07 May Pastor’s Note: May 7th, 2020
Answering the Call to Serve
Last night at our Wednesday evening worship, the scripture reading was from Matthew 20:17-28. In the gospel Jesus instructs his disciples to completely rearrange their understanding of greatness. He tells them that power and success in this world are nothing compared with service to our neighbors. Followers of Christ are called to serve. And I have to say that our congregation doesn’t need to be told this twice. When we put out a call for a need in our community or for one of our ministry partners, we receive it. The Holy Spirit is at work at Good Shepherd opening our hearts to generously serve. And we are good at it! This pandemic has dramatically changed what this service looks like, but that doesn’t mean our church will stop serving our neighbors. Our food pantry is still open as a drive-thru service. We are still responding to the calls from our ministry partners for specific needs. And I am happy to report, we are still going ahead with plans to plant our food pantry garden this year.
What’s Ahead for The Food Pantry Garden
This is our third summer of gardening and just like everything else right now it is going to look a little different this year. We have implemented new guidelines based on best practices for social distancing including hand washing, limiting the number of people in the garden during a shift, encouraging people to bring their own tools and maintain 6 ft from others. But the most important thing is that we are still out there gardening, growing fresh food for our neighbors in need. We are going to need some extra hands to make this happen this year, as we typically have about 100 youth volunteers cycle through during the summer through Next Step Ministry a youth service and mission program where participants from around the nation come to Madison and learn by serving our community. I was disappointed when I first heard the news, but I also knew our garden would be fine. Because our congregation is full of folks who know how to serve, even when serving our neighbors means pulling weeds.
One of my favorite Bible passages is Isaiah 58:6-11. It describes a time when God’s people served God by helping their neighbors in need. It talks about fasting from the things that are selfish and hurtful and instead opening ourselves up to be generous. And if we do so, God’s blessings will be more noticeable to us and we will thrive like a well-watered garden. I hope that during this time, however your heart is feeling right now, you will find comfort in knowing God continues to care for us and encourage us. And Jesus’ call to serve one another hasn’t gone away. When we show our faithfulness through our service to other’s, we know God is pleased. Thank you to those who have already volunteered to help in our food pantry garden this summer! For anyone who is interested, this is your official invitation to come join us! Find out more info: https://gslcwi.com/volunteer/local-ministries/food-pantry-garden/
Is not this the fast that I choose:
to loose the bonds of injustice,
to undo the thongs of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to break every yoke?
7 Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover them,
and not to hide yourself from your own kin?
8 Then your light shall break forth like the dawn,
and your healing shall spring up quickly;
your vindicator[a] shall go before you,
the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.
9 Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;
you shall cry for help, and he will say, Here I am.
If you remove the yoke from among you,
the pointing of the finger, the speaking of evil,
10 if you offer your food to the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the afflicted,
then your light shall rise in the darkness
and your gloom be like the noonday.
11 The Lord will guide you continually,
and satisfy your needs in parched places,
and make your bones strong;
and you shall be like a watered garden,
like a spring of water,
whose waters never fail.