Pastoral Letter #26
Week of 14 October 2020
Dear OSL Family,
In days that seem uncertain, when the way forward is unclear, we once again turn to scripture for direction and clarity.
The reading from Matthew assigned for this weekend tells the story of Jesus responding to a trick question about paying taxes, which his adversaries were hoping would get Jesus in trouble with the authorities. Jesus’ response, however, helpfully clarifies how we are called to prioritize our lives—“Give…to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” (Matthew 22:21, NRSV)
Because we belong to God, we live each day as an offering, giving ourselves away in love to God and to our neighbor, following Jesus’ own example on the cross. Even in the most uncertain of times, this is our greatest hope, for we believe that through the risen Christ the beginning of God’s reign of love and mercy is near.
With coronavirus infection and hospitalization rates on the rise statewide, we continue to be vigilant here at Our Savior’s tending to those things that help us love our neighbor by keeping them safe:
• Staying home when we don’t feel well or when we know we have had direct contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID–19;
• Wearing a mask over our nose and mouth whenever we are with others;
• Washing our hands regularly with soap and water and using hand sanitizer; and
• Maintaining at least six feet between others and ourselves.
By following these precautions, we are able to gather safely for worship. Join us on Saturday at 5:00 p.m. in the Sanctuary, or on Sunday morning—Celebrate at 8:45 in the Celebrate Center, or Festive at 10:15 in the Sanctuary. All services include contactless Holy Communion, which we believe is a feast of welcome prepared by God that signals to all that the beginning of the kingdom of heaven is near enough to taste and touch.
If you are not ready to join us for in-person worship, catch us on KTTW (FOX) at 9:00 on Sunday morning and on KSCB (cable) at 1:00 Sunday afternoon. In addition, Sunday worship will be streamed on Facebook Live at 8:45 and 10:15 a.m., and recordings of the Sunday services will be posted on our website on Monday.
Faith at the Polls
The act of voting is an opportunity for God’s children to live out their calling to give themselves away in love to God and to others. The temptation, of course, is to allow partisan ideologies to guide our decisions rather than our faith, which leads us to follow the ways of God in everything we do and say. It’s not that these two things are necessarily in opposition; it’s simply a matter of getting our priorities straight.
As we vote, let us do so first and foremost as followers of Jesus. Let us approach what is both a duty and a privilege as citizens of this country with the humility and prayerfulness of those who belong to God. And regardless of the results, let us continue to strive each day to make our entire lives an offering of love for the sake of the world God made.
Listen Learn Love Lead
In our ongoing conversation about racial injustice, LifeGroups and others who are interested in exploring this topic may find the resources Pr. Justin developed helpful. They are based on some of the readings of our fall series, The Beginning Is Near, and provide opportunities for reflecting on the intersections between scripture and Lenny Duncan’s book Dear Church. You may find these study guides here on our website.
Calling All Leaders!
We believe that the Holy Spirit is at work preparing some of you to serve as leaders in our congregation. At our annual meeting in January, we will elect a vice president, a treasurer, an at-large member of the Governing Board, and nine synod assembly voting members. If you are feeling the Spirit’s nudge to serve in a leadership role or know of someone whom you think should be invited to consider such a role, please contact Anne Rieck McFarland, email@example.com.
Prayers of the People
We live out our love for God and each other when we hold each other in prayer. This week, please intercede for (newly married) Israel Vidales and Rachel Schmieding; (healing) Dee Siegrist, Marcia Muller, Ron Goergen; and (grieving) the families of Tudy Neby, Tamee Sandvall, and Delores Moe.
With love for each of you,
Your pastors at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church,
Rev. Randy Gehring,
Rev. Tim Lemme,
Rev. Justin Kosec,
Rev. Shelly Gehring