Daily Peace & COVID-19 Updates

Update to Divine Service as of Sunday, May 31
A Letter from Your Pastor

May 27, 2020

Dear Fellow Redeemed at Trinity,

The Lord be with you.

It has been a trying time for all of us and a bit challenging to determine the best ways to provide care and nurture for the congregation gathered at Trinity.  Please determine which of the three following options is best for you.

Gathering in Person for Divine Service      

  1. Divine Service at 9:00 am Sunday. According to the Guidelines of 1/4 capacity this service will allow us to have 100 people in attendance.
  1. For Vulnerable/At Risk we are offering two smaller services (this is also for those who prefer not to attend larger gatherings):     Saturday at 6 pm
    Sunday at 10:30 am 

Or Printed Copy of Divine Service

If you are not able or prefer not to attend Divine Service yet, please contact Laura at the Church Office at 736-4869 and she will mail you a printed copy of the service.

If you are planning to attend Divine Service, please read through the following to help familiarize yourself with the changes we are making for the service.

Order of Service

  • We are following the suggestion of having shorter services and parts of the liturgy will be omitted.
  • The Divine Service will be printed.
  • To assist in shortening the service, only the Hymn of the Day will be sung at the 9:00 am service, (soloists for the other services).

Holy Communion

  • The Lord's Supper will be distributed in a continuous line with one person at a time receiving the Sacrament. Or at 6 foot intervals around the altar for the smaller services.
  • There will be staging spots on carpet in the aisle to assist in keeping proper distances.
  • When it is your turn to come forward, pastor will hand you the wafer followed by the cup. Once you have received the elements you place the cup in the receiving bowl and return to your seat.
  • The Dismissal will be spoken after everyone has communed.

Fellowship

  • There will be no coffee or treats served.
  • Please greet each other without touching.
  • We request that people not gather in the Narthex, but can go outside to visit.

Weekly Protocol for Divine Service

  1. Upon entering the Narthex please use the Purell hand sanitizer foam
  2. Offering plates are placed on either side of the entrance to the Nave to receive gifts and tithes. (No purple slips will be gathered)
  3. Please be seated only in open pews with worship materials on them
  4. For the Distribution of the Lord's Supper pastor will be masked and wear gloves.
  5. Following the service, place any papers you are not taking home in the blue recycling bins as you leave the Nave
  6. Please greet others safely by going outside to visit at a safe social distance

Additional Items

  • While the Restrooms off the Narthex will be open, we encourage people to avoid using them if possible.
  • The Nursery and School addition will be closed.
  • If you wish to wear a mask, please provide your own. You will not be required to wear a mask, as we believe we have sufficient space to accommodate good social distancing.
  • Anyone experiencing any symptoms of sickness, or anyone who has a household member who is sick or showing any symptoms of sickness should NOT attend Divine Service.

I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord!”  (Psalm 122:1)

In the peace of Christ,
Pastor Christensen

A Letter from Your Pastor
Reopening Trinity

Dear Fellow Redeemed at Trinity,

​The day that we can once again gather at Trinity has finally come, as Governor Walz has lifted the Stay at Home Order.  However, we are not quite where I had hoped we would be as far as our ability to have Divine Service.  Due to the severely limited number of people allowed into the building, which as of May 18 is a MAXIMUM of 10 people, we will need to offer a number of different service times to accommodate the congregation.  Please note that EACH INDIVIDUAL MUST be signed up for a service time by 4:00 pm on the Friday before, so that we avoid exceeding our limit of 10 persons.  For example: John & Jane Doe want to attend Divine Service on Saturday, May 23rd at 4:00 pm. The household member signing them up must select two slots for that service. You may select the service time and sign up for it online HERE or contact Laura in the Church Office at 736-4869.

Our available service times for Divine Service are:

  • Saturday evenings at 4 pm, 5 pm, and 6 pm
  • Sunday mornings at 8 am, 9 am, 10 am, and 11 am
  • Sunday afternoons at 1 pm, 2 pm, and 3 pm

If these service times fill we will offer additional times.  ​The first services will be held the weekend of May 23rd and 24th.
 
​For the time being, we have to make a number of adjustments to what happens as we gather for Divine Service.  Please read through the following to help familiarize yourself with these adjustments. 
 
Order of Service

  • We will be following the suggestion of holding shorter services and parts of the liturgy will be omitted.
  • The Divine Service will be printed.
  • To assist in shortening the service, only the Hymn of the Day will be sung.

Holy Communion

  • The Lord's Supper will be distributed in a continuous line with one person at a time receiving the Sacrament.  Or at 6 foot intervals around the altar.
  • There will be staging spots on the carpet in the aisle to assist in keeping proper distances.
  • When it is your turn to come forward, pastor will hand you the wafer followed by the cup.  Once you have received the elements you place the emptied cup in the receiving bowl and return to your seat.
  • The Dismissal will be spoken after everyone has communed.

Fellowship

  • There will be no coffee or treats served. 
  • Please greet each other without touching.   
  • We request that people not gather in the Narthex, but can go outside to visit.

Weekly Protocol for Divine Service

  1. Enter the foyer of the church building one person or family at a time
  2. Upon entering the Narthex, use the Purell hand sanitizer foam 
  3. Offering plates are placed on either side of the entrance to the Nave to receive gifts and tithes. (No purple slips will be gathered)
  4. Please be seated only in marked front pews with worship materials on them 
  5. For the Distribution of the Lord's Supper pastor will be masked and wear gloves.
  6. Please do not leave bulletins or printed orders of service papers on pews, place them in recycling bins as you leave the Nave 
  7. Please greet others safely by going outside to visit at a safe social distance
    (Your temperature will NOT be taken as you enter the church for Divine Service.)

