The Main Character is Fear. But You Missed It...

Embarrassing story time.  Ready?
The first time I rode a roller coaster I wet my pants.  I was 8, and scared, and begged my father to have them stop the train and turn around the minute it left the loading dock.  But, of course, it was too late because the train had literally left the station...there was no turning back.
My body found a way to express the way my insides were feeling at the moment.  Terror had seized me, and if I thought I could have survived it, I would have crawled right out of that car.
That first know, that hill on the roller coaster that gives you enough momentum to complete the other hills...scared me beyond belief.  I closed my eyes tightly and held on tightly.  And they didn't open again until I hit the station.
Until I knew I had survived.
But, of course, I had to ride it again because a) it was fun and b) in my fear I had missed the whole thing!
On my first roller coaster experience, I thought the main characters were me, my father, and the coaster.  But I was wrong.  The main character in that story was fear.
In fact, I'd say that fear is the main character in many of our stories in life, though they often aren't named in the credits.
The same could be said in this week's Gospel lesson.  Our November texts are tough texts that talk about beginnings and endings, apocalyptic parables that, if we're not careful in our reading, could give us the impression that God intends doom and gloom for humanity (and many so-called Christians have said as much over the years).
But that's not the God we see in Jesus, so that can't be the God we see in Jesus' stories, right?
This week's lesson, the " Parable of the Talents," is especially rough (click on it to read it).  Go ahead and give it a read.  I'll wait.
Done? Onward...
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This Sunday's Readings
Zephaniah 1:7, 12-18
Psalm 90:1-12
1 Thessalonians 5:1-11
Matthew 25:14-30

This Sunday is Stewardship Sunday!   Pledge online  by Sunday or bring your commitment card to church with you. We have already hit last year's goal, and we need your help to hit this year's goal of 215 pledges.

Crossing Borders SME begins this Sunday in the Sanctuary  Come to listen, share and discuss the realities of immigration and the border today with Michael Dickson. Michael spent the last year living and working with our Lutheran brothers and sisters in the border region, so he has first-hand experiences to share.

Magi Tree in the Narthex   Provide gifts for children in the LFS Foster Care Program and our adult friends with developmental disabilities this Christmas! 

Family Promise Week at Good Shepherd is November 26 - December 3. Volunteers are needed to serve, so sign up in the Narthex or online here  (password: homeless).

Mnene Christmas Greetings & Gift Collection  Pick up a blank card in the Narthex to send Christmas greetings to our orphans and friends in Mnene. 

The Mail For Mnene table for collecting Christmas gift packages will be in the Narthex through November 26. Donations marked "Mnene Postage" can be dropped in the collection plate or Narthex mail slot. Do not leave monetary donations at the display table!

O' Holy Night at Camp Agape - Saturday, December 16 at 7:00 pm  Walk the lit camp trails and watch the "greatest story every told" unfold. Tickets are $12/person with a $45 family maximum (children under 5 free). A limited number of tickets are available, so reserve yours early. Sign up online or contact Barb Newcomer.

More information about upcoming events is available in  this week's bulletin announcements.
The November edition of The Shepherd's Voice is available  online.
Health and healing for Wayne Ault, Jayne Rusincovitch's father; and Carl Kjellberg.

Thanksgiving for Emily Graff's safe return and for the birth of Mary Scott "Scottie", daughter of Leigh Anne and Ryan Blackmon.

For the Orphans of Mnene Parish, including Zaranyika Zhou and Lindiwe Maseko.

Zaran, 24 years old, attends Midlands State University, enrolled in the Geography & Environmental Studies program. While he was doing his "attachment" (internship) in July he was able to spend some time visiting with our 2017 mission team. His Mail For Mnene partner is Rosalind Bowling.

Lindiwe is 22. Lindiwe and Reward Gumbo, one of our other Mnene orphans, will be our first graduates from Midlands State University next month! (Lindiwe - Theology & Religious Studies degree; Reward - Geography & Environmental Studies degree) Lindiwe visited with our 2017 mission team. She expressed her gratitude to GSLC with these words: "I did not know it but there was something missing from my life--it was Good Shepherd. After entering the Good Shepherd program, my rise was so fast. Our lives (the orphans) are a testimony - unbelievable!" Her Mail For Mnene partners are the Sloman and Rivera families.
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