While we miss getting together in person, we pray that this online alternative will be just as encouraging to you!
Jesus walks with you through pandemic. When our world is panicked, you and I have a hope the coronavirus (COVID-19) can never take away. Matthew 8-9 showed us the sovereignty of God over every kind of sickness. No disease reaches beyond our creator’s authority or saving grace, even Coronavirus. Our God rules during any and every sickness our world faces. You and I have a responsibility to display peace and calm in Christ before a storm of anxiety.
Together I want our church to continue to care for the community. For a couple Sundays, we will show Jesus’ love by helping this pandemic to end. Many government organizations and schools are closing for a few weeks. We do not want our gathering to speak to our neighbors that we do not care about combatting illness. As a church in the U.S. it is our freedom to gather. And we lay down that right in a sacrificial love.
We also care about those in our church family who are most susceptible to the virus. Even in the early days of pandemic we do not want the risk of spread to be our gathering for our own members’ sake.
Worship Through Song:
O God of Our Salvation
Man of Sorrows
Lord I Need You
His Mercy is More
All the Poor and Powerless
Worship Through Giving:
Worship Through the Reading of God’s Word:
The Harvest Is Plentiful, the Laborers Few
35 And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few;38 therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”
The Twelve Apostles
10 1And he called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction.2 The names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; 3 Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; 4 Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.
Jesus Sends Out the Twelve Apostles
5 These twelve Jesus sent out, instructing them, “Go nowhere among the Gentiles and enter no town of the Samaritans, 6 but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7 And proclaim as you go, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying; give without pay. 9 Acquire no gold or silver or copper for your belts, 10 no bag for your journey, or two tunics or sandals or a staff, for the laborer deserves his food. 11 And whatever town or village you enter, find out who is worthy in it and stay there until you depart. 12 As you enter the house, greet it.13 And if the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it, but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. 14 And if anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet when you leave that house or town.15 Truly, I say to you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah than for that town.
Worship Through the Preaching of God’s Word:
Worship Through Prayer:
Pray this prayer with us:
“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” (2 Tim. 1:7)
Heavenly Father, every portion of your Word is true and beautiful. Today this one small verse is both of those things, as well as being timely. The fear we feel, in response to the growing impact of the coronavirus, is palpable and understandable.
To belong to Jesus doesn’t mean we are free from the “messier” emotions in the kaleidoscope of feelings. It means we handle them differently. In our anger, we choose not to sin. In our grief, we learn to weep with hope. In our fear(s), we learn to trust in you.
You haven’t given us a “spirit of fear.” Caution, alertness, appropriate response… indeed, you give us these things, but not fear. Thank you. Rather, the Spirit you have placed inside of us is the Spirit of “power, love, and self-discipline.”
We need the power of the Spirit today, Father. We need power to keep our minds and hearts set on things above. If we knew what you know about this crisis, we would worship more than we worry. We need power to resist the lies and the spirit of panic with which the devil would love to paralyze us.
We need the love of the Spirit. Your perfect love drives out fear. As real as our fears are, make your love for us in Jesus even more palpable and transforming. And increase our love for our neighbors. May we not waste this crisis on self-preservation, but use it for loving to your glory.
We need the self-discipline of the Spirit. Empower us for making wise, Gospel-choices—saying “Yes!” to right and helpful things, and “No!” to futile and self-serving things. Father, thank you that this is your crisis, and we are your beloved children. So very Amen we pray, in Jesus’ merciful and mighty name.
We love you! We pray that this time in worship from your home was just as encouraging as when we are together. God hears our praises – and He delights in it!
Check in with any neighbors you think might need help. Let them know you are available. Walk by faith, not fear. We look forward to seeing you in person. We long to pray with you face to face, hand in hand. But until that time comes, let’s make Jesus non-ignorable through our trust in His sovereignty.
We leave you with this quote from the Reformer Martin Luther, as the Black Death inched closer to his town in the 16th century:
“”I shall ask God mercifully to protect us. Then I shall fumigate, help purify the air, administer medicine and take it. I shall avoid places and persons where my presence is not needed in order not to become contaminated and thus perchance inflict and pollute others and so cause their death as a result of my negligence. If God should wish to take me, he will surely find me and I have done what he has expected of me and so I am not responsible for either my own death or the death of others. If my neighbor needs me however I shall not avoid place or person but will go freely as stated above. See this is such a God-fearing faith because it is neither brash nor foolhardy and does not tempt God.”
—Martin Luther, Works v. 43, p. 132. Letter “Whether one may flee from a Deadly Plague” written to Rev. Dr. John Hess.
“See” you next week!