Additional Items

  • While the Restrooms off the Narthex will be open, we encourage people to avoid using them if possible.  
  • The Nursery and School addition will be closed.
  • If you wish to wear a mask, please provide your own.  You will not be required to wear a mask, as we believe we have sufficient space to accommodate good social distancing.
  • Anyone experiencing any symptoms of sickness, or anyone who has a household member who is sick or showing any symptoms of sickness should NOT attend Divine Service.  These symptoms include, but are not limited to: 
    • Cough
    • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
    • Fever
    • Chills
    • Muscle pain
    • Sore throat
    • New loss of taste or smell

​I look forward to seeing you in person soon. "Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way.  The Lord be with you all."  (2 Thessalonians 3:16)
 
In the peace of Christ,

Pastor Christensen

May 18, 2020
Daily Peace

The Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace. ~ Numbers 6:25–26 ESV

Prayer:
"Create in Me" LSB 956

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from Thy presence;
and take not Thy Holy Spirit from me.
Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation;
and uphold me with Thy free spirit. Amen.

May 17, 2020
Daily Peace

Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. ~   Jude 24–25 ESV

Prayer:
"Isaiah, Mighty Seer in Days of Old" LSB 960

Isaiah, mighty seer in days of old,
The Lord of all in spirit did behold
High on a lofty throne, in splendor bright,
With robes that filled the temple courts with light.
Above the throne were flaming seraphim;
Six wings had they, these messengers of Him.
With two they veiled their faces as was right,
With two they humbly hid their feet from sight,
And with the other two aloft they soared;
One to the other called and praised the Lord:
“Holy is God, the Lord of Sabaoth!
Holy is God, the Lord of Sabaoth!
Holy is God, the Lord of Sabaoth!
His glory fills the heavens and the earth!”
The beams and lintels trembled at the cry,
And clouds of smoke enwrapped the throne on high.

May 16, 2020
Daily Peace

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. ~   Psalm 46:1 ESV

Prayer:
"O God, Our Help in Ages Past" LSB 733, vs. 1-3

O God, our help in ages past,
Our hope for years to come,
Our shelter from the stormy blast,
And our eternal home:

Under the shadow of Thy throne
Thy saints have dwelt secure;
Sufficient is Thine arm alone,
And our defense is sure.

Before the hills in order stood
Or earth received her frame,
From everlasting Thou art God,
To endless years the same.

May 15, 2020
Daily Peace

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. ~ Ephesians 2:8–9 ESV

Prayer:
"Not What These Hands Have Done" LSB 567, vs. 1, 3 & 5

Not what these hands have done
Can save this guilty soul;
Not what this toiling flesh has borne
Can make my spirit whole.

Thy work alone, O Christ,
Can ease this weight of sin;
Thy blood alone, O Lamb of God,
Can give me peace within.

Thy grace alone, O God,
To me can pardon speak;
Thy pow’r alone, O Son of God,
Can this sore bondage break.

May 14, 2020
Daily Peace

As for God, His way is perfect; The word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him. ~ Psalm 18:30 NKJV

Prayer:
"I Leave All Things to God's Direction" LSB 719, vs. 1 & 2
I leave all things to God’s direction;
He loves me both in joy and woe.
His will is good, sure His affection;
His tender love is true, I know.
My fortress and my rock is He:
What pleases God, that pleases me.

God knows what must be done to save me;
His love for me will never cease.
Upon His hands He did engrave me
With purest gold of loving grace.
His will supreme must ever be:
What pleases God, that pleases me.

May 13, 2020
Daily Peace

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for wholeness and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.  ~   Jeremiah 29:11 ESV

Prayer:
"I Leave All Things to God's Direction" LSB 719, vs. 3 & 4

My God desires the soul’s salvation;
My soul He, too, desires to save.
Therefore with Christian resignation
All earthly troubles I will brave.
His will be done eternally:
What pleases God, that pleases me.

My God has all things in His keeping;
He is the ever faithful friend.
He gives me laughter after weeping,
And all His ways in blessings end.
His love endures eternally:
What pleases God, that pleases me.

May 12, 2020
Daily Peace

For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you. ~  Isaiah 54:10 ESV

Prayer:
"My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less" LSB 576, vs. 1 & 2

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
No merit of my own I claim
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name. Refrain

Refrain:
On Christ, the solid rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.

When darkness veils His lovely face,
I rest on His unchanging grace;
In ev’ry high and stormy gale
My anchor holds within the veil. Refrain

May 11, 2020
Daily Peace

Therefore you now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you.  ~ St. John 16:22 NKJV

Prayer:
"May God Bestow on Us His Grace" LSB 823, vs. 1 & 2

May God bestow on us His grace,
With blessings rich provide us;
And may the brightness of His face
To life eternal guide us,
That we His saving health may know,
His gracious will and pleasure,
And also to the nations show
Christ’s riches without measure
And unto God convert them.

Thine over all shall be the praise
And thanks of ev’ry nation;
And all the world with joy shall raise
The voice of exultation.
For Thou shalt judge the earth, O Lord,
Nor suffer sin to flourish;
Thy people’s pasture is Thy Word
Their souls to feed and nourish,
In righteous paths to keep them.

May 10, 2020
Daily Peace

I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. ~    Psalm 16:8 ESV

Prayer:
"Who Trusts in God a Strong Abode" LSB 714, vs. 1 & 3

Who trusts in God
A strong abode
In heav’n and earth possesses;
Who looks in love
To Christ above,
No fear that heart oppresses.
In You alone,
Dear Lord, we own
Sweet hope and consolation,
Our shield from foes,
Our balm for woes,
Our great and sure salvation.

In all the strife
Of mortal life
Our feet will stand securely;
Temptation’s hour
Will lose its pow’r,
For You will guard us surely.
O God, renew
With heav’nly dew
Our body, soul, and spirit
Until we stand
At Your right hand
Through Jesus’ saving merit.

May 9, 2020
Daily Peace

The Lord your God in your midst,
The Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing.
~ Zephaniah 3:17 NKJV

Prayer:
"O God of Love, O King of Peace" LSB 751

O God of love, O King of peace,
Make wars throughout the world to cease;
The rage of nations now restrain:
Give peace, O God, give peace again!

Remember, Lord, Thy works of old,
The wonders that Thy people told;
Remember not our sins’ dark stain:
Give peace, O God, give peace again!

Whom shall we trust but Thee, O Lord?
Where rest but on Thy faithful Word?
None ever called on Thee in vain:
Give peace, O God, give peace again!

