OSL Responds to COVID-19
Pastoral Letter #23
Week of 16 September 2020

Dear OSL Family,
We greet you in the name of our Lord Jesus, who announces a brand of grace that challenges our fairness sensibilities: “…the last will be first, and the first will be last.” As people who have received God’s undeserved mercy, let us be a church that, out of deep sense of abundance, celebrates God’s grace and boldly embraces and serves all people.

“The Beginning Is Near”
The Beginning Is Near logoLast weekend we not only launched another programming year here at OSL but we also began a new preaching series in which we are reflecting on parables Jesus told that help us anticipate a godly way of life that ends earthly business as usual. These stories are not always easy to hear or understand but they are laced with hope in God, who is making all things new.

Join us for worship this weekend: 5:00 p.m. on Saturday 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 will 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. Sunday worship will also 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 each Monday.

Confirmation Sunday
This Sunday is Confirmation Sunday for our ninth grade confirmands. We have divided the class into two groups, limited the number of guests allowed per confirmand, and scheduled two outdoor worship services, all in an effort to celebrate this significant milestone as safely as possible.

During worship, each confirmand will be asked a question which they have spent the last three years preparing to answer: Do you intend to continue in the covenant God made with you in holy baptism—to live among God’s faithful people, to hear the word of God and share in the Lord’s supper, to proclaim the good news of God in Christ through word and deed, to serve all people, following the example of Jesus, and to strive for justice and peace in all the earth?

Please hold our confirmands and their families in your prayers this week, spend a little time reflecting on this question of faith, and consider using this special event in the life our congregation as an opportunity to reaffirm your baptismal calling.

Listen Learn Love Lead
As we look forward to hosting Pastor Lenny Duncan at Our Savior’s on September 27, we encourage you to prepare for his time with us by reading his book (available for purchase in the Church Office and for checkout in the church library), reviewing the resources available here on our website, and formulating questions that you’d like to ask him.

While talking about racial injustice and white supremacy will likely stir within us strong emotions, we recognize that now is the time for us to be talking about this, especially in light of our baptismal calling (see above). Rather than approach the conversation, however, with a zero-sum mentality that expects winners and losers, let us commit ourselves to Listen to the lived realities of our siblings of color, Learn of their suffering and the complex social forces that cause it, and strive to act in Love, following the example of our Lord Jesus so that we may Lead the way toward a world where everyone has a place at the table.

Some of you have expressed concern over Pr. Duncan’s use of profanity in his book. We can assure you that we are working closely with him to create opportunities for him here at OSL in which he may be authentically himself while making certain that we are hosting events that are both family friendly and in compliance with FCC guidelines for television broadcasts. It is our fervent prayer that the holy work of “striving for justice and peace in all the world” will not be derailed by our sensitivity toward word choices.

Again, we are praying for God’s guidance and grace in all of this. We are praying for patience, compassion, and healing. We are praying for God’s blessing as we strive together to live as God’s people in this time and place. And we are trusting we will find Jesus in the midst of it all.

Prayers of the People
This week as you pray, please intercede for: the OSL confirmation class of 2020; (baptized) Ezri Renae Schomberg; (healing) Maxine Leaders and Uydene Amdahl; and (grieving) the family of Evelyn Nelson; the family of Glenn Benson; Steven Unzicker and David and Judy Unzicker; Heidi and Jeremy Seefeldt and family; Beth and John Helgerson and family; and Rob and Kaaren Huber and family.

Be well and press on,

Your pastors at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church,
Rev. Randy Gehring,
Rev. Tim Lemme,
Rev. Justin Kosec,
Rev. Shelly Gehring