Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood. May grace and peace be multiplied to you.. -- 1 Peter 1:1,2
May grace and peace be multiplied to you! These are the words of blessing given by St. Peter who reminds God’s people that they are elect exiles, dispersed in the areas around. They are chosen for a purpose but separated to an extent in their lives upon earth. We too find ourselves separated at this time and we hunger for togetherness in God’s presence. Although this family of God is not given to celebrate the feast at this time, we are able to eat! The Lord feeds us as we receive of his word in all its forms and believe and grow on what he gives!
As for thoughts on re-gathering, I have been in touch with members, our elders and church council on this as well as our District and local Lutheran pastors. For safety and to alleviate concerns it seems best at this time that we move slowly and safely. We do not want to be hasty but careful in wishing to do the best thing for all. This will mean that when we begin again to hold services these will likely be small and held in the safest way possible.
On a related note, although we have no worship plan as yet, summer is soon upon us. I have been in touch with some members regarding the summer worship schedule once it commences. It seems that some of our older members who attend the evening services find Thursday nights at 7pm to be prohibitive or impossible to attend. Having spoken to others as well, it seems that the Thursday service is no longer meeting the needs of some for whom it was truly desired/needed in the past. Continuing to hold only Saturday evening services at 5pm in the summers going forward will work well for the vast majority and will provide a consistent schedule for our members and visitors alike.
The Lord be with us all in this interim as we are separated awaiting the gathering of God that is his corporate worship. As elect people we are also earthly exiles. In and through all that we now experience we are ever seeking our homeland to come. We are ultimately citizens of heaven! Although St. John is in exile, in the words of St. Peter today, may grace and peace be multiplied to us all!