Where saints and angels dwell above,
All hearts are knit in holy love;
O bind us in that heav’nly chain:
Give peace, O God, give peace again!

May 8, 2020
Daily Peace

Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness! ~ Psalm 115:1 ESV

Prayer:
"Sing Praise to God, the Highest God" LSB 519, v. 1 & 3

Sing praise to God, the highest good,
The author of creation,
The God of love who understood
Our need for His salvation.
With healing balm our souls He fills
And ev’ry faithless murmur stills:
To God all praise and glory!

We sought the Lord in our distress;
O God, in mercy hear us.
Our Savior saw our helplessness
And came with peace to cheer us.
For this we thank and praise the Lord,
Who is by one and all adored:
To God all praise and glory!

May 7, 2020
Daily Peace

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. ~   Ephesians 3:20–21 ESV

Prayer:
"Jesus, Thy Boundless Love to Me" LSB 683, v. 1 & 2

Jesus, Thy boundless love to me
No thought can reach, no tongue declare;
Unite my thankful heart to Thee,
And reign without a rival there!
Thine wholly, Thine alone I am;
Be Thou alone my constant flame.

O grant that nothing in my soul
May dwell, but Thy pure love alone;
Oh, may Thy love possess me whole,
My joy, my treasure, and my crown!
All coldness from my heart remove;
My ev’ry act, word, thought be love.

May 6, 2020
Daily Peace

Our soul waits for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name. Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you. ~ Psalm 33:20–22 ESV

Prayer:
"Open Now Thy Gates of Beauty" LSB 901, v. 4 & 5

Thou my faith increase and quicken;
Let me keep Thy gift divine,
Howsoe’er temptations thicken;
May Thy Word still o’er me shine
As my guiding star through life,
As my comfort in all strife.

Speak, O God, and I will hear Thee;
Let Thy will be done indeed.
May I undisturbed draw near Thee
While Thou dost Thy people feed.
Here of life the fountain flows;
Here is balm for all our woes.

May 5, 2020
Daily Peace

Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!  ~  Psalm 118:1 ESV

Prayer:
"Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee" LSB 803, v. 1 & 2

Joyful, joyful we adore Thee,
God of glory, Lord of love!
Hearts unfold like flow’rs before Thee,
Praising Thee, their sun above.
Melt the clouds of sin and sadness,
Drive the gloom of doubt away.
Giver of immortal gladness,
Fill us with the light of day.

All Thy works with joy surround Thee,
Earth and heav’n reflect Thy rays,
Stars and angels sing around Thee,
Center of unbroken praise.
Field and forest, vale and mountain,
Flow’ry meadow, flashing sea,
Chanting bird, and flowing fountain
Call us to rejoice in Thee.

May 4, 2020
Daily Peace

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. ~  Hebrews 12:1–2 ESV

Prayer:
"Jesus, Savior, Pilot Me" LSB 715, v. 1 & 2

Jesus, Savior, pilot me
Over life’s tempestuous sea;
Unknown waves before me roll,
Hiding rock and treach’rous shoal.
Chart and compass come from Thee.
Jesus, Savior, pilot me.

As a mother stills her child,
Thou canst hush the ocean wild;
Boist’rous waves obey Thy will
When Thou say’st to them, “Be still!”
Wondrous Sov’reign of the sea,
Jesus, Savior, pilot me.

May 3, 2020
Daily Peace

We know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. ~  Romans 8:28 ESV

Prayer:
"God Moves in a Mysterious Way" LSB 765, v. 1, 4 &5

God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea
And rides upon the storm.

Blind unbelief is sure to err
And scan His work in vain;
God is His own interpreter,
And He will make it plain.

You fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds you so much dread
Are big with mercy and will break
In blessings on your head.

May 2, 2020
Daily Peace

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. ~  Romans 12:9–12 ESV

Prayer:
"Forth in Thy Name, O Lord, I Go" LSB 854, v. 4 & 5

Give me to bear Thine easy yoke,
And ev’ry moment watch and pray,
And still to things eternal look,
And hasten to Thy glorious day.

For Thee delightfully employ
Whate’er Thy bounteous grace has giv’n,
And run my course with even joy,
And closely walk with Thee to heav’n.

May 1, 2020
Daily Peace

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” ~  John 16:33 ESV

Prayer:
"Savior, Again to Thy Dear Name We Raise" LSB 917, v. 3 & 4

Grant us Thy peace, Lord, through the coming night;
Turn Thou for us its darkness into light.
From harm and danger keep Thy children free;
For dark and light are both alike to Thee.

Grant us Thy peace throughout our earthly life,
Our balm in sorrow and our stay in strife;
Then, when Thy voice shall bid our conflict cease,
Call us, O Lord, to Thine eternal peace.

April 30, 2020
Daily Peace

In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls. 
~1 Peter 1:6–9 ESV

Prayer:
"In Thee Is Gladness" LSB 818, v. 1 & 2

    In Thee is gladness
    Amid all sadness,
Jesus, sunshine of my heart.
    By Thee are given
    The gifts of heaven,
Thou the true Redeemer art.
    Our souls Thou wakest,
    Our bonds Thou breakest;
    Who trusts Thee surely
    Has built securely;
He stands forever: Alleluia!
    Our hearts are pining
    To see Thy shining,
    Dying or living
    To Thee are cleaving;
Naught can us sever: Alleluia!

Since He is ours,
    We fear no powers,
Not of earth nor sin nor death.
    He sees and blesses
    In worst distresses;
He can change them with a breath.
    Wherefore the story
    Tell of His glory
    With hearts and voices;
    All heav’n rejoices
In Him forever: Alleluia!
    We shout for gladness,
    Triumph o’er sadness,
    Love Him and praise Him
    And still shall raise Him
Glad hymns forever: Alleluia!

April 29, 2020
Daily Peace

In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.  ~  Ephesians 6:16–17

Prayer:
"Be Strong in the Lord" LSB 665, v. 1 & 4

Be strong in the Lord
In armor of light,
With helmet and sword,
With shield for the fight;
On prayer be dependent,
Be belted and shod,
In breastplate resplendent:
The armor of God.

