Sheep with a Shepherd
Sunday is the Fourth Sunday of Easter, the Sunday of the Good Shepherd. Each year the readings for this Sunday focus on the shepherding care of the Triune God for us, and the Gospel readings are three different parts of John 10, the chapter where Jesus calls himself the Good Shepherd. Each year we sing Psalm 23, the beloved psalm of trust in the LORD God our Shepherd. We love this image of the Good Shepherd.
But do we really want to be called sheep? We’ve all heard sermons and Sunday school classes which told us that sheep are dirty, stupid, impulsive, smelly. They don’t mind, can be easily misled, and aren’t capable of taking care of themselves. Is this really a description we want to embrace for ourselves? It’s kind of offensive.
Isn’t it awfully passive as well? We don’t need to take responsibility for ourselves because, well, we’re sheep. We can’t help it. If we are seeking faithful discipleship, which I think we are, it’s hard to see how the metaphor of a sheep helps us at all.
Maybe it doesn’t in that part of our lives of faith. Maybe it has nothing to say about the way of discipleship and growth. But maybe that’s not the point. There are lots of places and ways Jesus and the writers of the New Testament call us to faithful discipleship, active growth and responsibility, to lives of love and service. There is much to which we are called that is beyond a sheep metaphor. Because no image can fully convey what we want to say.
What the sheep image does is really simple: it reminds us that ultimately we are not in control, of our lives or of the world, but that we are in the care of a Good Shepherd who is capable of taking care of us, and who loves us enough to die for us. “Sheep” doesn’t have to be our only self-image, and in fact it shouldn’t be.
Maybe we love the Sunday of the Good Shepherd because sometimes we are lost, afraid, we think we’re not very smart, we worry about a lot of things, and we can’t always find ways to care for ourselves. Not always, no. But sometimes. And in those times it’s very good news to know that we have a Good Shepherd who loves us, guides us in right paths, feeds us, walks with us in dark valleys, and leads us to life eternal.
A very good thing indeed.
May 11, 2014: Fourth Sunday of Easter
I Peter 2:19-25
May 18, 2014: Fifth Sunday of Easter
Psalm 31:1-5, 15-16
I Peter 2:2-10
This Week’s Adult Forum
May 11: Mother’s Day Recital, presented by the youth of Mount Olive.
1 Thessalonians Bible Study
The final Thursday Bible study series before summer begins on Thursday, May 8 (tomorrow!), and runs for six Thursdays through June 12.
Meeting in the Chapel Lounge from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Vicar Emily Beckering will lead a study of Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians.
There will be a light supper when we begin. If you are interested in providing the supper for our first study, please notify Vicar Beckering. All are welcome!
The Ascension of Our Lord
Thursday, May 29, 2014
Meals on Wheels
Thanks to the following Mount Olive volunteers who delivered Meals on Wheels for TRUST during the first quarter of 2014: Gary Flatgard, Art & Elaine Halbardier, and Bob Lee.
New Members to be Received May 18
New members will be received at Mount Olive on May 18, 2014, at the 10:45 a.m. liturgy. A welcome brunch will follow the liturgy.
If you are not a member and are interested in becoming more fully involved in the life of the parish, we invite you to let us know of your interest. You may call the church office to begin the process. If you prefer, you may contact our Evangelism Director, Andrew Andersen, at email@example.com, or you may contact Pastor Crippen by calling the church office (612-827-5919) or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Supper for Study Needed!
We are still in need of a volunteer to provide the supper for the first session of Bible study together on 1 Thessalonians tomorrow, May 8. A very light meal is all that is needed. If you plan to attend the Bible study tomorrow evening and would be able to bring this first supper, please contact Vicar
Beckering. Thank you!
Action for Health in the Americas (AHA)—EPES—Karen Anderson
It isn’t often that we at Mount Olive get to be a part of improving health on two continents as once. That’s what we are doing with our mission support for AHA/EPES and ELCA missionary Karen Anderson as they take popular education for health to scale, sharing what was learned in Chile with community health care workers from Kenya. In February EPES hosted the fifth international health training course, training workers from over 15 countries.
In 2012, we met Karen Anderson and she spoke to us about her work in training community health workers in the heart of Santiago, Chile. She began her work 30 years ago as an ELCA missionary. She soon realized that health care needed to be locally based, not just internationally supported. She began training women to conduct health visits throughout the community. The model was so successful that her organization was asked to train others.
How is Mount Olive involved? We are involved in our regular mission budget in two ways.
First, beginning this year, we are directly sponsoring Karen Anderson as one of the two ELCA missionaries we support. (The other is Phillip Knutson in South Africa.)
The work is carried out by EPES (Educacion Popular En Salud, translated to Popular Education for Health). The funding arm for EPES in the United States is AHA—Action for Health in the Americas. EPES/AHA has been designated one of the seven budgeted mission projects that we support.
Mission giving at Mount Olive is wonderfully and beautifully complicated—we give 4% of our total annual budget for global missions. In addition we forward your “blue envelope” contributions directly to the missions you have designated, above and beyond the budgeted amount. It is exciting to be a part of a committee and congregation that so thoughtfully participates in the global Christian community.
Do you have UFOs in your closet? Most needleworkers have at least one unfinished object lurking somewhere in the house.
Some of the prayer shawl makers have decided to rid themselves of the guilt and clutter of some of their projects. We will meet at Mount Olive on Monday, May 19 from 9 am to 3 pm to complete, or at least get a good start on completing some of those projects. We can work on our own and also help each other.
Bring a bag lunch and your crocheting, knitting, quilting, cross stitch, needlepoint – whatever project you have – and see if you can get one done!
