Dear Friends: March 17, 2020
It’s remarkable – but not surprising – how some events grab our attention and occupy our minds every day, from the moment we wake up until sleep returns at night. The virus that currently has the world in its grip is certainly one of those events. It’s not surprising – in fact, it is quite important – that we do pay attention, and that we respond to it in the most responsible way we can.
For First Lutheran Church, that means that this morning the church council and I have canceled our Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday worship services for the remainder of March. We have been reluctant to do this. But by doing so, we hope not only to protect ourselves. We do this to protect others; and to contribute our small part, we fondly hope, to the early end of this threat throughout our country and the world.
We will find other ways to “gather”. Wednesday and Sunday worship services will be broadcast on YouTube at their regular times, for you to watch and participate at home. One member has also shared with me that she is setting her phone alarm every day at 3:00 PM to pray the Lord’s Prayer, and to pray that this viral pandemic would end. She is inviting everyone to do the same, thus “gathering” together in prayer. We will keep you posted as to when we will return to holding public worship services.
It will remain true for a while, unfortunately, that the virus will occupy our attention. But let us be on guard that it doesn’t crowd out all other thoughts! Let your love for God, and thoughts of His love for you, take the uppermost place in your mind and heart. Let those loves have a higher and more prominent place in all our thoughts than anything that tries to take away our joy – our joy in the Lord, and our joy in one another.
Sincerely in Christ,
Pastor Carl L.M. Rasmussen