The tongue is our most powerful muscle. "With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse those who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing." (James 3:9-10) It has the power to console or to criticize, to inspire or to incite. Words can create and strengthen relationships and community or they can wound and undermine the same. I shared that I was once invited at a conference to reflect on three affirming things that had been told to me that I still carried with me to that day. That workshop was 8 years ago and I still recall my "three" but also how meaningful their recollection was (and is) to me. Three unprompted comments showed me something of myself that I had not seen. These comments told me something of how I was known by others. In speaking with the bishop prior to his visitation in August, he offered such an affirmation -- not of me but of our church. Bishop Waldo said, "Good Shepherd keeps choosing life." The bishop has accompanied this congregation through conflict, grief, numerous transitions in leadership, and now a pandemic. Through it all, he says, the people of Good Shepherd keep choosing life. Choosing life: In the face of fear or pain or uncertainty, this community chooses life and growth. It can be risky to choose life. To accept change. To be open to a new way of being. I wonder.... 1. Where have you witnessed Good Shepherd choosing life? 2. How might this willingness of ours to choose life impact the wider community? 3. What other affirming statements have you heard about the Church of the Good Shepherd?