ. That’s why we have the saying, “If you’re going to blow a horn, blow a trumpet for God.”


A Devotion by Jerry T. Lang (Michigan)

My wife loves to gather wildflowers and weeds along road sides and in abandoned fields to make bouquets. There is something about these “lilies of the field” that, brings joy and creates beauty. Unlike in a garden where beautiful flowers are a result of toil, wildflowers survive with only God’s care, and they are often surprising in their beauty, abundance, and fragrance.
Even the wildflowers we call weeds can have great beauty. God apparently enjoys picking human “weeds,” each one beautiful in its own way and capable of the miraculous when combined in a bouquet pleasing to God. The genealogy of Jesus reported in Matthew 1:1-16 certainly contains people whom some would consider weeds: Rahab, a prostitute; Ruth, a Moabite foreigner; and David, an adulterer. Jesus also seemed to pick weeds as he assembled his disciples from among fishermen, tax collectors, and political zealots. However, the combination of all these “weeds” carried the message of grace and salvation throughout the world.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Service honors fallen officers

POLICE MEMORIAL SERVICE — Participants and guests stood outside the Weirton Municipal Building on Monday during the Police Memorial Service celebration held at noon as Betsy Bethel McFarland played the bagpipes and City Manager Gary DuFour presented a proclamation on behalf of city officials declaring May 15 through May 21 Police Officers Memorial Week. From left is DuFour, Sgt. Steve Falbo, the Rev. Ed Rudiger and McFarland. -- Angelina Dickson
May 17, 2011
By ANGELINA DICKSON - Staff writer (adickson@weirtondailytimes.com) , Weirton Daily Times

WEIRTON - Residents and area public safety departments throughout the Ohio Valley came out to honor fallen officers at the Weirton Municipal Building on Monday.

The public and members of the Weirton Fraternal Order of Police gathered on the city steps at noon Monday for a ceremony to honor the fallen heroes. Kicking things off was former police chief and now Magistrate Judge Scott Hicks singing the National Anthem followed by a performance of Amazing Grace by Betsy Bethel McFarland, a member of the Pittsburgh MacDonald Pipeband, on the bagpipes - an old tradition associated with police officers.

Weirton Police Sgt. Steve Falbo served as the master of ceremonies and welcomed everyone to the event. Typically, he said the ceremoney is brief and somber and hosted by individual lodges throughout the nation.

City Manager Gary DuFour said in 1962, President John F. Kennedy signed a proclamation which designated May 15 as National Peace Officers Memorial Day and the week in which that date falls as Police Week. Currently, tens of thousands of law enforcement officers throughout the nation participate in a number of planned events which honor those that have paid the ultimate sacrifice.

"There are approximately 700,000 sworn police officers who give their lives daily to ensure public safety," said DuFour. "They are husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters and we honor them today as we remember to carry on their life's work and the ultimate sacrifice they gave as they carry on the motto - To Serve and Protect."

The Rev. Ed Rudiger of the Cove Presbyterian Church said God sent his Son to teach us to love one another as ourselves and referenced John 15:13.

"Jesus said, 'Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends' and that's what we are here to remember today," he said.

During the event, the Weirton Police Department Honor Guard ended the ceremony with a 21-gun salute to the honored dead. Falbo thanked everyone for attending and welcomed everyone to the Cove Presbyterian Church for lunch.

During the week, all the flags will be flown at half staff in the city of Weirton.

(Dickson can be contacted at adickson@weirtondailytimes.com)

© Copyright 2011 Weirton Daily Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Spring Storms - Flooding from snowfall and rainstorms affecting many communities

May 12, 2011

Large snowfall from last winter and heavy spring rainstorms have caused rivers, including the Ohio and the Mississippi, to rise to record levels above flood stage. Extensive flooding along the rivers has prompted evacuations, but the full extent of damage and needs caused by flooding will not be known until the waters recede.

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) has been in contact with presbyteries along the Mississippi River from Southeast Illinois and southward. Many presbyteries and congregations have already been making what preparations are possible. Some churches are preparing well by elevating the contents of their buildings above the expected flood levels, sand bagging and preserving historic records and valuables. Others are simply preserving historic and financial records.

PDA encouraged congregations to be sure they had contact information from the most vulnerable members of the church and to be sure to transmit that information to the Emergency Operation Center, so those individuals would get priority support in case of an evacuation or rescue operations. Presbyteries have also been encouraged to begin organizing their congregations to serve the wider community in the aftermath of the flooding.

PDA is continuing our work to respond to needs after two waves of tornadoes (on April 16 and 27) in the South and Southeast. A continuing need is spiritual and emotional care, especially for church leaders and caregivers who have been ministering to disaster-affected families, while they may themselves be in need of care.

