Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, the HOPE of the World:
These are trying days. Depending on your vocation or your situation, you may not just feel like you’re being put to the test; you feel like you’re being put through the wringer. (Is that too “ancient” a reference for some of you? Ask someone who has experience hand-washing clothes for an explanation.)
We’ve been instructed not just on sneezing and coughing etiquette, and proper handwashing techniques during cold and flu season. We’ve also been instructed in proper “social distancing.” (No doubt the term is one of the new entries that will be added to dictionaries.)
Under such circumstances, we feel less connected. You may feel less like you’re part of a congregation, a member of Christ’s body the Church. It is good that “we walk by faith, not by sight” or by feelings (2 Corinthians 5:7). For we are baptized into Christ, and so we remain in Christ, who unites us in Himself. “I AM the Vine, you are the branches” (John 15:5). “So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord” (2 Cor 5:6). Physical separation is nothing new in the life of the Church; rather, it is her daily experience to be separated thus from Her Ascended Lord and Bridegroom.
We remain connected to one another through Him as He comes to us in His Word and Sacraments. You may have sought out some daily devotions or other helps to keep you in the Word. If you do nothing else, you can use the resources you probably already have at hand: the Bible, the hymnal (ours have a calendar of daily readings), and the Catechism.
Lately, many have been using the phrase, “Think outside the box,” to the point that it’s worn thin. I would suggest instead, “Think inside the Book,” that is, let God’s thoughts lead and guide the thoughts of your heart and mind. I also have been saying, “Why reinvent the wheel?” If someone else is doing good work, why try to replicate it? Through our Lutheran Church– Missouri Synod, we have access to many such sources. Some are listed below, with online links.
And here’s one more daily devotion idea: You be the daily devotion for one another. Be in contact with your fellow Hope members. Offer a word of encouragement. Sometimes you may need that word yourself, which can be the motivation for another to speak it to you. Help one another to live out your daily, priestly vocations with your fellow believers in Christian love, and to do so for those who don’t yet know Him.
The Love and Grace and Peace of our Triune God in + Christ Jesus be with you, Pastor Peniķis
Daily Video Devotions from LCMS — Led by Synod President Rev. Dr. Matthew Harrison, First VP (and former Kansas DP) Rev. Peter Lange, and Director of Worship Rev. Sean Daenzer, these devotions offer God’s comfort from Romans, Lamentations, and the Gospels. https://www.lcms.org/how-we-serve/mercy/health-ministry/pandemic#devotions
Daily Devotion from Faith Lutheran Church, Churrubusco, Ind. (Sr. Pastor, Rev. Dr. Lane Burgland, former pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church, Paola, Kan.) https://flcbusco.org/2020/03/25/daily-devotion
LWML Mustard Seed Daily Devotions https://www.lwml.org/mustard-seed-devotions
Higher Things Reflections — Especially for youth, but beneficial for anyone; available as both text and podcast https://higherthings.org/reflections/
Apologetics: Lutheran Life Spring 2020 issue — Guidance for how to make a sound and proper defense of the Christian Faith. We know people are asking for the reason for the hope that is in us. Be ready to give answers! (Past issues also available.) https://discover.cph.org/lutheran-life/lutheran-life-spring- 2020