Recently, a pastor friend of mine pointed out that in the last 2 ½ months, we have missed 10 weeks of public worship services. That tallies up to 20 Sunday services, 5 Lenten season services, and 6 Thursday Evening services. 15 of those services we missed were communion services. That’s a lot of worship services. So where do we go from here?
We continue on the same directions that we have been going.
As Great Britain chimed thematically during World War II, “Keep calm and carry on.” (Thank you, Rev. Tom Fleischmann.) As simple as that sounds it is indeed true.
In the last 2 ½ months, we have seen that life has dealt us much of same as it did in the years prior to the crisis—suffering, pain, joy, celebration, life, death, temptation, comfort, and on and on and on and on. Our God has remained faithful to His words of promise to us.
What did we do in those times, but “Keep calm and carry on.”
What does that mean to us as Christians? It means we do two things in two different ways.
“Keep calm”—or as Jesus tells us in John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”
- We do this in our hearts as we remember that as God’s children through the water and the word of Holy baptism, we have all God’s promises to be fulfilled for us and our benefit. It is only His work in our hearts that enables us to have such “peace.”
- We continue to step forward in peace as we step outside our comfort zone to extend peace-filled phone calls, cards, letters, e-mail, and other communications that reached out to their fellow members in the name of Jesus, their Savior.
“Carry on”—or as Scripture tells us in Philippians 3:14-15, “Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
- We do this in our hearts of faith knowing that even though we cannot see what lies ahead for us, we take each opportunity as it comes to us, not letting fear be our first response; but trust in confidence in the “upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
- We “carry on” in the fruit of faith that has expressed itself in “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” as we have been displaying it to numerous people throughout the last 2 ½ months.
Brothers and sisters, it has been a challenging, yet very amazing and faith-building 2 ½ months. I have seen new relationships built by ministry needs. I have seen members stepping out in faith into ventures they have never tried before. I have seen a stronger bond between brothers and sisters here at Grace in spite of uncertainty. These are just a few examples. I pray that all of us continue in the ventures and growth that God has done in us during these times.
Shalom in Jesus,
Pastor Peter M. Peitsch