Sunday, February 20, 2011

Note from the Pastor

Dear Good Shepherd Church Family,
Grace to you and peace, from God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, through the love of the Holy Spirit!  I have been called to be the new pastor of Good Shepherd, and have accepted this call with great joy and excitement for the adventure of faith that we will share in the years ahead.  Mindy, our children, and I thank God for the warm welcome we have received in this community of faith.
Here is part of my letter of acceptance of the call to Good Shepherd:
After prayerful consideration and discernment, it is with great joy that I accept the call as pastor to the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd.  I “hereby promise to fulfill this pastoral ministry in accord with the standards and policies for ordained ministers of the Evangelical Church in America,” and to be “diligent in the study of Holy Scripture, in use of the means of grace, in prayer, in faithful service, and in holy living” (quoted from the Letter of Call).
My family and I have been called by God to the next chapter of our life journey in your urban, diverse community, in which both Mindy’s gifts and my own will be utilized, and in which our children will have ample opportunities for growth.  I am excited for the opportunity to serve as pastor of Good Shepherd.  I look forward to walking with you as we live out God’s mission as brothers and sisters in Christ, reaching out to people in west Rockford and beyond with the love of Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit.  
As I begin my second week at Good Shepherd, I have already experienced so much hospitality in this church community and the community of Rockford, including the potluck my first Sunday, Bible study groups at church, the Rockford Partners for Excellence at West Middle School, local clergy groups, and more. 

Dietrich Bonhoeffer once summed up Christian faith in a world come of age as prayer and righteous action, action for others.  Good Shepherd’s mission statement is another way of saying the same thing: Living and Sharing Jesus.  It is my hope and prayer that we will together grow closer to Jesus Christ in prayer, worship, and reading Scripture, and share Jesus through serving others and building relationships with them. 

God’s Work, Our Hands,        

Pastor Eric Lemonholm

Saturday, February 19, 2011

“Love Your Enemies” Missing from the Lectionary for Ten Years

It is commonly understood by lectionary preachers that some of the texts at the end of the season of Epiphany are skipped some years, because the date of Easter changes each year. [1]  The texts for the last two possible Sundays after the Epiphany, the Eighth (Proper 3, Lectionary 8) and Ninth (Proper 4, Lectionary 9), shift to the beginning of the season after Pentecost when there is no room for them in Epiphany.  The Sixth (Proper 1, Lectionary 6) and Seventh (Proper 2, Lectionary 7) Sundays after Epiphany, however, do not shift; therefore, in many years, the texts for Lectionary 6 and 7 are skipped altogether.  This is made more likely by the fact that in many congregations the last Sunday in Epiphany is celebrated as Transfiguration Sunday, with its own set of texts.