The COVID-19 virus has made us be evangelical in ways we couldn’t have imagined in February. Our future compels us to continue to share the Good News as long as we have breath and creativity and resources (yes, I’m talking about money). Jesus did not leave the disciples as orphans. Rather, he gave them the Spirit of his resurrection so that they could become the CHURCH. Nearly two thousand years later, we share in that mission. We might like to see Jesus as a physical reality. But actually, we do. Look around at the faithful. We are Jesus’ body in the world.
Here is the Prayer of the Day for Ascension:
Almighty God, your blessed Son, our Savior Jesus Christ, ascended far above all heavens that he might fill all things. Mercifully give us faith to trust that, as he promised, he abides with us on earth to the end of time, who loves and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Good news of a different kind.… Barring the unforeseen (such as the resurgence of COVID-19), we will return to corporate worship on Pentecost Sunday, May 31st! We will follow an extremely strict protocol as established by Gov. Hogan and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and its Delaware-Maryland Synod. Details of this plan will be shared next week in this forum.
By coming, you implicitly agree to those terms. Because we cannot socially distance in Fellowship Hall, worship for the foreseeable future will be in the sanctuary. To compromise between the times of the former services, we will gather at 10AM. The service will be a blend of traditional and praise worship. We will have communion, but it will be served in the pews. Masks are, of course, essential, and for reasons to be explained, we cannot sing. Our plan is intended to make this experience as safe as possible. However, please do not feel you are under any obligation to come! If you still want to isolate at home for a month or two to see what happens, that is entirely up to you. We will live stream the service. Since this is new to us, it may be available later in the day. You can still participate in worship this way. Pray that the virus continues to decrease in infection rate, and for the success of our plan to bring us together!
As always, your continued financial support of the congregation is appreciated. It is a pleasure to report that our offerings are almost the same as they were before the virus forced us into the present situation. That is amazing. It is a testimony to your belief that we are the Body of Christ, even if we cannot see one another face-to-face. This cannot be said of most congregations, many of which are failing, so you should all pat yourselves on the back!
In 1 Peter 5:6-7 we read: “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you.” The Apostle Peter assures us that God will hear our humble, honest, and trusting prayer, made in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Thanks be to God!
PRAYER VENTURES: May 2020
These petitions are offered as guides to prayer for the global, social and outreach ministries of the ELCA, as well as for the needs and circumstances of our neighbors, communities and world. Thank you for your continued prayers for the life and mission of this church.
1 Remember in prayer the leaders, voting members and others of the Rocky Mountain Synod gathering online for a digital synod assembly. Pray that the Spirit will strengthen, guide and encourage them in proclaiming the gospel, growing the church, serving our neighbor and doing God’s work in an ever-changing world.
2 There are more than 100 Asian congregations and ministries in the ELCA. We remember in our prayers these congregations, ELCA Asian and Pacific Islander Ministries and the Association of Asian and Pacific Islanders, and ask God to bless their work with distinct, unique groups and communities as part of a common yet diverse Asian community.
3 Jesus is our Savior, guide and shepherd, whom we have faith in and trust with leading us through life in this world and to a new life ― life eternal ― that we could not have imagined or created on our own. Praise God!
4 Give thanks for the service and witness of U.S.-based mission personnel and of young adults serving in the Young Adults in Global Mission program, who have been brought home from their work with global companions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Pray for their physical and spiritual health and that they will continue to respond to God’s call to serve in our church, our congregations, related organizations and society.
5 Ask God to help us have faith in how God leads, comforts, protects, nourishes and loves us all the days of our life.
6 Pray that we will be guided by the spirit, manner and example of Jesus to be humble and gracious in our faith, service and daily lives.
7 Ask God to help us endure the risks and difficulties of sharing the good news of Jesus Christ, doing good, working for justice and serving our neighbors in need.
8 Give thanks for the work of the ELCA Domestic Mission unit, directors for evangelical mission, synod staff, coaches and consultants, and other partners assisting congregations as they renew themselves as communities of faith engaged in God’s mission ― locally and globally.
9 Pray that children and youth who suffer domestic abuse will experience the physical, emotional and spiritual care of concerned, skilled adults who intervene in their situations and help provide the safety, healing and trustworthy love for which they yearn.