At the request of our partner, Church World Service is shipping 11,000 Hygiene Kits to storm-damaged areas in Alabama. Communities in several states, including Illinois, Tennessee, Arkansas, and North Carolina, have also received supplies, including:

436 Emergency Clean-up Buckets
2,800 Hygiene Kits
300 Wool Blankets
30 Baby Kits
120 School Kits
The shipments are valued at $55,000. Requests for more material goods are being received daily.

In many areas, the first response phase is coming to a close. PDA will work with presbyteries as they begin to address the longer term needs and to help identify needs and opportunities to help with rebuilding efforts. Should a request for volunteers from outside of the region be made, PDA will post this information to the PDA web site.

Please continue to pray for all those impacted by the flooding and the storms, and for those responding to community needs.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Yesterday's Sermon - Don’t Google “Submission”

1 Peter 2:18-25

18Household servants, be submissive in all fear to the masters, not just to the good and considerate, but even to the crooked. 19For then this is a grace, if, in God’s view, he undergoes certain grief while suffering unjustly. 20For what sort of fame is it, if when you do something wrong and are beaten, then you endure it? But if you do something good and suffer, then you endure it; this is a grace from God. 21For into this you were called, because also Christ suffered for you, leaving you a pattern so that you might follow in his footprints,
     22who no sin committed,
     nor was found deceit in him mouth,
23who, when he was abused, didn’t return abuse and when he suffered, didn’t threaten, but handed it over to the one who judges righteously, 24who our sins he himself took up in his body upon the cross so that after the sins departed, in righteousness we might live, by whose wounds you are healed. 25For you were like sheep when they are lead astray, but now you were turned back to the shepherd and over-seer of our selves.


Don’t Google “Submission”

I hope y’all like the cover of the bulletin. Now I know that for some of y’all, this is exactly the sort of thing we should have every week. The only thing better would be a picture of the church, right? But Jesus holding a lamb, well, that’s pretty good too. Now I know that’s how some of y’all feel, just like I know that there are others who are a little disappointed, and I know that because some of you have told me that you really enjoy the “let’s just say” non-traditional covers, and the funnier, the better.

Now, both groups are in this church, and I try to balance the two sides, while still using a picture on the cover that has something to do with the sermon. Of course, some weeks I do it better than others, but still, I give it a shot. And that’s what I tried to do last week. And since I’m a “computer kind of guy,” of course, I googled the word “submission.” Now let me take a step back, because if you don’t fool around on the internet, “to google” may be a strange term. It simply means I used what’s called a search engine, Google, to find an image related to submission. And if you don’t know what a search engine is, my daughter Maggie will be conducting a workshop immediately after the service.

Anyway, like I said, I went to Google Images and typed in “submission” and what hit me, well, let me put it this way, it reminded me of what I saw when I was teaching school and some kids got around our security system and introduced Buckingham County High School to some adult sites. It wasn’t pretty. I saw more ways to tie up a woman than I thought possible. Well, that’s kind of what I got with I looked up “submission” last week, and that’s with a result that’s filtered. Lord knows what would have come up if I’d taken the filters down. Let’s just say, I didn’t see any images that would have been both appropriate and allowed me to keep my job. And so I punted, and put on the cover a picture of Jesus. And so enjoy.

But you know, I shouldn’t have been surprised by the googled results. I mean, even the ones that could be presented in mixed company were still really, and I mean really negative. But like I said, that really shouldn’t have come as any big surprise. My gosh, when you think “submission,” you generally don’t think good, right? And that applies whether you’re a Christian or not; submission is a bad thing, something that no one in their right mind should want to do, certainly not for us as Americans. I mean, we got both Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden for crying out loud, talk about your double headers; man, we don’t submit to anybody. And that applies to Christians just like it does everyone else, because submission, that’s a sign of weakness, isn’t it? I mean, it’s just like how you deal with a bully on the playground. And for a believer to submit without putting up one heck of a fight, man, that’s just not right, is it? It shows that our dedication and our values and our loyalty to God and one another must be weak. My gosh, if we were strong, we should knocking some heads together for the Lord, but submit, that has no place in Christianity. Now, isn’t that what we often believe?

And of course, right there’s the problem. I mean, unless we decide we’re going to play fast in loose with the Bible, here it is in First Peter: “Household servants, be submissive in all fear to the masters.” Now, before we spiritualize this and assume he’s talking about submitting to God, the Greek words he used for “household servants” and “masters” aren’t used in other places to refer to our relationship with God. These are human servants and human masters. And just so we still don’t get the wrong idea and think he’s talking about folks who are Christian, he added: “not just to the good and considerate, but even to the crooked,” the very people Paul called “a crooked and perverse generation.” These are the ones to whom we’re called to submit. In fact, a little earlier in this same chapter, Peter wrote, “For the Lord’s sake accept the authority [the same word in Greek] of every human institution, whether of the emperor as supreme.” Wow.

