Climate change, also known as global warming, is something I have been following for years now, and it worries me more and more. Many things we all do have an impact on worldwide use of energy or should I say waste of energy. We literally burn the resources that our children or their children will desperately need. So, what can we all, what can I do? This question will receive almost as many answers as the number of people you ask. One person says, “whatever I do this doesn’t make a noticeable difference” and she would be right. The next person says, “my thermostat is at 68 degrees during winter and 78 degrees during summer” that is great! Will it make a difference? Not by itself but if 1000 or 100000 people do the same thing, it does make a difference. Another person talks about all the energy and water used to raise cattle and decides to be vegetarian, that is a great step, number four uses public transportation and a bicycle, that can increase your health and is great for the environment.
Me, I am using an electric vehicle, the energy use is mostly covered by the solar panels on our roof. I really hope that everyone in our congregation was able to identify with one or more of the listed behaviors for their own – the more the better.
However, even if we are feeling good about what we contribute, it is so important not to project our own priorities onto others. While I do the thermostat thing and drive an EV and have solar cells, I really enjoy meat, and public transportation is like wasting time for most of us. When someone else is a vegetarian but has an old car (maybe cannot afford a newer one) and drives 50 miles each day, nothing gives me the right to judge him or on the other hand him the right to judge me.
We are living on god’s earth, and it is our responsibility to use and conserve what we have been given. Please take a moment to reflect on what you have been doing to retain our planet’s capability to sustain itself, to leave a habitat for animals but just as much for our children and their children.
We just witnessed a wonderful baptism for Clara Mae, and she will be around to see many of the effects that our behavior causes. “It takes a whole village to raise our children” was the baptism song by the Keynotes, it takes all of us and so many more to rethink what we need and identify what is just convenience but hurts our world and creates debt for future generations.
Let us all look at our habits, where can we skip plastics, open the windows at night instead of air condition, eat vegetarian more often, walk distances less than 1 mile instead of driving…
So many small things add up to a better world for our children, for Clara and her children.
God has given us great opportunities but also great responsibilities and if this little article has made a small difference for conserving god’s and our planet, it was very much worth it.
In the coming weeks, the nine conferences of our synod will be meeting to discern and nominate candidates to be our next bishop. We are members of the El Camino Real Conference of the Sierra Pacific Synod, which includes the churches of the South Bay, Monterey Bay, and parts of the Central Valley, and we have offered to host our Conference gathering. The 26 churches of our conference will gather at CGS on Saturday, June 3, from 11-3pm.
We will worship together, have lunch, and then discuss who we would like to nominate to stand for election at our Synod Assembly in September. We may nominate up to five pastors, and if they accept their nominations, they will go through a screening process and be asked to provide additional information about themselves before the official vote takes place this fall. This pre-assembly nomination process has been put in place to help ensure that assembly voters are able to make a faithful and informed vote.
There are three ways that CGS members are invited to be a part of this process:
We hope you’ll consider supporting our broader church by participating in this conference!
Relay For Life
Hello CGS Family!
I mentioned on Sunday that I am participating in the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life this coming Friday and Saturday. This will be my 10th year participating in the Cambrian Relay for Life. The event starts at 6:00pm pm Friday April 28 and goes till noon on Saturday the 29th . The event is being held at Dartmouth Middle School. Relay is an event where teams walk over night to raise money for the American Cancer Society. I am not only a participant this year, but I am also part of the Event Leadership Team this year. The ELT has been working on the details of the event and hope to have a big turn out. Each year during the Opening Ceremony we have the National Anthem performed. This year the high school student who had done in past years had graduated and we were searching for another option. I reached out to Rey and asked if the Keynotes or any members would be willing to sing. In true CGS fashion, of course there were volunteers that are willing to sing at the opening ceremony. I'm excited to have the guys participate in the event this year. Relay for Life also includes a tribute to Cancer Survivors and those that have been lost to cancer. Once the sun goes down, the walking track is circled by glowing luminaria bags that have the names of the people being honored. Each year I am taken aback by they number of the bags around the track.
I will be staying over night with my team to walk and raise money for this worthy cause. You can follow the link below that will take you to my fundraising page. I am raffling off a quilt that I made again this year. Tickets are $10 each or 6 for $50. If you would like to be entered into the raffle, make a donation at the link and then send me an email at email@example.com to tell me you would like to be entered into the raffle. I will be drawing the winner on May 5th.
I appreciate your support and I look forward to see the impact we can make together in the fight against cancer.
- Petra Menard
For the wonderful Easter Vigil in 2023, I had shared my reflection on the story of Noah's Ark and how Noah was required to bring on board seven pairs of each animal, a male and female, for procreation and protection. So it got me thinking on the number two (deux) as in a pair or a couple and I talked about these following Biblical verses:
Ecclesiastes 4:12 NLT
A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.
