By Pastor Wes Poole

1 Peter 1:3:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. – NRSV

A man approached a little league baseball game one afternoon. He asked a boy in the dugout what the score was. The boy responded, “Eighteen to nothing–we’re behind.” 

“Boy,” said the spectator, “I’ll bet you’re discouraged.” 

“Why should I be discouraged?” replied the little boy. “We haven’t even gotten up to bat yet!”

This past Sunday, we gathered together to celebrate Easter as a family of faith. “Gathered together!” What a wonderful thing to be able to say…finally! I hope I never take such things for granted again! Easter is always about the new life we have received through Jesus’ resurrection and victory over sin and death. Still, I’m not sure I have ever appreciated the reality of that new life like I did on Sunday. It truly felt like a rebirth; a feeling that I hope we can grasp onto and continue in the months ahead. While we have never stopped being the church, COVID notwithstanding, the spirit this past weekend was one of a church that is now able to re-embrace its ministry and start to move forward once again.

Like the little leaguer above, this past year has made it seem that we haven’t even gotten a chance, as a church, to pick up the proverbial bat and give it a swing. Maybe so, but the hope we have in the Risen Lord Jesus is one born of the promises of God, and will never fail, whatever the external circumstances. Building on the joy and momentum of Easter, it is my prayer that we will soon be able to reclaim a sense of normalcy, pick up the proverbial bat, and swing for the fences! We are the church, and God has promised us that with Him, all things are possible. Why should we be discouraged? Christ is Risen indeed! Hope abounds, and the world is waiting to see what we have in store for it!

May the joy of this Eastertide fill us with peace, renewed energy, and a passion for service!

Let us pray…

God of Easter Joy, we thank you for the gift of new life given to us in the Risen Lord Jesus. Inspire us to great acts of love and service in the coming year; that all may come to know that abundant life. We pray these things in the name of Jesus, the Risen Christ. Amen.

Be well, be kind, and be safe. See you in church! 

Blessings always,

Pastor Wes Poole †


By Pastor Wes Poole

Jeremiah 29:11

For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. – NRSV

Dear Friends,

As I write this, it is a beautiful spring day. The sun is shining, the snow is gone, and I just received the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine. If that weren’t enough, we are now able to resume in-person worship beginning this coming Palm Sunday, and Eastertide 2021 is looking a heckuva lot more hopeful than its 2020 counterpart did! I must confess that I’m feeling pretty “Eastery” at the moment, and not the slightest bit Lenten! I’m not going to apologize for it either. Hope is in the air…and that is A-OK with yours truly. Lent can certainly be dark and difficult, and the rollercoaster ride of Holy Week can leave you, as a late friend of mine used to say, “wholly weak”! The church calendar might insist it’s still Lent, rightly so, but my internal calendar begs to differ! And you know, what is the point of the journey of Lent if not to bring us to the most hope filled message of all time…Christ has conquered death once and for all, and we are forever God’s redeemed children. Yes, hope is a powerful force in our lives. Like all good things, it springs from the heart and mind of the God who loves us, and is there for us to share with others.

Parade magazine once told the story of self-made millionaire Eugene Land, who greatly changed the lives of a sixth-grade class in East Harlem. It was a daunting task, even for someone used to hard work and stressful situations. Mr. Lang had been tasked with speaking to a class of 59 sixth-graders. What in the world could he say to inspire these students, most of whom would likely drop out of school!? He wondered how he could get these predominantly poor African American and Puerto Rican children even to look at him, much less pay attention to what he had to say. Scrapping his notes, he decided to speak to them from his heart. “Stay in school,” he admonished, “and I’ll help pay the college tuition for every one of you.” At that moment the lives of these students changed. For the first time they had hope. Said one student, “I had something to look forward to, something waiting for me. It was a golden feeling.” Nearly 90 percent of that class went on to graduate from high school.

