The Good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. And he takes it up again. We love the Good Shepherd, and we know he loves us. The knowledge of his love strengthens and emboldens us to continue his work - nurturing and guiding, protecting the sheep from wolves, seeking out others to bring them into the fold. We know some of these wolves - the fear of failure, despair for the future, a sense that the challenges and obstacles we face are greater than the spiritual and material resources at our disposal.
In 1989 St. Luke's was going through a particularly challenging time. There were definitely wolves around. Parish leaders responded with the incarnate optimism and love that comes from walking with the Good Shepherd. Instead of running away, they made Barbecue and used the proceeds to help members of the parish take a retreat to the newly renovated Shrine Mont conference center.
For each of the past 26 years on the first Saturday of May the BBQ has been a source of pure joy for the people of the parish and the community. And each of those 26 years on the fourth weekend after Labor Day the parish family has enjoyed a restorative retreat at Shrine Mont.
The Good Shepherd lays down his life and picks it up again so that we can become braver than the hired hands who desert their posts in the face of danger. He feeds and guides us so that we can carry on his work, facing down the wolves of our own day, and extending the power of his grace and love to others. It's hard work. But it's not work for nothing. It's work for love that always outperforms our fears. We get that when we gather at his table every Sunday. And every first Saturday of May and fourth weekend after Labor Day we at St. Luke's join in the work and enjoy the blessing of his fellowship in BBQ and at Shrine Mont.