Pastoral Letter Concerning COVID-19 Pandemic
“Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David,
as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old,
that we should be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us;
to show the mercy promised to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant,
the oath that he swore to our father Abraham, to grant us
that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve him without fear,
in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.” - Luke 1:68-75
Grace and peace to you through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
These words from Zechariah’s blessing at the birth of his son John remind us of God’s redeeming love for us, passed down through our ancestors, the prophets, and the saints before us, that we might trust in the promises of God. We are being delivered from the hands of our enemies. We are people lifted up to show mercy to all those we encounter. We are people who worship “God with us,” God for us, and by God’s blessing, are encouraged to “serve and worship God without fear.”
In this time of uncertainty and increasing fear, be mindful of God’s presence with us. Trusting in the fullness of God’s love and healing for us, I want to offer you the assurance that we can turn to God and serve our neighbor without fear because of the things we are doing at St. Mark’s to be vigilant and careful without being governed by panic. For those who wish to see how our ELCA Churchwide and Synodical sisters and brothers in Christ are addressing similar concerns, links to their own communications are below.
God created us as social people. Although we may separate ourselves physically, we will continue to find ways to remain socially connected.
Corporate Times of Prayer: During the upcoming weeks, I invite you to join me and other disciples at appointed times during the day to stop for 60 seconds and offer words of prayer. Trusting that God hears our prayers, we also trust that God rejoices when the church prays together, even if separated distance.
Service and Support: Donate blood. Continue to give and support the needs of our Bethlehem Township community through our online giving page. Call a neighbor and check in on their health and welfare. Consider those for whom isolation and anxiety is especially tolling. Support those around you who have been sent home from work, and are missing out on a much needed paycheck. Find some way to make connections of love with others through Christian care and support.
If anyone is in need of groceries, prayer, or desires to talk through the uncertainty and what this might mean for us as people of God, please do not hesitate to reach out. Call. Text. Send an email. Reach out through Facebook, or here at our website.
Blessings and peace to you during these trying times. May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you. May the Lord look upon you with favor, and give you peace. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Rev. Brandon Heavner