Update from Pastor Gary

Greetings Neighbor,

Just a couple of quick notes to update you on what’s happening:
1) The church office will be sending out update information weekly about upcoming events, church news, and prayer requests. We will only include news and prayer requests that you give us, so please feel welcome to let us know if you have things you would like to share with the whole TS Church Family (ie. Special Anniversaries, blessings, celebrations, prayer requests, etc.)  (Want ad type of information will only be posted in the church office bulletin board)
2) We are on this summer Sunday worship service schedule for the foreseeable future. My devotional updates through the summer may only come when we have changes that need to be explained. Our summer schedule is….
Sunday, 8 am, an indoor service, for a maximum of 50 people to attend in person (With overflow having a live video feed in the church basement ). This service will also be livestreamed on our church facebook page, and posted later on our website.
Sunday, 10 am, an outdoor service. Please bring your own lawn chairs, and practice social distancing recommendations. This outdoor service does not limit us to any specific number of people. We invite you to join us for this time when you are able and comfortable to be with us. (In case of rain, this service will be in the sanctuary with the same practices as the 8 am service.)
4) We will try to follow the Green Lake County recommendations for best practice listed in previous updates.

Okay, what did the word ‘Neighbor’ in my greeting, bring to your mind? It’s only a guess, but did you happen to think about Mr. Rogers whose theme song was ‘Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”. Fred Rogers impacted many through his kids’ program, “Mr. Rogers Neighborhood” which ran from 1968-2001. Last year’s movie release about his life and work, “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood”, presents him as he was, a kind, gentle man, motivated by his Christian faith, to teach kids to love themselves and others. But did you perchance also think about the story of the Good Samaritan?

In Luke 10, an expert in the Jewish law asked Jesus, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus replied by asking him, “What is written in the Law?”  To this question the man answered by quoting OT Scripture, “Love the Lord you God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind”(Deut. 6:5); and “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Lev. 19:18).  At this, Jesus affirmed that the man had answered correctly. Then we read, “Be he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” (Lk. 10:29).  To answer this question, Jesus told the story of the Good Samaritan, and asked who was the neighbor in the story. When the Jewish teacher replied that it was the Samaritan who had mercy on the injured man, Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.

Last fall, Ryan Pemberton wrote an article for Christianity Today in which he stated, “The Good Samaritan story not only forms us into those who love our neighbor as God’s image bearer, it expands our understanding of who qualifies as our neighbor.”  Jesus purposely used this account to demonstrate that God’s love crosses all human boundaries, even one as pronounced as the boundary between Samaritans and Jews.

If like this expert in the law, we want to justify ourselves, we must love God perfectly and love our neighbor perfectly. The problem is that we don’t do that. We are sinners, and cannot do it perfectly. And that displays why we need Jesus as our Savior. That is why He died on the cross, to pay for the sins of the world. We need Him to justify us.  But that does not negate Jesus’ command to “Go and do likewise.”  We must not do it to justify ourselves, but we must do it because He has justified us. Jesus is our Savior who cleanses us and justifies us. But He is also our Lord, who tells us to love our neighbor as ourself. That seems to be what motivated Fred Rogers to do what he did, and should motivate us also.

In these days of division and anger, reading the account of the Good Samaritan encourages our hearts and guides our thinking as to what pleases God. God’s love knows no racial boundaries. And if you are looking for an encouraging movie to watch, the story of Fred Rogers will inspire you as well. Remember, you are loved, and let someone else know that they are too. Thanks for reading; have a good rest of the week.

Grace and Peace,

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