ZION EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH
189 Upton Rd. Unit 1 Sault Ste. Marie, ON
705 253 8703
There are two devotions posted below. They have an accompanying Bible verse and link at the end for music to enhance your reading.
The first is from The Rev. David Hardy. Reverend Hardy was a pastor to Zion from 1976 until 1987. Suggested Bible reading to accompany his message for us on the occasion of our 100th Anniversary as congregation is Romans 6: 3-11 .
It is somehow divinely ironic that at the same time I come across some photos from my days at Zion, Pastor Brad should contact me about writing a short Lenten devotional piece as Zion celebrates 100 years. I am honoured and pleased to be able to participate in some small way. Even better, he allows me the freedom to choose the Lenten lesson, which permission could be fraught with risk.
How does one reflect on a ministry of ten years that began 47 years ago? What comes in but an admixture of joy, sorrow, pleasure, regret, accomplishment, and disappointment – in brief, all the experience of life in general. For that reason, I look to Romans 6:3-11, most especially “But if we have died with Christ, we believe we will also live with him.”
Death usually, mostly, is thought of in end-of-life terms, but there are many “deaths” through which we pass all our lives. As example, we change jobs, make a career change. While that is not considered a death, it is an end and new beginning, new life. Though not thinking of it as a death, we at least transition from childhood to adulthood (though we often still discover some childishness within ourselves) which brings massive newness to our being. A familiar house for a new one to which you must become adjusted – you can cite numerous other examples.
Traditions and practices change, too, even within the church, the congregation. With patience abounding, changes were made at Zion in communion practices (frequency, distribution, personnel), worship and Sunday School times and organization, set dates for meetings – all things that reflected a vibrant, ever-renewing congregation of faith.
Those, though, are the structural changes that take place. Much more critical are the changes within persons that one gets to witness, and in which one gets to participate. I recall several Sundays with 3 baptisms each service, two Saturdays with 4 weddings each, once two funerals on the same day – all these parts of that steady pattern of death and new life. Prayer and counseling sessions that heal wounds, restore peace, bring wholeness of mind and spirit.
Now we live in a post-pandemic world, a time of a new endemic disease. Some of the old ways will have passed away, not to be revisited for generations if even then. Now we struggle to define that which lies ahead. And not only define, but struggle to determine the direction, the flow in which this new reality will move. Yet still more, how shall we announce the Gospel, the Good News, in fresh and abiding ways?
ELW Hymn #330, “Seed That on Earth is Dying”, sung by the RELC Choir and performed by Resurrection Lutheran Church's Interim Music Director, Barbara Bulger Verdile, Arlington Virginia for the Fifth Sunday in Lent, March 21, 2021
. Evangelical Lutheran Worship, Hymn #330. Used with permission under ONE LICENSE #A-713051. All rights reserved.
The Rev. Nadine Schroeder-Kranz aka Vicar Nadine was with us at Zion. She has chosen a hymn as inspiration for Lent and reflection on her time in Sault Ste. Marie.
“Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me
—put it into practice.
And the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:9
Zion celebrated its 75th anniversary the year I served as intern. It was a wonderful time of celebration, with special worship services and special guests from the Synod. The ELW planned to make 75 quilts for world missions but made at least 125! The Choir presented an Easter Cantata.
You came to our house blessing event bearing gifts and cards full of encouraging words. Andy and I were treated to countless dinners, game nights, community theatre, bowling, hockey games, golfing, horseback riding, and a trip to St. Joseph Island for maple syrup on pancakes and a tour of the sugar bush. So much support was shared as you showed me how a congregation functions as a family. I learned valuable lessons about embodied grace, forgiveness, and acceptance beyond worship and beyond church walls. Every activity was full of so much fun and laughter. You drew out my gifts and gave me the freedom to find my niche. Off site, you uplifted my volunteer work as a “chaplain” for university students.
I will never forget participating in The Annual Women’s Snowshoe Relay race where our team, “Luther’s Angels” won two ladle trophies, one because we had gathered the most pledges in support of the Community Soup Kitchen! I credit Zion with my music leadership formation. I was welcomed into choir, praise chorus, and early service ‘special music’ with Holly on banjo, me on guitar, and Dara joining voices with us as we sang with gusto. Zion fostered my experience of working with the Anglican Church which left a deep mark of respect and willingness to continue to seek out these full communion relationships.
You put me to work. In all things, you demonstrated and taught me that God is faithful. God’s people are faithful. You showed me how to serve in ways I could not have discovered on my own. You put your ministry in daily practice. You have blessed and trained many faithful pastors. 100 years is a blessing and a revelation of God’s enduring presence among you. When I sing this verse of “God Is Here!”, I think of you. Peace friends.
" Here the servants of the Servant seek in worship to explore what it means in daily living to believe and to adore."
(ELW 526: “God Is Here!” from vs 3)