Spread Like Wildfire: Pentecost, May 20,2018

Feel the heat of the fire,
and the breath of the wind.
Listen to the wind,
it whispers,
it cools with its soft breath.
Or it roars,so loud that
it sounds like a speeding train
rushing over the house
that shakes with fear.
We hide in the closets
hoping the ravages
of the hurricane
pass us by.
Sit before the fire
on a winter’s night
or on a star filled
summer night-warmth and beauty.
Or know fire in the drought
of a Florida winter,when
it catches hold fast.
We create controlled burns
to clear debris and prevent the
spread of destruction by fire.
Yet, when it catches hold anyway,
back away, away
and watch it ignite
all the trees and brush,
homes and creatures
as it rushes through the night.

Ah, the power of wind and fire.
Ah, the power of our God
Whose Holy Spirit moves across
the face of the earth
and within us
to renew the world.

Breath of God who
gives us breath,
and life after death,
Breath your Spirit
on us again as Jesus
did on the disciples of old,
and make
us new.

Rest on us
Spirit of the Living God,
Powerfully clear away the
self-filled, self righteous
greed and entitlement
that starves the rest of the world,
that wars with those we deem enemies,
who are your children and creatures
after all.

Create in us a new spirit,
of love, of justice,
of sacrifice when need be,
of passion for your renewed
creation,every bit of it.

Give us the languages to
speak your word of Love,
in love, with love
in their mother tongues
to everyone, everywhere,
and not to rest until the word
and the love is spoken in
the most hidden corners
of lives and places.

Come Holy Spirit,
fill our hearts and
lives, kindle them
with the fire of your
love and send us forth.

Then it will be Pentecost
again.

Amen, Amen.
Pastor Judy Lee

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I have put today’s lesson in a poem but do grasp this power for yourself.

You may want to read for yourselves the readings of this day
that has the power to renew us and the face of the world, if only we let it.
Acts 2:1-11; Psalm 104;I Corinthians 12:3b-7 and 12-13; or Galatians 5:16-25; and the Gospel John 20-19-23.
Know that the feast of Pentecost is fifty days after Passover (and our Easter).
The feast, called Shavuot, calls the Jewish people together in an obligation to celebrate the first fruits of the harvest given back to God, and the giving of the Law, the Torah, and the covenant of God with God’s people. That’s why there were so many gathered in one place in Jerusalem when God’s Spirit suddenly entered to renew.
Start with Acts 2:1-11 and for this try your NAB, KJV, or RSV,NIV or other versions and The Message//Remix-The Bible in Contemporary Language-Eugene Peterson who writes: “When the Feast of Pentecost came,they were all together in one place. Without warning there was a sound like a strong wind,gale force–no one could tell where it came from. It filled the whole building. Then, alike a wild fire,the Holy Spirit spread through their ranks,and they started speaking in a number of different languages as the Spirit prompted them”.
then ponder: Psalm 104’s “Send forth your Spirit, O God, and renew the face of the earth. Then consider the variety of gifts and yet the unity of the Spirit of God in us individually and as one church with its cleansing and empowering power. And finally consider Jesus breathing new life into the disciples as he breathed on them and said ” Receive the Holy Spirit…”

Now let us receive God’s Holy Spirit as individuals and as church , community, and let us go forth and with the Spirit, renew the face of the earth. Let us overcome violence, let us reach the discontent and disconsolate with love, let us have the courage to take unpopular stands- on gun control, on unfair practices in the agriculture industry that keep the poorest among us poor,yes, write Wendy’s CEO to only use tomatoes and lettuce, etc., to use products from fair farms*, and let us join in the crossing the boundaries encompassing love of young Harry and Meghan so that well being for all God’s people is not a fairy tale. Look at this past week, look around you in your worlds and ask: where is the renewing Spirit of God needed this week and where can I carry it.

Send forth your Spirit Oh, God and renew the face of the earth, and start with me.
Blessings,
Pastor Judy
Rev. Dr. Judith Lee, RCWP
Good Shepherd Ministry Fort Myers, Florida

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(*For support of the migrant and other farm workers, in concert with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers in Florida, for example, you can know that Wendy’s orders its farm products outside of the industry’s fair food program and also thereby subtly condones lowest pay and sexual harassment and abuse in the supply chain. You can hand write: Wendy’s Headquarters,CEO Todd Penegor and Board Chairperson Nelson Peltz, One Dave Thomas Blvd, Dublin, Ohio, 43017 with your support of the farm workers).

