I want to inform you that this afternoon, the deacons and myself have decided to heed the recommendation of our Governor to temporarily cease our public gatherings. We are therefore not going to have services this Sunday through next Wednesday (March 18).
Today, Governor Walz declared a Peacetime Emergency. The guidelines for this include that no public gathering should occur where 100 or more people are in a space where social distancing of 6 feet per person cannot be maintained. That means that our Sunday morning gatherings would not meet this standard. Though we do not always have 100 or more in our other gatherings, we feel, for ease of communication and to insure that we meet the guidelines, we ought to stop all our services through this Wednesday.
The Lord has given us His Word to guide us in all questions and decisions. In this case, Romans 13:1-5 gives us principles to help guide us. There we are told that we are to be subject to the governing authorities since they are appointed by God. And later, Paul says, “For he [the governing authority] is God’s minister to you for good.” I am trusting that God has given us our leaders for our good. These leaders are not targeting us as Christians, and we do not need to fear that we are disobeying God and obeying men. We show our faith toward God in submitting to them whenever we are able.
Should this state of emergency continue, I will explore other means that we may use to encourage one another as brothers and sisters in Christ.
In the mean time, let me encourage you to consider these actions this Sunday.
- Take some time to reflect upon your own life and your fellowship with our Lord.
- Read the Scripture, and pray. If you have a family, I encourage you to gather them together to do this and to sing together. You may also gather with another church family close to you!
- One text I would have you think about is Colossians 1. Use it as a guide to help you pray for our church and for individuals in our church. You may also wish to sing the hymn “Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise” as it points to our hope in God as the source of all that is right in a world where we “blossom and flourish as leaves on a tree and wither and perish.” If you wish, you can also find a past sermon to listen to from our church website or some other gospel proclaiming ministry.
- Pray for our leaders and governing authorities. Pray that they would have wisdom in these matters and that justice and righteousness and safety would guide their choices.
- Pray for our medical professionals.
- Pray for the sick.
I plan to maintain regular working hours this week. Feel free to give me a call or schedule a meeting as needs arise. In the meantime, I will be praying for you!
With Christian Affection,
Pastor David Stertz