Matthew 18:20 NLT
"For where two or three gather [in my name], I am there among them.”
Mark 6:7 NLT
And [Jesus] called his twelve disciples together and began sending them out two by two, giving them authority to cast out evil spirits.
In addition, to expand upon the procreation part—basically two produces three which is the perfect prime number. This is the progression found from the Old Testament into the New Testament where we are given the Holy Trinity.
1 John 5:7-8 NLT
So we have these three witnesses—the Spirit, the water, and the blood—and all THREE agree.
It is also fascinating that we have gone from the two angels that protect Lot and his family in Genesis Chapter 19 to the three angels that are envisioned in the book of Revelation which is something I have also personally experienced in 2020.
Revelation 14:6 NLT The Three Angels
And I saw ANOTHER angel flying through the sky, carrying the eternal Good News to proclaim to the people who belong to this world—to every nation, tribe, language, and people.
Therefore, I think that numbers can be salient in our lives and can be relational to God and, hence, relational to each other.
Prayers of Intercession
Pastor Kris is forming, or more aptly reforming, a Worship and Music Ministry. At the initial meeting this week, the Prayers of Intercession were discussed. Currently the petitions come from a generic worship support and are not specific to a time or place. Pr. Kris would like the prayers to have more relevancy to CGS and/or concerns of the greater San Jose community/ country/ world. It is hoped that this could be achieved by having the petitions written and possibly presented by members. To that end I am writing to ask you if you would be open to consider participation in this new endeavor.
1. Would you be willing to compose the petitions ( 3 or 4) every few weeks? ( Pr. Kris will probably be adding one as well).
2. Would you be willing to offer the petitions in service? Currently, the deacons lead the petitions and could continue that regardless of where the prayer originates. If you serve as a deacon already, would you be willing to add this component to your services?
3. Would you be willing to attend an information/ training session with Pastor Kris? He has held Tuesday May 9th 6:30pm- 7:30pm and Wednesday May 10th from 1pm to 2pm as two options for those to choose from. This is for anyone who interested in learning more about creating the Prayers of Intercession.
And last but not least, the goal of the Worship and Music Ministry is to create services that offer a variety of worship experiences each Sunday that will give opportunity for us all to strength our relationship to God. Feedback is important. If there is something about worship that you love or are not so thrilled about, please let us know. Or if you would like to talk about the worship service in general, do not hesitate to speak to any one of the ministry members.
I/ we look forward to talking to or hearing from you all.
Worship and Music:
An Easter Message from Pr. Kris
Alleluia, Christ is risen! With the lilies in the sanctuary, the beautiful flowers adorning the cross, and some good warm weather in the last few days, it truly feels that spring has arrived! About a week ago, we planted a garden in the backyard of the parsonage, and we are eagerly awaiting the little green shoots that will sprout up from the ground. New growth of spring is familiar and well-worn imagery for resurrection throughout Christian storytelling from our own flowery cross on Sunday to the ancient words of the Bible (see Isaiah 61:11 which we read at Easter Vigil on Saturday). The plants, that seemed dead in the winter, rising again can remind us of Christ’s rising again from the tomb.
But while this new growth is beautiful and comforting, there’s another part of our garden that’s been holding more of my attention lately: our compost pile. I do have a vague understanding of the scientific explanations of how compost works (the right mix of nitrogen, carbon, and our local, friendly microorganisms), but honestly, it mostly seems like magic to me. Take weeds, sticks, leaves, kitchen scraps, and coffee grounds, pile them all together, and wait. Soon the mix begins to heat to the point that its steaming and everything turns to new, rich soil. It’s been fascinating to fill the bin to the brim and come back a few days later to a half-full pile whose heat you can feel standing above it.
I think compost is also fitting imagery for Easter—if a bit less conventionally beautiful than a lily. Here is this mix of living things that have truly died (unlike overwintering plants which are dormant but not dead), which come together to create the medium in which new life can grow. This has all the metaphoric elements of death and rebirth that green shoots from the ground do, but with some additional details that delight me. In compost, new life is created through bringing organisms together, and whether the disciples thousands of years ago, or here at CGS today Christ has brought us together as a people. Brought together, we get mixed up, react together, and create something new: a place that enriched, vibrant life can grow. Mixed up and combined, we generate a medium of fertile ground in which to live and grow: our church. That mixing is not always effortless—it takes some turning and things can get smelly—but the end result is priceless.
Today, I added the ashes from our Easter Vigil fire to the pile: the fire that lit the Paschal candle and warmed our storytellers. From the chemical point-of-view, I’ve really been needing some carbon-rich materials to balance out all the greenery. But I like to imagine that the stories that we shared with each other at Easter Vigil—about God, ourselves, and each other—are becoming a part of this magical mix too. That the soil which will emerge from the bottom of this pile will be infused with memories of resurrections across time and space, leading to another generation of rebirths in our own backyard. New life, born from this community coming together to share the story of our Savior. Christ is risen, indeed. Alleluia!
