We are preparing for America's great high liturgical feast day: Super Bowl Sunday. 

I wonder sometimes, what it is about the Super Bowl that is so compelling to so many. I don't even really care about football (sorry y'all), but I like to watch. There's excitement in the air. Even those of us who are mostly in it for clever commercials and seven-layer nacho dip seem to have a good time.
Really, I think it's that there's nothing like a little competition to get our adrenaline going. We love the feeling of having a team and being a part of something bigger than ourselves. There's an "us" and a "them," and we want the good guys to win. 

It's no wonder that Jesus, in our gospel for Sunday, gets run out of town. He messes with the "good guys" and questions the sanctity of the home team. 

You remember the story: Last week, we heard Jesus preach about the Jubilee - good news for the poor, freedom for the captives, sight for the blind, and restoration for all. This week, we hear the rest of the story. He tells his hometown crowd that, yeah, God is all about this good stuff, but you know who is going to benefit?...the other guys. Elijah fed the widow in a Gentile land, while there were plenty of Israelite widows starving. And Elisha healed a leper in Syria, when there were plenty of sick and suffering people right here at home in Israel. 

Jesus is saying, God is here for the Patriots and the Rams, and sometimes, the team you despise is going to benefit first!

Or, God is here for the Republicans and the Democrats, and sometimes the "other guys" are going to see God at work before "we" do.

Or maybe, God is here for the Christians and the people of other religions.

Or maybe, God is here for the documented and the undocumented, the legal and the illegal, the above board and the underground.

No wonder they wanted to throw Jesus off a cliff.

But Jesus says it anyway, and letting the chips fall, and "he passed through the midst of them and went on his way."

This gospel message is tough sometimes. It's not always fair. It doesn't always feel good. But it means freedom for all people. Light for the whole world. Grace for free, for everyone. And that is very good news.

Peace be with you,

This Sunday's Readings
Jeremiah 1:4-10
Psalm 71:1-6
1 Corinthians 13:1-13
Luke 4:21-30

Generations Forum continues this Sunday, 9:30-10:30 am, Underwood North - Join all the generations for the 2nd Generations Forum featuring the Millennial generation this week. Each week, the panel is asked the same questions, and you are sure to learn something new.

Blessing of Social Media Freedoms - 12:00-1:30 pm in Underwood North - 6th grade students and their parents will  share a meal, explore questions related to social media, and bless this new freedom at their fingertips. 

Young Adults Gathering - Tuesday, February 5, 6:00-9:00 pm at Compass Rose Brewery - All 20s and 30s are invited to bring your family and your dinner to this evening of fun and fellowship.  

Let's Do Lunch! - All-Church Potluck sponsored by Way of the Shepherd - Sunday, February 10, 12:00-1:30 pm in Fellowship Hall -   We will be welcoming guests and prospective Good Shepherd members in church, then we will welcome them to our community with a meal. Come share this time with friends old and new; bring a dish to share. All ages are welcome.

Do You Have Items that Could Be Given New Life as Bingo Prizes?
On Friday, February 22, Good Shepherd will host its 23rd Annual Coffeehouse Bingo night, and prize donations are needed.  Great prizes include gently used adult-sized sports team or college t-shirts, ball caps, backpacks, tote bags, purses, flashlights, playing cards, and costume jewelry. No candles or glass items please. Donations can be placed in the box in the Narthex.  

Registration for Agape Day Camp at Good Shepherd (July 8-12) is now open. Register online.

Preschool registration for the 2019-2020 school year is now open. Learn more and register online

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

Health and Healing  for Lynn Norris; Fran Franoly, friend of Vivarelli and O'Neill families; Otto Haugland, father of Todd Haugland; and Jeanne VanDivender.

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

Blessing  25, has gained self-confidence, while attending Midlands State University.  She completed exams for her final semester at University, awaiting results which she expects to pass and then graduate in June. She visited with our 2017 mission team. Her sisters, Happiness and Tatenda, are also in the GSLC support program.  Her Mail For Mnene partners are the Buff and Trimmer families.

Handman  24, attends Midlands State University.  This semester he is excited to begin courses in his desired major, Media Studies.  Mnene staff helped him resolve issues with his new prosthetic leg, purchased through GSLC support.  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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