Pope Francis and Chilean Bishops Make a Bold Move

After meeting with Pope Francis in a three day meeting on horrific sexual abuse in the church, the Chilean Bishops all offered their letters of resignation on May 18,2018. This was in an article by Junno Arocho Esteves on Catholic News Service and released as breaking news in a Press Conference in Rome. This acceptance of the tragic travesty of clergy sexual abuse is to allow the Pope to take whatever action he sees fit regarding the culpability of the Chilean clergy in response to the courageous revelations by three survivors. Pope Francis and the Chilean Bishops have helped the church to finally turn a corner on sexual abuse but there is still such a long way to go. For the candid and heartfelt honesty of our Pope and these Bishops thanks be to God!
This is the link:
https://www.ncronline.org/news/vatican/breaking-all-chiles-bishops-offer-resignations-after-meeting-pope-abuse
Bridget Mary Meehan,ARCWP, Roman Catholic Woman Bishop also comments on this in her blog- https://www.bridgetmarys.blogspot.com.

Here’s to a truly re-newed church as we anticipate Pentecost and the sweeping fire and wind power of the Holy Spirit in cleansing and uniting the church tomorrow.

Blessings, Judith Lee, RCWP
Pastor Good shepherd Ministry, Fort Myers, Florida

Gifts of the Spirit: Sent to Mother the World Sunday May 13, 2018

It we could do more than one thing at once, and perhaps we can, this day in the life of the Church is a trifecta of celebrations. Today in the Church we celebrate Jesus’ leaving this earth and telling the disciples to carry it on-to go into the world and preach the gospel to every creature- with the giving of Spiritual gifts (Mark 16:15-20;Ephesians 4:1-13). And if we have celebrated the day of Ascension on Thursday today we celebrate the seventh Sunday of Easter and Jesus praying for his disciples who,like him,don’t quite fit into the world, “that they may be consecrated in truth” and “sent into the world” (John 17-11b-19). Then,in many countries the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima is also celebrated today (still using the readings of the Ascension). Fatima commemorates when Holy Mary, Jesus’ Mother appeared to three shepherd children, two little girls and one boy in Fatima, in Portugal instructing them to pray for the world that was in the midst of war as World War I raged on taking many local men from Portugal and allied countries including the USA in May of 1917. The violence of War and the need for peace touched hearts young and old throughout the world. It also touched the heart of our loving God whose mother’s heart breaks in the face of war and injustice.

This is a link to a group of com-passionate women and men(including a Roman Catholic Woman Priest) preaching and sacrificing themselves for justice and peace today:
http://www.bridgetmarys.blogspot.com/2018/05/demonstrators-protest-at-gina-haspel.html

This calling of children, and all of God’s little ones among us, to both wisdom and holy action in prayer and sacrifice is an extension of Jesus commissioning of all disciples to make the Gospel known to the world. We know that to preach here does not mean mainly to utter words but to do all possible to work for peace, love and justice-for the coming of “the kingdom/kin-dom of God” on this earth- everywhere. We are not only to tell the Jesus/Christ story but to live it with every fiber of our beings to the good of all.

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Today is, as well, in the USA and elsewhere on the globe, Mother’s Day. With the children of Fatima we celebrate Jesus’ radiant mother- with- a- message and we also remember the old adage: God could not be everywhere so God made mothers! We reflect on the essential selflessness of mothers as they give fully of themselves for their families. We remember our own mothers with all their love and all their struggles, and all of the mothers,grandmothers, aunts, sisters, friends,mentors and others whose lives brought us into being not only physically but spiritually as well. In this context mothers and mothering can be of any gender, gender identity or age. Jesus himself identifies with our loving Mother God and wants to gather the loved ones “as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings” (Matthew 23:37). So today we are thankful for all those who generously give their lives so others might live with peace and justice. And we pray for the gifts of God’s Holy Spirit within us so we can accept our commission from Jesus: to preach the Gospel to all the world, to all of God’s creatures, and to the life of the planet, the earth itself and all who live upon it. And we pray to do this with our actions, and, as Francis said: only sometimes when necessary using words.

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HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY TO ALL!

GO AND LIVE THE GOSPEL!

