I am Listening by Rev. Harden Hopper
Our congregation is a family that is dedicated to putting faith and love into action.
Thank you for visiting.
The mission of the United Methodist Church is to make disciples for Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
The vision of Mt. Zion UMC is: Making a Difference Loving, Caring Serving
The Adult Learning Cluster desires to educate and equip people for a lifelong personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
"give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back."
I am Listening by Rev. Harden Hopper
There are myriad emotions and thoughts coursing through [and concerning] our denomination following the special session of the General Conference last week. A version of the Traditional Plan was passed, though parts of it are presently deemed unconstitutional and need additional review and work. As the Conference closed, I was reminded of how far we are from perfection. But, the truth is, we have never been perfect as a people called Methodists, as we share the human condition with all others.
The Way Forward
In February 2019, at a Special Session of the General Conference, United Methodist delegates from around the world will decide how to move forward as a denomination regarding human sexuality. A diverse, 32-member “Commission on a Way Forward” appointed by the Council of Bishops spent the past two years working to address the denomination’s differences on this topic.
As I have noted before, I appreciate the stained glass windows at Mt. Zion. As we travel through Holy Week,
beginning this Sunday with Palm Sunday, I encourage you to take time in the sanctuary to observe
[most especially] the windows along the right wall. The windows symbolically depict Jesus’ last days on earth,
and are in chronological order of how those events played out. The picture below shows the array
of eight windows from Palm Sunday to Easter.
The word Pilgrimage means "a pilgrim's journey, a religious journey, religious expedition, mission or an annual pilgrimage to the Holy City." I have been blessed to travel quite a bit in my life, but I have never thought of any of those trips as a pilgrimage. That is, until I went on a Holy Land trip.
On February 14, we will move into the season of Lent with the Ash Wednesday service at 6:30 p.m. Lent is a pensive season, running to Easter, which is April 1st this year. I encourage all of us to make thoughtful preparations, as Lent is a season of intentionally setting aside time for self-examination and other disciplines such as fasting, as a means for renewing our relationship with God and others.
One of the traditions of the church that I love and appreciate is the Christian year of seasons and holy days which are organized in and around two cycles: the Christmas cycle of Advent-Christmas-Epiphany and the Easter cycle of Lent-Easter-Pentecost. In between those cycles is a stretch of time called Ordinary Time.
This Sunday [Dec 24] our worship services will present a unique opportunity to share in the fourth Sunday of Advent at 10 a.m., before moving quickly into Christmas Eve services that night at 5 p.m., 7 p.m., and 11 p.m. Sunday morning we will light the fourth candle of our Advent wreath, the candle of Peace. It is an appropriate theme for Advent IV in leading us on in the last leg of our journey to Christmas, to celebrate the coming of our Savior. Having recognized the Hope, Love, and Joy of Christ, what else would follow but Peace?
The Season is upon us! No, I don't mean the Christmas Season, I mean the Advent season. This Sunday we will start the season of Advent that includes four Sundays leading up to Christmas Day. The word Advent means a coming into place, view, or being, an arrival. During Advent, we prepare for, and anticipate, the coming of Christ. We remember the longing of Jews for a Messiah and our own longing for, and need of, forgiveness, salvation, and a new beginning.