Maya Angelou is often quoted as saying, wisely, "When people show you who they are, believe them..." The idea is that if someone lies to you once, they'll probably lie again. If someone shows you that they are selfish or unkind, trust that they know themselves better than you do.

This week, in our sermon series on Rowan Williams' book Being Christian, we explore the Eucharist. And as we do, we encounter Jesus and the disciples 
having one final meal together, before it all falls apart.

Jesus knows who the disciples really are. They have shown him. One will betray, another will deny. Most will run away, scared of the violence of the crowds. Jesus sees that he will die, his message of love and justice being far too much for the powers that be. Humanity is showing its capacity for evil.

But even in that horrific moment, Jesus sees that there is more...

In that moment, Jesus breaks bread, and it is more than bread.

In that moment, Jesus shares wine, and it is more than wine.

And in that moment, when everyone has fallen short of goodness and suffering is at hand and it seems that death will win the day, they are MORE than flawed friends. They become Jesus' body too.

In that moment, Jesus connects this bunch of messed up people, and they become more than messed up people. They are community. They are welcomed, despite their flaws. They are wanted, anyway. And they are told - do this for others. Welcome others. Feed others. Bring others together. Invite as you have been invited. Love as you have been loved.

In that moment, Jesus sees all of who they really are, and he shows them that they are more than they know. He shows them that they are children of God, capable of love and sacrifice and beauty, even in a terrible moment like this one.

In one of the worst moments for all of them, Jesus shows them that there is more to them than meets the eye.

Williams writes, "It is not just that we ask the Holy Spirit to effect a miraculous change in the bread and wine. We ask the Holy Spirit to effect a miraculous change in all of us, to make us capable of receiving these gifts, and as we receive them to go out in the power of the Spirit to live to God's praise and glory."

Sometimes, we're a tough crew. That much is true. And Jesus knows it, too. But Jesus sees the "more." And Sunday, he'll invite us to eat and drink and become that "more" in this messed up world.

Know that at Jesus' table, you are always welcome. And Jesus' welcome shows us how to welcome the "more" in others.

Come, join the feast!

PM

This Sunday's Readings
Psalm 15
Revelation 3:20

Bluegrass Worship and Summer sermon series - Being Christian: Baptism, Bible, Eucharist, Prayer - continue this Sunday.   

Good Shepherd Lutheran Church will be closed on Monday, September 3 in observance of Labor Day.

Spots Are Still Available! 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.

Get Ready to Sing and Play!
Choir rehearsals begin the week of September 10.  Check out the schedule for days and times. Like to sing? Play an instrument? Not sure where you might fit? Contact John Jahr for more information.

Bible Study with the Pastors
September 11, 9:30-11:00 am & September 12, 6:00-7:00 pm. On Tuesday mornings, we'll cover a variety of biblical ground starting where we left off in Judges, with 1 & 2 Samuel. This year, each time our topic comes directly from the Bible, we will also have a Wednesday evening study on the same theme. Join us for engaging discussion! 

Cornhole Tournament sponsored by Rams Men's Ministry
Saturday, September 15, 3:00-6:00 pm, GS LC As the summer days wind down, all men (12 years old +) are invited to an afternoon of cornhole, competition, fun and food! Hot dog dinner will be served. Cash prize will be awarded. Register online.
Fall Worship Schedule & Sunday Morning Faith Formation  Begins Sunday, September 16 Worship services at 8:15 am, 10:45 am and 5:30 pm.

Celebrating 15 Years of Helping Families in Transition through Family Promise  
Good Shepherd will be hosting guests in our church September 16-23. Opportunities are available for groups, families and individuals to serve. Learn more and sign up to serve at bit.ly/GSLCFamilyPromise, password: homeless.

Advent Lutheran Church in Charlotte is hosting a Holy Land pilgrimage from February 12-21, 2019, and would  love for Good Shepherd members and friends to join them.  Pr. Ward Misenheimer will be the Spiritual Director as we fly from Charlotte to Tel Aviv, and stay overnight in Tiberius, Bethlehem, and Jerusalem.  Cost of the trip is $3,325 per person, which includes airfare, hotels, meals, tour guides, gratuities, and extras.  Contact organizer Esther Abdel-Hameed (esther_uae@hotmail.com), phone 727-614-6063, or Abby Bostian (abostian@carolina.rr.com) for a brochure and additional information.    

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

Health and healing  for  Tracy Ball, family of Lois Jean Query and Paula Austin; Gary McLauren, friend of Peggy Ruopp; Meg Stoyle-Corby; David Perlowin, brother-in-law of Randy and Mary Beth Neuhaus.

For the orphans of Mnene Parish , including Blessing Chipa and Handman Shumba.

Blessing is 25 and has gained self-confidence while attending Midlands State University.  She completed her attachment (internship) and is working to complete classes for her college degree.  She spent time with our 2017 mission team.  Her sisters, Happiness & Tatenda Chipa, are also in the Good Shepherd support program.  Her Mail For Mnene partners are the Buff and Trimmer families.
   
Handman, 23, successfully completed his "O" level classes and is attending Midlands State University.  He has not yet declared a major but showed an interest in Media Studies. He was having issues with his new prosthetic leg, purchased with GSLC support, but Mnene committee members assisted him in getting the issues resolved.  He visited with our 2017 mission team.  His Mail For Mnene partner is the Cooper 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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