Dear Members and Friends of Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd,

Here is an excerpt from my sermon on June 14, about the kingdom of God being like a mustard seed – growing, multiplying, and spreading through the power of the Holy Spirit (Mark 4):

I cannot help but think of this spring and early summer in Rockford, the Forest City. A few weeks ago, I stood in Barb Street’s hospital room on the 9th floor of Swedish American Hospital. Looking out the window from the 9th floor, the south side of Rockford looked like a forest, with an occasional house popping up out of the greenery. With the rain we have had lately, our city is so green! Everything is growing. In our backyard, we had to cut down a dying ash tree a few weeks ago. Now, five little saplings are growing from the stump. In this fertile valley warmed by sun and watered by rain, plants cannot help but grow. If you are a gardener, or simply like to walk in your neighborhood, you cannot miss it. Birds and other creatures nest in our community.

Life is organic. The earth is organic. Human community is organic. The kingdom of God is organic. The church is organic. Alive. Growing. Spreading. Multiplying. Our church is an organization, an organism, organized chaos, a community, a family extended through time and space. And it all begins by planting seeds. Seeds which grow into plants that scatter their own seeds. And so it goes, on and on.

We are a mission outpost for God’s kingdom, a passionate, grassroots Jesus community living and sharing Jesus. We do not micromanage growth. What we do is plant seeds. Water. Prune. Weed. Nurture. But the Spirit of God, the Spirit of life gives the growth. God’s kingdom, God’s reign, God’s vision of peace and justice and love grows and spreads like a weed.

The Summer Lunch program is a way to plant seeds of God’s kingdom. So is Sunday worship, and Day Camp, and the Ice Cream Social. This fall, we will deepen our focus on faith formation, strengthening our relationship with God, our neighbors, and ourselves. Plantings seeds. Watering. Nurturing. And then standing back and letting God’s Spirit grow us in grace. Amen!

Living and Sharing Jesus in 2015,


Pastor Eric Lemonholm