Dear Partners in Ministry to the Gospel of Christ Jesus,
AdventELC will not be reopening...
...because we never closed!
Did I get your attention? Good. Because while AdventELC's building is closed, the ministry of AdventELC never stops. Thanks be to God!
As I sit at my desk thinking about all that has gone on since the middle of March many emotions come to my mind: confusion, fear, faith, love, panic, and frustration. But as I thoroughly ponder which of my emotions I have experienced the most the answer is quite clear: gratitude.
I am grateful for your flexibility, adaptability, generosity, creativity, and faithfulness. I am thankful for the support you’ve shown to me, the staff, and our volunteers who count offerings, plan our responsible reopening, run our live streams, offer devotions, clean the sanctuary, provide special music, and so much more.
I am grateful for our government. Their job is not easy. How and when to do things or not to do things has the potential to create tension, heartache, headache, and sleepless nights.
In Martin Luther’s 1523 essay
On Temporal Authority
Luther argues that God rules the world in a twofold way, at least insofar as his rule is visible to the eyes of faith. The secular or temporal government is necessary alongside the kingdom of Christ. "
For without it [secular government] this life could not endure.
" He goes on saying, "
God is in preaching, in baptism, and in government; that is where you can find him.
To finish this thought, I also think on Luther’s explanation of the 5th petition of the Lord’s Prayer (give us this day our daily bread) where he writes, “[Daily bread includes]
Everything required to satisfy our bodily needs, such as food and clothing, house and home, fields and flocks, money and property; a pious spouse and good children, trustworthy servants, godly and faithful rulers, good government; seasonable weather, peace and health, order and honor; true friends, faithful neighbors, and the like.
I am thankful to God for all that God has done, is doing, and will do for me and my family, friends, and neighbor… as well as all that God is doing for you, your family, friends, and neighbor. The living of these days are not easy. But as the faithful and popular Psalm 23 reminds us, “
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Friends, we have been a faithful witness these past weeks; let’s continue to shine the light of Christ in this increasingly dark world. What we do as church speaks volumes to the world, especially in times like these.
I know and understand that we want to gather again for in-person worship.
We long to hear the word preached and read in person. We want to partake in the Sacraments of Holy Communion and Baptism. We want to sing the hymns and pray together as a worshiping community.
I do too.
I also want us all to be safe.
I am currently working on a plan for responsible building reopening in consultation with our staff and the AdventELC Council, as well as heeding the advise of the Southern Ohio Synod Bishop’s Office and public health officials as to timing, considerations, and procedures. I hope to have something to share with you in the coming weeks. Please remain flexible and prayerful, as these plans are being developed in a constant state of change.
As we live into this new world there will be adjustments as to how we come together, how we work, and how we connect. While some things will be similar, there will be some things that will be changed forever. The good news is, God’s grace and love do not. Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
For now, stay focused on the Gospel, stay healthy, stay connected, build relationships, look for hope and healing, share joy and stories, pray, wear facial coverings, and social distance as you continue to worship God, follow Jesus, serve others, and make disciples.
With you in serving the Savior,