All Members, Winter Residents, Family and Friends,
Greetings on this Wednesday morning of Holy Week! Below find some thoughts to help you along your Holy Week journey.
I thank You, my heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, Your dear Son, that You have kept me this night from all harm and danger; and I pray that You would keep me this day also from sin and every evil, that all my doings and life may please You. For into Your hands I commend myself, my body and soul, and all things. Let Your holy angel be with me, that the evil foe may have no power over me. Amen. (Small Catechism) Let us bless the Lord. [Psalm 103:1] Thanks be to God.
Easter will arrive, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, with many of us quarantined to our homes. As the virus continues to sweep around the world, the invisible enemy we are battling has launched a siege on our spirits. “The word ‘closed’ is a heartbreaking word in this life and in the life to come,” explains John Piper, “the meaning of Easter is that God is in the business of clearing this world of heartbreak. The meaning of an empty tomb or the opening of a closed tomb is that God has begun a campaign with Jesus Christ to open a million doors of hope to people who trust him.” Hope is something that many people have little of these days. People are having a difficult time thinking beyond this momentary inconvenience we are experiencing on our earthly pilgrimage. But our hope is beyond this world, beyond these frustrations, beyond any virus. Paul states in Romans 14 “ For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. 8 If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. 9 For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.” This is the hope that burns deep within in our hearts regardless of situation. There are many getting frustrated and spreading all kinds of false information, but our trust and our hope is not in this world but beyond what we can see and touch, we have faith in the living God who gives us hope beyond what we can imagine!
Holy Weeks leads us to Good Friday. We cannot get to Easter Sunday morning without first going through Good Friday. (More on this Friday morning.) Many have forgotten what we have been taught in the past, like I mentioned in yesterday’s devotion, Easter isn’t just something we celebrate once a year, but every day we wake to follow Christ. We in the Lutheran Church view every Sunday, regardless of what the calendar says as an Easter Sunday. The hope we have in Jesus doesn’t falter or fade amidst crisis …or even pandemic. We may be battling tremendous burdens for our generation, and fighting fear on a moment to moment basis, but our hope is not lost. Our hope is set firmly in what has already been accomplished by Jesus’ saving work on the cross …and resurrection.
The Church Council of Trinity Lutheran Church last evening held our first but probably not our last virtual meeting with the tool “Zoom Conferencing.” We had a few minor glitches, but we got things accomplished. Some final decisions were made about the remainder of the week.
Rev. Olckers is going to be helping us stream our services directly to our You Tube page which for some may be easier than using Facebook. More on this as we move through the week.
Maundy Thursday I am going to be in the Sanctuary from 1:00PM to 4:00PM. If you are so inclined you are invited to come and receive Holy Communion.
- Come into the Sanctuary where there will be a sheet of paper for you.
- Read through the Scripture selections.
- Read the Confession of Sins.
- Read the Prayers.
- When you are ready come forward where I will pronounce the absolution upon you offer you Holy Communion with individual cups and hosts prepared for you on the table.
- I will then offer an individual benediction as you depart.
We can practice Social Distancing with no contact, no fuss, no muss. I am not saying your must come or you have to come, this is the best that I can offer and be faithful to my calling and Pastoral concern.
On Good Friday we are going to be live streaming a service. I am not sure of the time yet we will know more later this week. We did not make a decision last evening but it may be at 3:00PM Good Friday afternoon. I will let you know tomorrow evening.
It was that time of the year where we would have been voting for new officers. Last night the Church Council appointed/ratified Mr. Mike Bardon as Vice President. We want to thank Mr. Robert “Buck” Story for serving on our Church Council for many years. All the other officers will be staying in office.
It was reported that we are holding our own Financially! THANK YOU FOR YOU FAITHFULNESS IN MAILING IN OR DROPPING OFF YOUR OFFERINGS. Please continue your faithfulness so our ministry can continue seamlessly. Please remember that all “Steps of Faith” folders can be turned into the church at any time now. We are open every day from 9AM until about 5 PM. Stop in say hello from the proper Social Distancing when you are out and about going to the store or pharmacy. Both Susan and I may be here.
I will repeat what I said yesterday….
I want to encourage you if you have a prayer request please send them to me. Just simply hit reply and I will add your request to me personal prayer list. I have not been naming names in the “live stream” for people who are ill, because I do not want to violate any HIPPA laws. But I will pray for you and yours in my daily prayer time each morning.
One more things of housecleaning! I have to admit that I have some people on my email list that I simply do not know or cannot remember. If you are an individual who no longer have any affiliation with Trinity Lutheran Church, Lake Placid, and desire to be removed for my email list please reply to this email and I will remove you from the list. I do not want to be an annoyance to anyone with our regular emails. Thank you!
Have a truly blessed day!
Rev. Richard A. Norris, Pastor
Trinity Lutheran Church
25 Lakeview Street
Lake Placid, Florida 33852