Sermon for Sunday, May 23, 2021 – “The In-Dwelling of the Holy Spirit”

The Day of Pentecost 
Last Sunday of Easter
Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
Decorah, Iowa
Vicar Kathryn Thompson

Beloved of God, grace, peace, and the power of the Holy Spirit be with you this day and every day.  Amen.

I wonder when you last had a moment of pause in creation. Maybe it was taking the time to pause next to the river to hear the sound of the water flowing. Perhaps it was listening to the sound of the birds singing after the rain cleared this week. Or, maybe it was the feel of the spring breeze through your hair as your scalp lifted in sensation. What was the most recent moment you had where you were drawn into the awareness of a presence – a presence beyond your own awareness.

In our daily comings and goings, the Spirit is present always and is with us as God personally present in our lives. The Spirit is there whether we have an awareness of it or not. And while we know that the Spirit comes to specific individuals for specific tasks for a specific duration of time, I am most interested in pondering, on this Pentecost Sunday, the deep knowledge of the Spirit that comes and stays and dwells.

The Spirit comes to us first and foremost in creation. It brings to life all of creation, as “the wind of God that swept over the face of the waters” in Genesis 1: 2. So, too, is the Spirit in creation of our very own beings. God breathed life into you at the moment of creation. From matter – from dirt and mud and clay – came humankind, living beings formed from the breath of God who breathed life into our bones, our lungs, our emotions, our minds, our hearts.

This is also mirrored in the Psalm for today, which says: “29When you hide your face, they are dismayed; when you take away their breath, they die and return to their dust. 30When you send forth your spirit, they are created; and you renew the face of the ground.”

The fullness of who we are created to be was formed in the Spirit. It is there at our earthly beginning and at our earthly end – in the draw of our first breath and the release of our last. At any given moment in time, the Spirit is as close as our breath, accessible to us in our created being as the presence of God. It has the power to send us out as far and wide as the winds that move through the cosmos. It has the humbleness to remind us that God is present not only in our joy, but also in our pain and in our sorrow, in our grief, and in our sadness.

It is the Spirit that is there in your created being as you move through the Wilderness times of your life. Those times when we would much rather go it alone. We’d much rather rely on our mechanisms of survival. We’d much rather “just get through it.” But, it is the Spirit that is there in that moment to make sure that our life does not go stagnant, does not dry up or go sour. For even when we don’t feel the Spirit, it is there Advocating on our behalf — moving our life in ways beyond our knowing in these shadowed times, interceding with sighs too deep for words, and moving our life toward relationship with God.

It is the Spirit that is there at the crossroads times in our lives, when life decisions rest on our shoulders like a burden we aren’t sure we can bear. In those moments, when clarity seems out of reach and the consequences of our action or inaction confound us, the Spirit is present to testify to the truth, to guide us to the gentle knowing of our created beings that were formed in God. In these moments, we rest in the assurance that God will never ask of us something that isn’t consistent with who we are created to be in the image of God.

It is the Spirit that is there when we long for something more concrete in our lives. Much like the disciples in today’s passage, we often long to grasp on to something real and tangible. All we want are answers, and all we desire is understanding. When our human minds search for the explainable, the Spirit is present to remind us that our faith is more than answers, our faith is more than under- standing, our faith is more than grasping. Our faith is more than our brain. It is heart and soul; it is trust and doubt; it is comfort; and it is challenge. It is full of the great Mystery.

It is the Spirit that is here with us in community. Just as the Spirit was with the early church, as portrayed in the Acts passage today, the Spirit is here with us in the 21st century church today. The Spirit is moving and acting in new and varied ways now, relevant for our time and place in the story of history. But it has never and will never stop asking us to show up for the oppressed, speak out for the marginalized, and fiercely defend the creation that God so loves. As we seek to be church in the world, we open ourselves to the power of the Spirit in and through us to fulfill our baptismal promise: to work for peace and justice for all of creation.

It is the Spirit that is present with us in silence. It sits by our bedside or with us by the bedsides of those we love, holding the liminal space between this world and the next.

It is the Spirit that carries our prayers, connects us in love, and holds us in care.

