Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ!
I know I wrote this last month, but need to say it again, Nancy and I are grateful for the many and varied ways you all have welcomed and blessed us with your love and kindness. Thank you!
One of my father’s frustrations with me had to do with distraction. I can ramble down one “rabbit trail” after another and become distracted from my original path. August is a month that is perfect for lying on your back in the shade of a tree, but it is also a month that beckons to prepare for change. I am enjoying this transition, having conversations with folks, exploring the community, occasional visits with folks who come by the office, those who are comfortable with home visits, and conversations out in public. It has been slower than other moves with the covid-19 pandemic and appropriate caution of seeking to avoid spread of the virus. The slower pace has challenged the responsibility of caring for the least, lost, and lonely.
Yesterday, I read the reflections of a pastor mourning the loss of opportunity to minister with those who are most vulnerable. Folks “sheltering at home,” hospital, or long-term care facilities, who have borne the burden of isolation in addition to health concerns. He concluded with the encouragement; Jesus sent His Holy Spirit to be with believers. A pastor’s presence is helpful, but they need the presence and peace of our Savior, the Good Shepherd, Jesus our Lord!
Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers; but the sheep did not heed them. I am the door; if any one enters by me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He who is a hireling and not a shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hireling and cares nothing for the sheep. I am the good shepherd; I know my own and my own know me, as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. And I have other sheep, that are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will heed my voice. So there shall be one flock, one shepherd. For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life, that I may take it again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again; this charge I have received from my Father. John 10:7-18
We are called by Jesus to share in ministry. Serving, celebrating, caring with you, lifting up Jesus the Good Shepherd who laid down his life to rescue and deliver us. May we continue to help one another follow Jesus, and follow His new paths of ministry that will draw others who are not of this fold, to heed his voice and follow. Breakthroughs are happening, and we keep our eyes on Jesus and follow him past obstacles and through open doors! May we not be distracted from His call.
Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love undying.