How are Lutheran Congregations Reassuring Members amid the Covid-19 Pandemic?

Our Savior Lutheran Chuch

Centereach, NY

Some may be wondering how Our Savior may be affected by the coronavirus.

My intention is to be in church Sunday to honor the Lord,and serve God’s people and lift up the world in prayer.

Thank God I know of no such infections among us.

I along with the Elders and caregivers among us are continuing to responsibly minister to our sick and shut-ins.

This is a great time for the children of God to strongly show that “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and a sound mind. (2 Tim 1:7) “Be strong and courageous … The Lord is with you” (Joshua 1)

As we welcome one another, be sensitive to your neighbors’ preferences for ways of greeting: hugs, handshakes, fist or elbow bumps, smiles at a distance, or military salutes! This might be a good time to forego the “holy kiss.” And to remember we should all habitually practice good hygiene.

“I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well” (3 John 2)

Newsflash from God to the world: Since the fall of man we will all eventually get sick and die (100%) unless Christ returns first. Without repentance and saving faith in Christ we go to hell. Be ready to meet God.

Watch and Pray. God uses everything to accomplish His purpose and bless His people (Romans 8:28). Pastor

Good Shepherd Lutheran Church

Marion, IL

Good Shepherd members,

The last few days have seen a series of cancellations as major sporting leagues and events have been suspended and cancelled. State universities are ending on site classes, and students will have to continue using online means. We wait to see if further measures meant to slow the spread of the coronavirus will impact local schools.

While it is possible to question whether all of these measures are necessary, putting the best construction on things, we can say that this is a precautionary move that is intended to prevent the health care system from being overwhelmed. The flu season is a time when hospitals and health providers are already taxed. Coronavirus has shown the ability to spread very quickly and can be life threatening to the elderly and those with pre-existing health problems. A rapid spread of the virus could infect people from this group and add them as a new and additional burden to the health care system. In particular, the limited capacity of critical care areas (with the essential presence of respirators) is a major concern.

Humanly speaking, it is important that we do not overreact in fear. We are not dealing with the bubonic plague. While it spreads easily, the coronavirus poses a very low threat to most people. A few adjustments may be necessary during this time, but on the whole it is not going to change life at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church.

Good Shepherd will continue to be the place where Christ’s Means of Grace are administered to deliver the forgiveness of sins and strengthen faith. There will be no changes of any kind to the schedule of services. We always need what Christ gives us in the Divine Service, and so it will never stop at Good Shepherd.

Members are encouraged to follow the common sense guidelines that have been provided through many media sources. Wash your hands thoroughly. If you feel that you may be sick, stay home. These are measures that I trust you would do in any circumstance.

If you are elderly or have health issues that put you at risk, and therefore you do not believe you should be present in gatherings of people, stay at home and contact me. I will be happy to bring the Sacrament to you and have the Divine Service in your home.

When present at church, if you don’t feel comfortable shaking hands, do not do so. The chalice will continue to be used in distributing our Lord’s blood. If during this time you are more comfortable receiving His blood from an individual cup, then do that.

As Christians we do not fear times of uncertainty because we know the certain truth of the risen Lord. Jesus Christ has conquered sin and death by his cross and resurrection. We live by the truth of the apostle Paul’s words:

For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living. (Romans 14:7-9).

Trusting in Jesus Christ, our prayer now and always, is that of the psalmist:

Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love, that he may deliver their soul from death and keep them alive in famine. Our soul waits for the LORD; he is our help and our shield. For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name. Let your steadfast love, O LORD, be upon us, even as we hope in you. (Psalm 33:18-22)

Zion Lutheran Church

Omaha, NE

Dear saints at Zion,

In this time where many optional activities are being canceled, our attention should be on the Word of God.

The Christian in external things, however, is free and motivated by love, not compelled by force or laws.

So, if you think it loving toward others and safe, you are certainly welcome and encouraged to hear the saving Word at Zion, as usual.

Zion is not planning to cancel services, since the Father desires the Word of His Son to go out and deliver from sins and eternal death. That is the very purpose this world exists: so the Spirit may create faith by the Word. We, your pastors, plan to fulfill our pastoral call to proclaim this message of Christ crucified for you.

If you are unable or think it unwise to attend temporarily, please do note we post sermons online.

Also our website has video links and helpful articles.

And God your Father has promised to hear every prayer made through Christ in faith, no matter where you are at.

Use God’s name well, whether at home, serving others, or church. “We should fear and love God so that we do not curse, swear, use satanic arts, lie, or deceive by His name, but call upon it in every trouble, pray, praise, and give thanks.”

Trust the Almighty Father to deliver you from death, for the sake of Jesus’ suffering and victorious rising.

For safety and to allay fears, no greeting is required before or after church.

You are free to come and leave without shaking hands.

But confidence in Christ, who rose from the dead, over our sins, is not optional for the Christian.

May the Lord cause us in this time of humbling to focus on the one thing needful in this life–faith in Christ’s strong promises.

Heavenly Father, move our nation, and all nations of the world, to repentance in this time of uncertainty and tragedy, that sinners would listen to your Word and serve you alone at all times. Grant us safety in this life, as we long for the holy life in Your Kingdom above, which you have given us in Jesus’ Word. Amen.