“I had something to look forward to, something waiting for me.” There is a sermon in that somewhere! Yet the journey of Lent into Eastertide provides us so much more than hope for the future. Sure, we all live in the promise of the life of the world to come, as the creed teaches us, but that promise is also active right now, in this very moment. New life is ours in the present! As God’s people, part of our baptismal vocation is to minister together to a world that needs to hear the Story we have to tell. We all have our parts to play, both as individuals and as communities of faith. In this family of faith we call Good Shepherd, we too have been charged with bringing the hope of Jesus and His love to our communities and beyond. As the world starts to open back up, we will once again be charged with being an active and vital force for good in our community. Not even COVID could stop us from being the Church, but the months of distance have shown us just how valuable our connections with other people can be. As the vaccines continue to roll out, and it is safer to gather together, I hope to see you all really soon. We’ll meet the challenges ahead the same way we got through this last year…together, and with God’s help. As Jeremiah reminds us, God has plans for us, and they are great ones! In Jesus Christ, there is always something to look forward to, and something wonderful awaits. Thanks be to God!

Let us pray…

God of hope and health, we ask your blessings as we prepare to finish our Lenten journeys and travel the road of Holy Week to Resurrection Joy. Help us emerge on the Easter side with a renewed commitment to the ministries of our church family, and a powerful resolve to make a difference in the lives of our brothers and sisters everywhere. We ask these things in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Be well, be kind, and be safe. See you in church on Sunday!!!

Blessings always,

Pastor Wes Poole †


By Pastor Wes Poole

Sirach 18:26 

From morning to evening conditions change; all things move swiftly before the Lord. – NRSV

“All things move swiftly before the Lord”…a reminder that we are small, God is great, and that, in His sight, a million years might as well be a second. Here in this month of March, things are running swiftly for us as well. The next phase of the Lenten journey is almost upon us. Soon, the joyous Hosannas of Palm Sunday will quickly fade to the dark and unsettling events of the Passion. Holy Week moves quickly through the Last Supper on Maundy Thursday to the darkness of Good Friday. Then, as if all of that emotional upheaval weren’t enough, a glimmer of hope reappears on Holy Saturday that veritably bursts into elation as we hear those holiest of words once again…“Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!!!” Then we have the fifty days of Easter which carry us almost all the way to summer. It really is quite the roller coaster ride; a reminder that God’s will does not follow any of the constraints of human time.  

As we take the exhilarating ride through the end of Lent, past Easter, into the often lazy months of summer, it is my hope and prayer that we will find ourselves returning to some semblance of normalcy. The vaccines are rolling out, the COVID numbers will start to tick down, and hopefully we will soon be able to worship together again. Indeed, your Church Council will be meeting tomorrow night to discuss the possibility of returning to in-person worship. Good things are happening! Regardless, the work of the Lord never stops, not for pandemics, not even for summer vacation!! We have all done our best to weather this admittedly daunting storm…and we are still The Church; we are the Lutheran Christian presence here in our community. There is ministry to do and ministries to restart. As a family of faith, we will have our work cut out for us. In the coming months, we’ll need fresh, new ideas for outreach and evangelism; to reach out into the community and show people the possibility of new life in Jesus Christ. There is just so much to do and plan and make happen. We want everyone who loves this community of faith called Good Shepherd Lutheran Church to come out and be a part of it. All things may indeed move swiftly before the Lord but, with His help, we might just show Him and our neighbors some swift movement of our own. Come and join in!

May the energy of Our God who never sleeps, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit inspire us all to keep His ministry alive, vibrant, and growing.

Let us pray…

God of Creation, we ask that you provide us with a fresh spirit of positivity and creativity. Help us to reach out and tell your Story to a world that needs to hear it now more than ever. As we quickly approach the celebration of your Son’s resurrection, help us live into that new life by recommitting ourselves to the ministry of this community of faith. Use us to show others the way to new life in Jesus Christ, for it is in his name that we pray. Amen. 