Though Satan presume
To test you and try,
In helmet and plume
Your head shall be high;
Beset by temptation
Be true to your Lord,
Your helmet salvation
And Scripture your sword.

Letter from Congregational President

Dear Fellow Members of Trinity Lutheran Church,

I woke up this morning, Sunday, April 26 and I felt somewhat defeated.  Serving my co-workers is much more difficult because answers are hard to determine.  What seems to fit my perspective is not what is perceived to be best to meet their needs.  I also feel this way in regards to serving my family at Trinity.  I confess I don’t know the best way to serve you.  These are truly difficult times.  Then I read the mailing sent us by Pastor Christensen.  I felt as if I was in the Pew.  From the invocation to the Benediction the answer is right there.  I began the Day much like Mary “Trapped in Grief” but hearing the call of our Risen Lord and Savior say that His sheep will hear His voice and follow Him.  So now I will continue to serve and be led into the “Gladness of Easter”.  I truly miss you and look forward to the coming  days when we can gather together and hear the beautiful Gospel messages the Lord sends through our Pastor. I would like to thank all the staff at Trinity for their hard work and faithful dedication in the service of the Gospel. Also thank you, too, members of Trinity for your patience and prayers during a time that Pastor refers to as being “Robbed of Church”.

Sincerely,
Ken Heidorn
Trinity Lutheran Church
President

April 28, 2020
Daily Peace

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. ~ 2 Corinthians 1:3–4

Prayer:
"Jesus, Grant That Balm and Healing" LSB 421, v. 4 & 5

Ev’ry wound that pains or grieves me
By Your wounds, Lord, is made whole;
When I’m faint, Your cross revives me,
Granting new life to my soul.
Yes, Your comfort renders sweet
Ev’ry bitter cup I meet;
For Your all-atoning passion
Has procured my soul’s salvation.

O my God, my rock and tower,
Grant that in Your death I trust,
Knowing death has lost its power
Since You crushed it in the dust.
Savior, let Your agony
Ever help and comfort me;
When I die be my protection,
Light and life and resurrection.

April 27, 2020
Daily Peace

O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory. Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands. ~ Psalm 63:1-4

Prayer:
"Lord Jesus Christ, Be Present Now" LSB 902, v. 1 & 2

Lord Jesus Christ, be present now;
Our hearts in true devotion bow.
Your Spirit send with light divine,
And let Your truth within us shine.

Unseal our lips to sing Your praise
In endless hymns through all our days.
Increase our faith and light our minds;
And set us free from doubt that blinds.

April 26, 2020
Daily Peace

This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
~ Psalm 118:24

Prayer:
"This Is the Day the Lord Has Made" LSB 903, v. 1 & 2

This is the day the Lord has made;
He calls the hours His own.
Let heav'n rejoice, let earth be glad
And praise surround the throne.

Today He rose and left the dead,
And Satan's empire fell;
Today the saints His triumphs spread
And all His wonders tell.

April 25, 2020
Daily Peace

In you, O Lord, do I take refuge; let me never be put to shame; in your righteousness deliver me! Incline your ear to me; rescue me speedily! Be a rock for me, a strong refuge to save me! ~ Psalm 31:1-2

Prayer:
"I Trust, O Lord, Your Holy Name" LSB 734, v. 1 & 3

I trust, O Lord, Your holy name;
O let me not be put to shame
Nor let me be confounded.
My faith, O Lord,
Be in Your Word
Forever firmly grounded.

You are my strength, my shield, my rock,
My fortress that withstands each shock,
My help, my life, my tower,
My battle sword,
Almighty Lord--
Who can resist Your power?

April 24, 2020
Daily Peace

Let the righteous one rejoice in the Lord and take refuge in him! Let all the upright in heart exult! ~ Psalm 64:10

Prayer:
"Rejoice, O Pilgrim Throng" LSB 813, v. 1 & 2

Rejoice, O pilgrim throng!
Rejoice, give thanks, and sing;
Your festal banner wave on high,
The cross of Christ, your king.
Rejoice! Rejoice!
Rejoice, give thanks, and sing!

With voice as full and strong
As ocean's surging praise,
Send forth the sturdy hymns of old,
The psalms of ancient days.
Rejoice! Rejoice!
Rejoice, give thanks, and sing!

April 23, 2020
Daily Peace

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. ~  1 Peter 1:3–5 ESV

Prayer:
"All Depends on Our Possessing" LSB 732, v. 3 & 4

Many spend their lives in fretting
Over trifles and in getting
Things that have no solid ground.
I shall strive to win a treasure
That will bring me lasting pleasure
And that now is seldom found.

When with sorrow I am stricken,
Hope anew my heart will quicken;
All my longing shall be stilled.
To His loving-kindness tender
Soul and body I surrender,
For on God alone I build.

April 22, 2020
Daily Peace

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
 2 Corinthians 12:9 ESV

Prayer:
"How Firm a Foundation" LSB 728, v. 1 & 2

How firm a foundation, O saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!
What more can He say than to you He has said
Who unto the Savior for refuge have fled?

“Fear not! I am with you, O be not dismayed,
For I am your God and will still give you aid;
I’ll strengthen you, help you, and cause you to stand,
Upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand.

April 21, 2020
Daily Peace

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. ~  1 Peter 4:12–13 ESV

Prayer:
"Let Us Ever Walk with Jesus" LSB 770, v. 2 & 4

Let us suffer here with Jesus
And with patience bear our cross.
Joy will follow all our sadness;
Where He is, there is no loss.
Though today we sow no laughter,
We shall reap celestial joy;
All discomforts that annoy
Shall give way to mirth hereafter.
Jesus, here I share Your woe;
Help me there Your joy to know.

Let us also live with Jesus.
He has risen from the dead
That to life we may awaken.
Jesus,  You are now our head.
We are Your own living members;
Where You live, there we shall be
In Your presence constantly,
Living there with You forever.
Jesus, let me faithful be,
Life eternal grant to me.

April 20, 2020
Daily Peace

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. ~ 1 Peter 5:6–7 ESV

Prayer:
"What a Friend We Have in Jesus" LSB 770, v. 1 & 2

What a friend we have in Jesus,
All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
Ev’rything to God in prayer!
Oh, what peace we often forfeit;
Oh, what needless pain we bear—
All because we do not carry
Ev’rything to God in prayer!

