Hope Weekly
March 13, 2020
In my sermon on March 1st, I shared the story of a friend's grandmother who had been hoarding toilet paper and they had countless packages upon her death. I had no idea that by sharing the story I would create a national panic and trend of buying copious amounts of toilet paper. (I am kidding.) This morning I stopped by Costco to get nitrogen for a low tire and I witnessed the frenzied buying of toilet paper, water and sanitizing wipes. I will confess that I only understand the wipes as Covid 19 is a respiratory virus, not intestinal and our water supply remains clean and safe. Maybe we buy the water and TP because we feel so much is out of our control and our fear drives us to need to do something.
 
Bishop Eaton issued a statement last week on the Covid 19 outbreak and compared it to the plague in 1527 and quotes Martin Luther's response to it. Her statement follows my signature below.
 
I have had several ask about worship and other events at Hope. Right now, the suggestion is that indoor gatherings of over 100 are not recommended with a focus that those who are sick or immunocompromised should avoid being in public. Neither worship service is regularly over 100 persons and Hope sponsored events during the week have less than that.
 
In worship, we have extra hand sanitizer and we invite you avoid shaking hands during the passing of the peace. This week will provide a basket that you can come and place your offerings in and get hand sanitizer at the same time. As pastors we will greet you at the doors but are going to try to refrain from shaking hands. (Habits are hard to break.)
 
I also want to invite you to consider communing in one form. By this I mean, that you can receive only the bread (wafer) and not dip it into the chalice. Martin Luther affirmed that you receive both body and blood in the bread and often hospital and prison communing is in one form. If things worsen, we will only offer bread and not offer the chalice of wine and grape juice. The wine we use for communion is a sacramental port that has a higher level of alcohol for the sake of public health. As a presider, the pastor at Hope always communes after everyone else in the assembly and I have no reservations or concerns about catching anything from communion.
 
We also offer live streaming of our worship if you are concerned about your health or consider yourself or your family members immunocompromised. (I would invite you to drop the office an email if you use this option as it is helpful to know who is participating online.)
 
Even in the midst of illness, we are called to be the body of Christ for one another. Check on your friends, neighbors and brothers and sisters in Christ by phone and pray that God will raise us those with the gifts to bring healing and cure quickly.
Pastor Kevin JPG 
In 1527 the plague returned to Wittenberg, Germany. Two hundred years earlier the plague had swept across Europe killing up to 40% of the population. Understandably, people were anxious and wondered what a safe and faithful response might be. In answer to this, Martin Luther wrote "Whether One May Flee From a Deadly Plague." In it, he emphasized the duty to care for the neighbor, the responsibility of government to protect and provide services to its citizens, a caution about recklessness, and the importance of science, medicine and common sense.
 
To provide care for the neighbor, Luther recommended that pastors, those in public office, doctors and public servants should remain in the city. Luther himself remained in Wittenberg to care for his people. He recommended that public hospitals be built to accommodate those with the plague. He condemned those who took unnecessary risks that put themselves and others in danger of contagion. Luther also encouraged the use of reason and medicine, writing, "God has created medicines and has provided us with intelligence to guard and take care of the body. ... Use medicine; take potions which can help you; fumigate house, yard, and street; shun persons and places wherever your neighbor does not need your presence" ("Whether One May Flee From a Deadly Plague," 1527).
 
We are living in the time of the coronavirus. We are also living in the time of social media and constant, relentless news coverage. Many of our people have the same concerns as those in Luther's day. Many of our people are anxious. Luther's counsel, based on Scripture, is still sound. Respect the disease. Do not take unnecessary risks. Provide for the spiritual and physical needs of the neighbor. Make use of medical aid. Care for one another, especially the most vulnerable.
 
The churchwide organization recommends the following for churchwide staff: Wash your hands, stay home when you are sick, wear a mask if you have symptoms, consult your medical provider. Bishops and pastors will provide guidelines for worship and church gatherings.
 
Luther also reminded his people and us that we should trust God's faithfulness and promises, particularly the promise eternal life. Paul writes: "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" (Romans 14:8).

Wednesday Lenten Schedule
            5:15 Dinner
            5:45 Kids' Club
            6:00 Confirmation
            6:30 Worship
            7:00 First Communion Class
            7:00 Adult Choir Rehearsal
 
Wednesday Lenten Dinners 
(March 18, 25, & April 1st) we will gather at 5:15 for dinner before 6:30 worship. To sign up for food (soups, salad, bread, and dessert) or help set-up, serve, or clean-up, please contact Mona Pupos at  419-360-0661. Sign up sheets will also be available at the first Lenten Dinner.
 
Kids' Club 
5:45 Children in Kindergarten-6th grade are welcome to join our Wednesday evening children's group during lent for a time of fellowship, playing chimes, singing, a short bible study, and games. We will meet upstairs in the choir room on Wednesdays from 5:45pm-6:25pm. Please contact Gail Mowry for more information.
 
Wednesday Worship Series: Convicted
Step into the courtroom each week in Lent with our Convicted worship
series. Each service puts a different biblical person from the story of Christ's passion and death on trial, accused of an actual crime.
Easter Invitations
Easter invitations are available near the Sanctuary doors.
Please consider inviting a friend to celebrate the Risen Christ with you.

Family at Salem Seeking
Furniture & Other Items
A family at Salem Lutheran lost everything in a fire recently. We are seeking a couch, recliner, stove, refrigerator, kitchen table and chairs, beds, a dresser, pots, and dishes. If you can help please contact Pastor Kevin at pastorkevin@hopetoledo.net.  
Mission Trip to Nashville
Planning is underway for a mission trip to Nashville, TN May 7-10. We will help with tornado relief. Interested persons should contact Scott at selston@aminteriors.com

Decorating for Easter
Decorating for Easter begins after the 7:00 pm Good Friday worship in the Sanctuary.
Contact Ellie Proctor at 419-509-3079 or pupymeinna@yahoo.com for more information.