As a congregation we are trying to do what Jesus would do: sacrificing our desires and convenience for the sake of others. But no matter what, we need not sacrifice our faith or our relationship with Christ and His Church.
For now, we are not sharing Church gatherings, corporate worship, or Holy Communion, but we can still share in mutual encouragement, Holy Scripture, and prayer.
Lenten devotionals from the North American Lutheran Church are available online at https://thenalc.org/lent2020/
The NALC also makes available spoken and sung versions of the daily Morning Prayer (Matins) at https://thenalc.org/worship-resources/morning-prayer-matins/
If you have internet access, these resources are easy to find and follow; they offer inspiration and solace.
“Sheltering in place” offers opportunities to spend time reading and contemplating Scripture, alone and with others, either in-person or online. Daily Scripture readings are included in the Morning Prayer liturgy (at the online address above) and also at this online address: https://thenalc.org/daily-readings-archive/
There are many ways to read Scripture:
- One method is to read the Scripture passage and then consider: What does this Scripture passage tell me about God, about his Law and Grace, and about myself?
- One other method is to read the Scripture passage and then spend some time imagining yourself as part of the Scripture story you are reading. Old Testament narratives and accounts of Jesus’ life in the Gospels are especially useful with this method.
- You might try reading, in one of these or other ways, and then sharing your thoughts with others, in person or online.
Prayer is a blessed privilege at all times and especially during isolation. Don’t limit yourself to praying before meals and bedtime. If you find prayer intimidating or want to expand your prayer practices, you might consider the following:
- Martin Luther’s simple prayers for family use can be accessed at https://catechism.cph.org/en/daily-prayers.html
- Praying in “your own words,” using a simple acronym, such as the following:
|A (speak a sentence or two of adoration: recalling God’s nature and why you love Him)|
|C (speak a sentence or two of confession: admitting your sins to God)|
|T (speak a sentence or two of thanksgiving: thanking God for specific blessings)|
|S (speak a sentence or two of supplication: asking God for what you and others need)|
- And, of course, our Lord’s Prayer is always a rich source of comfort and inspiration.
Finally, as the Holy Spirit inspires you through these spiritual practices, consider ways to be the Church through charity and generosity:
- Ask God to show you ways to connect with others: phone, text, email, social media
- Ask God to reveal ways to share and support others (He’s got lots of ideas!)
Stay in peace—loving and serving our Lord. Thanks be to God!