Beloved Church Family:
Greetings! We are certainly living in strange times. Yet, through these difficulties it is all the more important to live life as the children of God! Where the world is in turmoil, we can be at peace. Where the world is turbulent, we can be calm. Where the world can be selfish, we can be loving. Let us truly live out our vocation in this difficult time!
On March 16th Governor Larry Hogan, through an executive order, halted gatherings of 50 people or more. This included restaurants, bars, casinos, clubs, and all meeting places. This included religious institutions. While this is frustrating, this is not religious persecution. He is not singling out churches but instead attempting to stop the spread of a contagion called COVID-19. [The coronavirus] Due to the goal of this shutdown, the Lutheran Church of our Savior will follow the 4th commandment in regards to being submissive to authority and will halt public worship services.
However, this does not mean we will not be worshipping as a family! We will ramp up our online worship services. Instead of simply offering a puppet show and the sermon we will offer the entire service. We will have music, confession, the creed, readings, the puppet show, the sermon, and prayers. To work online in this fashion we will need personnel that can assist in making all this happen. The number of people necessary is well below 50. [This will also assist in me not preaching to an empty room, which would be weird!] Everyone that will participate in this is below the age/health threshold and the danger zone for this outbreak. Our on-line full offering of worship will continue throughout the outbreak and the shutdown. We are encouraging all families to join us on-line for worship. Please take the time to do this. The times for worship will be 11am on Sunday and 7:15 on Wednesday evenings.
The way to join our online services is simple. Go online and type in youtube.com. After you do that, under the search window, type in LCOOS sermons. This will get you to our youtube channel. At this point simply click on our account and subscribe. In order to subscribe you will have to give an e-mail. When you do this you will automatically get an e-mail that will tell you every single time we are live-streaming a service. From that point all you have to do is click the link in your e-mail every time you get one. You can watch this at any time as it automatically archives. Please sit down as a family and participate as it is all the more important during these turbulent times to be fed and nourished by the Word of God.
Another way to join is to go to our web-page, which is lcoos.org. This is also a good way to get up to date information on our congregation in the midst of this shutdown. You can also, “like” our facebook page which is, “the Lutheran church of our savior” with our emblem on it. If you, “like” and, “follow” that you will get much needed information as well.
Finally, please make sure our office manager pam has your updated e-mail address. If you are NOT getting church e-mails please e-mail pam at email@example.com and make sure she has your e-mail. I will be asking her to send out regular devotionals that you can do as a family or individual throughout this shutdown. It is imperative that you get this e-mails.
Also, I still plan on holding adult Bible study through a program called zoom. The way this works is simple. I e-mail you a link, you click on the link and you can join the Bible study. You can do this through your phone or a computer with a camera. An elder should be contacting you in the next day or so to see how you are doing and if you would like to join adult Bible study. If so, please give him your e-mail and you will receive an email from me Saturday with instructions.
Please bear with us as we try and continue to stay connected as a church family through this shutdown. God has us. All will be well.
Please remember that Jesus’ words in Mark 12:28-31 are more applicable now than ever. They read, “28 And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
Think of ways to showcase our love of God at this time. Pray about ways to be a witness and a help to our neighbors. During this time of uncertainty many will exhibit fear and worry. Be the calming influence of Christ to your neighbors.
We will be in continual contact with you as a church family! God bless you!
Your pastor and friend,
Pastor Christopher Ogne