From the pastor’s pen
I trust that you and your family are well and adhering to the advice from the CDC and other Health Agencies on the Coronavirus. These are uncharted and challenging times in our lives.As a result, I am suspending all worship services and activities at Zion. I will notify you of any changes in our program as we move forward.Each Sunday at 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. the pastor, ministers and deacons will have an in-touch moment with our members , checking on your safety or personal needs, sharing a scripture, a theme for the week and a prayer. I urge all members to reach out to one another in prayer and encouragement. Let’s remain connected to God and each other through these days.I have attached a guide to steps you and your family can take to protect your health and safety. Find it at the bottom of this page.Be Blessed, Be Safe and Be Careful.Remember, God is on Our Side.Love & Peace,Pastor Cantrell
The Lenten season begins February 26th. Lent is the season of fasting and self-denial observed by many Christians in the days preceding Easter Sunday. The word “Lent” is from a word meaning “lengthening days” with the Lenten season consisting of 40 fast days as days lengthen in early spring. Since Easter is based each year on the lunar calendar, Lent dates vary from year to year. However, each year begins on Ash Wednesday. Ash Wednesday is a time persons make their way to church to receive an imprint of ashes on their forehead in the form of a cross. These are to remind us of our mortality and our dependence on God as well as the sacrifice of Christ, which makes it possible for sinful mortals to go to God. Why is Lent forty days? Forty is a significant number in the Bible. It is a number associated with anticipation and preparation. Moses spent forty days on Mt. Sinai to receive the Law, Israel wandered in the wilderness for forty years before entering the Promised land and most memorable, Jesus fasted for forty days in the wilderness before his temptations.
Today Lent lasts six and one-half weeks, with forty fast days between Ash Wednesday and Easter (April 21). Sundays have not been included in the fast days.
Lent is viewed as a time for Self-Denial and Sacrificial abstention What do persons give up for Lent? What persons give up for Lent varies from person to person. Some give up meat and only eat fish in their diet. Some choose to abstain from something they enjoy such as coffee, sugary goods, television, cigarettes, alcohol, fast foods for the entire Lenten Season. Some choose to fast from all food one day a week to devote themselves to prayer and meditation on the work of Christ. At Zion, we ask that we sacrifice $1.00 per day in Lenten Gleaners to benefit the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) to benefit college students in their educational pursuits.
While we see Lent as a time of sacrifice and denial, what does this period do for us? It could be a time of self-discipline. Why do this only forty days? It is a wonderful time to pray and fast with God. Allow yourself in these forty days to walk more closely with God and increase our faith and trust. There is something that we all can fast during the Lenten Season.
As we face this Coronavirus situation, we must practice that self-discipline to safeguard the health and safety of our loved ones in our homes, churches, and communities. I am including information on ways to protect against Covid-19. Until further notice, we will suspend in-person services and activities. However, we will continue to pray, study, and worship together. We will pray together on the prayer line on Sundays at 6 am and 9 am. We will study during Sunday School via Facebook and Zoom at 9:30 am. We will meet for Bible study via Facebook on Wednesdays at 6:30 pm. The ministers and deacons will check on our members directly, giving comfort, scripture, and prayer when many of us will most need it. Let us face this current crisis with the same resolve as Jesus, knowing that God has not forsaken us and has a glorious destiny for us all.
Yours in God’s Service,
Pastor James H. Cantrell
Pastor, Zion Baptist Church
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