We couldn’t make this topic fit into only 6 weeks. These workshops are on HOLD during Lent. They will resume after Easter, with communion available April 10, 24 May 1 and 15.
From: The Lutheran Reporter
‘The list changes daily’: Help for Ukraine
Our Lord told His disciples, “And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains” (Matt. 24:6–8).
Jesus warned them that they would face many trials, “but the one who endures to the end will be saved” (Matt. 24:13). As the church waits for the return of Christ, we know that wars and other trials will occur, and we pray for those who are suffering.
First, we pray that their faith in Christ would endure. We also pray that God would provide for them as their gracious heavenly Father. And we pray that all find hope and strength in the grace of God in Jesus Christ.
As the situation in Ukraine continues, the church prays and provides for those affected.
In a recent email, the Rev. James A. Krikava, associate executive director of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) Office of International Mission (OIM), Eurasia and Asia Operations, explained that the OIM is already working with several church bodies in Europe to help those affected by this crisis.
This work includes aid for our brothers and sisters in Christ in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ukraine (ELCU) and other refugees.
The OIM is currently working with five partner churches to help refugees from this conflict. These church bodies are located in Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Germany and the Czech Republic.
The Rev. Serge Maschewski, bishop of the ELCU, requests funds for medicine; fuel for the evacuation of children, women and the elderly; food; and personal safety gear for pastors who work in dangerous areas.
Maschewski said that the needs are always changing: “I don’t know the exact amount of money. Today we need food. Tomorrow we need medicine. The list changes daily.”
In a recent email to Krikava and LCMS President Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison, Maschewski said, “I want to give special thanks to the faithful of the LCMS, and personally to President Harrison and Pastor Krikava. God bless you! We, by the power of God, will overcome all things, and the Lord will grant us victory!”
The Lord Jesus, who talked about coming wars and calamities, died and rose from the dead to forgive sins and give eternal life to all who believe. Before He ascended, He promised His church, “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:20). The church prays for peace in our world and for faith as we await His coming.
To support the people of Ukraine, please pray for them.
If you desire to contribute to their needs, there are several ways to donate:
- Text LCMSUKRAINE to 41-444.
- Give online via LCMS Mission Advancement.
- Call the LCMS at 888-930-4438.
- Give online via Mission Central.
- Call Mission Central (Mapleton, Iowa) at 712-882-1029.
- By mail, make your check out to “The LCMS,” and write “Ukraine Relief” in the memo line. Mail to: The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, P.O. Box 66861, St. Louis, MO 63166-6861.
Life is scary right now. There’s CoVID, and the multitude of actions and reactions growing out of trying to deal with it. Plus political and international issues. And the everyday issues of trying to live our lives.
But then again, life has always been sort of scary. Our pioneer ancestors likely had more basic fears – can we grow enough food to keep the family from starving? Or will there be a drought, or a flood, or an invasion of grasshoppers? Or maybe we’ll all get eaten by a bear?
There were fears in Jesus’ day, too. Neither the Roman government nor the Jewish Pharisees were very tolerant of non-compliance. And that’s exactly what God sent Jesus to do on His way to saving us – not comply with man’s rules when they conflicted with God’s directives and to tell everyone why.
CoVID in our midst
So, let’s get back to CoVID, the great issue and great fear of our day. There is no denying that there is something in our midst; something that infects some and they don’t even know it, yet others who are infected die. And “the science” keeps changing. Is it natural or manmade? Do various treatments and vaccines help or hurt? Is this going to be the end of the world as we know (knew) it??
Real answers to these questions just don’t exist. And not knowing is scary. We each have to do what we can, with what we know and believe at any given time. And continue to live our lives as free of fear as we can.
Here at Prince of Peace, we are meeting in person for worship and other activities. But… we continue to ask anyone who doesn’t feel well to please stay home. To respect our neighbors by maintaining social distance, and by masking if it makes the other party more comfortable. And continuing to offer alternatives to gathering in the church building. Our Sunday morning services are live-streamed on Facebook. If someone wants to be here, yet is more comfortable remaining in their own vehicle, we will facilitate their participation in worship from the parking lot. And, most importantly of all, we remind each other that God is always with us, helping us through whatever life deals us.
No need for division against our brothers, nor ourselves
Each of us can also resist the forces trying to divide us. It often seems like the masked hate the unmasked, and vice-versa. And we are being led to believe that the “vaccine” will save us all, if we can just get all those hesitant ones to get vaccinated. But some of them think the vaccinated are the main ones spreading the virus and contributing to variants and keeping the pandemic going. Yet as Christians, we are to “explain everything in the kindest way” [Luther’s Small Catechism]. Here is a discussion by a Lutheran pastor on the appropriate response to those whose choices differ from your own:
And we can remember to extend that kindness to ourselves, too. Bad things will continue to happen to us, with or without this pandemic. It would be easy to be guilt-ridden with “I chose not to be vaccinated and now I’m really sick and likely to die and not be able to continue caring for my family”, or any other variant thereof when things don’t go as you’d hoped. Just stop that! Whatever choices you make about a potentially bad situation, whether for yourself or a loved one, were your considered choice at that time, with what you knew then. Don’t beat yourself up for not being omnipotent.
God is with us always
If you were around for September 11, 2001, you’ve known scary times before. For a period there were no real answers, and people were being divided. What there was, was plenty of grief and fear. It was in response to this that Stephen Starke wrote the hymn “There is a Time for Everything” (#762 in the Lutheran Service Book), reminding us that God is present with us at all times. We need that reminder today. We’ll close with just a couple lines:
[You] fathom all life’s tragedies; You know our grief, You hear our sighs—In mercy, dry our tear-stained eyes.
You can hear the whole hymn here:
Our special services for Lent will be Wednesdays at 7pm. As usual, you are welcome to join us in the sanctuary (with masks and social distancing), in your car in the parking lot listening on the radio, or at home, watching the live stream on facebook (either live or recorded, viewed at your convenience). In respect for everyones safety, we are forgoing our usual meal before services.
As Lutherans, we often ask “What does this mean?” One of the most often asked about traditions is the ashes of Ash Wednesday. Pastor Eickmann addresses this for us.
Ash Wednesday Ashes
We continue to be mindful of mitigating the possible spread of COVID as we slowly resume group activities. We have live services in the sanctuary, with masks required and social distancing, and also broadcast into the parking lot for those who choose to remain in their own vehicles. We are also now live-streaming our services (Sunday, and for now a Wednesday message) on Facebook. We will forego our usual meal celebrations during Lent, but anticipate we will live-stream those special services also.
This picture does not represent our sanctuary. We are still maintaining social distancing, refraining from hugging or even shaking hands. And wearing masks out of love for those around us. And broadcasting the service live into the parking lot for those who prefer to remain in the safety of their own car. You are invited to join us, every Sunday at 9am.
What did it look like when you studied it? When was the last time you looked at it? Don’t panic – you don’t need to go looking to find it to review. For the next few weeks, on Wednesdays we’re going to be looking at the fundamentals of our Christian faith as Lutherans. The bulletins and videos for this series will be posted on our website on Wednesdays (even after we’re able to resume meeting together). Please join us, and invite a friend.