Love and blessings,
Pastor Judy Lee, RCWP
Good Shepherd Ministries, Fort Myers

I Have Called You Friends: A RC Woman Priest Reflects on the Sixth Sunday in Easter-May, 6, 2018

Jesus calls us friends-Wow! In the Gospel today, John 15-9-17,Jesus assures his disciples that as we love God and our neighbors with all of our hearts we become his friends. What a wonderful honor- to be his friend. He tells his disciples that as friends he has told them everything he has heard from his father/mother God- his amma-abba God. Reflect for a moment on those friends with whom you can share everything. Perhaps that is your inner circle of friends. It is those whom you trust and perhaps love most. I was raised in an extended family household, but was then the only child. I was sometimes lonely and reached out to make good friends. Since my earliest days I recall how important those kinds of friends are- and I remember those with whom I shared everything. With some of them, I still do this so many years later. Friendship is sometimes even closer than family, though family members may also be best friends. Proverbs 18:34 says there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother. I am so thankful for those friends. Indeed, at this time of grief and loss in my life of my life and ministry partner, and closest friend, I depend on their friendship. And, I am thankful that they can still depend on me. But more than anything I am thankful for the friendship of Jesus. I am never alone with his friendship. And He remains the glue holding me and most of my close friendships together over the years.
The picture of me with friends from my church youth group below was sent to me recently by my friend Dr. Raphael C. Jackson. I think his mother, a Bible teacher, took the picture as we were being prepared to teach the younger children in the church. How blessed we were.

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This is Pastor Judy Beaumont and I with Martha Andrews Gentry, one of my dear friends from that early youth group. It was taken when we brought our church youth group to Washington DC in 2014. Martha is to my right at the end of the couch in the picture above. Her younger brother Booker is in the other black and white picture above with me.

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“It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain….” (John 15:16) Now Jesus comments on the nature of this friendship- recognizing that in friendship there is a process of choosing one another. Jesus reminds us that he chose us to be his friends and to bear fruit for the kingdom/kindom of God. That is another WOW! I remember many kids games and teams where sides had to be chosen. Rarely was I the first one chosen. I was not the biggest nor the strongest, nor the smartest, nor the prettiest. I usually got on the team but by that time the feeling of being chosen was not very strong. Yet, God chooses to choose me-WOW! With all my warts and faults and negatives-as well as for my positives- no- just for myself-God chooses my friendship. AND, God chooses your friendship just as you are as well even as you read this. To accept the Hand of friendship we have only to reach back our hands and remain in that relationship and keep God’s beautiful law of love. “This I command you Love one another” (John 15:17).

Our hands then reach out and grab one another’s in love and friendship. And they cross over all boundaries for God’s love is totally inclusive. Hence the first reading today from ACTS Chspter 10 where Peter accepts the gentile Cornelius as an equal, “(Don’t bow down to me) Get up, I myself am also a human being”(v. 25-26) “God shows no partiality. Rather in every nation whoever fears God and acts uprightly is acceptable to God” (Acts 15:34-35)Peter then arranged for the baptism of Cornelius and his entire household of family and friends. We are to love everyone, for God IS love, as we are reminded in the second reading from I John 4:7-10, and include all in the Sacraments-God’s holy signs of acceptance and love. Sharing God’s friendship with everyone is our greatest joy.

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Only LOVE can release life. In the friendship of Christ let us Love with the kind of love that releases life and justice.

“Hatred and bitterness can never cure the disease of fear;only love can do that. Hatred paralyzes life, love releases it. Hatred confuses life. Love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life;love illuminates it” Martin Luther King ,Jr.

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Sisters and brothers, let us create the beloved community, and truly love one another.
Blessings,
Rev. Dr. Judy Lee, RCWP
Good Shepherd Ministries, Fort Myers, Florida

A Litany of Saints: Homeless and Poor

This is a litany of Saints in the form of the Litany used in the Roman Catholic Church on certain holy occasions like Ordinations. It has a beautiful chanting melody and is usually sung. But it is not a litany of canonized Saints (except for a few) but of those who died after facing years of homelessness and poverty and some of their servants who lead each stanza. The names of those who were also Roman Catholic Woman Priests and who died fighting all injustice including gender injustice within and outside of the church is asterisked*. Dr. Teresa Ann Grace Sievers,MD was a dedicated member of Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Community whose selfless service without charge made it possible for more than thirty homeless individuals get into subsidized housing. She was brutally murdered in her home in June of 2015 by persons she knew. The trials of those accused of her murder are still pending and our community still reels from this tragic event. We are still in need of other Medical Doctors to take up her cause.