Are we weak and heavy laden,
Cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge—
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do thy friends despise, forsake thee?
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
In His arms He’ll take and shield thee;
Thou wilt find a solace there.

April 19, 2020
Daily Peace

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. ~ 1 John  3:1 ESV

Prayer:
"Baptized into Your Name Most Holy" LSB 590, v. 1 & 2

Baptized into Your name most holy,
    O Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,
I claim a place, though weak and lowly,
    Among Your saints, Your chosen host.
Buried with Christ and dead to sin,
Your Spirit now shall live within.

My loving Father, here You take me
    To be henceforth Your child and heir.
My faithful Savior, here You make me
    The fruit of all Your sorrows share.
O Holy Spirit, comfort me
When threat’ning clouds around I see.

April 18, 2020
Daily Peace

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever. ~  Isaiah 40:8 ESV

Prayer:
"I Know My Faith Is Founded" LSB 587, v. 1 & 2

I know my faith is founded
On Jesus Christ, my God and Lord;
And this my faith confessing,
Unmoved I stand on His sure Word.
Our reason cannot fathom
The truth of God profound;
Who trusts in human wisdom
Relies on shifting ground.
God’s Word is all-sufficient,
It makes divinely sure;
And trusting in its wisdom,
My faith shall rest secure.

Increase my faith, dear Savior,
For Satan seeks by night and day
To rob me of this treasure
And take my hope of bliss away.
But, Lord, with You beside me,
I shall be undismayed;
And led by Your good Spirit,
I shall be unafraid.
Abide with me, O Savior,
A firmer faith bestow;
Then I shall bid defiance
To ev’ry evil foe.

April 17, 2020
Daily Peace

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blesséd is the man who takes refuge in him! ~ Psalm 34:8 ESV

Prayer:
"The Death of Jesus Christ, Our Lord" LSB 634, v. 1 & 3

The death of Jesus Christ, our Lord,
We celebrate with one accord;
It is our comfort in distress,
Our heart’s sweet joy and happiness.

That this forever true shall be
He gives a solemn guarantee:
In this His holy Supper here
We taste His love so sweet, so near.

April 16, 2020
Daily Peace

For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. My heart faints within me!” ~ Job 19:25-27 ESV

Prayer:
"I Know That My Redeemer Lives" LSB 461, v. 1 & 5

I know that my Redeemer lives;
What comfort this sweet sentence gives!
He lives, He lives, who once was dead;
He lives, my ever-living head.

He lives to silence all my fears;
He lives to wipe away my tears;
He lives to calm my troubled heart;
He lives all blessings to impart.

April 15, 2020
Daily Peace

And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. ~ St. Matthew 6:27, 34 ESV

Prayer:
"When in the Hour of Deepest Need" LSB 615, v. 1-3

When in the hour of deepest need
We know not where to look for aid;
When days and nights of anxious thought
No help or counsel yet have brought,

Then is our comfort this alone
That we may meet before Your throne;
To You, O faithful God, we cry
For rescue in our misery.

For You have promised, Lord, to heed
Your children’s cries in time of need
Through Him whose name alone is great,
Our Savior and our advocate.

April 14, 2020
Daily Peace

Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
~ St. John 20:29 ESV

Prayer:
"O Sons and Daughters of the King" LSB 470, v. 6-8

“My piercèd side, O Thomas, see,
And look upon My hands, My feet;
Not faithless but believing be.”
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!

No longer Thomas then denied;
He saw the feet, the hands, the side;
“You are my Lord and God!” he cried.
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!

How blest are they who have not seen
And yet whose faith has constant been,
For they eternal life shall win.
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!

April 13, 2020
Daily Peace

So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.”~ St. Matthew 28:8-10 ESV

Prayer:
"O Sons and Daughters of the King" LSB 470, v. 2-4

That Easter morn, at break of day,
The faithful women went their way
To seek the tomb where Jesus lay.
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!

An angel clad in white they see,
Who sits and speaks unto the three,
“Your Lord will go to Galilee.”
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!

That night the_apostles met in fear;
Among them came their master dear
And said, “My peace be with you here.”
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!

Easter Sunday

Beloved in the Lord,

Alleluia!  Christ is risen!  He is risen indeed!  Alleluia!

Not Christ’s death, the stone, the seal, the guard, not hell itself, nothing, but nothing, could prevent Jesus’ triumphant rising from the dead.  And we celebrate His victory today and every Sunday as a “little Easter” because Jesus’ victory over death is our victory over death, too.

As St. Paul tells us so plainly in Romans 6, “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?  We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.  For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.”  (Romans 6:3-5 ESV)

No doubt, our celebration of the Resurrection of Our Lord, Easter Sunday, is muted this year, as we celebrate in our homes instead of in the Lord’s house.  But don’t let that stop you from celebrating.

If you have not already received the Easter service and sermon, I expect you will receive it tomorrow.   In either case, I want you to read it out loud, not silently to yourself, even if you are alone.   Sing the hymns.  Rejoice in the Lord’s resurrection.

I believe that what we have all likely taken for granted in our past celebrations of Easter, and even the weekly Divine Service, will take on new and greater significance as we move forward.

I have no doubt that by God’s abundant love, grace and mercy, we will gather as the flock of Trinity Lutheran Church once again in the Divine Service.  We will hear the Invocation of the Triune God, in remembrance of our baptism.  We will hear the Holy Absolution.   We will hear God’s Holy Word read and proclaimed.  We will sing hymns of praise.  We will bring our gifts.  We will pray for all. We will receive Christ’s very body and blood for the forgiveness of sins and the  strengthening of our faith.  We will receive the benediction of the Lord.

By God’s abundant love, grace and mercy, we will.  But until that day keep the Festival.   Keep the faith.  Encourage one another.  Phone and write and pray for one another.

We may feel alone, but we have God’s promise that we are not alone.  Trust Him to see us through this brief time of testing.  God is faithful and He will do it.

In the meantime, follow the instruction St. Paul gives in Philippians 4, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.  What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me-practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4:8-9 ESV)

A blessed Easter to you all.

