Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I am told this phrase is a Chinese curse, “May you live in interesting times”. I don’t believe in curses, but I do believe we are living in “interesting” times. To be asked to shut down public worship for the health of the community for a month or two was inconceivable to me six months ago. Now we are living through it. Christians have from time to time had to live under such painful conditions. I wonder what Easter felt like in United States in 1944. How many Easter services were half empty because the men of the community were off fighting a war? What did Easter feel like in Germany when the Black Plague was killing a third of the population? What will Easter feel like this year? I know this much: we will have worship and I invite and encourage you to watch it from home on your computers, TV, or phone. We will sing our hymns of praises. We will hear the words of Jesus. We will declare together that Christ has Risen. Social isolation cannot stop the celebration of Jesus’ Resurrection.
I did not know how much I would miss each of you, until our time together was taken away. Sundays are not the same without you. Synodical President Harrison has been quoted as saying that he will really enjoy the day we worship together again face to face and when that happens, he plans to sing extra loud. I pray the day comes soon when we also are all together again, singing extra loud here at Peace.
I also hear your desire for Communion, fellowship, and Bible study as well. In the coming week I plan to do short Bible Studies and post them for you to watch and learn. Watch your email or the church website for more details to come. The desire for the Lord’s Supper has really brought comfort to me. The LCMS has spent thirty years teaching how important communion is to your spiritual health. Now that we are in a season of fasting from the Lord’s Supper, the ministerium is very heartened to know that these lessons have taken hold of your head and your heart. I promise you will have the joy of going to the Altar of the Lord again soon.
Hear these words of Scripture:
“I called on your name, O LORD, from the depths of the pit. You heard my plea: ‘Do not close your ears to my cry for relief.’ You came near when I called you, and you said, ‘Do not fear.’” – Lamentations 3:55-56
When we feel helpless and have lost all control of the things that matter to us, it is a good time to pray. We pray for relief from this virus. We pray for healing for those who
suffer with this virus. We pray for our health care workers that they would remain healthy as they care for so many. We pray for our shut-ins that they receive the care they need. We pray for the government to make wise decisions for our community. We pray to God to comfort us during these days of struggles. Sometimes the list of things to pray for gets too long. On those days, I pray this: “Lord, help.”
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me (Jesus).” – John 14:1
Prepare your hearts once again. Holy week is here. We will walk the road with Jesus to Jerusalem singing hymns. We will go with Jesus to the upper room and watch Jesus wash feet. We will go to the cross and cry. We will go to the empty tomb and celebrate. I look forward to worshipping with you this week using the gift of technology.