A devotion by Pastor Wes Poole

Genesis 1:27-31a
So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.” God said, “See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. – NRSV

“God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good.” From the very beginning of time, God has always acted for the benefit of His people. Even when again and again we, as his children, would (and still do!) stray from the path upon which God set us, He never repaid the favor in kind. We often blithely say that “God is Love”. That is, as Luther would say, “most certainly true”. To love someone is to place their well being, even their life, above our own. God has shown His love for us first in this amazing Creation He called good…and then gave to us for care and stewardship. This supreme act of love is exceeded only by the giving of his Son, that we could all have an eternal relationship with Him.

Right now, for many of us, it might seem that His gift of Creation has turned on us. Racial strife, war, violence, of course COVID and its devastating economic impact, or the fear of losing a loved one to it; all of these things can be discouraging and disheartening. During these times when our very faith in God seems put to the proverbial test, it is good to remind ourselves of another example of God’s loving, generous, creative genius…the gift of the Church, and the community upon which it is built. From the moment Jesus declared to Peter that he would be the Rock and foundation of the Church, Peter was not alone. He had the community of Jesus and his fellow disciples to support him. Later at Pentecost, that community was increased by 3000 souls! By The time of St. Paul’s ministry, there were small communities of Christians springing up everywhere; often keeping Paul quite busy…and occasionally frustrated. Today, we in the Church still walk with Jesus. All of our ministries, programs, goals, and aspirations are built around a community of believers who work together for the good of the Church and for the betterment of the greater community of humanity. The pandemic has done its best to hamper our sense of belonging. Many of are still anxious and afraid to stray too far away from our homes. Maybe we see the immense social problems in this country and the world and despair that there is little we can do to help. I’m here to tell you that we can, regardless of our personal situations, make a real difference. Here at Good Shepherd, we have some committed, faithful people who I know want to make their communities better places to live, work, and have our being. Of course, the Good Shepherd family is not immune to the ills of our time. We face greatly diminished attendance and a rather severe financial shortfall that we must address head on if we are to continue to be a vital force for good in Wilkes Barre and beyond. There are also food banks, soup kitchens, homeless shelters, and a myriad other benevolent organizations out there who need our hands, hearts, and yes our money to keep meeting the needs of real people out there who are hurting. So I ask you earnestly to get involved, stay engaged, and be hopeful for the future. COVID will one day be over, and we want our church, and all of the other important ministries out there, to still be around and ready to keep rendering help and hope to all people. God’s Creation is still good! The nurturing of that Creation requires that we all commit ourselves and put the gifts we have to work for the good of all. As Jesus reminds us, “With God, all things are possible.” Amen to that!

Let us pray…
God of Creation, instill in us greater and greater commitment to our communities. Inspire us to engage with joy in our churches, our cities and towns, and to this world you made and called good. We know that all we have comes from you. Make of us generous and joyful stewards; always ready to come together to render hope and help to all who are in need. We ask this for the sake of Jesus Christ, our savior and Lord. Amen.

Be well, be kind, and be safe.
Your Partner in Christ,
Pastor Wes Poole †