In the Peace of Christ,
Pastor Christensen

April 12, 2020
Daily Peace

"On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord." ~ John 20:19–20 ESV

Prayer:
"Christ the Lord Is Risen Today: Alleluia" LSB 463, v. 1-4

Christ the Lord is ris’n today; Alleluia!
Christians, hasten on your way; Alleluia!
Offer praise with love replete, Alleluia!
At the paschal victim’s feet. Alleluia!

For the sheep the Lamb has bled, Alleluia!
Sinless in the sinner’s stead. Alleluia!
Christ the Lord is ris’n on high; Alleluia!
Now He lives, no more to die. Alleluia!

Hail, the victim undefiled, Alleluia!
God and sinners reconciled, Alleluia!
When contending death and life, Alleluia!
Met in strange and awesome strife. Alleluia!

Christians, on this holy day, Alleluia!
All your grateful homage pay; Alleluia!
Christ the Lord is ris’n on high; Alleluia!
Now He lives, no more to die. Alleluia!

April 11, 2020
Daily Peace

"The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord." ~ Lamentations 3:25–26 ESV

Prayer:
"From Depths of Woe I Cry to Thee" LSB 607, v. 3, 5

Therefore my hope is in the Lord
And not in mine own merit;
It rests upon His faithful Word
To them of contrite spirit
That He is merciful and just;
This is my comfort and my trust.
His help I wait with patience.

Though great our sins, yet greater still
Is God’s abundant favor;
His hand of mercy never will
Abandon us, nor waver.
Our shepherd good and true is He,
Who will at last His Israel free
From all their sin and sorrow.

April 10, 2020
Daily Peace

"In my distress I called upon the Lord; to my God I cried for help.From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears." ~ Psalm 18:6 ESV

Prayer:
"Abide with Me" LSB 878, v. 1 & 5

Abide with me, fast falls the eventide.
The darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide.
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.

I fear no foe with Thee at hand to bless;
Ills have no weight and tears no bitterness.
Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still if Thou abide with me!

April 9, 2020
Daily Peace

"Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’"
~ Isaiah 58:9a ESV

Prayer:
"Come, My Soul, with Every Care" LSB 779, v. 1 & 2

Come, my soul, with ev’ry care,
Jesus loves to answer prayer;
He Himself has bid thee pray,
Therefore will not turn away.

Thou art coming to a King,
Large petitions with thee bring;
For His grace and pow’r are such
None can ever ask too much.

April 8, 2020
Daily Peace

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid."
~ St. John 14:27 ESV

Prayer:
"Lord, Dismiss Us with Your Blessing" LSB 924, v. 1 & 3

Lord, dismiss us with Your blessing,
Fill our hearts with joy and peace;
Let us each, Your love possessing,
Triumph in redeeming grace.
O refresh us; O refresh us,
Trav’ling through this wilderness.

Savior, when Your love shall call us
From our struggling pilgrim way,
Let not fear of death appall us,
Glad Your summons to obey.
May we ever, may we ever
Reign with You in endless day.

April 7, 2020
Daily Peace

"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."  ~ Romans 8:35-39 ESV

Prayer:
Gracious God, You have promised to bless and keep us in Your loving care, do not depart from us in our hour of need and help us to trust in You and in Your Word.  Grant to Your children the faith that holds firmly to the promise that nothing, but nothing, can separate us from Your love shown to us in our Savior Jesus Christ, in whose name we ask it.  Amen.

April 6, 2020
Daily Peace

"For he has said, 'I will never leave you nor forsake you.' So we can confidently say, 'The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?' "
~ Hebrews 13:5b-6 ESV

Prayer:
"Be Still, My Soul" LSB 752, v. 1 & 2

Be still, my soul; the Lord is on your side;
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain;
Leave to your God to order and provide;
In ev’ry change He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul; your best, your heav’nly Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

Be still, my soul; your God will undertake
To guide the future as He has the past.
Your hope, your confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul; the waves and winds still know
His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below.

April 5, 2020
Daily Peace

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." ~ St. John 3:16 ESV

Prayer:
"God Loved the World So That He Gave" LSB 571, v. 2 & 3

Christ Jesus is the ground of faith,
Who was made flesh and suffered death;
All then who trust in Him alone
Are built on this chief cornerstone.

God would not have the sinner die;
His Son with saving grace is nigh;
His Spirit in the Word declares
How we in Christ are heaven’s heirs.

April 4, 2020
Daily Peace #11

"So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal." ~ 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Prayer:
"Renew Me, O Eternal Light" LSB 704, v.1 & 3

Renew me, O eternal Light,
And let my heart and soul be bright,
Illumined with the light of grace
That issues from Your holy face.

Create in me a new heart, Lord,
That gladly I obey Your Word.
Let what You will be my desire,
And with new life my soul inspire.

April 3, 2020
Daily Peace #10

"For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us."~ Romans 8:18 ESV

Prayer: Holy and precious Savior, hear our prayer for mercy, and grant us strength to endure suffering.  Help us to firmly trust that You are working all things, all things, our for our benefit and for Your glory.  For we are pilgrims here passing through the wilderness of this world and we cannot do it without You.  Guard our hearts and minds in faith in You, our only Savior and Lord.  In Your name we ask it. Amen.

April 2, 2020
Daily Peace #9

The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He re- | stores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

~ Psalm 23 ESV

Prayer:
"Savior, like a Shepherd Lead Us" LSB 711, v. 1-2

Savior, like a shepherd lead us;
Much we need Your tender care.
In Your pleasant pastures feed us,
For our use Your fold prepare.
Blessèd Jesus, blessèd Jesus,
You have bought us; we are Yours.
Blessèd Jesus, blessèd Jesus,
You have bought us; we are Yours.

We are Yours; in love befriend us,
Be the guardian of our way;
Keep Your flock, from sin defend us,
Seek us when we go astray.
Blessèd Jesus, blessèd Jesus,
Hear us children when we pray.
Blessèd Jesus, blessèd Jesus,
Hear us children when we pray.

