Well Dear Friends,
As you know we are not out of the woods yet with this Covid pandemic. Consequently, we do need to keep wearing masks during worship. I think nearly all adults at FLC have been vaccinated already, but if not, I strongly urge you to do so soon. Vaccines save lives and help us protect ourselves and our neighbors.
Nobody has asked me for a religious exemption to the vaccine yet. Please don’t. My answer will be a firm, “No.” Our synod Bishop Kristen Kuempel says to refer people to the 5th commandment, “You shall not kill,” and to Martin Luther’s explanation in the small catechism: “We are to fear and love God so that we do not hurt our neighbors in any way, but help them in all their physical needs.” So for safety’s sake, choir won’t be happening in October. We’ll see what November brings. But we can still worship God together and have Bible studies and prayer lunches and youth group and quilting. Sunday School and Conformation classes got going again in September. We had a successful rummage sale on September 23rd, 24th and 25th. Big thanks to JulieAnna Boss and all the workers who put in many hours to make it happen. And we can still celebrate special events in the life of the church like Confirmation Sunday and Reformation Sunday.
On Sunday October 24th, four young people will be Confirmed in the faith. Richard Boss, Kassidy Bremner, Austin Wickerath, and Dani Lindenfesler will be Affirming their Baptisms. Please come hear their faith statements and celebrate with them as they mark this milestone on their life-long journeys of faith. Of course there will be cake afterwards.
Sunday October 31st is reformation Sunday. We give thanks for the lives and work of reformers of the church like Martin Luther and Philipp Melanchthon. Now, Martin Luther was far from perfect. He said some awful things about our Jewish friends, for which the Lutheran Church has officially apologized. We always need to guard against anti-Semitism and the many other forms of racial hatred which are sadly on the rise.
But we do give thanks for Luther’s theological clarity. Studying and translating the Bible convinced Luther that our salvation is all a free gift to us through Jesus Christ. We are saved, set right with God, and “Justified by grace through faith.” There is no earning to it. Because of God’s love shown to us through the death and resurrection of Jesus, God’s Son, we are free to live grateful lives of love and service with our neighbors in need.
Our wonderful organist Betty Kramlich has some special “Mighty Fortress” music planned for Reformation Sunday. And Jeff and Marilyn Snedecker will be adding a “Mighty Fortress” French horn and piano arrangement. We are so blessed to have great music at First Lutheran Church!
Hang in there dear friends in Christ and stay safe. We will get through this pandemic together. Our Savior Jesus promises, “I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matt. 28:20