We need not wait for the Spirit to come. We need not wait for Pentecost Sunday to experience the presence of the Spirit with us. When we look out into the world and when we look into our lives, we need only to put on our spiritual lens in order to be able to see the power of the Spirit at work. Some- times that lens comes in the form of hindsight, a pure 20/20 vision of that which we could not see in the moment. And sometimes that lens comes from a moment of pause where you felt a presence from beyond.

The Spirit is with you. It is not a gift from God, but rather it is God — fully and relationally present in your life, now and always.

Thanks be to God.  Amen.

Let’s take a moment for silent prayer.

Sermon for Sunday, May 9, 2021 – “The Gift of Joy”

Sixth Sunday of Easter
Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
Decorah, Iowa
Rev. Amy Zalk Larson

Click here to read scripture passages for the day.

Beloved of God, grace to you and peace in the name of Jesus.

Our Gospel reading today is part of Jesus’ last words to his disciples before his death. The church returns to these words during the Easter season to reflect on them in light of the resurrection. Jesus has a lot to say. His farewell speech takes up four chapters in the gospel of John.

Today we learn one of Jesus’ hopes for this long goodbye. “I have said these things to you,” Jesus explains, “so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.” If I was one of Jesus’ first disciples, I think I would have had some questions when he started talking about joy right then.

What do you mean Jesus? You’ve just been telling us you’re going to be betrayed, tortured, and killed. The people who want to kill you probably want us dead, too. We’ve learned to love you and trust you and hope in you, but now you’re saying goodbye, way too soon. And you’re talking about joy? Come again?

Joy can seem a little inappropriate in the face of death. Joy can seem hard to access in difficult times. Yet Jesus wants his disciples, all of us, to have joy: joy in the face of death, joy amidst sorrow and fear and uncertainty, joy within us, joy that is complete. Jesus wants this for us.

And thankfully, joy does not depend upon us. It doesn’t depend on whether we think it is appropriate, whether we can summon it up. Joy is a gift from God. The biblical word for joy has the same root as the word for grace. Just as grace is a free, undeserved gift not dependent on anything we do, so too is joy.

I wonder if joy is what grace feels like in our bodies. Grace is such good news, but it is kind of abstract and heady. Joy is a tangible experience of grace. I remember feeling joy again after a very difficult time in my life. My mom died suddenly in November.  A few months later, we learned my dad’s kidney cancer had returned. I’d been in a fog for months. I was oblivious to the start of spring that year.

And then one day, while walking to work, crab apple blossoms on a tree caught my eye. I felt joy arising from deep within me. I hadn’t been paying attention. I hadn’t been able to take deep breaths or meditate. I was hardly able to pray. I had done nothing to choose joy. Joy just welled up within me that day as my eyes were drawn to a glorious gift of God’s creation. My shoulders felt lighter. I lifted up my head and noticed crab apple blossoms everywhere. I could breathe deeply for the first time in a long while. Now, to this day crab apple blossoms look and smell like joy to me.

Joy is pure gift, pure grace, that does not depend upon us. And there is so much that gets in the way of joy. So, thanks be to God, Jesus gives us what we need to experience and participate in God’s gift of joy more fully.

First, Jesus calls us to abide, to dwell, in a loving relationship with our creator where we can rest and breathe and be nourished. When we are struggling to experience joy, Jesus invites us to simply abide in God’s love, to be nurtured by God’s gifts. These gifts include rest, prayer, worship, creation, community, therapy, music, poetry, food, exercise, modern medicine. Medications that tend to our mental health are incredible gifts of God. Community is such an important gift. In community, others can pray for us, others can hold onto hope on our behalf when we can’t imagine ever feeling joy again. If you are struggling to know joy, just rest in God today. This community will hold on to hope for you.

Jesus also calls us into ways of being that help us and others to experience joy. Jesus commands us to love others as God loves us – to love freely, without judgement, without expecting others to earn love – and to live out grace and mercy for the sake of others. Jesus commands us to give of ourselves, especially for those who are suffering most.

This is a joyful way to be in the world. It isn’t something we can muster up on our own. We can live this way because God gives us what we need to love when it is hard, when we are afraid. We can live this way because God’s grace frees us from sin and empowers us to address racism, injustice, poverty, suffering. We are loved so that we can love others.

Joy is God’s gift to all people, to you. Joy does not depend upon you. It is not something you have to summon on your own. Joy will come unbidden and lift you up. Jesus also gives you what you need to experience and participate in joy more fully. Jesus draws you into relationship with God and into a joyful, loving way of being in the world.