Be well, be kind, and be safe. I hope to see you all soon!

Many blessings,

Pastor Wes†


By Pastor Wes Poole


TO:    Jeshua bar Josef

          Woodcrafters shop


FROM: Jordan Management Consultants.


SUBJECT: Staff Aptitude Test.

DATE: 22 May, 30 CE

Dear Rabbi,

Thank you for submitting the resumes of the 12 men you picked for management positions in your new organization. All of them have now taken our battery of tests, and we have not only run the results through our computer but also have arranged personal interviews for each of them with our psychologist and vocational consultant.

It is the staff opinion that most of your nominees are lacking in background, education and vocational aptitude for the type of enterprise you are undertaking. They do not have the team concept. We would recommend that you continue your search for persons of experience in managerial ability and proven capability.

Simon Peter is emotionally unstable and given to fits of temper.

Andrew has absolutely no qualities of leadership.

The two brothers, James and John, the sons of Zebedee, place personal interest above company loyalty.

Thomas demonstrates a questioning attitude that would tend to undermine morale.

We feel that it is our duty to tell you that Matthew the Publican has been blacklisted by the Greater Jerusalem Better Business Bureau.

James, the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddeus definitely have radical leanings, and they both registered a high score on the manic depressive scale.

One of the candidates, however, shows great potential. He is a man of ability and resourcefulness, meets people well, has a keen business mind and has contacts in high places. He is highly motivated, ambitious and innovative. We recommend Judas Iscariot as your controller and right hand man. All other profiles are self-explanatory.

We wish you every success in your new venture.  


(Many thanks to!)

Ah…worldly wisdom…it’s such an easy target! I was actively searching for some Lenten humor this week. The somber and serious tone of Lent, while altogether appropriate, can become a bit oppressive. Also, as I write this, it’s 60 degrees out, vaccines are going into arms, (though not mine as yet!) and I find myself in a lighter mood all around. When I came across the “letter” above, aside from making me smile, it immediately reminded me of two things. The first is a saying attributed to Mother Theresa, “the Christian is called to be faithful, not successful”. The second comes from Jesus himself in the sixteenth chapter of Luke, “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.” The Lenten takeaway?? Keep trying! The journey of self-improvement is a never ending process, and it’s the little things we do that tend to mean the most. In our relationships with others, are our words and actions kind? Are they encouraging? Are they up building? Are they free of judgment and fueled by compassion? Obviously, there aren’t permanent answers to any of those questions, but are we faithfully trying? That’s the key! God is always there for us, providing forgiveness and unlimited “second” chances. The journey of Lent lifts up for us the reality that we’re called to be Christ to our neighbors in all things. So-called worldly wisdom would have us submit a “Resume of Righteousness”, touting our achievements. Lent reminds us that there is no such thing. All goodness comes from God. When we discipline ourselves to trust in God first, we find that the rest tends to fall into place! I pray that we find the energy, here at mid-Lent, to keep striving to make ourselves more faithful, even and especially in the little things. God values our efforts. Our sisters and brothers in Christ will too!

Let us pray…

God of second chances, Jesus showed us what is possible when we are faithful to you and your commandments. As we strive to be Christ to our neighbor, help us to focus on faithfulness, especially in the small things. For it is in the acts of kindness, mercy, and compassion, no matter how big or small, that we bring all of Creation to the knowledge of Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray. Amen.

Be well, be kind, and be safe. I hope we’ll see each other sooner, rather than later.

Blessings always,

Pastor Wes Poole †


By Pastor We Poole

Hebrews 12: 1-2

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God. – NRSV

Running a race. That’s a common theme in the church when Lent approaches. Once it’s upon us, it’s easy to start feeling like we’d rather just hurry up and get through all of the meditation, repentance, fasting, and denial that are attributed to Lent and get on with the celebration of Easter! If you have ever felt that way, don’t be too hard on yourself. If you feel that way this year particularly, definitely give yourself a break! It’s never easy to spend forty days examining our sin and our own shortcomings, even under the best circumstances. Most of us have a difficult time spending five minutes under that kind of scrutiny, much less an entire season of the church year!!

