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Coronavirus and Christian Faith - Lent 3

Yesterday Christ Lutheran Church did not celebrate "Coronavirus Sunday," but "The Third Sunday in Lent" We did speak on the subject both before and after Divine Service. There were also references in the sermon, but current events never set the agenda for the church.

God be praised that yesterday we had an attendance of 29 at worship. Normally we see about 30 to 40 on a given week, so I am grateful for this Christian fellowship. Things went very smoothly, as they did the previous Wednesday. We will continue the following practices until the emergecy is over.

There will be no coffee hour. No greeting line after worship. No Pastor's class. Each communicant will receive the Body of Christ in his hand, and will dip the host into the Holy Cup of his Blood as it is passes by. If you wish to keep some distance at the rail, or in the pews from other people do as you see fit. There is no need to legislate.

I repeat that if you are at risk for illness and you would like to stay home you may call Pr. K. to receive private communion. If you do attend but need to abstain from the Supper because of risk, you may freely do so.

No one should be careless with his life, it is a gift given him by God and we have a Christian responsibility to preserve our own, and to "help our neighbor in every bodily need."

Also here is a copy of yesterday's sermon in case you were absent.

But remember abov all the words of our Lord, "Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him." (John 12)

And let us take heed of the Thomas Taylor hymn:

I’m but a stranger here,
Heaven is my home;
Earth is a desert drear,
Heaven is my home;
Danger and sorrow stand
Round me on every hand;
Heaven is my fatherland,
Heaven is my home.

What though the tempest rage,
Heaven is my home;
Short is my pilgrimage,
Heaven is my home;
And time’s wintry blast
Soon shall be over past;
I shall reach home at last,
Heaven is my home.

Therefore I murmur not,
Heaven is my home;
Whatever my earthly lot,
Heaven is my home;
And I shall surely stand
There at my Lord’s right hand.
Heaven is my fatherland,
Heaven is my home.

Also of the hymn by Sigismund von Birken, (1626-1681)

1. Let us ever walk with Jesus,
Follow His example pure,
Flee the world, which would deceive us
And to sin our souls allure.
Ever in His footsteps treading,
Body here, yet soul above,
Full of faith and hope and love,
Let us do the Father's bidding.
Faithful Lord, abide with me;
Savior, lead, I follow Thee.

2. Let us suffer here with Jesus,
To His image, e'er conform;
Heaven's glory soon will please us,
Sunshine follow on the storm.
Though we sow in tears of sorrow,
We shall reap with heavenly joy;
And the fears that now annoy
Shall be laughter on the morrow.
Christ, I suffer here with Thee;
There, oh, share Thy joy with me!

3. Let us also die with Jesus.
His death from the second death,
From our soul's destruction, frees us,
Quickens us with life's glad breath.
Let us mortify, while living,
Flesh and blood and die to sin;
And the grave that shuts us in
Shall but prove the gate to heaven.
Jesus, here I die to Thee
There to live eternally.

4. Let us gladly live with Jesus;
Since He's risen from the dead,
Death and grave must soon release us.
Jesus, Thou art now our Head,
We are truly Thine own members;
Where Thou livest, there live we.
Take and own us constantly,
Faithful Friend, as Thy dear brethren.
Jesus, here I live to Thee,
Also there eternally.

We should never fear death, dear Christians! St. Paul says, "For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." (Phil 1:23) 

And again: "36 As it is written, "For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered." 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:36-39)

Fortify yourselves with these, dear Christians, and you will be fortified indeed! For to hear the Word of God is to have fellowship with God in Christ. 

"Think on these things." (Phil. 4:8)


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