Jesus wants you to know joy – joy in the face of death, joy in the face of sorrow and fear and uncertainty, joy within you, joy that is complete.

Today, Jesus’ word comes to you that you may know joy.

Let’s take a moment for silent prayer.

Sermon for Sunday, May 2, 2021 – “Branch Out in Love”

Fifth Sunday of Easter
Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
Decorah, Iowa
Rev. Amy Zalk Larson

Click here to read scripture passages for the day.

Beloved of God, grace to you and peace in the name of Jesus.

Abide is such a beautiful word. To abide is to put down roots, settle in and feel at home. To abide with someone is to be there for them, day in and day out, for the long haul. Jesus abides with us.

Jesus, the vine, is a grounding, nourishing home for us. Our connection to this home, this vine, allows us to branch out into the world in life-giving ways. It allows us to provide shelter and nourishment for others. This is such good news in this unsettling time.

Author Diana Butler Bass says the pandemic has profoundly dislocated us.[1] When I first started reading her article about this I thought, no! We’ve been overly located, in the same place for far too long. Most of us have spent way too much time stuck in our houses. Yet as she described all the ways we’ve been dislocated, that word started to help me make sense of what’s happened to us.

Bass says we’ve experienced temporal dislocation – that is, we’ve lost our sense of time. Early in the pandemic we often had no idea what day it was. Whether your days were way too empty or far too full, everything was out of whack, our normal rhythms disrupted. One morning news show started a segment called, “What Day Is It”. They’d play 70s style game show music and build up suspense around the question until they revealed, “Today is Tuesday.”

Time still seems to be moving differently. It feels like the pandemic has lasted ten years, yet I can’t believe it’s May again. Last week I said to my husband, “Oh, that isn’t until the end of April”, about an event that was happening in two days. Apparently, this is called temporal dislocation. Knowing there’s a name for it makes me feel a little more normal.

Bass says we’ve also experienced historical dislocation. She writes, “We’ve lost our sense of where we are in the larger story of both our own lives and our communal stories. History has been dis- rupted. Where are we? Where are we going? The growth of conspiracy theories, the intensity of social media, political and religious “deconstructions” – these are signs of a culture seeking a meaningful story to frame its lives because older stories have failed. That’s historical dislocation.”[2]

We’ve also experienced physical dislocation. Our bodies are meant to be with other bodies in physical space. They’re meant to touch and smell and taste. It’s unsettling to shop for a tomato when you can’t feel it or even see it. It’s disorienting to worship in the place where you watch TV,  work and exercise, sleep, study, shop and socialize. In this virtual world, many of us have been doing things to help our bodies feel more grounded in physical space. We’ve made bread and gardened and taken on projects. Yet we’ve still been so disconnected from normal patterns of moving through space.

Of course, we’ve also experienced profound relational dislocation. We’ve had to celebrate holidays and birthdays and milestones without our loved one’s present. Yet we’ve also missed smiles from the checker at the grocery store and serendipitous conversations with acquaintances. We’ve spent hours staring at screens with a whole bunch of squares filled with faces whose voices are often muted.

We’ve been dislocated from our sense of time, history, place, and relationships.

Now that more of us have been vaccinated, now that more of us are moving out into the world, we’re being unsettled again. A Good Shepherd member shared a funny email. It reads, “Please pray for us. We are planning to go to an indoor church service tomorrow morning. Oh, it’s not the Covid that concerns us. Barb and I are fully vaccinated and the church follows strict protocols … No, the challenge will be to get out of bed, dress respectfully and arrive at church before 8 am. I hope it’s not too much of a shock to our systems.”

At Good Shepherd most people don’t need to arrive until 9:30, but still, our changing patterns right now are disrupting us and raising all sorts of new questions. Can we handle worship outside with bugs and noise and weather? Can we get through in-person meetings when everyone is distanced and masked? Do we still know how to make small talk? We face larger questions as well. How will the church be different post-pandemic? How can we better care for the earth, our shared home, and better care for one another? How can we love and serve as our nation grapples with historic and systemic racism, and when so many in the world don’t have access to vaccines or safe places to live or enough food to eat?

Jesus says, “Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing.” 

