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Love One Another

While away, I still tuned into the news. I sometimes wonder why I would do that, but I always feel it best to know at least a bit about what is going on around the world, the nation, and here. Obviously, COVID was the leading story - New Zealand eradicated the disease and is starting to go back to things as they were. Europe is closing its borders to nations that are allowing the virus to go unchecked. And here at home, we are debating if we can require people to wear masks. In fact, a portion from one of our advisory council meetings was dedicated to this conversation. The advisory council and the church council unanimously agreed that for any person to be in the church at any time they must be wearing a mask. When we return to in person worship opportunities - we all will be wearing masks. Even me. (I am confident that the Altar Guild will be sure I choose an appropriate liturgical colored mask for Sundays). We have come to this conclusion for a very simple reason. We as a congregation in our very mission are called to extend love and to serve others. In doing this we are taking personal responsibility to be sure that all of our siblings in Christ and God are protected. I encourage you, as followers of Christ and part of the Lutheran legacy to take all precautions to protect your neighbor. In his essay titled Whether One May Flee from a Deadly Plague (available here), Martin Luther discusses what can and should be done while living in the time of a plague. We may rest assured that our forebears of the faith have suffered and lived and died during uncertain times of pandemics. We may rest assured that they have passed on sage advice and wisdom that we can take as we move forward. Luther concludes that it is our responsibility to protect, to the best of our ability, those around us. To “guard against it to the best of our ability in order not to act contrary to God.” To love one another as Christ loved us (John 13:34). Personal responsibility as a Christian, a follower of Christ, demands us to take precautions to protect not ourselves but our neighbors. The lesson learned from the plague in Luther’s time should lead us to develop an ethic of responsibility that trumps all things - including selfishness that endangers others. The way in which we love one another will identify us as people of Christ (John 13:35).

A prayer from the Women of New Zealand - page 208 The Book of a Thousand Prayers compiled by Angela Ashwin:

Guide us that we may be more sensitive to our neighbor’s needs.

We pray for awareness of those needs:

the need of the old to know they are wanted,

the need of the young to know they are listened to,

The need of all people to know they are of value.

Lord, keep us aware.

Yours in Christ,

Pastor Jason


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