Emmaus Lutheran Church - LCMS

Pastor David W. Kern
Worship Service: Sundays at 10 A.M.
Sunday School and Bible Class: Sundays at 9 A.M.


May 4, 2020

In a meeting this evening the Elders and the Pastor met, with the consultation of Diane Bertels (a nursing professional), and Rich Bertels (our congregational chairman) to discuss our ability to worship under the Illinois guidelines, and the possibility of receiving the gift of the Lord’s Supper once again. The governor in a recent statement found cause to exempt places of worship from a list of activities prohibited under the “stay at home” policies, while still leaving in place the ceiling of ten persons in any place at any one time. Face masks are mandated when the six-foot distancing is not kept.

While we appreciate the new ruling, that allows us to gather in small groups, we also recognize the restrictions are intended to keep our members, as citizens of the state of Illinois safe. That is after-all the purpose and cause of civil government, even as Martin Luther provides us in Catechetical instruction, regarding the Fourth Commandment.

The Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper remains important to us, in the message of salvation it brings into our personal lives, both in this world and for life eternal. Nevertheless, it is not our action of attending the meal…the frequency of attendance over period, but rather the faith that our Lord assures us by way of His meal. Some may find a hunger for the Meal more frequently than another. We look forward to the time when we may be able to partake of His Meal in communion with each other, but for now we will do so in group sizes that will protect us from the virus.

Because of the limitation of the numbers to assemble at any given time, we will continue to distribute worship services by way of the internet, for those having the ability to do so. We have provided copies by mail for those who are unable to do so. The church will continue to be open for prayer on Sunday mornings from 9:00 a.m. through 11:00 a.m. Beginning immediately, opportunities to receive the Lord’s Supper will be made by appointment with Pastor Kern. Please contact him, by way of the parsonage/church phone at (618) 377-6221 or his cell phone at (618) 610-0669.

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There is an appointed Lectionary Summary that is part of the Propers, In the Time of Pestilence, when observed by the Church, which follows:

“The Lord once sent pestilence on Israel, but David, the Lord’s anointed, bore the guilt of sin and offered the sacrifice that ‘[stayed] the hand’ of the Lord’s avenging angel (2 Samuel 24). So much more has Christ, our Savior, borne the wrath of God against our sin and offered Himself as the atoning sacrifice that spares us. ‘With His wounds we are healed’ (Isaiah 53:5), so we boldly beseech the Lord’s mercy upon us for Christ’s sake. ‘Death [reigns]’ over all of Adam’s children in this world because of sin, yet ‘through Jesus Christ’ comes the ‘gift of righteousness’ that brings ‘eternal life’ (Romans 5). Let the Church implore God’s mercy in repentance and faith for the sake of Christ, whose hand alone can heal every disease (Luke 4), and in whom is salvation, life and resurrection from the dead.”

My dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ Jesus,

As a result of the pestilence, Corona Virus, we have been called upon to shelter in place. We will continue to seek the Lord’s wisdom, in prayer, as He sees us past this time. We are not the first to witness such challenges. Beginning with our first parents, when sin was brought into the world, there has been one form of pestilence leading to another. In a real sense, it was our first parents who “sheltered in,” hiding from God. With that first sin, death came into the world. No one could escape the effects of death…death of a family member, death of friends, death of neighbors and ultimately our own death. That is what we fear even from the COVID-19 Virus today.

God affirms the limitation of man’s life on earth, then it is demonstrated in anger by one son of our first parent’s by taking the life of another (Genesis 4:8). Cain, too, employs his own device of “sheltering in” from the Lord, “…am I my brother’s keeper?” (Genesis 4:9). Our Lord speaks of pestilence, by way of the prophet, Ezekiel, when he says, “The sword is without; pestilence and famine are within. He who is in the field dies by the sword, and him who is in the city famine and pestilence devour” (Ezekiel 7:15). Jesus, Himself, forthtells of the wars and persecutions, saying, “There will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and pestilences. And there will be terrors and great signs from heaven” (Luke 21:11). Then, as if to put an exclamation on that prediction, He forthtells of the destruction of Jerusalem (Luke 21:20-24). In Matthew’s Gospel, we hear the words of our Lord, saying, “For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places.” (Matthew 24:7).

No sooner has Jesus informed His disciples of this pestilence and destruction, than He becomes a victim of its circumstances, or so we would assume. In the disease of sin, He is betrayed, taken, and beaten, and then hung upon a cross to die. But the irony is that it was all part of God’s plan for our salvation. When the world and Satan have shown forth their best effort to defeat God, on the third day, He raises up His Son in defiance of Satan’s claims. Christ is arisen!

I believe it is also ironic that the fallout of the Corona Virus should have a span of destruction over the seasons of Lent and Easter this year. The onset of the destruction, brought to us a hopelessness of dire predictions, it seems the world had never known. Indeed, death has taken its toll upon family, friends, and neighbors. But God in His grace has brought about new hope, as we see His “Son” arise. While much has been said about the origins of this virus, we are now beginning to see decreases in its hold on our lives. And we have also seen the positive effects in the way in which those around us have demonstrated our Lord’s love, in their actions…helping each other…even some dedicating their own lives and sharing God’s gifts to the healing of their fellow man. We give thanks that our Lord Jesus Christ has arisen! He has arisen indeed! Alleluia!

Collect – O God, You desire not the death of sinners, but rather that we turn from our wickedness and live. Graciously behold Your people who plead to You and spare us. Withdraw the scourge of Your wrath and be moved in mercy to turn away this pestilence from us; for the sake of Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen

In His grace,

Pastor Kern

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