- Pastor Kristofer Rhude
Would you like to press charges?
When the police officer asked me whether I would like to press charges, I surprised myself by answering "yes". Granted, the theft of boxes from my mother-in-law's garage had been followed immediately by the theft of electronics and petty cash from the CGS church office. But my raincoat and shoes had already dried out after walking around the neighborhood in the rain, looking for signs of stolen boxes. And that doubled sense of violation was already starting to fade. So why answer "yes"?
I didn't yearn for vengeance, yet in the event that the people who stole the boxes were apprehended, I wasn't opposed to the notion of "consequences," either. And, sadly, I felt intrigued by the idea of testifying in court, something I've never done. But coming just a few days before the Easter celebration of forgiveness, I wondered whether I was treating my fellow human beings in a Christian manner.
But were they human beings? They were fuzzy images on my door camera, darting back and forth on their bikes. They were like unfamiliar callers on a huge Zoom call with their video turned off. To me, they were avatars in an RPG raid on a digitized garage.
One of my goals for this post-COVID spring is to renew my connections to real-life human beings. To share a meal of soup and bread on Wednesday evenings with folks at CGS. To nurture an acquaintance into a friendship. To be seen by someone in the same room. Perhaps then, gradually, those fuzzy images on the door camera will start to look more human.
- Gregg Z
As we continue our journey through the Lenten Season, we hope that you will mark your calendars to join with the community of Christ the Good Shepherd on these most holiest of days as we gather for these special services. You are invited to set aside time these days to "make room" for the mystery of Christ's death and resurrection. Make space in your days for prayer, for silence and for reflection. And, we hope you will make time to gather with your sisters and brothers in Christ for worship.
Palm/Passion Sunday on April 2 at 10:00 a.m. (In-person or live-stream)
We gather outside the church to proclaim HOSANNA and process with palms to begin our worship.
Maundy Thursday on April 6 at 7:00 p.m. (In-person only)
Maundy Thursday begins the Triduum, or three holy days before Easter. On this night we re-enact Jesus’ last evening with his friends by gathering in the Great Hall for a potluck dinner and the Eucharist.
Good Friday on April 7 at 7:00 p.m. (In-person and live-stream)
We gather in reverence to again hear the Passion read, reflect on Jesus’ final hours as the combined choirs guide us along the journey through song, and to venerate the cross. In this way, we claim a place away from the hustle and bustle of life, at the foot of the cross, in Jesus’ most poignant moment of generosity and suffering.
The sanctuary will be open from 12:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. for self-guided reflection at the Stations of the Cross. (In-person only)
Easter Vigil on April 8 at 8:00 p.m. (In-person only)
On the eve of Easter, a fire is lit and blessed in the church yard. As we huddle together, we sit and listen to the stories of God’s people throughout our scripture. And then, with music and joy, we proclaim the Resurrection and celebrate the first Eucharist of Easter. If one service in the entire year were to attempt to hold the whole meaning of our faith in a risen Christ, it would be this one.
Easter Sunday Worship on April 9 at 10:00 a.m. (In-person and live-streamed)
The celebration continues on Sunday morning with a festive service to commemorate Christ's resurrection! Christ has made the whole creation new. ALLELUIA! Special musicians, the combined choirs and more will add to the beauty of this extra special festive service! Children are invited to join the processional at the beginning of worship.
The celebration of the newness of all creation will continue through the 50 days of the Easter season!
Lenten Fast: No Plastics for Lent
For many Lent is a time of fasting, and this year, CGS is participating in the No Plastics for Lent initiative, which is led by the ELCA Young Adult Ministry. That ministry: “calls us to prayer for creation, to lament the ways we have been complicit in the degradation of the earth, and to action to care for our neighbor in fasting from the things that are hurting our planet… We encourage you to develop a commitment to practice during this 40-days that turns our attention towards caring for creation. This could be fasting from single-use plastics, eating locally, using eco-friendly cleaning supplies, shopping at farmer's markets, etc.”
We encourage all of our community to join this fast from using single-use plastics during this Lenten season, and to build some intentional habits that hopefully can become a part of your normal practices. We’ve set a goal of collectively preventing 1,000 plastic items from entering landfills and our oceans between Ash Wednesday and the end of Lent, and we ask that you keep track of those moments that you intentionally change your practices during these 40 days. We’ll track these moments on Sundays, and see that together, we can make a real difference!
Pastor Kristofer Rhude (he/him)
February 28th, 2023
Christ the Good Shepherd
Various editorials, articles, and other items of interest.