Yet it is so very appropriate that the church affords us such an opportunity directly before we celebrate Easter, the holiest day of the year.  Before we get to the celebration, we are set to the task of looking at ourselves and taking stock of who we are and how we have used the gifts that God has given us. The really difficult part lies in doing this honestly. For when we examine our lives truthfully, we realize all too quickly that we come out lacking. Once again we have fallen short of all that God intends for us. Once again, sin has caused us to lose sight of who and whose we are.

Nevertheless, as Jesus himself would say, “Don’t be afraid!” It was for just such a time that the words above from the Book of Hebrews were written. As we noted last week, Lent is truly a journey. That is what the apostle in Hebrews is urging us to consider. We are called to embark upon a journey of renewal, starting on Ash Wednesday. It is not always an easy journey, as it is marked by discipline, sacrifice, and honest self-examination. Still, we know that ultimately we are an Easter people; living in the truth of the resurrection and the promise of eternal life. Despite the hardships of the road, we emerge on the Easter side of the pilgrimage with a renewed resolve to continue striving to grow in those things are pleasing to God…kindness, compassion, generosity, and service to others. The joy and wonder of Lent are to be found in the fact that our Easter Lord is still there, waiting to take our sins on Himself as we uncover them and “lay them aside”.

The journey of Lent is a solemn time, filled with sometimes disturbing images and uncomfortable scrutiny. Yet we travel the road confident in the fact that the love and mercy of this great God who was willing to die for us is walking with us every step of the way. That’s reason enough to shout Hallelujah…even though we’re not strictly supposed to yet! ;>) 

Let us pray…

God of Grace, we thank you for this time to work on ourselves, and to focus on better modeling the life Jesus showed us. Make us strong in empathy, charity, kindness, and compassion. Help us to nurture each other in the faith, and to emerge on the Easter side refreshed and renewed. We ask these things in Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Be well, be kind, and be safe.

Blessings always,

Pastor Wes †


By Pastor Wes Poole

Ephesians 2:10

For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life. – NRSV 

We often refer to the season of Lent, rightly so, as a journey. Indeed, we commonly lift up the reality that in any given matter, it is generally the journey, not the “destination” itself, that provides us with the most powerful of life’s lessons. I find this particularly valuable during Lent. As this season is one where we make extra effort to ask ourselves the hard questions like, “What is lacking in myself that I can try to make better?” or “How may I make myself a more pleasing offering to God?” or “How can live into Jesus’ command to love God and neighbor?” These are all great questions, and appropriate to any time of year, but they are key to observing a faithful Lent. Another important point that I think must be made here is that our individual journeys are all different and cannot be applied across the board to everyone. To wit, I went looking for what other folks had to say about their respective journeys. In my search, I came across an account of a woman who had become a Christian later in her adult life. Like many, she was experiencing a troubling void in her life and found comfort and purpose in the life and teachings of Jesus. It wasn’t, however, the end of her story or any sort of “magic bullet”. Here is what she had to say:

“When I became a Christian, I thought all my problems would go away, and God would take care of everything with a snap of His fingers. The truth is, my life fell apart within weeks of being baptized. Suffice it to say, accepting Jesus and asking Him to be Lord of my life didn’t obliterate the garbage I’d pressed down in the compactor of my heart.”

