Daily Devotions
 
Daily Devotion
Good Shepherd Lutheran Church

Daily Devotion

by Dianne Gebhardt-French

An overarching strength of Good Shepherd is that it meets you where you are.

One of the writing prompts provided by Pastor Heidi for the devotion suggests we share ways or experiences in which the ministry of Good Shepherd has helped us grow as a disciple in relationship with God.  I promptly sat at the keyboard to search for a strong, eloquent answer -- a literary turn of a phrase that would testify to my experience and capture the reader.  

But, I simply kept returning to “Good Shepherd meets you where you are. “

When my husband Gregory and I moved to Cincinnati and started our family, we church shopped. We both had vibrant experiences in the Lutheran churches of our youth (Sunday School, confirmation, junior choir, Walther League). He in South Bend, Ind., and me in Rochester, N.Y.  We attended a number of churches because we wanted that for our kids. More than 35 years ago, on our very first visit, we realized we had found it at Good Shepherd: Sunday School, Luther Ridge, confirmation, Clown Ministry, servant trips.  

It didn’t stop there. 

As a harried working mom, I discovered the Women’s Retreats. The discussions and programs were thoughtful and gave me an amazing amount of time during a quick overnight to reflect on my faith (and enjoy the quiet of a solo car trip.)  As a Sunday School mom, I was tapped to organize “Journey Through Holy Week.” My kids and I learned so much, including the symbolism of fresh, warm pretzels as arms in prayer,  how to design activity programs, and the excited anticipation of the angel popping out of the tomb/tent to proclaim “He is Risen!”  

As a Confirmation mom, the parent classes provided a syllabus and structure to explore the catechism with my kids. They are stairsteps – each separated by two years – so, I was in Confirmation for six consecutive years. It may have led Pastor Pat to wonder whether I would ever graduate.

As the nest emptied, I was privileged in 2009 to join the work crew led by now-retired Pastor Larry to Slidell, Louisiana, to help with the post-Katrina cleanup. It was eye-opening, exhausting, and messy. As a woman thanked us for our help, she told of escaping chest-high floodwaters carrying her child in one arm and a few possessions in a plastic bag over her head. I thanked God for showing me how to do something concrete, anything.

When my son comforted childhood buddies after a car crash that took the life of a friend, he asked for help. Years later, I found in a drawer the creased, scribbled notes from a phone call with Pastor Jess.

Good Shepherd teaches us the way of Jesus and shows us ways to put those teachings to work in our life. 

As an innovative and responsive congregation, Good Shepherd meets us where we are so we can take our faith beyond a comfortable seat in the pew of a beautiful church.  

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