All Members, Winter Residents, Family and Friends,
On this Friday before Holy Week one final Lenten Greeting for the season and the year! When we started this Lenten Season perhaps some of you observed the tradition of “fasting from” or “giving up” something for Lent. But no one could have anticipated all that we were forced to give up, including the things we take so much for granted. I know that for me these days are not that much different than my regular schedule so far with the exception that Susan and I cannot occasionally go out to eat lunch of dinner throughout our week. Yes we have learned to adapt to the change eventhough the change was not sought after nor desired. And these changes have happened in both our personal lives and professional lives.
These circumstances have forced us to employ the tools of the 21st century. This week I was thinking how much has changed this past month, but it has affored us the opportunity to embrace new technology. The technology today is not unlike the newest technology that Dr. Martin Luther employed in his day, the Guttenberg Printing Press. This simple machine was a tremendous technological advancement for the day. It revolutionized the world, not just Luther’s writings but everything. And so this past week we have been spending time trying to expand our knowledge to embrace the changes that are upon us. While on one hand we are trying to embrace the presents, we can still employ the use of the old. Phones still work, the Post Office is still delivering mail, we still have power and air conditioning unlike when we are in the aftermath of hurricanes, blizzards or tornadoes. We are blessed beyond measure and we should not take for granted what we do have, but pray, praise and give thanks.
I want to briefly go back and touch upon the fact that we are not meeting for worship on Sundays. We are not alone in our decision as virtually every LCMS congregation in our FL/GA District is closed down. Yesterday that fact that churches are considered “essential businesses” really does not resolve the issue. Scripture does remind us of this fact 1 Corinthians 10:23-24 “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. 24 No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.” I have heard people say that we are not following scripture because in Hebrews 10: 23-25 “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” This is a willful act of not meeting together as so many today who decide not to meet even when the Church can have services. As responsible Christians we have a duty you might say to both God and country. And as much as it may frustrate us and even disappoint us Scripture does remind us that Hebrews 13:17 “Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you.” At times even those in the Church need be mindful of the edicts of the civil authorities. So even though the Governor said we could meet, which we could have been doing all this time, we have greater responsibility to others in our actions. As such I could not guarantee no one would catch the COVID-19 while attending Trinity in particular so this drove my decision to encourage our leaders to stop worshipping. With the rise in those who have become infected here in Lake Placid and Highlands County I feel confident that we made the right decision.
With that being said we will continue with our “live streaming” on Sunday mornings. This Holy Week we are going to offer a few more options.
- Palm Sunday live stream at 10:00AM
- The Sanctuary will be open all week for anyone who wishes to come for some quiet time when you are out and about.
- Maundy Thursday I will be in the Sanctuary from 1:00PM-4:00PM for anyone who would like to come in for Communion.
- Come in the Sanctuary where I will have laying a brief order of private confession with some scripture readings.
- Once you have spent time in confession and prayer you can come forward for the absolution and communion offered only in the individual cup and host.
- Once you have received the Communion you may depart.
- Good Friday I have been pondering doing a live stream of a devotional thought for Good Friday. (Do not know what time yet.)
- Easter Sunday live stream at 10:00AM.
I have attached my sermon for this week as well a very simple worship service to follow along for the Live Streaming on Sunday morning. Just print it out!
I have also attached information on the Lap Robes that the Mission Team is requesting to be made for the nursing homes. The directions are attached. Perhaps you can knit or crochet a few for the mission team to distribute to the nursing homes.
We only have a limited staff at Trinity throughout the week. Trinity Tots has been open this week with only a high of 5 kids. Susan is attempting to determine if any parents are planning on sending their children in the weeks ahead. If not we may close Trinity Tots for the month of April.
We do not have call forwarding here at the church my cell phone is 863-441-4168 and Susan’s cell is 863-441-4169 if you have an urgent need to speak with us. Otherwise try calling though the day from 9:00AM – 4:00PM. If no one is here we do have an answering machine.
John 14:15-21 15 “If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be[c] in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21 Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”
God Bless You all, stay in touch do not hesitate to stop by. In the Narthex is a basket of the New Portal of Prayers, a basket for offerings, and palms for Palm Sunday!
Rev. Richard A. Norris, Pastor
Trinity Lutheran Church
25 Lakeview Street
Lake Placid, Florida 33852