April 1, 2020
Daily Peace #8

"Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.. " ~ St. Luke 12:6, 7 ESV

Prayer:
"The Will of God Is Always Best" LSB 758, v. 1-2

The will of God is always best
And shall be done forever;
And they who trust in Him are blest;
He will forsake them never.
He helps indeed
In time of need;
He chastens with forbearing.
They who depend
On God, their friend,
Shall not be left despairing.

God is my comfort and my trust,
My hope and life abiding;
And to His counsel, wise and just,
I yield, in Him confiding.
The very hairs,
His Word declares,
Upon my head He numbers.
By night and day
God is my stay;
He never sleeps nor slumbers.

March 31, 2020
Daily Peace #7

"But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. " ~ Isaiah 40:31

Prayer: Gracious Heavenly Father, You want us to give thanks for all things and to lay all our cares on You, knowing that You care for us.  Strengthen me in my faith in You.  Grant that the fears and anxieties of this mortal life may never separate me from You.  Renew my strength that I may walk with You all the days of my life, through Jesus Christ, my Lord.  Amen.

March 30, 2020
Daily Peace #6

"But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. " ~ 2 Corinthians 12:9

Prayer:
"Amazing Grace" LSB 744, v. 1 & 2

Amazing grace—how sweet the sound—
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind but now I see!

The Lord has promised good to me,
His Word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be
As long as life endures.

March 29, 2020
Daily Peace #5

"Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved." ~ Psalm 55:22

Prayer:
"Lord, to You I Make Confession" LSB 608, v. 4

Lord, on You I cast my burden—
Sink it in the deepest sea!
Let me know Your gracious pardon,
Cleanse me from iniquity.
Let Your Spirit leave me never;
Make me only Yours forever.

March 28, 2020
Daily Peace #4

"But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy, and spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may exult in you." ~ Psalm 5:11

Prayer:
Lord Jesus Christ, You command the wind and waves, and they obeyed You. Speak peace to my heart, for I am troubled by fear. By the power of Your Word, calm my anxious heart and the raging storms of my spirit; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

March 27, 2020
Daily Peace #3

"Blessed are the people whose God is the Lord!" ~ Psalm 144:15b

Prayer:
"Who Trusts in God a Strong Abode" LSB 714 v. 1 & 2Who trusts in God
A strong abode
In heav’n and earth possesses;
Who looks in love
To Christ above,
No fear that heart oppresses.
In You alone,
Dear Lord, we own
Sweet hope and consolation,
Our shield from foes,
Our balm for woes,
Our great and sure salvation.

Though Satan’s wrath
Beset our path
And worldly scorn assail us,
While You are near,
We shall not fear;
Your strength will never fail us.
Your rod and staff
Will keep us safe
And guide our steps forever;
Nor shades of death
Nor hell beneath
Our lives from You will sever.

March 26, 2020
Daily Peace #2

"For the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your days of mourning shall be ended." ~ Isaiah 60:20b

Prayer:
"Why Should Cross and Trial Grieve Me" LSB 756, v. 1 & 2

Why should cross and trial grieve me?
Christ is near
With His cheer;
Never will He leave me.
Who can rob me of the heaven
That God’s Son
For me won
When His life was given?

When life’s troubles rise to meet me,
Though their weight
May be great,
They will not defeat me.
God, my loving Savior, sends them;
He who knows
All my woes
Knows how best to end them.

March 25, 2020
Daily Peace #1

"Do no fear, for I am with you; Do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." ~ Isaiah 41:10

Prayer:
Oh Lord, Almighty God, Heavenly Father, grant us a steadfast faith in our Savior, Jesus Christ, a cheerful hope in Your mercy, a firm trust in Your Holy Word, that as we face the uncertainties of this life we may hold steadfast to the comforting truths and promises You have given to us in Your Holy Word.  Grand as You have promised that Your peace, which surpasses all understanding, will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.  In His name we pray; Amen.

March 25, 2020
Introducing Daily Peace

Even though, during this difficult and disheartening time, we cannot gather together as a flock of God's people to receive His gifts in Divine Service, we can still be people of His Holy Word.  Each day I will send a passage from Scripture for you to read and meditate upon, along with a prayer, sometimes a formal prayer and other times in hymn verse.  I'm calling it Daily Peace because it is through His Word that God speaks to us the many comforting truths and promises that He has for us and it is through prayer that we respond to Him.  Let us commit our days to the Lord and receive His peace.
~Pastor Christensen

March 21, 2020
Comfort in Our Affliction

Dear Fellow Redeemed at Trinity,
As I stated in my first letter to you, the circumstances in which we find ourselves seem to be in constant change. We are hearing good news, like medicines to treat the COVID-19 pandemic are being developed at a record pace.   And more bad news, like the length of time we will be dealing with this virus.
I am including in this email a helpful and uplifting message from the editor of The Lutheran Witness.  While our circumstances have changed dramatically from when it was written and originally published, the encouragement from God’s Word to continue to trust in Him has not changed.
Keep the faith.  God hasn’t abandoned us and will give us what we need to see is through this time.
“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” - Philippians 4:7

In Christ’s service,
Pastor Christensen
_______________________________________________

