As we move into Phase three of the COVID-19 pandemic, we draw closer to the normalcy that we once had back in March 2020. But life will never be the same again and we will have to get used to a new normal until a vaccine is created. Luther wrote our favorite Reformation hymn, “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God” around 1527. And in that temporal tragedy we were pointed to eternal hope and consolation. Jesus said, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and pestilences. And there will be terrors and great signs from heaven”. (Luke 21:10-11)
We are seeing similar things now with the COVID-19 pandemic the likes of which we haven’t seen in 100 years. There is confusion, death and financial disaster abounding worldwide. There is division in the nation, state and city. Today, is the start of Phase 3 state wide except for Chicago who won’t start Phase 3 until June 3rd . although it is curious to note that the leading medical experts at the state and city level are not epidemiologist. Epidemiology is the measurement of disease outcomes in relation to a population at risk.
Our churches are treated as insignificant, subjugated under the rule of the Governor who granted Cannabis stores more rights to open then it did to churches. If not for the pressures of the LCMS, other church bodies, lawsuits and intervention of the Illinois Supreme court then church wouldn’t be treated fairly. Now churches are allowed to have in-person worship with up to 25% max capacity of building.
I will now cite a quote from May 1, 2020 on an LCMS blog titled, “This pandemic is temporary.”
LCMS President Matthew Harrison stated, “This crisis forces us to ask, how shall we act when it’s over?” He reminds us that crises force us to ask foundational questions: What does the church mean in our lives? Are we living lives of fear or joyfulness? Have we learned something about our congregation or community?
Have we learned something about reaching out? Have we learned something about being together in the LCMS? How might we work together with our LCMS circuit for the sake of the Gospel?
Brothers and sisters let us not forget that, “for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). Therefore, we can dare in Christ to be confident that we shall be stronger for passing through this crisis stronger together.
In conclusion, May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.