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Category Archives: Pastoral Letters

Pondering Church (COVID19)

It is worthwhile to continually discern our understanding of church, its essential elements, and the priorities it communicates, but the global COVID-19 pandemic offers a crucial opportunity as it challenges us to be creatively adaptive.

Holy Grounds, our informal faith-based discussion, was held digitally. I invited us to ponder church, the defining elements grieved in social distancing, and how our in-person gatherings will be different (at least temporally).

In regard to the national dialogue, our discernment is increasingly appropriate.

The church is indeed essential, but the church has never been closed despite the closed buildings because it is not a building or a specific community gathered at a specific location and time.

Martin Luther defined the church in The Papacy in Rome, writing: Read the rest of this entry »

 
 

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Freed to Not Kill (COVID 19)

Our governments are discerning the appropriate response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which balances the risk of the virus and the strain on the economy, the fears of the cautious and the voices of the protestors, and of course the emotional and mental impact of social distancing.

Meanwhile, we are called to discern our appropriate response. Although we should not impose our faith and its understanding upon individuals or society, it should inform our personal and congregational response. Thankfully, the Lutheran tradition benefits from the writings of Martin Luther, who was frequently engaged in civil matters while remaining firmly rooted in his faith and its understanding.

Luther wrote The Two Kingdoms, which discerns the relationship between and our role in the civil kingdom and the kingdom of God. The kingdom of God is here in glimpses, it is near, and it is not yet fulfilled. As baptized Christians, we are called to exist within these two kingdoms, in order to further manifest the kingdom of God within our lives, communities, and the entire creation.

Luther also wrote The Freedom of a Christian. Freedom has always been a treasured principle, but especially within the United States. There are American communities currently protesting that social isolation and its restrictions are infringing upon said freedom. Luther understood that Jesus the Christ is our only lord, or governing authority, BUT Christ commands us to love and to serve our neighbors. In essence, we have been freed in order to seek justice, act with compassion and mercy, and to love and serve ALL people, especially the most vulnerable. Perhaps, the most infamous and conclusive statement within The Freedom of a Christian is:

A Christian is a perfectly free lord of all, subject to none.
A Christian is a perfectly dutiful servant of all, subject to all. Read the rest of this entry »

 

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Christian Responsibility: COVID-19

Hello Beloved Trinity Community,

The COVID 19 pandemic has and will continue to impact the local to global communities, including Trinity and our individual lives.

Although this pandemic is unprecedented within our lifetime, it is not within recorded history. Therefore, the World Health Organization (WHO), the Center for Disease Control (CDC), scientist, and medical professionals are building upon the historical past and scientific developments to “stop the spread” and “flatten the curve”. These professionals are pleading for all persons to limit their risk of exposure and their risk of unknowingly exposing our neighbors.

We have heard their pleas: wash hands, sanitize commonly touched surfaces, and wear a mask in public. Our national recommendation is to social distance and isolate. Our states have “Stay at Home” orders.

Although people are frustrated and lamenting these restrictions, these are effective and were similarly utilized during the Black Plague, Spanish Flu, and more recently Polio.

Additionally, these restrictions may overwhelm people who desire to contribute towards the cause, question the appropriate Christian response, and discern their available options.

Similar to healthcare professionals, spiritual professionals build upon the guidance of those who came before and scripture to discern the faithful response. Thankfully, Martin Luther provided such guidance. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on April 20, 2020 in Pastoral Letters

 

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COVID 19: Pastoral Letter (part 1)

Hello Beloved,

I pray that his finds you well in mind, body, and soul.

We are existing within an unprecedented, chaotic, and challenging time as the COVID 19 pandemic impacts our lives, communities, nations, and the entire world.

  • Concerts, Sporting Events, and Social Gathering are postponed.
  • Educational institutions, pre-schools to universities, are closed.
  • Companies are requiring employees to work from the comfort of their homes.
  • Companies are laying off employees and closing their doors.
  • Restaurants are limited to carry-out and delivery business only.
  • Churches are embracing digital worship until further notice.
  • Multiple states have issued ‘Shelter In Place’ or ‘Stay At Home’ Orders.

It seems that our communities, nations, and the entire world is closed with the exception of essential services, such as: Medical, First Responders, Grocery, Utilities, and Financial Institutions.

Admittedly, I questioned the drastic precautions feared when COVID 19 reached American soil. It was rooted not in rebellion or a sense of being invincible, but rather in a lack of knowledge and understanding. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on March 26, 2020 in Pastoral Letters

 

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