One of the earliest images of Jesus is that of the Good Shepherd. This painting comes from the catacombs. Christians would bury their dead there and adorn the area with images of their faith.
The early Christians were often victims of persecution, and the image of the Good Shepherd brought much comfort. It still does today. I have often been asked to include Psalm 23 as one of the readings at a funeral. There is much assurance in knowing that we have a guide in this life who cares for us.
This is a good week to remember the caring people who guided your path in life.
Over my years of ministry, I have come to know a variety of people who grew up not knowing their biological father. Some discovered them later in life, some never did. For most that I knew, the church filled that void, providing guidance and security. Who was the person or church who filled that need for you? Celebrate them this week.
My father was a parent and pastor, a guide to many. My mother still encourages the family today.
The guidance of Jesus was sought out and is still sought out by people. In our reading from Mark, the disciples return from their mission trip with joyous stories of evil being turned back and people being healed physically and spiritually. Jesus can see they needed rest. They journey to a deserted place. Still the people follow them. Jesus notes that: “They were like sheep without a shepherd.” (Mark 6:34) Jesus, in compassion, feeds the 5,000. They follow him, all the more, bringing their sick for healing.
A young man named Robby attended church on Sunday. He was a wanderer of the streets. He asked me, how would he know what God was calling him to do?
I had just preached in that topic that morning. I hoped he was listening. I suggested he turn to scripture and prayer. He said he heard God most clearly when he was drinking. I assured him and God’s Spirit did not need any spirts to speak.
We gave him food from the pantry. Fred was so gracious to do so. Yet I wanted him to have spiritual food as well. But he had been drinking already.
The crowd that followed Jesus, wanted more food, more healing. But when he offered a deeper healing of life, most turned away from the Good Shepherd.
I was happy to hear that the Robby showed up on Monday morning and spoke briefly to Richard Beal, but by the time I arrived he was gone.
Unpacking and repacking a life that has been broken or bend is monumental. As a board member of Valley Restart, a homeless shelter in Hemet, 200 to 250 people each year move from homelessness to self-sufficiency, but it takes time and a talented staff. The churches in Hemet have been and are the driving force to see that this ministry survives, now happily it is thriving.
Another thriving ministry is our Central City Lutheran Mission that has supportive housing for men. The question for Robby is: He is open to listening to the Spirit, rather than the spirits? The church has and continues to fill the void for many fatherless children, who are bent and broken. The church is equipped to shepherd troubled lives.
The disciples, the early church martyrs, the church through the centuries found in Jesus a guide and stay. Pray in thanks for those who have been a Christ-like guide and stay for you. Pray that you can be a guide and stay for others.
Lord, You are my shepherd so I will lack nothing. You restore my soul! You lead me on the right path. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will not fear because You are with me. I thank You for Your rod and Your staff to comfort and guide me. You anoint my head with oil and ensure that my cup runs over with abundance! Your goodness and mercies will follow me all the days of my life, Amen!
Pastor John Bunge
Sunday @ 10 am. Indoors, masks optional for the vaccinated. We do offer a special time for the children. The live stream at 10 am is going well.
Refreshments after services have returned. Join us.
CHURCH OFFICE HOURS: This Week office hours, Monday and Thursday, 9:30 to 3 p.m. July 12 and 15.
- Your preschool committee is hard at work finding a replacement for Christina who recently resigned. Interviews are starting this week.
- Children’s Church continues. Are you interested in assisting? Let us know at the church office or give Robyn Blue a call.
- We have four youth going to CAMP starting Sunday July 18 @ Oak Glen.
- Next pantry this Saturday, July 24.
- The front is continuing to take GREAT shape. Tom Ziech was out in the heat working on the watering system with George Motschall. Joe Koenig, and the Hitters are watering the remaining plants during the week.
- Quilting continues 46 quilts thus far –vaccinated volunteers are returning.
MEMBER UPDATES AND CONTINUAL PRAYERS
Thanks for your prayers:
- Fred Mazurier was back helping with the pantry and in church.
- Wells Santos continues his recovery from infection and digestive issues. He will be in the hospital about three more weeks.
- Gerri requests prayers for her friend, Linda.
- Friend of the Cady’s, Leslie, with throat cancer.
- Kim Guevara’s friends, Don and Edith Besant, who just celebrated their 68th wedding anniversary. Sadly, Edith suffered a stroke and is in a coma.
- Motschall’s niece, Linda Odde, with a brain tumor.
- Diane Watson who broke her hip and is recovering well at home with Bud.
- Roxanne Foss’s niece, Ginny.
- erwin for strength and Lynda for healing.
- Jerry Mills working through chemotherapy.
- Continued Godly journey for Brendan, son of Bonnie Strack and Rebecca, daughter of Michael Shea.
- Bill and Judy Martin’s daughter, Laura, living in Kansas.
- Pattie, a friend of the Halls with thyroid cancer, treatments have started.
HAVE A MARVELOUS WEEK!