Dear Members of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church,
First, and foremost, I hope you are all healthy and well. This time of being separated from one another has been challenging for all of us and especially for those in our community who live alone. The leadership of Good Shepherd have been trying to figure out ways to stay connected with one another via online worship and daily devotionals. However, digital connections are not the same as person to person relationships. My prayer is that we can all get back to living life without six foot barriers between us. Until that time Good Shepherd will continue to find new and innovative ways to bring the gospel of Jesus Christ to your homes.
The big question nagging at all of us is when can we return to church? As of today it looks as if we can return to worship on Sunday May 3rd; however, that could all change. My number one priority right now is to be safe rather than sorry and am obligated to follow the directions of both Laurie Caesar-Larsen, the bishop of the Oregon Synod, and our Governor. If they give us the all clear to return to worship – great! However, if either of them move the goalposts; then I have to follow their directives.
What does a return date of May 3rd or later do to Easter worship? As of right now Larry Heins and I are working on putting together Palm Sunday and Good Friday services to be streamed online or recorded early so they can be viewed on the appropriate days. Easter Sunday we will record early and have a service available early that day. I realize that this is not how Easter Sunday should be celebrated; therefore, the council and I have decided that whatever Sunday we do return to worship will be our Easter Sunday. If we return May 3rd we will celebrate Easter. God forbid if we return sometime later than that we will celebrate Easter. We will have Easter breakfast, Easter worship and celebrate the resurrection in style. A virus can’t stop the victory of Christ it can only delay the celebration.
In the meantime please tune into our worship services that can be found on our webpage https://GoodShepherdAlbany.org and our Facebook page. Also, daily devotionals can be found on our Facebook page. Currently, I am working through the Sermon on the Mount; which is Matthew chapters 5 through 7. Once I am done with the Sermon on the Mount I will begin to look at the parables found in Matthew and discuss their meaning. It has been fun leading these devotionals and hope to continue them beyond the quarantine.
Each day I begin with the verse from Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through him (Christ) who strengthens me.” This verse has become my mantra. I find that it helps me stay grounded and reminds me that God is in control and that God gives us all the gifts we need to get through all the trials of life.
Until we meet again, “May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord look upon you with favor and give you peace.”
Pastor Laura O’Brien