10 Remembering Jesus’ words to Thomas — “I am the way, and the truth, and the life” — we pray that they will empower us to embrace Jesus as the son of God and our salvation, and fill our lives with confidence to perform works of love, mercy, justice, truth and kindness.
11 Pray for our outdoor ministries and their year-round and summer staff, who are working to adapt their ministries, programs and ways of serving congregations and communities during these times of COVID-19.
12 Pause throughout the day and give thanks for the simple things of creation that enrich your life and faith and fill you with joy and wonder.
13 Give thanks that God knows us intimately and listens to our prayers, and that God is our rock, refuge and source of steadfast love in all circumstances and in all places.
14 Pray for students of all ages as they participate in online classes, wonder about their school year, prepare for finals and graduations, and long for their normal social interactions and school activities.
15 Pray for synod leaders who are discerning new plans, formats and dates for their assemblies with concern for the health and well-being of leaders, voting members and others; pray the Spirit will guide their plans and strengthen their unwavering work of proclaiming the gospel, growing the church, serving our neighbor and doing God’s work in the world.
16 Give thanks and praise to God that our church and lives are built on the solid, enduring foundation of Christ; pray that we, as siblings in Christ, will be bold and welcoming in our invitation to our neighbors to believe, have faith and experience the blessings of community with us.
17 The love of God and the Spirit of truth dwell within us and prevail in our daily lives. Pray that with this knowledge and inspiration, we will feel encouraged to follow the commandments and ways of God and to exemplify love, truth, mercy and service in the world.
18 Thank God for our special relationship with the Reformed Church in America, a full communion partner with the ELCA since 1997; pray for the church, its diverse ministries and its members and leaders; and pray that together we will find mutual support, new partnerships and new resources for the work of sharing the gospel and serving our neighbor.
19 Pray that our baptism into the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ will banish our fears of doing God’s work in the world and will prepare us daily for sharing the gospel and serving our neighbor with gentleness and reverence.
20 Give thanks for parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents whose example and convictions teach children and youth the values of compassion, generosity and respect for one another.
21 Ascension of Our Lord While we look forward to everlasting life and being with Jesus in heaven, pray that we will live with confidence and joy in the promise of salvation and the presence of the Spirit, which sustains and equips us for the work we are called to today as people of the good news.
22 Remember in prayer our ELCA missionaries, global companions and international leaders. Pray for their health and well-being as well as their continuing witness and service in the world even though some of our work together may have been temporarily suspended.
23 Think about the blessings, wisdom, revelations and gifts you have received by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ; give thanks for each one.
24 Give thanks, praise and glory to God for restoring our relationship with our Creator and unifying us ― beloved children of God ― through the love and sacrifice of Jesus.
25 Memorial Day Today we remember, mourn and give thanks for the military men and women who have given their lives in pursuit of justice, peace and freedom for our country and all nations.
26 Pray that the Spirit of God working in us will help us value every generation for its faith, wisdom, gifts and diverse life experiences, and that we will not disparage or discount one another because of age, mistakes or differences of perspective but instead will give thanks and affirm and support one another as members of the body of Christ, which includes all generations.
27 Pray that we will be mindful and responsive to those who have become more lonely, isolated or distant over the past weeks and months, and that they will feel more connected and comforted as we reach out to one another and discover new ways of being in community and relationship with each other.
28 Give thanks for the commitment, creativity and compassion of teachers, teacher assistants, professors, educators and school staff who, facing difficult and uncertain situations, have persisted in attending to the educational and personal needs of their students ― our children, youth and young adults.
29 Pray for congregations, Christian education leaders, youth and family ministry leaders, and volunteers preparing for summer programs, that they will deepen and stir the faith of members and reach into neighborhoods and surrounding communities with the gospel and an active spirit of hospitality and service.
30 Pray that our church’s endeavors to foster understanding and unity between Lutherans, other Christian denominations and other faiths will yield abundant fruit for the glory of God and for healing our rifts and our brokenness.
31 Day of Pentecost Lift up prayers of joy and thanksgiving for how we are united in one Spirit yet manifest diverse gifts, abilities and wisdom for sharing the gospel, building up the body of Christ and serving our neighbor.