Dear saints of Our Redeemer Lutheran Church,
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Last night, the elders, Russell, and I met to discuss the precautions suggested not only by the CDC, the Trump administration, and Gov. Rickett’s administration, but also those of our LCMS President Matthew Harrison and Nebraska District President Richard Snow. In light of these precautions and the command from our Lord to love our neighbor, we have decided to cancel all services, Bible studies, Confirmation class, potlucks, and any other kinds of gatherings for at least the next 15 days. As we approach April 1, Our Redeemer’s leadership will reassess based on the information we have from the sources (above) at that time.
In the Small Catechism, we confess the Fifth Commandment’s meaning: “we should fear and love God so that we do not hurt or harm our neighbor in his body, but help and support him in every physical need.” This is our guiding principle for our decision as we understand from government officials that stopping gatherings completely (having only 10 or under, if absolutely necessary) is the best way to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus, especially to those who are more vulnerable among us. Of course, we also confess the Third Commandment’s meaning: “we should fear and love God so that we do not despise preaching and His Word, but hold it sacred and gladly hear and learn it.” In light of that command, I’m working to at least digitally assist you in leading devotions in your home. We’re not set up to stream services, unfortunately; however, I’m looking into either recording some basic voice and/or video recordings from my iPhone to post online for you. Either way, be in God’s Word and fervent prayer especially for all those in need at this time.
As always, we are called to repent, but remember that repentance is not only having a contrite heart (i.e. feeling your sins), but also trusting in the One who covers them by His blood shed on the cross for you. Most of all, throughout all of this, remember St. Paul’s words to the church at Philippi: “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:4-7)
Please do not hesitate to reach out to me with particular prayer requests or anything else by calling or texting me at (626) 419-7614. You may also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, sign up for our e-newsletter on our website: www.OurRedeemerWahoo.org to receive email updates for service updates, devotions, downloads, prayer requests, etc. Finally: if you need any assistance, such as grocery delivery to your home, or anything else, our elders (Eric and Bob), Russell, and I are willing to help at your request.
Peace in Christ,