Beloved Members and Friends of MLC,
As many of you have already seen on the church website, Facebook, and Twitter, in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic, and wishing to do our part in protecting one another and our communities, we will not be gathering together physically for Adult Forum/Sunday school and Worship with Holy Communion for at least a few weeks; in the next few days we will be trying to work out some way to share a Sunday worship experience together, which we'll announce on social media and via e-mail if successful.
Fortunately, there are many on-line resources for finding prayer and spiritual support while we are unable to meet together physically. We have always posted the weekly Lessons on the MLC website, and will continue to do so. Rosemary will also be posting my sermons. Grace Lutheran Church, River Forest, is live streaming their services: http://www.graceriverforest.org/. Chapel of the Resurrection at Valparaiso University will also be live stream their Sunday service. The link to join is https://meet.google.com/rdx-amcf-kyb. Celebrate at the Chapel of the Resurrection, another worship Service, will stream on Facebook Live Wednesdays at 10 p.m. Several other congregations are sharing worship services on line. Yesterday we shared Washington National Cathedral's Service of Morning Prayer on Facebook. We'll continue to share quality worship experiences in this way.
Unfortunately, there is not a virtual substitute for the Eucharist. "Fasting" from the Service of Holy Communion is a disconcerting experience. It's a spiritual deprivation. Our Lord commands us to take the bread and the cup. "Take and eat, this is my Body given for you...." As our Lenten devotional book, Wondrous Love: Devotions for Lent 2020, put it in yesterday's meditation, the presence of God is offered to us, "given in a way that you can hold in your hands, forgiveness you can taste." But rest assured that God is with us, a very present help in this time of trouble we're experiencing, individually, as a Church, as a part of The Church, as Americans, and as citizens of the World.
Rosemary and I will do our best to keep in touch via the church website, social media, phone calls, texts, and e-mails, and you will remain in our hearts and prayers. We ask you to please pray for us, too. Please feel free to contact us. We want to hear from you.
Let's also pray for: those who are already sick with coronavirus; those in quarantine due to exposure/possible exposure; the vulnerable (the elderly, those with underlying health conditions, prisoners, those in group homes, the marginalized due to poverty, even homelessness); those who can't avoid putting themselves in potential danger, especially care-givers, health care workers, and first responders, and those who must show-up to work other jobs in order to keep our country running, and those who cannot not work, because not working means not eating and/or having a roof over their heads; those who are undergoing treatment for diseases other than coronavirus, and women who are pregnant; those who have had to postpone weddings and public funerals/memorial services; those who are working on producing more tests, medical supplies, and also those who are working on producing a vaccine. We also pray and thank you for the woman who courageously volunteered to receive the experimental vaccine.
Let us pray: Gracious God, it is good for us to gather as your beloved in community. We treasure your presence with us in word and meal, song and prayer. Be with us in these days when gathering together as often as we would like is not possible. When we must be apart for reasons of safety, we trust that you surround us with your sheltering wings. Encourage us in connecting as we are able, reaching out to our neighbors in need and being persistent in prayer. We ask this in the strong name of Jesus, our constant companion. Amen
Love to all you - we'll meet again, and whenever that day comes, it will be an Easter!
Pastor Larry and Rosemary