Pastor Rike’s Message – July/August 2018

The first thing that should be shared with you in this column is my profound thanks. The warm welcome and generosity I have experienced since arriving at Good Shepherd have been overwhelming. I am profoundly grateful for all of your kindness. I also believe these things to be signs of the Holy Spirit at work in our congregation. Holy Scripture teaches us something similar:

Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. In fulfillment of his own purpose, he gave us birth by the word of truth, so that we would become a kind of first fruits of his creatures. (James 1:17-18)

And

…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23)

It is my hope that those outside of our congregation, who have no church to call their own, may experience the very same kind of welcome and generosity you have shown to me. In this way more and more people may come to know the Presence of the risen Christ Jesus that is such a blessing in our midst. At the same time, it is only by the revelation of Scripture that we can know such kindness for what it truly is and put a name on it. As one of the readings appointed to be read in church on June 3rd put it:

…the God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (2 Corinthians 4:6)

As a result, all of us may embrace this new beginning at Good Shepherd with even greater thanksgiving for what God is doing among and through us for the sake of Jesus Christ. I am thankful I am permitted to be with you and serve as your pastor; I am also thankful for what you have done so far. You have reason to be thankful that God has chosen you and through Christ Jesus has deemed you worthy to be vessels and servants through whom He will reveal Himself to the world by His Word.

All of us will have the opportunity to reflect and contemplate these things more fully in July. Beginning July 11 at 7 p.m. I will facilitate a weekly, Wednesday evening Bible Study. At least, for now, we will focus on the Bible readings appointed for the upcoming Sunday. Just as I have attempted to do at the beginning of this letter, that Bible Study can help us grasp more clearly how texts proclaimed in the worship service shape our understanding of our ourselves, our experiences and the world around us.

Finally, please save the date of Sunday, August 5. It is our intention to conduct a one-day Vacation Bible School event that day. The theme is “Jesus will always love you.” This VBS is being planned as an intergenerational event; so we hope to see people of all ages involved. More details will be forthcoming in the next several weeks.

In Christ,
Pastor David Rike

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