It’s a tough lesson to learn, but nonetheless quite true. There is never one, solitary event or epiphany or moment of clarity that “fixes” us. The peaks and valleys of life are always there. What first struck me about her story was the scripture she was using to help her tell it. She used the above verse from Ephesians, but from the New Living Translation. The NLT renders the verse thusly, “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” [emphasis added]

God’s masterpiece…what a lovely translation and sentiment! Lent can indeed be a dark time for us. Regardless of its value, it’s hard to acknowledge our imperfections. It’s hard to admit to our failings. What our sister’s story above reminds us is that God first looked on us, and the rest of His Creation, and proclaimed it all “good”! Not perfect. Not without room for improvement, but still good! That is truly Good News and something we must try to remember during Lent. Are we sinful and imperfect beings? Yea, verily! But we are far from irredeemable! Indeed, Christ redeemed us on the cross and changed the very nature of the human experience. That, by definition, gives value to our journey. We are no longer hopeless sinners, despairing of ever being worthy of a perfect God. We are beloved Children of God, redeemed by Jesus himself! The significance of the journey is analogous to the curator of art, working tirelessly to restore or maintain a great painting or sculpture…God’s masterpiece! Likewise, we require maintenance. God values us more than we can actually grasp. The great Spring Cleaning that is Lent provides us with the opportunity to acknowledge God’s handiwork; to maintain the masterpiece. May we use the time wisely, and emerge on the Easter side of the journey renewed and refreshed for the year ahead.

Let us pray…

God of all goodness and beauty, help us to remember as we work to make ourselves a more pleasing offering to you, that you love us through our sin and failings. You provide us with opportunities to better ourselves and to be better ministers in your kingdom. During this season of Lent, we ask for a fresh outpouring of your Spirit and a renewed zeal to help one another through the journey. We ask these things in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Be well, be kind, and be safe. I hope to see you soon!

Blessings always,

Pastor Wes Poole †

Speaking in Harmony

By Pastor Wes Poole

Romans 12:15-16a

Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another… – NRSV

“Wise believers acknowledge that when Jesus said, “A new command I give you: Love one another” (John 13:34), this was not simply a suggestion for getting along. So too, the Bible’s commands as to how we treat one another shouldn’t be considered optional. That’s not the nature of God’s commands.” The Rev. George Vink, a minister in the Christian Reformed Tradition

I want to take the opportunity with this week’s devotion to express my thanks to the many great people in our congregation who have gone out of their way in the last year to promote kindness, goodwill, and the harmony St. Paul is talking about above. It almost got by me, but last week marked the one year anniversary of your calling me as your pastor. In many ways, this past year has just been a year put on hold. We’ve done our best to stay the church in a time when it often seemed impossible to do so. We have weathered the proverbial storm together, difficulties notwithstanding. When I reflect back over the past year, what stands out for me are those times when one of you took a moment say something kind or encouraging, not just to me personally, but in general; helping create a spirit of family and goodwill. When kindness is our “default setting”, we are truly living Christ’s mandate to us. That means a great deal to me and gives me renewed hope for the future. This time next year, the world will likely look and feel a lot different. Good Shepherd will be there to meet whatever that future brings. There is hardly any greater witness to the seeker in our midst than a true spirit of harmony and concord.

Lent begins in a couple of weeks, and we will still be virtual. With the vaccines finally rolling out, the COVID numbers will hopefully start to tick down, and normalcy will return, bit by bit. For the moment, let’s tap into that collective spirit of goodwill and cooperation, and embrace a different kind of Lenten discipline. We are hoping to offer a weekly virtual Bible study on Wednesday nights. Your Faith Formation Team is working on making that happen. This Lent, may we delve deeper into the witness of Scripture and the example of loving-kindness Jesus modeled for us so clearly. St. Francis is quoted as saying “Preach the Gospel, if necessary use words.” This world still needs to hear what we have to “say”. Let’s make sure we speak clearly!

Let us pray…

God of all harmony and concord, we come to you in thanks for the gifts of family and community. Help us to make our communities of faith places where kindness is practiced, as well as discussed. Throughout history, you have shown the depth and scope of the love you bear for all of your people. Your Son showed us how to live, work, and have our being in community. Make his example always our “default setting”; reflecting your love all around us. We ask these things in the Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Be well, be kind, and be safe!