We can’t flee from it. The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has spread around the world without sign of stopping. Global markets are shaking. The Dow Jones Industrial Average sank over 3,000 points in the last week. The media coverage vacillates between issuing public warnings and scoring political hits. The disease might affect the upcoming presidential election; we might be reeling from the effects of COVID-19 for years to come.
From all appearances, we can’t escape the disease or its consequences.
To be clear, most of us will not die from COVID-19; it is not a new bubonic plague. Of 100 infected victims, 98 will probably survive and experience only mild, flu-like symptoms. But the effects of the disease on our lives will likely reverberate into the future.
In 1527, Luther wrote a letter to a friend because the bubonic plague was passing through Europe again and had struck both Silesia, where his friend lived, and Wittenberg, where Luther lived.
In the 14th century, the Black Death (the bubonic plague) killed between 75 million and 200 million people in Eurasia; it undoubtedly affected the course of European history. Fleas ferried the nefarious bacteria that caused buboes, or swollen lumps of infection, to develop under the victim’s skin. Sometimes the lumps exploded in pustular discharge; other times they spread over the rest of the body. It usually killed its victims in two to seven days.
When the plague struck a town, the wealthy would often flee to the countryside. The question put to Luther was simple: Should a Christian flee this horrific plague?
We cannot escape COVID-19 by fleeing to the countryside. How should a Christian live when he can’t flee an oncoming disease?
Live like you are baptized
Baptism is not a magical incantation to keep Christians safe. But, in Baptism, the Holy Spirit unites you to Christ and His resurrection. St. Paul writes, “We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6:4).
You “live like you are baptized” when you believe that nothing separates you from God’s love in Christ Jesus (Rom. 8:31–39). You live in Baptism when you laugh at the devil’s attempts to induce you to fear and dread. As Luther says, “Send those terrors right back to him” (LW 43:127). Be confident; you do not fear death, for you are united to Christ.
Death, however, still looms on the horizon for us all: “The wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23). Or in the words of Luther: “Since death is God’s punishment, which he sends upon us for our sins, we must submit to God and with a true and firm faith patiently await our punishment” (LW 43:119).
Christ’s death paid the price for your sins so that even though you “patiently await” physical death, you wait with the hope of the resurrection. To “live like you are baptized” means not fearing the deadly plague — or any disease — more than you fear, love and trust in God.
Fulfill your vocations even unto death
Christians fulfill their vocations for the neighbor. Husbands care for wives; parents care for and protect their children; children help aging parents.
So also a pastor stays and cares for dying parishioners. He stands by the deathbed of the plague-ridden and points them to Christ. He buries them. Likewise, doctors and medical professionals should remain at their stations to care for the sick.
Business owners should operate their businesses so their employees can continue to provide for their families. Parents must care for their children; children likewise must provide for their aging parents.
Christians have a duty to friends and neighbors also. The Christian must serve the infected neighbor. This sometimes involves contracting the disease, but Luther says, “Anyone who does not do that for his neighbor, but forsakes him and leaves him to his misfortune, becomes a murderer in the sight of God” (LW 43:126).
Do not tempt God
While the Christian must care for his neighbor unto death, he should not tempt God. Some people in Luther’s day refused to take measures against the plague: “They say that it is God’s punishment; if he wants to protect them he can do so without medicine or our carefulness. This is not trusting God but tempting him” (LW 43:131).
Not only does the careless man test God, he also risks the health and safety of his family. Take your medicine; wear your mask. Follow your doctor’s direction and try to prevent the disease from spreading to others in your home. Luther encouraged his readers to “fumigate your home.” Today we might say, “Follow the CDC’s guidance.”
As far as you are able, obey the directives of the government. Do not, of course, give up your hope in Christ Jesus, but God has provided those in authority to care for us. We obey their directives to care for our neighbor.
Finally …
In all things, cling to Christ. Go to church. Confess your sin. Receive absolution. Receive the Lord’s Supper, which Luther described as “a pure, wholesome, comforting remedy that grants salvation and comfort” (LC, Sacrament of the Altar, 68). If you become ill, do not fear an illness that merely harms your body, but fear Him who can destroy both body and soul in hell. He chose to die for you and to redeem you from every illness of soul and body.

By Rev. Roy Askins, managing editor of The Lutheran Witness

March 17, 2020
A Letter from Your Pastor 

Dear Flock of God gathered at Trinity,

"The LORD is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.  The LORD is the strength of his people; he is the saving refuge of his anointed.   Oh, save your people and bless your heritage!  Be their shepherd and carry them forever."  ~Psalm 28:7-9

As much as we might wish it were not so, the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is on everyone’s mind right now.  As you know, we’re in an unprecedented public health challenge that none of us has seen before and our circumstances seem to change daily, even hourly.  Yesterday I met with Ken Heidorn, our congregational president and with the Board of Elders to discuss how best to address the situation in which we find ourselves.  We have determined that it is in the best interest of our church family's physical health and safety to follow the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control which limits gatherings of people to 10 or less.  Thus it is with sadness that I have to announce that we will not have any church services, Bible studies, Sunday school, group gatherings, visitations or meetings until further notice.

This is not to say that aren't any opportunities to be strengthened in the Word during this time, as we have several excellent Lutheran worship and devotional resources available to us on television, radio and online.

TELEVISION
Main Street Living
9:00 am  Sun  FOX 15.1/12

Worship Anew  Park Reg/Charter
10:00 am  Sun     Channel 8/Channel 180
2:00 pm    Sun
6:30 am    Tues
6:30 pm    Tues

RADIO
Lutheran Hour  
7:30 am   Sun     KFGO 790 AM
8:00 am   Sun     KFNW 1200 AM
9:00 am   Sun     CSN 88.3 FM

Issues Etc.           
6:00 pm   Sun     KKOK 95.7 FM

You will also receive a weekly email from me with a message, prayers, and encouragement from the Word of God, as we carry out our vocations and life together as Christians and as a church family.
First and foremost, trust that the same God who loved us so much that He sacrificed His own Son for us and our salvation will continue to love, strengthen and sustain us.
Until we are delivered from this pandemic, here are some ideas of things that you can do.

  • Pray for opportunities to encourage people around you as you show and tell them of the love of God for them.
  • Pray for mercy for the sick, strength for all medical personnel, insight for researchers, and wisdom for government officials.
  • Look for opportunities to love and care for others.  Telephones still work; call someone.  The USPS is still delivering mail; write a card or letter to someone.
  • Even though we cannot gather for Divine Service, we can stay connected to our church family. Pray for one another.  Phone one another.  Encourage one another.  Love one another.

If you find that you need something (food, hygiene items, medications) and would prefer not to go out, call the church office and we will see how we can meet that need.
If you need prayer, encouragement or just to talk, telephone and I will be happy to visit with you.
The Lord will see us through this dark time even as He has delivered us from every other peril.  Trust in Him.
In the meantime, I pray that soon we will be able to say "I was glad when they said to me, 'Let us go to the house of the LORD!"(Psalm 122:1) and we will gather once again as the people of God to receive His gifts to us in Word and Sacrament as a congregation and rejoice in God's continual blessings.

In the Peace of Christ,
Pastor John M. Christensen