A few years ago, I attended the Festival of Homiletics, a yearly gathering of preacher-types for a week of hearing amazing sermons and thinking about the craft of writing them. Years later, I still remember a stellar sermon by Presbyterian preacher extraordinaire, Anna Carter Florence, in which she told us that we are "living in a  parable universe." All around us - the world, our relationships, our experiences - can show us what the kingdom of God is like.

As I read the chapter of Rowan Williams' book,  Being Christian , on Baptism, which we'll explore in worship this week, I saw parables everywhere. And Williams' words gave me eyes to see parables all around. Like many of Jesus' parables, they involve both grace and challenge. Here are a few of them:
  • The baptized life is like a riptide, carrying us into chaos and grace.
  • The baptized life is like a sneeze - surprising and sometimes contagious.
  • The baptized life is like a family - we're surrounded by people we didn't choose, with opportunity for giving and receiving, conflict and love, challenge and support.
  • The baptized life is like being tossed in the deep end of humanity and holiness.
Or maybe, the baptized life isn't quite like anything else at all.

We'll explore some of these "parables" in the sermon this week. But I'm curious about the parables you see in the world. Where do you see the kingdom of God in your life? What's the baptized life like for you you?

See you Sunday...
This Sunday's Readings
Psalm 34
Romans 6:3-4

Summer sermon series - Being Christian: Baptism, Bible, Eucharist, Prayer - kicks off this Sunday.  This Sunday, we will highlight baptism from Rowan William's book, Being Christian: Baptism, Bible, Eucharist, Prayer as we explore the foundation for our living faith.

It's time for Bluegrass Worship! While the order of worship remains the same, the lively music will have you tapping your toes and maybe even clapping your hands! 

Sign up to serve on Rally/Raleigh Days - September 8 & 9
On Rally/Raleigh Days, we celebrate who we are as the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America - one church, freed in Christ to serve and love our neighbor - with ELCA churches throughout the country. Sign up online to serve at Good Shepherd or in the community. Not able to serve on Rally/Raleigh Days? Check out the item donations needed for Rally/Raleigh Days on the signup.

Books and Brew - Mondays, August 20 & 27  
Pastor Tim and Pastor Marsha will be hosting Books and Brew to go along with our final summer sermon series. We'll meet at Sola Coffee Café, 6:30-7:30 pm. Grab a brew of your choice (coffee or spirits) and join us to dig deeply into Being Christian: Baptism, Bible, Eucharist, Prayer by Rowan Williams, our final sermon series book of the summer. A limited number of books are available in the church office for $10 each.

Volleyball - Tuesday, August 21, 6:30 pm in Fellowship Hall  
Youth and adults are invited to join pickup games anytime between 6:30 - 8:30 pm. Bring your friends, parents, neighbors. All skill levels welcome for an evening of fun play! See you there!

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

Health and healing  for  Joanna Reilly, friend of Jim Davis.

Sympathy  to the family and friends of Mark Prill, cousin of Ray Prill, and  Mike DeRusha, cousin of Mary Franck.

For the orphans of Mnene Parish , including Simbarashe Dube and Nodias Sigono.

Simba is 21.  He had been taking Form 5 classes at Mnene High School.  He requested to take his "O" level exams, and Mnene staff secured a position and accommodations at Mbuyanehanda High School.  During school breaks (one- month long) he helps care for his homestead as his Grannie is ill and away from the home.  He visited with our 2017 mission team.  His Mail For Mnene partner is the Kovac family.

Nodius is 18 and was attending Mbuyanehanda High School.  His behavior issues improved but, once again, he is having discipline issues.  Mnene staff are looking for suitable placement for his next school term.  He visited with our 2017 mission team.  His Mail For Mnene partners are the Plavocos and Strawbridge families.

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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