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United Church of Christ
National Site







285 West National Drive
Newark, Ohio 43055
(740) 323-2407

  

Pastor's message

2018 February message

How are you liking the new Kroger store by now? Going “Krogering” now means hearing live music, and getting free samples at the Deli. They insist that you take them, while trying to convince you that you’re hungry.

When Laura and I visit my children, we’ve been stopping by the Vermont Country Store, a catalog, retail and ecommerce business opened in 1946 that gained national attention with an article in The Saturday Evening Post.

What gained our attention was all the free samples they had - cookies, crackers, cheeses and lots and lots of maple products! We even had shots at the maple syrup bar.

This time of year, people like to sample from a Whitman’s Sampler (though it isn’t for free). These have been around since 1842, and offer the opportunity to test your taste buds on a variety of chocolates. How does having a cherry cordial, chocolate truffle, almond nougat or caramel sound about now?

For your spiritual taste buds, here is a sampling of “Beautiful Bible Verses” from www.bibletools.com, a Valentine’s Day gift from me to you.

“Whoever does not love, does not know God, for God is love.” 1 John 4:8

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

“And over all these virtues, put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” Colossians 3:14

“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:13

So Jacob served seven years to get Rachel, but they seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her.” Genesis 29:20

“Take delight in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4

“To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.” Mark 12:33

“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.” Romans 12:9

“No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” 1 John 4:12

“Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” 1 John 3:18

“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” 1 John 4:7-8

“We love because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19

For a chocolate lover, and even for people who prefer to have shots of maple syrup, can there be anything sweeter than knowing God, through Jesus Christ, loves us in such deeply personal and lasting ways?

Here is a very good way to begin your Lenten journeys. Starting Ash Wednesday and on a daily basis, sample and commit to memory one of these verses. Repeat this verse throughout the day, doing your very best to be faithful to its meaning and intent. Most importantly, please ponder in your hearts that though the grace of Jesus Christ came without cost to us, our Savior, through his great faithfulness, forgave and saved us from our sins at great cost. And that, my brothers and sisters, is how you “put on LOVE.”

Rev. Mark Katrick