A Note of Thanks
I wish to thank all who have helped me during my knee surgery and recovery; those who have prayed for me and also those who have helped me in hands-on sorts of ways. God bless you!
Mount Olive is truly a care-giving congregation!
Sign Up to Bring Tutoring Snacks
Check out the snack sign-up sheet for Way to Goals Tutoring in the lower level. Snacks for approximately 25 youth and tutors are needed on Tuesday evenings through May 27. Your help is very much appreciated!
Life Transitions Support Group to Begin May 14
Caregiver? Chronic Illness? Loss of home? Loss of loved one?
We each encounter a variety of losses throughout our lives. Have you wished for a familiar place where you could find some reassurance, share your story, discover a simple skill or two that could help in those moments when you feel overwhelmed?
Beginning May 14, join us for a four-week structured support group at Mount Olive. Cathy Bosworth and Amy Cotter will serve as facilitators for this group on Wednesday evenings. Each week a brief educational component will be offered with time for you to share personally in a confidential, supportive setting. Vicar Emily Beckering will offer guidance on the Lament Psalms, which we will use as a vehicle for prayer and healing. The group will meet at 6:30 p.m. in the Youth Room.
If you are interested in attending, or have questions, please contact Marilyn Gebauer (612-306-8872, email email@example.com) or call the church office.
Register Now for Bach Tage!
May 31-June 1, 2014
All are invited to register for the 8th annual Bach Tage! Singers and Bach enthusiasts from around the Midwest gather to learn, hear, sing, and present the music of J.S. Bach. This year, Kathy Romey will lead trumpets, timpani, strings, soloists, and choir for the exhuberant Cantata 172, Erschallet, ihr lieder.
Visit Mount Olive’s homepage and click on the brochure download, or pick up a brochure at church and register soon!
Spring Grounds Clean Up
Grab your rakes and gardening gloves and join us this Saturday, May 10, for the spring clean-up of the grounds of the church. We will clean up garden beds and get them ready for new mulch, pick up trash, and get the lawns ready for summer. Coffee will be available starting at 8:30 am and we will work until around Noon.
Come when you can and stay as long as your schedule permits. Please bring your garden hand tools, rakes, shovels, and whatever other gardening tools you might find helpful.
An Update From Jessinia
Hello Mount Olive! I am currently back in Minnesota. Thank you for all of your prayers. I have been serving and learning in Juan Dolio, Dominican Republic with SCORE International for the past 8 months. If there is one word that would sum up my time it is ‘growing’. This is also quite fitting for the time of year. Thank you for holding on to winter a bit longer so I am now able to see the trees budding and tulips poking out of the dirt. Like springtime, this past year has been a time of growth in my life.
I was poured into by the teachers and missionaries in the Dominican Republic. Tuesday through Friday I attended Spanish and Bible classes. I can now say I am bilingual and close to fluent. I can also say that my faith has grown deeper, my roots growing deeper into the Word of God. I had classes such as apologetics, soteriology, Old Testament history, Genesis, 1&2 Peter and many others. I know who I am in Christ and what that means for my life now.
On Mondays I traveled to the nearby village of San Jose where a missionary family has planted a church, clinic and school. I have seen their ministry grow as they now are planting another church in a different village. While there, I worked with the preschool. The teacher, Evelyn, is the first and only college graduate in the village and came back after school to start this preschool. Two other girls and I worked with Evelyn to help plan activities as well as establish a schedule and a disciplining system. We worked closely with another missionary who has a teaching background, and she helped us guide Evelyn to create an effective place of learning for these children. Evelyn will now help train another woman to start a new preschool in the village where the new church plant will be happening soon. It was (again) a growing experience to work with Evelyn and the preschool students. This has been a wonderful experience for me. I have fallen in love with the Dominican culture, the Spanish language and missionary work. I will be returning to the Dominican Republic on May 27th to do a 2 month internship with the child sponsorship program. This program takes all of the children in the two orphanages and the feeding/after-school center and allows them to be supported financially by Americans. I will work alongside Adrienne, an American missionary and director of child sponsorship, to help her with whatever she needs. Most likely that will look like translating letters from sponsors, taking pictures of the kids, updating their stories, and working on the website. I will be living in Quisqueya in the living quarters of the feeding/after-school center named Emanuel House.
I am incredibly grateful for this opportunity to live in the DR for a little while longer and work in a different part of the country. Thank you to those who have kept me in their prayers. Here are some specific prayer requests: For the town of Quisqueya and those I may come into contact with there. For the children I am working with, that they may each have sponsors to support them financially and spiritually. For my Spanish to continue to improve through translating and conversations. For the relationships I am building there; that they may encourage and build me up and vice versa. For the continued growth of my faith and reliance on God for my strength. That the light of Christ will shine through me.
(daughter of Mark and Lisa)
CoAM Life Enrichment Series
CoAM (Cooperative Adult Ministry) offers a Life Enrichment Series for Lifelong Learning, providing learning and social opportunities for adults in the South Minneapolis area. The current series is on Mondays (through May 19), from 9:30-11:50 am at Bethel Lutheran Church, 17th Ave. and 42nd St.). Brochures about the series are available on the table in the church office.
TRUST Annual Plant Sale & Swap
This Saturday, May 10, 8:00 am – Noon, Bethlehem Lutheran Church parking lot (4100 Lyndale Ave. S.)
• Swap your plants for new ones – bring in by 10:00 am & receive a discount on new plants (not available for Pletscher’s plants);
• Buy homegrown perennials, annuals, and groundcover;
• Get advice from Master Gardeners;
• Raise money for TRUST’s programs.
Questions or want to donate plants? Call TRUST at 612-827-6159.