Pastor Judy Beaumont and I began our ministry with the homeless in Fort Myers in 2007 and we also served the homeless in New York, Chicago and Connecticut. Since 2007 far too many of the people we served have died, sometimes one after the other. Some were homeless at the time of death and some had been finally housed for several years. All faced physical illnesses and challenges, some faced mental challenges (mental health and developmental disability) and some faced addictions to alcohol, nicotine and sometimes other drugs. Some had cancer and needed more help and support to negotiate complex medical systems than they received. The fragile and precarious health statuses of individual’s and families who face homelessness and poverty often goes unseen and neglected. The stress and energy it takes to survive takes a high toll on human life.

In Fort Myers there are few Shelters or programs available, and fewer still that address the whole person who is homeless or homeless families. In addition to affordable housing, we need policies and programs and supportive temporary and permanent housing to assist the homeless. This will also take skilled outreach and supportive health services that are desperately needed. What results when services are few, meager, and have restricted entry including few beds in the one designated medical unit is the premature death of beautiful multidimensional human beings who have much to contribute to our community. Only two homeless persons in this litany made it beyond sixty.

This song is for the homeless, the hungry, and the poor who struggle to hold onto homes, and those who selflessly serve them and die while they are still serving. Such service in the context of the lack of public conscience and policies and programs that recognize the value of each and every human life brings much needless stress to all concerned. This litany includes only those we have served and know personally since 2007-the list of homeless dead in Fort Myers is sadly much longer. We salute the efforts of the Homeless Coalition here, and everywhere, to change this. But, in the name of our loving God, what is it going to take?

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The Litany of Saints
As we think of our communal neglect
of the homeless and poor,
God, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
God, have mercy.
RESPONSE
God, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
God, have mercy.

Now we pray for and with those
deceased whose lives of struggle
and service deeply inspire us to fight for change and serve the poor.

Judith Ann Beaumont*
tireless servant of the poor Pray for us
Michael Gordon Murray
Ruby Tuesday Pearce
Ben Walden
Lynn Brown
who battled demons of mind and body
and yet lived for others All you holy men and women pray for us

Dorothy Day Pray for us
Linda Denise Maybin
Thomas Ashley
Randall Lynn Bending
Robert Swanson
who bravely lived for
their children
and families All you holy men and women pray for us

Teresa Ann Grace Sievers Pray for us
James Leslie Root
Carl Two Dogs Trammell
Tammy Grimes
Sophie Lewandowski
And all taken so young
with so much good done
and left to do All you holy men and women pray for us

Letitia Rawles* and Claire Gareau*
gentle caretakers of creation Pray for us
John Arthur Woods
Wade Ray-Ray Chester Mallard
Andrew Johnson and Manuel Guerra
Frederick L. Jones
And all who died alone
or outside All you holy men and women pray for us

William Douglas Wallace
Melvin and Virginia Williams
David and Ellie Ver Nooy
Norma Jean Anmuth and Theresa Held
Napolean Leo Andrews
Joseph Bowman Junior
Barbara Candales Pundit
Janine Denomme* and Mary Styne*
Iris Muller* and Maureen Andrew*
Philip Berrigan and Martin Luther King
Edith Stein and Oscar Romero
Ella, Anne, Jack, Warren, Jule, Billy and Edith
All who have taught us to love and pursue justice,
All you holy men and women pray for us.


(Tune for the traditional Litany of Saints excerpted in form here:
John D.Becker, copyright 1987,published by OCP Publications, All rights reserved).

AMEN!
Love and blessings, Pastor Judith Lee,RCWP
Good Shepherd Ministries Fort Myers, Florida

In Memoriam: Michael G. Murray 1957-2018, Friend To All

In the early morning hours of Friday April 27,2018 Michael Gordon Murray quietly went home to the God he loved. He was suffering from COPD and other serious illnesses for many years and breathing was increasingly difficult for him. He was taken by ambulance to Lee Memorial Hospital last week and that is where he died. His death is a profound loss to all who knew him-for he was one who cared.
And yet, knowing Michael we know that he is fully whole, living with Christ in love and light now. For that, and for his life we are so thankful.

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Michael was a member of Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Community since 2007 and Pastor Judy Beaumont and I had the privilege of being his Pastors. One of our hymns says after the passage in I John, “You shall know they are Christians by their love, by their love, you shall know they are Christians by their love.” And that is how we knew Michael -as one who loved all who touched his life-neighbors,church members, friends,and especially,the family he kept in touch with by phone and held always in his heart. He was known for his caring heart,generosity and easy conversation spiced with humor and laughter.He also loved God’s smallest creatures, the neighborhood cats, and spent his fixed income on carefully meeting their needs.