But you know, when you think about it, this is really not all that different than what Jesus himself taught. I mean, didn’t he said to his disciples, “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you.”? You see, even though it doesn’t fit into what we want to believe, we are called to submit to and to accept the authority of those who are over us, both the good and the bad.

Now, I know that’s not what y’all want to hear; man, I don’t want to be saying it. But before we dismiss it, let’s think about why he wrote it. I mean, let’s think about what submission, turning the other cheek, walking the second mile, let’s think about what it demands. Because, I’ll tell you, even though we generally see it as a sign of weakness, accepting the authority of another actually demands a lot of strength. And I think that was exactly what Peter saw when he gave this command.

I mean, look at the passage, and notice that the kind of attitude Peter was talking about demands a strong a relationship with God. Now, he was very clear that this submission, this acceptance wasn’t always going to end up well. I mean, we’re talking about crooked people, and because of that, sometimes folks are going to suffer not just for doing bad but for doing good. And when it happens, man, when it happens to us, how did Peter tell us to see it? He said “this is a grace, [a gift], if, in God’s view, [a person] undergoes certain grief while suffering unjustly.” And a little later, “if you do something good and suffer, then you endure it; this is a grace from God.” Now seeing unfair suffering as a gift, well, that points to a special relationship, doesn’t it? It’s like an athlete who knows that the coach pushes him beyond where he wants to be pushed, because the coach wants him to be the best he can be. You see, God wouldn’t be doing us any favors making things easy for us, even if that’s what we want, maybe even if that’s what we expect. Man, that would leave us weak and soft. Endurance strengthens us. But I’ll tell you, we’re only going to be able to see that if we have a strong relationship with God already. That’s one kind of strength.

And second, this kind of life, a life of submission, it demands an incredibility strong and clear focus on Jesus Christ, because when we suffer unjustly, we’re walking in some pretty important footsteps. Remember, Peter wrote, “For into this you were called, because also Christ suffered for you, leaving you a pattern so that you might follow in his footprints,” and then he went into all the ways Jesus suffered for us. Let me ask y’all a question, has there ever been anyone in your life that you so admired, that you so respected, that you so loved that you wanted to be like them? Well, brothers and sisters, if we put Jesus on that list, then it means we’re going to suffer, because the last time I looked, they hung Jesus on a cross. And you know, maybe that’s why Jesus said, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it.” I’ll tell you, maybe this is another way of looking at those footprints in the sand. You see, maybe it has less to do with Jesus carrying us when we feel too tired to walk and more like Jesus giving us the strength and the focus to carry our cross right up to Calvary. Only he can empower us to submit.

And third, if we’re really going to do what both Peter and Jesus commanded us to do, man, we’re going to need some mighty strong unity. Because, I’ll tell you, for this to work, we’ve going to need one another. Again, Peter wrote, “For you were like sheep when they are lead astray, but now you were turned back to the shepherd and over-seer of our selves.” You know, in some ways, in the modern church, we are like sheep who have gone a stray, sheep that have scattered. We get our feelings hurt, and so we move on the church down the street. Something happens over which we disagree, we run off to a place that may not be perfect but certainly more comfortable. Ain’t denominations great. And we do it in the face of a world that has no idea why Christians should battle over how often to serve communion and still fight over whether women should be leaders in the church. My gosh, a woman ran for vice-president, and I’d bet most of the folks who say that her place is behind a man in church voted for her. Talk about irony. No wonder the world often sees us a joke. Put another way, we’re a mess. But you know, the fact that we can get away with this foolishness and still be comfortable, that may show how easy it is be a Christian in the United States. But that’s not the case in other places. I mean, think about a place where believers have followed the example of Christ and as a result, they’re suffering, and I’m talking about something a little more severe than not being able to put the Ten Commandments in the courthouse or a manger scene in front of City Hall. My gosh, just think about Christians who are struggling in places like China or Sudan or Saudi Arabia. For them, faith is life or death. Now, do you think they can afford to split into a bunch of little groups because of personal feelings or over who and who shouldn’t be a church leader? Man, we can only do this kind of nonsense because things are so easy for us here. But when that changes, I’m telling you, our unity had better be a lot stronger than it is right now.

And you know, because of that, maybe the cover of the bulletin isn’t that bad. I mean, here we have a figure in the heavens over stormy seas, and maybe that’s a reminder that we need to have a strong relationship with God if we’re going to make it. And that figure, well, it’s Jesus Christ and we’re only going to survive by focusing on him. And in his arms, there’s a lamb and that reminds us that we’re part of one flock spread all over the world that has only one shepherd. In other words, as I look at the picture, I now see an image of strength that can enable us to do what we’ve been called to do. And so this is actually a pretty good bulletin cover today. Of course if I’d have realized that on Thursday, I wouldn’t have googled “submission” at all.