Blessings Always,

Pastor Wes Poole †


by Pastor Wes Poole

PSALM 34:1 I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth. – NRSV

Some levity this week…with a message of course! 😉 

There once was a woman who woke up one morning, looked in the mirror, and saw that she had only three hairs on her head. “Great,” she said, “I think I’ll braid my hair today.”

So she did and had a wonderful day.

The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and saw that she had only two hairs on her head. “Hmm,” she said, “I guess I’ll part my hair down the middle.”

So she did and had a wonderful day.

The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and saw that she had only one hair left on her head.

“Wow,” she said, “today I get to wear my hair in a ponytail.” So she did and had a wonderful, wonderful day.

The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and saw that there wasn’t a single hair on her head.

“Thank God!” she exclaimed. “I was running out of things to do with my hair!”

I have a confession to make…I am a news junkie! My addiction is always worse during an election cycle. When you throw COVID into the equation, it might be time for someone to stage an intervention on my behalf! All kidding aside, I have always believed that knowledge is power. Knowledge leads to understanding and understanding is key to a kind and just society. One thing though, that the savvy news fiend must be aware of these days is the reality of “spin”; the tactic of a journalist or network presenting their facts in such a way that it promotes an agenda. Gone are the days of Walter Cronkite telling us simply “and that’s the way it is”. Not that I am running down the media, a free press is a cornerstone of our democracy. What we must develop is the skill to peer through the spin to discern the facts beneath.

The woman in the story above was practicing another variety of spin; an attitude we can personally apply to our lives. It’s much the same thing as the old “half full/half empty” glass debate. For the modern day disciple of Jesus, when we spin everything through the reality of God’s goodness, we find the level of thankfulness and joy the woman with ever decreasing hair did! The moral of the story is that God has provided us with so much. Perhaps we should make an extra effort to approach each day God gives us with thankfulness for what we have. It will undoubtedly render us more grateful and generous people. After all, there is nothing like a positive attitude to facilitate a wonderful day! 

Let us pray…

God of all goodness, we do indeed bless and thank you for your lavish generosity. You have given us so much. May our thankfulness to You inspire us to greater compassion and charity, and the unbridled joy that we live in the light of Your love. We pray these things in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Be well, be kind, be safe…and have a wonderful day!


Pastor Wes Poole †


By Pastor Wes Poole

I want the whole Christ for my Savior, the whole Bible for my book, the whole Church for my fellowship, and the whole world for my mission field. – John Wesley

John 17: 11b

Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one. – NRSV

Matthew 7:3

Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? – NRSV

Unity. We’ve been hearing a lot about it lately, in particular the lack thereof! The news cycle is inundated with it. In the midst of trying times, the call for us all to come together in a united purpose is, without a doubt, incredibly important. Whether it’s wearing a mask, getting the vaccine, or trying to heal the hurts of our nation caused by political acrimony and violence, “these are”, as Thomas Paine so famously put it, “the times that try men’s souls”. The more things change, the more they stay the same! As the Teacher in Ecclesiastes reminds us, “there is nothing new under the sun”. That may be, but we 21st century disciples of Jesus have a great deal to bring to the table as we attempt to move forward. 2021 has the potential of looking and feeling a whole lot different than 2020. New government, new vaccines, new challenges; we may not all agree on all of the specifics, but we should be able to come together as Christians to prioritize care for our neighbor, and the value and dignity of all people.

Has it ever occurred to you that one hundred pianos all tuned to the same fork are automatically tuned to each other? They are of one accord by being tuned, not to each other, but to another standard to which each one must individually bow. So one hundred worshipers [meeting] together, each one looking away to Christ, are in heart nearer to each other than they could possibly be, were they to become ‘unity’ conscious and turn their eyes away from God to strive for closer fellowship. – A.W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God.