Michael,known as Mike,was born in Norwell, Massachussets,the third of three boys born to William and Kathleen Murray. He was graduated from Norwell High School and soon after served in the U.S. Army where he was an MP. He was honorably discharged. He attended the University of Massachussets for two years and left to marry and work to support his two sons, Paul and Keith. He proudly talked of Paul’s bands and auto mechanic abilities and Keith’s teaching music at the Berkley School of Music. While Michael was divorced he held his family in highest esteem. Mike and his brother moved to Florida to start a trucking business but after three years his brother returned to Massachussets. Michael worked as a store clerk at Publix until a variety of serious illnesses caught up with him. By 2007 when we met at our Church in the Park Ministry Mike was homeless and battling alcoholism yet the person he was shone through like a bright light. He could be counted on to read the Scriptures at the Park and later in the indoor Services and to help others,including his Pastors and our Volunteers. Mike’s Dad drank heavily after the death of his wife, Mike’s beloved mother, in 1980 and Mike traces his battle with alcohol to that as well. This was a very great loss for him. He noted that the genetic link also “caught him” and the loss of his Dad two years later in 1982 increased his sense of grief and loss. Mike was totally open to working with us toward health and sobriety and housing. He was one of the first four residents at our Joshua House Transitional Living Facility in November 2008. He worked hard in our Program and was accepted into Goodwill Housing for the Physically disabled in early 2009. This is Mike at Joshua House with other early residents Richie Duncan also a Vet, and Carl Palmer.

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The following is a picture of Mike with his Pastors and Ben Walden and Brenda Cummings who were also moving, at that time, to Goodwill Housing in Charlotte County. Later Mike and Ben transferred back to Lee County in North Fort Myers and Cape Coral. Ben also had serious medical conditions and passed away last year. Yet both retained their housing and had a good quality of life over the years reconciling with family and having good friends, thanks be to God.

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This picture (below) is Michael’s favorite view of Christ. He said that he identified completely with the man being lifted by Christ. Our church artist Hank Tessandori painted a picture on this theme for Mike who cherished it,and shared his testimony with all.
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This is Hank with Mike, the Pastors
and some of the men.
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On Good Friday our community would walk the Stations of the Cross in the nearby streets. Mike was our Jesus in two different years. He said that he knew about carrying his cross and he wanted to carry the cross for Jesus and to thank Jesus and the community. Mike’s openness about sharing his story and his struggles and redemption was inspiring and moving to all. (The prayer intentions of the community are nailed to the cross).

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In an earlier blog I told the story of Mike’s giving his blood to help others and included a picture of Mike and one of his rescued cats standing in front of a patriotic door decoration at Mike’s home. Indeed, Mike struggled but he also gave himself to others and truly loved. We are so thankful for Mike’s life.

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There will be a Memorial service announced here when we can work out the details with Mike’s family.
Now we commend Michael Gordon Murray to his loving God. (With The Order of Funerals we say:)
“Loving and merciful God,
we entrust our brother Michael to your mercy.
You loved him greatly in this life:
now that he is freed from all its cares,
give him happiness and peace forever.

The old order has passed away:
welcome him now into paradise
where there will be no more sorrow,
no more weeping or pain,
but only peace and joy
with Jesus your Son,
and the Holy Spirit
for ever and ever.Amen”

WE LOVE YOU Mike! REST IN PEACE AND JOY.

In the Risen Christ,
Love and Blessings,
Pastor Judy Lee
Rev. Dr. Judith A. Lee, RCWP
The Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Community, Fort Myers

Pruning the Vine: A Roman Catholic Woman Priest Reflects on Pruning

Today, for the fifth Sunday of Easter,(April 29,2018)Jesus teaches us that he is the vine and we, if we remain in him, and are doing what he asks-are the branches. We are an organic living part of the living Christ. He teaches us about vines and what they need to grow-pruning (John 15:1-8). I was a city kid. The most I knew about pruning trees or vines is that city backyards can be like jungles when no one cuts back the growth and the weeds. My friend Jean Tracy and I loved picking grapes off our Italian neighbors’ grape vines and looking for the sweet ones that seemed to hide among the overgrown vines. More than that we loved climbing the tall bending tree trunks with palm like fronds of pointy green leaves that once were weeds that are called the “Tree of Heaven”- or the tree that grows in Brooklyn. It’s almost nutty smell was intoxicating and my mother was certain that I would die falling from its high and lengthy arms. They grow anywhere, in gutters and in every crack and crevice-mainly where one would not want them to grow. We did love that “tree”. When I think of pruning these days I need only look around my house. I rarely take the time and energy to keep the beautiful and hearty bushes and flowers that are abundant in Florida neatly trimmed. When they are not trimmed the dead branches crowd out the life in the remaining ones.Below is what became of lovely flowers on the side of my house due to my neglect of pruning.

