Friends in Christ,
It seems change comes upon us each and every day. With the revelations that have come in the past week, along with the recommendations of federal, state, and local leaders, the decision has been made to cancel all worship services for at least the next two weeks. This includes all Sunday and Wednesday services, and any other services, events, or classes that might have been scheduled at Good Shepherd through March 29.
This was not a decision that was arrived at lightly. From the very day that Jesus rose from the dead Christians have gathered on Sundays to worship Him and receive His gifts. The Elders and pastors of Good Shepherd have made this decision with the health of each member in mind. If the spread of the disease can be contained, then countless lives can be saved.
Physical health is of a secondary concern, however. The spiritual health of all members at Good Shepherd remains our primary call and concern. To that end, Pastors Bahr and Theilen are working on ways to bring the Word of God to you electronically and in other formats. Betsy has already emailed materials for devotions and Sunday School.
Facebook and email will most likely be the primary modes of communication. If you know of any member who does not have internet access please have them inform the office and we will try to send them printed materials as they are made available.
It will also be important that we keep the lines of communication open. If you are in need of pastoral care, or if you would like to receive the Lord’s Supper, please contact Pastor Theilen (217-415-2311), Pastor Bahr (217-883-7137), or Diane in the church office. These are strange new times to us all. Do not hesitate to call if you are in need.
Also, please keep a close watch on one another. Our neighbors may need our help. Be prepared to show the love of Christ to those in need.
Finally, a word of encouragement for all.
“Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; for ‘All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever.’ And this word is the good news that was preached to you.” (I Peter 1:22-25)
We have been born again of imperishable seed by the power of the Word of the Lord, the good news proclaimed by Peter and Paul-by Jesus Christ Himself-and recorded in the Scriptures. During this time while we are apart in the flesh, let us remain united in the Spirit through the Word of the Lord. Take time each day, and especially on Sundays and Wednesdays, to read from the Scriptures, sing hymns, and pray. There are short daily prayer options in the Lutheran Service Book as well as Matins, Vespers, and other beautiful services. Let these swiftly passing days build in us the habit of daily devotion and prayer.
God’s peace be with you all.
Elders and Pastors of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church