May 27, 2020  

   We're into this pandemic response eight weeks now in Illinois. No big church services. No school. No in-person Bible classes. Very few people stopping by the church office. No hosptial or nursing home visits. Work from home. I really miss seeing you all at church. You are my family.

   I know many of you are without work right now. Funds from the government have tried to soften the blow, but there's real hardship. We are very thankful that donations to the church have kept up. You continue to support us on the church and school staff, even if we can't meet together in large groups like we are accustomed to. The ministry of Jesus carries on.

   I'm learning as we go. At the beginning I said the church was closed. It's not. We are open, but we are trying to obey the authorities while we remain faithful to the Word of God. So we do have servcies on Sunday morning. They're short with no music, but we have the essentials: Scripture, confession and absolution, prayers, creed, and the Lord's Supper. For those who are healthy, I encourage you to come in small groups. For those who are compromised in your health, stay safe at home. For all of you, watch our service, complete with music and sermon, on Youtube or cable 81.

   We should take the time we have been given to pray. God knows what He's doing. He will sustain those who call out to him. Hebrews 1:3, “He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high."  This means Jesus is in control and has purified us from all sin. The "sitting down" part means his work is finished. Nothing will be able to take us away from his authority over us and his love for us. Certainy not a virus. When we pray, we acknowledge this by asking for the things we need. Praying in Jesus name means praying with his word in our mind, so we ask for those things that will keep us close to him and bless our faith in him.

   So we pray for ourselves, for our whole congregation, for the goverment, for the students, medical workers...for everyone. When we have a worry or concern, turn it into a prayer. God will answer. Believing this means you have faith.

God be with you. Hope to see you soon in person.

Pastor Jim Wright