Life in our world right now is so unsettling and disorienting, yet we have been given a place to abide. We have been given a relationship with Jesus in which we can rest and breathe, put down roots and settle in. This life-giving relationship with Jesus provides so much grounding and nur- ture amid all the dislocation we’ve experienced.

Relationship with Jesus reshapes our sense of time. Jesus has entered human time and is present with us in it, working new life. This frees us to move in time differently. We can be present to all the drudgery, beauty, and pain of our days for Jesus abides with us there. In every moment we face, we are not alone. Relationship with Jesus also gives us a life-giving story in a time of historical dislocation. Human sin, suffering and death do not have the final word. God is at work to bring new life.

In relationship with Jesus, we are seen, known, and loved fully, completely, with no need for masks. We are nourished with life-giving words and with a tangible feast of love. We are given community. In Jesus, the vine, we are nourished, strengthened, and cleansed so that we can branch out into the world in life-giving ways. We are given what we need to bear fruit so that others can be fed and sheltered, so that our earth can flourish.

Beloved of God, Jesus is your abiding place. You are rooted and grounded in Jesus’ love. Jesus abides with you. And you are a branch on Jesus’ life-giving vine. Jesus is at work in you to bring life to others.

You can breathe in this good news.

You can branch out into this world in love.

Let’s take a moment for silent prayer.

[1] “Religion After the Pandemic” by Diana Butler Bass. Blog post on her blog: “The Cottage”, April 26, 2021. https://dianabutlerbass.substack.com/p/religion-after-pandemic?r=45vbf&utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=web&utm_source=twitter

[2] Ibid.

Sermon for Sunday, April 25, 2021 – “Shepherding God”

Fourth Sunday of Easter
Good Shepherd Sunday
Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
Decorah, Iowa
Rev. Amy Zalk Larson

Click here to read scripture passages for the day.

Today is Good Shepherd Sunday. Every Fourth Sunday of Easter, the whole church focuses on how Jesus is our Good Shepherd. We pray with the words of Psalm 23 which help us to trust in God our shepherd. This is a day for the whole church, but it feels especially significant for this congregation as we gather on land that used to be a sheep farm. Psalm 23 is meaningful all the time, but it feels especially important as we enter this time of transition as a congregation. As we begin gathering again, as we move out of isolation and back into community, our shepherd is leading us on this journey. So today I want to invite us to dive deep into Psalm 23. I’ll walk us through the Psalm as it is printed in your bulletin; you’re invited to follow along there. (The Psalm translation is from Evangelical Lutheran Worship, Copyright © 2019 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved. License # SB118886)

1The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not  be in want.

Shepherds provide sheep with enough to eat so that they aren’t left wanting, needing more. Yet shepherds also must ensure that sheep don’t get too much. Sheep are almost always wanting, al- most always hungry. If they’re turned loose in a lush pasture or allowed to free feed on hay, they will usually overeat. Shepherds these days even vaccinate their sheep against enterotoxaemia or “overeating disease”. It’s the shepherd’s responsibility to keep sheep from over consuming. This is important for the health of individual sheep and for the sake of the herd for the long haul. Shepherds must ensure pasture isn’t over grazed so that there is enough for the whole herd for the long term.

God is our shepherd and God does the same for us. God does feed and nurture us. God gives us daily bread. Yet God helps us to not constantly want and seek more, for our own sake and for the sake of creation. If only there was a vaccination to keep humans from over consuming! Yet, God has given us gifts that can inoculate us against the lure of consumerism, that can protect us from a frenzied life of wanting more and more. God’s gifts of scripture, worship, and Christian community help us to not constantly be in want.

2The LORD makes me lie down | in green pastures and leads me be- | side still waters.

Americans struggle to stop, to just lay down in green pastures and rest. We are driven to consume, achieve, accomplish, multitask and serve – all of which can be good things. Too much of this can make us sick and our world out of whack. We need rest and stillness. Sometimes, we need our shepherd to make us lie down.

For many of you, the pandemic has provided too much quiet and stillness. Now that you are vaccinated, you are trying to find new rhythms. For others, you have been incredibly busy as work and family life have become even more challenging during this time. We need God to lead us all into new patterns that facilitate rest and renewal for us and for others.

