My mom's side of the family is from eastern North Carolina. Growing up, the back bedroom had three guns hanging on the wall. They were Granddaddy's guns, for hunting or for whatever else you might find yourself needing a gun in rural NC. They were always just there - no big deal. They were tools for country life, much like the tools in the shed out back or the fishing accoutrement decorating the side porch. They reminded us of our deceased patriarch, and guns were part of the way of life in our family's one-stoplight-town.

There was also a gun under my grandmother's bed - this one, not for hunting. Grandmama felt safer with it there, especially at night, especially after Granddaddy died. One night, she awoke with a start when she heard a strange noise and saw a large man entering her bedroom. She frantically grabbed for the gun and aimed it (she is not a woman to be messed with), only to realize with the most enormous sigh of relief that it was her son, sleepwalking. The gun that would keep her safe was not so safe after all.

However we feel about guns, whether they elicit comfort or anxiety, excitement or fear, we can all agree that gun safety is harder to achieve than we would like. We can all agree that we don't want any sort of violence to affect our children and grandchildren when they are trying to learn and play and enjoy childhood.

This is why I will be marching tomorrow in the March for our Lives in Raleigh, a sister of the national version in Washington, DC. Their website encourages us to "become part of the solution to end gun violence in our schools," a worthwhile goal for us all. I will march because this senseless violence has to stop and because of my Christian hope that we are not doomed to our trouble in this life. With Christ, there is always a way forward.

But these aren't the only reasons. I will march because when I look at Jesus on the cross, I see that when God became human, God decided to die a gruesome death rather than retaliate violently against people who did not deserve such merciful treatment. I will march because when Jesus knew he would die and Peter took up a sword, Jesus told him to put it down. I will march because I long for the day the prophet Isaiah envisioned, when "they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore." [Isa. 2:4b]

I pray for a nonviolent world, and this week, I need to pray with my feet. My body and soul need something TO DO in the face of the temptation to feel powerless and to believe the lie that we can do nothing.

If you would like to march, you can join us. We will carpool from Good Shepherd at 8:30 am tomorrow. Please consider if you are willing to drive. The march begins at City Plaza at 9:45 and will end in a rally at Halifax Square. More information about the march can be found at www.marchforourlivesraleigh.com or on facebook.

Whether or not you march tomorrow, let us all pray for an end to senseless violence in our world, and let us listen for the ways God calls us toward creative solutions for all that ails our world.

Peace be with you,
PM

Sunday's Readings
Mark 11:1-11
Psalm 31

This Sunday is Palm Sunday, the beginning of Holy Week. 
  • Worship at 8:15 & 10:45 am; no evening worship.
  • Way of the Shepherd All-Church Conversation at 9:30 am in Fellowship Hall - Middle and high school youth are welcome to join the conversation!
  • Easter Egg Hunt at 9:30 am for 2 year olds - 5th graders.
Bring your filled bags for the Food Drive -  Help support North Raleigh Ministries' food pantry by bringing in the following items this Sunday: canned tuna, chicken, fruits, vegetables and soups, dry cereal or grits, powdered milk, mac & cheese, applesauce, boxed or canned pasta, rice, juice or juice boxes. Sponsored by Senior Adult Ministry.

Call to Prayer, Fasting, and Action   This Lent, we are joining the ELCA campaign to reduce, and address the root causes of, hunger. Fast: Plan to set aside one day per month over the summer, when you will help with an Outreach ministry. We are often short of volunteers in summer, while our neighbors' needs remain the same.  Pray for volunteer Outreach leaders, that they will be encouraged by support from our faith community, and that new leaders will step forward as needed to sustain our ministries.  Act: Complete the GSLC Outreach Interest Survey, and explore one or more of our ministries. Current GSLC  volunteers will provide information and help link you to an Outreach experience. Paper Surveys are also available in the Narthex.  

Join us for worship and prayer throughout this holiest week of the year. We will journey from triumphal entry to the cross, and we will find life together on the other side of the grave.

Maundy Thursday, March 29
Worship at 12:15 & 7:00 pm
Sanctuary open for Confession 1:00-7:00 pm
Prayer Vigil begins after evening worship
(Sign up for the Prayer Vigil on The City or contact the church office.)
Good Friday, March 30
Stations of the Cross for Children & Adults at 12:15
Passion Worship at 7:00 pm
Prayer Vigil ends at 7:00 pm
Easter Vigil
Saturday, March 31 at 7:00 pm
Easter Sunday, April 1
Worship in the Memorial Garden at 7:00 am
Celebration Worship Services 
at 9:00 & 11:00 am

The March Food Barrel in the Narthex is collecting supplies for Family Promise. See a list of needed items .

More information about upcoming events is available in this week's bulletin announcements.

Health and Healing  for Savannah Klingaman; Lynn Yager, sister of Carol Weber; and Mary Bieler, friend of Todd Haugland.

Sympathy to Susan Gardner and family at the death of her husband, Roger, friends of Paul and Gail Phillips.

Safekeeping for  the participants in the Rams Men's Ministry Retreat at Kure Beach this weekend .

For the orphans of Mnene Parish, including Tatenda Nyoni Shiri and Effort Gumbo.

Tatenda Nyoni is 19 and taking Form 6 classes at Msume Secondary School. Last month, he was awaiting his "A" level test results. If he passes these tests, he will qualify for post-secondary education. He visited with our 2017 mission team at Vic Falls. His Mail For Mnene partners are the Vitek family and Gerhard Livingston.

Effort, calm, quiet and poised, will soon be 21.  He is in Form 5 at Neta Secondary School. Since this school is far from his homestead in Mnene, he is staying with a relative in Neta. He visited with our 2017 mission team at Victoria Falls. His Mail For Mnene partner is the Cash family.
 
Visit the Wittenberg Information Center in the Narthex for photos of this week's orphans and  more information on the Mnene Ministry.

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