- Sunday worship at 8:30 am
- Sunday worship at 10 am
- Sunday School and Bible Class are suspended.
- All remaining Wednesday Lenten worship services are cancelled
- Please be seated by family groups and by spreading out in the pews, attempting to keep the recommended 6 foot distance between groups.
- If anyone has symptoms of illness, that individual along with family members he or she is living with are strongly urged to stay home, respecting how this could impact the welfare of one’s fellow Christians.
- The offering plates will be available in the narthex following worship
- Social distancing is strongly encouraged also after worship, perhaps leaving immediately after worship and, if necessary, having discussions outdoors.
- A designated usher will open the main door to church as people arrive and to the main worship area, keeping touched surfaces to a minimum.
- Avoid handshakes and other physical greetings.
- Regular washing of hands is strongly encouraged as advised by the CDC. After being in the restrooms, people are urged to grab the door handle with a paper towel.
Cancellations until further notice:
- Lord’s Supper during public worship services
- Soup suppers
- Easter breakfast
Good morning:Lately, each day has brought more troubling news about the spreading COVID-19 virus. Healthcare workers, scientists, and world leaders all acknowledge that they are uncertain of what the future holds. All of us have concerns for ourselves, our loved ones, and fellow believers. But thankfully, we know where to turn. At times like these God’s promises become all the more meaningful and precious. There is nothing tentative about God’s encouragement in Ps. 50:15: “Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you and you will honor me.” The Lord calms anxious hearts with His assurance: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior” (Is. 43:1-3).Each morning when we open our eyes we can praise the Lord with Jeremiah: “Because of the LORD’S great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lam. 3:22-23). Even though our daily routines are disrupted, it doesn’t mean we don’t have cause for thanksgiving. No matter what is happening around us, we have the inner peace of knowing that all is well between us and God since Jesus has reconciled us by His blood shed on the cross. Each day we can thank God for the opportunities to serve Him and our neighbor in love. Especially at this time when so many are so fearful, watch for ways in which you can share God’s words of comfort with others. Email or text a favorite Bible passage. Spend time talking with someone who feels isolated and lonely.Another way in which we show Christ-like love for our neighbor is by doing what we can to help prevent the virus from spreading. Government officials are urging people to avoid large groups and unnecessary contact. Paul tells us that the government is instituted by God as His servant for our good and that we honor God when we respect and obey our leaders (Rom. 13).Considering all these things, [many congregations have decided to offer only online services]. This is not an easy decision but a necessary one given the serious circumstances. We will all miss the blessings of seeing one another face to face and the joy of receiving the means of grace in Word and Sacrament and praising the Lord in person with one another. Often we take gifts so much for granted until they are suddenly taken away. I’m already looking forward to our first service together again!Keep praying. “The prayer of a believer is powerful and effective” (James 5:16). Ask the Lord that according to His will He would provide healing for those who have contracted the virus and that He would soon bring an end to the pandemic. Ask Him to protect those who are in particular danger because of their care for the sick. Pray for all of us in the Messiah family and for our fellow believers throughout the CLC and our sister synods overseas. Try “praying the church directory.” Go through the directory listing family by family and offer a special prayer for each of them.Not being able to get out as much as usual may mean more time for Netflix, but even better, it can open up more time to spend with the Lord in His Word. What a blessing if the “new normal” could mean more regular devotions at home and more time spent in personal reading of Scripture.Finally, even though we will not be getting together as a group for a time, let’s make a point of staying in touch with one another for mutual help and encouragement. Check up on a fellow congregation member who may be alone or struggling in some way or whom you just haven’t spoken to for a while.Without question, this is a difficult time for all of us personally, for us as a congregation and a church body, and for us as a nation. But it is also a blessing, a time to come to the Lord in humble repentance for sin and to receive with renewed appreciation complete forgiveness, the perfect peace of God which passes all understanding, and the confidence that “if God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” (Rom. 8:32). “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you” (Is. 26:3).Yours in Christ’s love and service,Pastor Michael Eichstadt
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