Dear Friends in Christ,
It’s summer (or just about), and that’s a time where we often enjoy vacations and time off. Organized youth sports are in full swing, even though it sure seems like that’s a year-round proposition nowadays. We have many wonderful summer activities planned here at Good Shepherd. The Families First Weekends are morphing into something a little different; we want all of the family here at Good Shepherd, young and old, to be a part of them. Y’all come now, ya here?
- On Friday, June 2nd, from 6 p.m. on, we’ll have a game night. I hope you all will come. This is a great opportunity for all of us to get together, have some fun, and get to know one another better. Pizza and drinks are provided, and you can bring your favorite game (or games) and a side or dessert.
- On Saturday, July 1st, we’ll have a cookout (I’m excited to be at the grill)! Burgers and Hot Dogs will be on the menu, with a potluck again for sides and desserts. Hopefully we’ll have great weather and we can bring and play our favorite lawn games.
- In August, we’ll attend a Springfield Sliders game together. What says summer more than baseball? (Maybe Apple Pie? We can ask Lois Ann if she’d make her Apple Business for everyone, right?)
This summer, we have a tremendous opportunity to reach many of the children in our community with the wonderful message of God’s care, mercy, and love for us in Jesus Christ. This year, Vacation Bible School is in mid-July: July 16-20. I hope that many of you will be willing to give some of your time to help with this. You can talk to Betsy about what opportunities there are. Even if it’s just showing up beforehand and afterwards to greet parents and children and get to know them, you’ll have helped immensely! We can share the love and mercy of Christ even in a simple conversation, showing our desire to know our neighbors and looking for ways that we can remember them before God in prayer.
There will also be an opportunity for some summer reading! On many of this summer’s Sunday evenings we’ll gather together to read Rod Dreher’s The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation. The book deals with the significant cultural shift we’ve witnessed in the western world–in our case, in the United States–in the last decades, and what strategies we Christians must consider in order to preserve our faith communities and, frankly, the personal faith of the people that make them up. Dreher “argues that the way forward is actually the way back—all the way to St. Benedict of Nursia. This sixth-century monk, horrified by the moral chaos following Rome’s fall, retreated to the forest and created a new way of life for Christians. He built enduring communities based on principles of order, hospitality, stability, and prayer. His spiritual centers of hope were strongholds of light throughout the Dark Ages, and saved not just Christianity but Western civilization.” Spoiler: the book doesn’t advocate for starting a monastery or anything. There’s a sign-up sheet on the narthex bulletin board. There will be a reading schedule distributed on June 11th. You can order via the church office (check the box on the sheet when you sign up) or you can order for yourself from Amazon. Go to http://gsslcms.org/summerbook to do so. The cost of the book is $15.
Finally, and most importantly (though listed last), this summer we should be in the Lord’s house, hearing His Word and receiving His Supper. “Let us not neglect to meet together, as is the habit of some, but be encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:25) “Remember the Sabbath Day by keeping it holy.” (Exodus 20:8)
I hope to see you in the Divine Service and Scripture Study, at our monthly events, and on Sundays to discuss The Benedict Option. This will be a wonderful summer, rich in the Word and in Fellowship!
Pastor Michael Schuermann