Today, our shepherd comes to us, to you, and says, “Be still and know that I am God.” Stop and rest in the still waters of your baptism. Let the water remind you that you are mine, and I love you. I love you not because of what you accomplish but because you are my beloved child. Be still and know this. Let this promise sink deep in you so that you can embody God’s gift of rest, a gift every- one needs.

3You restore my | soul, O LORD, and guide me along right pathways | for your name’s sake.

Sheep are creatures of habit. Left to themselves they will follow the same trails until they become ruts, graze the same hills until they turn to desert wastes, and pollute the same ground until it is ruined by disease and parasites. We do the same. We know we need to develop new habits and follow different paths regarding our care for one another and the earth, yet we are creatures of habit and we end up following the same old destructive paths.

Sheep also have a strong instinct to follow the sheep in front of them. When one sheep decides to go somewhere, the rest of the flock usually follows. On our own it can be hard to follow the paths of life. This is especially true if the whole herd is rushing somewhere. We are so easily swept along towards war, violence, pollution, and injustice. For this reason, God trains us to recognize and follow the voice of the Good Shepherd, the One who leads us on the paths of life. God gives us the commandments saying, “Do these things so that it may go well with you.”

4Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

When sheep are afraid, they simply won’t move. They just come to a stand still and lock their legs.  But if a shepherd goes before them, they will follow and go places they would be afraid to go alone.

It is scary to face death, grief, and sorrow; and we have so much of it to face in the wake of this devastating year. Our culture tells us it is much better to avoid unpleasantness, to numb ourselves to it, or escape it some way. But the only way out of grief is through it. The only way to get out of the valley is to go through it. We need to face the pain of this year. Yet God will not leave us alone; our Good Shepherd goes before and with us. Jesus walked before us through the valley of death and showed that life is more powerful than death. Now Jesus walks with us through the valleys, through the grief and into new life.

 5You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil, and my cup is running over.

A shepherd’s presence is so comforting to sheep that, even when they are surrounded by wolves, they can eat and be content as long as the shepherd stays with them. We too can have peace and contentment even when we’re surrounded by enemies, troubles, and worries because our shepherd is with us. 

To assure us of that, Jesus spreads a table of love before us. Jesus comes to us in his body and blood and is present with us. Jesus gives us the cup that runs over with love for us and anoints us with  the oil of God’s love in baptism. So, we can eat and feast and celebrate even when troubles press in all around. We are not paralyzed by the challenges. We are strengthened and nourished to go out and face troubles with confidence. We are empowered to work so that all may know God’s goodness and all may feast at the banquet of love.

6Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

The Hebrew word for “follow” is actually the word “pursue.” When it feels like enemies and troubles are in hot pursuit, this Psalm assures us that God’s goodness and mercy are even more relentless. They are always close behind us, always pushing us into the abundance God longs for us all to know.

Jesus Christ, our shepherd, has brought us here today. Jesus has brought you and each one of us here to rest and be nourished in this green pasture beside still waters. Here Jesus feeds and nourishes us so that we will not be in want. Here Jesus trains us to know and to recognize his voice so that we can follow that voice on the paths of life. Here Jesus sets a table of his presence before us and reminds us that we are anointed in the baptismal oil of God’s love.

When the service is over, Jesus will lead us out. Jesus will go ahead of you into the world, through the valley, pursued by goodness and mercy.

Let’s take a moment for silent prayer.

Sermon for Sunday, April 18, 2021 – “Hungry Witnesses”

Third Sunday of Easter
Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
Decorah, Iowa
Rev. Amy Zalk Larson

Click here to read scripture passages for the day.

Beloved of God, grace to you and peace in the name of Jesus.

I am grateful once again for the chance to collaborate with Pastor Stacey Nalean-Carlson on this sermon. We all need one another to help us hear and share good news!

Have you anything here to eat?

This is one of my favorite lines of scripture. The resurrected Jesus appears to his disciples, asks them for some food and then eats a piece of fish in their presence. This detail always captures my attention – the Savior of the world asking, “Have you anything here to eat.” Has Jesus worked up an appetite? Or, is this some kind of growth spurt? He sounds a lot like my teenagers who take after their very tall dad. He sounds a lot like me over the past year – hmm, maybe I’m hungry. Our grocery bills during this COVID time have been crazy.