I came across the above quote in my personal devotions this week and it really resonated with me. My own penchant for musical metaphors notwithstanding, this notion of our being “tuned” to the tuning fork that is Jesus Christ is a powerful image! Regardless of our personal feelings about each other; our opinions, our politics, or even our personal issues with each other, Jesus is still the center…the standard by which we order our lives and relationships. As we look to the year ahead with hope, let us remember that Christ gave his whole self for the good of all Creation, and the whole world is indeed our mission field. As St. Patrick put it so beautifully, “Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ on my right, Christ on my left, Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down, Christ when I arise, Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me, Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me, Christ in every eye that sees me, Christ in every ear that hears me.” Amen to that!

Let us pray…

Heavenly Father, as we strive to move forward together in the coming year, help us to keep our hearts and minds centered on our Lord Jesus. Inspire us to live our lives, individually and as communities, in the way in which he showed us; acknowledging and valuing our uniqueness while finding ways to live and minister in unity. We pray these things in the Name of Jesus. Amen.

Be well, be kind, and be safe!


Pastor Wes †


By Pastor Wes Poole

James 1:19-20   You must understand this, my beloved: let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger; for your anger does not produce God’s righteousness.  – NRSV

Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent. – Isaac Asimov, Foundation

If you hate a person, then you are defeated by them. – Confucius

Matthew 22:35–40  …a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” – NRSV

Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,

Like many of us, I have been transfixed in horror at the events of this past week. Last Wednesday we watched, in real time, a scenario which heretofore most of us would have only thought possible in the so-called Third World. We saw fellow Americans, motivated by anger and hatred, attempt to inflict violence on our elected officials, vandalize our Capitol Building, and attack other citizens. This violence caused the death of six people to date, and is fanning the flames of acrimony and division that we, as a nation already stressed out by pandemic fatigue and a contentious election, have been experiencing over the past year. I am not given to participating in partisan political debates in my official duties as a called and ordained pastor, and I will not do so now. However, this does not mean that we in the Church do not have something to say and demonstrate to our fellow Americans as we go forward.

An author for Reader’s Digest writes how he studied the Amish people in preparation for an article on them. In his observation at the school yard, he noted that the children never screamed or yelled. This amazed him. He spoke to the schoolmaster. He remarked how he had not once heard an Amish child yell, and asked why the schoolmaster thought that was so. The schoolmaster replied, “Well, have you ever heard an Amish adult yell?” 

I think we, as Christians at this fraught time in history, have something to learn from those Amish parents. Actions, particularly in the form of good examples, truly speak louder than words. It’s not that we in the Church can’t have deeply or passionately held political convictions. I certainly do! The way we relate to people who may not share our opinions though…that we can use as a powerful witness to a world that needs to experience the love and kindness that Jesus expects of his Church. Anger is an unavoidable emotion. Sometimes, that anger may even be considered righteous or justified. One thing is certain though, Jesus taught us that it is never OK to hate our neighbor! In the congregation, it can be as simple as being slow to criticize one another when something or someone may not meet with our approval or live up to our own arbitrary expectations. “Out there”, it means modeling those “fruits of the spirit” St. Paul lifted up for us in his letter to the Galatians: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Just think about how different last week would have looked had those fruits been operative! To be sure, we Christians have our work cut out for us in this often troubled world, but that is exactly why Jesus has commissioned us as ministers in his Holy Church, and set us loose on said troubled world. I’m not a big one for New Year’s resolutions, but maybe we could all, as a family of faith, commit ourselves in the coming year to be kinder, more loving, and more Christ like in our relationships, in or out of the church. The results are transformative…and as Jesus said, everything depends on it!

Let us pray…

God of all goodness, we come to you at this difficult time in the life of our nation, and ask that you make of us ever kinder and more patient. May we be slow to judge and quick to try to understand. As Your Son has shown us, loving You and each other are the two most important tasks of a disciple. Help us to be a people committed to this principle in all of our relationships. We ask these things in Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Be well, be kind, and be safe!


Pastor Wes †