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Pastor's Note | Saturday, July 12th

Can you believe we are already past the 4th of July? The Major League Baseball All-Star Game is next week. Summer is in full swing. It's summer vacation time.

This Sunday as we continue to look at Strengthening the Soul of Your Faith we will focus on the ways we establish and practice "Rhythms" in our lives. These are the patterns we find in our day-to-day living: work and leisure, effort and rest, engagement and solitude, time with others and time alone, and busyness and stillness. We will look at the ways we can continue those patterns that enable us to be fully aware of God's presence, deepen our trust in our Creator, and to draw close to our Lord, Jesus.

Summer can bring new patterns. I discovered how travelling to Italy recently for our daughter's marriage celebration introduced new rhythms. Our sleep patterns changed. Meals were eaten at hours we ordinarily would have been deep asleep. It's amazing what a nine-hour time change can do. I have to admit that it was a challenge to adjust to the new rhythms. We were on the go visiting many cities and sights. Much of the time we were with a large group of people. Finding moments for quiet, reflection, reading scripture, and prayer called for new rhythms.

But that's how life is. There are always going to be demands, interruptions, responsibilities calling for our attention and time, and vacations that knock us out of whack.

In the Gospel According to Mark, chapter 1, verse 35, after detailing a whirlwind of activity surrounding Jesus - crowds pressing in to hear him and to seek his healing touch - Mark records that "very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place where he prayed."

Mark usually does not include too much detail but notice that he does here. It is early. How early? "While it was still dark." He emphasizes the rhythm of Jesus - he got up, left the house, went to a solitary place, and prayed. The crowds and their needs impacted Jesus' patterns. The urgency of proclaiming the good news of God's rule that had come into the world imposed new rhythms. Yet, in the midst of being thrown off rhythm, Jesus continues his pattern of regular time with the Father, regular time of prayer, and regular time of solitude that refreshes his soul.

My hope is that this summer will be a time for us all to experience the rhythms of life that bring renewal of our love for God. That no matter what things might throw us off rhythm we will follow the patterns of regular rest and solitude, and conversation with the Living and Speaking God who loves to be with us ... and that we will experience the abundance of joy that being close to Jesus gives.

Now for another dismissal update. As was cited last week, on June 7th the Presbytery of Los Ranchos voted to dismiss Good Shepherd from the PC(USA) to ECO: A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians. A complaint has been filed that challenges this decision. The Synod Permanent Judicial Commission (Synod PJC) then filed a "Stay of Enforcement" of the original dismissal decision. The Synod PJC now has the responsibility of hearing the cases against the Presbytery related to all the churches that have been dismissed. This could take several months to a year.

However, there seems to be a possibility of mediation emerging. This would mean that the complainants and the churches seeking dismissal might be able to reach an agreement through mediation that would result in the complaints being withdrawn.

I cannot comment further on this but would ask you to pray that an agreement would be reached that would allow us to move forward into ECO soon as we desire to do. When more detail is available I will pass it along to you.

May we together find joy and healthy rhythms while we are on the journey of faith,
Pastor Jim

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