Last month, I asked, “When has this church been there for you when you needed it?”
And in my sermon on March 18, I said, “Every one of us has a song,” inviting you to tell a “Good Soil story” in worship after Easter—a two-minute story about how you have seen God plant goodness in your life and in the world. What you saw. What scripture verse it reminded you of. What it tells you about God.
This month, I’ll answer my own question from March and tell one of my Good Soil stories.
In high school, I needed a friend after I fell out with my very best friends. We had been inseparable since kindergarten and even earlier. When those best friends stopped talking to me and me to them, I also fell out with a dozen or so others, my whole circle of friends.
It was terrifying to find myself suddenly alone, at a time when fitting in was so important. But just then, the youth group at the Lutheran church in town befriended me.
I hadn’t grown up Lutheran, and by that time my family wasn’t attending any church. I was wary of the group at first, because one of my ex-friends had introduced me to it. But their welcome every other Sunday night was warm, and soon they started inviting me to hang out with them outside the church.
It was like Jesus’ parable about the shepherd finding the lost sheep. Jesus found me through that youth group. I felt so relieved and happy (and nervous!) to have friends again. At a deeper level, I felt peace hearing Jesus say heaven rejoiced over just one person being found. I had felt so rejected and then, to be welcomed again and more, to know heaven itself rejoiced because I had new friends… God wanted me and everyone else to have community. God could be trusted. Jesus is a friend.
Without those kids at church befriending me, those words from the bible probably would have rung false. Instead, because of them, they keep ringing true.
One of my goals as your pastor is to talk about Jesus and to invite you to talk about Jesus. So what’s your Good Soil story? It could be from the recent past or the distant past. About something big or something small. Your honest stories about Jesus are the most powerful ones.
Let me know, and we’ll find a time when you can share your two-minute Good Soil story in worship.
Thanks be to God.
Pastor Clark Olson-Smith