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And here is Gaspare Randazzo a Good Shepherd member confirmed as an adult who is helping me prune what was once a pretty garden area. He is strong and up to the work and I am thankful to have his help. Like me, he also must occasionally work on pruning things in his life that choke out life and fruitful activity. His beautiful smile is a testimony to his hard work and success. Pastor Judy Beaumont had amidst her things a small calligraphy that reads: “If you meet someone who has no smile, give them one of yours”. How she lived that! We all remember her smile as lighting up the room and illuminating the darkness of despair that eats away at life. And we also remember the endless ways in which she showed her love in small and large ways. Our church member Judy Alves recalls the careful and caring way that each and every week Pastor B would count out a week’s worth of medications for a man who could not manage his own medications. He rarely said thank you or acknowledged her very tedious task-he’d just take the pills and go. When I mentioned my annoyance at this to her she responded:”He is probably doing the best he can”. I was gently pruned. Similarly, when she put in endless hours in Connecticut as the CEO of My Sister’s Place to deliver two new buildings to house the homeless and four programs to meet their varied needs,I encouraged her to rest and take time for herself and for our life together. I came to realize that she was doing the very best she could to grow the kingdom/kindom of God-and was again gently pruned. Love that produces justice is very hard work. With love we may prune one another, and with love, God prunes us.

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Jesus tells us that God “takes away every branch that does not bear fruit, and every one that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit” (John 15:2). God’s pruning acknowledges that we ARE strong in Christ, and are already bearing fruit. But we can usually bear more fruit for the kingdom. The Epistle of John (I John 3:18-24) makes clear that fruit in our lives comes from loving “not in word or speech but in deed and truth”. We remain in Christ when we keep his commandments to” love one another just as he commanded us”. If we do not live a life of active love that leads to justice we are not bearing fruit.

And, even when we are bearing fruit for the kingdom we may need to cut back some things in order to produce even more fruit. I look at my own life. As I struggle with my own grief over losing Pastor Judy Beaumont, my beloved life and ministry partner for almost thirty years, I worry about what I have left to continue to build God’s kingdom on my own. It is a challenge. Grief can not be curtailed- one cries when the “Spirit says cry” and moans when the Spirit says moan-and on automatic pilot does the many things needed to continue life in a new way. But I can not stop building the kingdom- I have to build it even as I grieve. It is my call, it is my life in the living vine. I do not see loss and grief as a pruning from God but I do think it can have that effect. It can immobilize. I am writing again because it is part of my ministry. I am visiting the sick as I can and helping poor folks materially, emotionally and spiritually one by one so they can have abundant life. Yes, sometimes I am pushing myself hard to do this,and I don’t do nearly enough, but that is okay. It just needs to be done. I am very thankful for some of my Good Shepherd members and my friends who help me to do what needs to be done. God has provided and I am thankful. With God’s help in the coming weeks I will continue to counsel the young in need of jobs and support, comfort the Grandmother who has advanced cancer and be there for her and her family in person as they meet with the Doctor, and take the woman whose feet hurt so badly that she cannot walk for special shoes. It is little enough, but this I can still do. What more I can do will be apparent in time. God’s love is constant. Whatever prunes us so that we can bear more fruit is an expression of God’s love. Bring the pruning on!

The Psalm of the day (Psalm 22:26-27,28,30,31-32)says:
“I will fulfill my vows before those who fear the Lord.The lowly shall eat their fill…Let the coming generation be told of the Lord that they may proclaim to a people yet to be born the justice (God) has shown”. These two challenges have been the essence of our Good Shepherd ministry-to feed and house the hungry and poor and to teach and guide the young in the Way. I pray to do what I can do. I pray for the strength and guidance to continue bearing the fruits of love and justice for the kingdom so the kin-dom of God may reign on earth.
And I pray this prayer for you as well.

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My friend Dr. Ruth Martin, African American elder in our community in Connecticut, sent this Peace Lily in Memoriam to Pastor Judy Beaumont in early February. Gaspare helped me to repot it about six weeks ago and with space to breathe and grow, and yes, a little pruning, it is now producing beautiful Peace lilies. May our lives be like this:

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Amen and blessings,
Rev. Dr. Judy Lee, RCWP
Good Shepherd Ministries