I know Luke tells us that Jesus asked for fish in order to convey that he rose from the grave truly, bodily, fully intact with flesh and bones, a mouth and a stomach. But I love that it also invites us to wonder about a savior who hungers. I love that it invites us to wonder about our own appetites, our own hungering, as we grow into witnesses of the resurrection.

When Jesus appears to his disciples, he hasn’t just been resuscitated. He hasn’t just been brought back to life. Jesus has descended to the dead and has broken the power of death. He has been raised up to new life, resurrected. Is it any wonder that he’s hungry? Jesus is hungry – for fish, yes, and hungry for the news of his resurrection to transform this world. Jesus also knows it is a time for a growth spurt. It’s time for his disciples to grow as witnesses and spread this good news that life and love have triumphed.

Jesus tells his disciples, “It is written that that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations.”  And you, he tells them, you are witnesses of these things. You are witnesses that death itself has been defeated. There is now nothing to stand in the way of forgiveness, of healing, of freedom from shame and guilt and regret. There is nothing to stand in the way of reconciliation with God and neighbor, nothing to stand in the way of God’s restorative justice. Through the death and resurrection of Jesus, God’s kingdom of mercy, justice and peace is breaking into this world and transforming it. You are witnesses of these things, Jesus says to his disciples – and that includes us. We are witnesses to what God has done and is doing through Jesus. We are witnesses to resurrection.

Except, Jesus, what about everything else we’ve seen over the past year? What about all the black families who are crying out for their loved ones killed by police? What about police officers struggling under the weight of all that we ask of law enforcement in this violent and racist world? What about attacks against Asians and mass shootings and children at the border and so much suffering caused by COVID? Every day we see the worst of humanity’s brokenness. We see it in situations we want to keep at arm’s length and in tragedies that hit close to home. We see it in the failings of our leaders and in our very own faults and frailties. We see it in the stories that make the news and in the stories known only to us that we keep secret out of fear or shame.

How can we bear witness to resurrection when we see so much grief and pain? Like Jesus, we are hungry, hungry for justice and healing and peace, hungry for transformation. We know it is time for a growth spurt, time for new life, but we are also afraid. We have so many doubts.

We have a lot in common with those first disciples. We’re told that even in their joy at seeing Jesus, they were disbelieving and still wondering. And that’s when Jesus asked them for  something to eat. The disciples were stuck in their heads, trying to make sense of it all, trying to figure out how they could have joy and also doubts and fears, trying to figure out how they would explain  all this to others.

Jesus broke through all that and brought them back to the present moment by asking for something to eat. Jesus brought them back into their bodies and their hungers and their deepest longings by eating fish in their presence. As he ate, they were reminded of all the ways he had fed them and so many throughout his life on earth. They were reminded of all the meals Jesus shared with outcasts and strangers, that 5,000 hungry people were fed with five loaves and two fish, that he promised to be present always in bread and wine.

As Jesus ate, they saw that we have a savior who shares our hungers. We have a savior who has entered into the world’s brokenness, who is present in it all, who is working new life in the midst of the pain and suffering. We have a savior who not only triumphs over death, we have a savior who comes close and feeds us. As we are fed, Jesus opens our eyes to see God at work. Jesus assures us: Yes, you have seen so much suffering, but you are witnesses to something greater. Our eyes are opened so that even in the most hopeless situations, we witness God at work. Even in the mundane and the dreary, we witness unexpected beauty and joy.

During this pandemic time Jesus has fed the people of Good Shepherd as we’ve shared in Holy Communion in such creative ways: in the backyard, in Spilde’s Walnut Grove next to the church, in the parking lot, on Zoom.

Now, starting next week we will get the chance to gather for full services of Word and Sacrament in the backyard. Thanks be to God.

We will be offering online worship. It will look different as we prioritize the church’s mission of gathering with other bodies as the body of Christ to be fed. Yet, we will still bear witness to the good news online with scripture, preaching and music.

If your health or work schedule prevents you from gathering, I am glad to bring you Holy Communion outside your home.

If you live far from Good Shepherd, I hope you will find a congregation where you can receive Holy Communion as part of the body of Christ. Good Shepherd can help you find a congregation where you live. Contact us via the website.

We hunger for God’s mercy, justice and peace. That is breaking into this world through the death and resurrection of Jesus. We are witnesses to these things. In the face of deep sorrow, Jesus feeds us and opens our eyes so that we can witness God at work.

Thanks be to God.