What We’re Doing…
Beginning Saturday March 21st here at Christ the King we’re going to be changing up how we worship in order to combat the spread of COVID-19. We will not be closing our doors entirely but we will be following the recommendation of the CDC to keep our gatherings limited to 10 people or less and we will be engaging in social distancing as well as thorough sanitization of our facilities before and after gatherings of any kind to keep people safe.
I understand that many of you may not want to venture out at this time and I want you to know that I fully understand that decision. Those experiencing any sickness should stay home. Those with weakened immune systems should stay home. However, as your pastor I also carry the weight of my promise to feed the sheep that Christ has put under my care (read the article below for more details). I refuse to let you go through these times without opportunity to hear the Gospel and receive God’s gifts.
In addition to online sermons we will have small services of 10 people or less spread throughout the week. 3 on Saturday, 4 on Sunday, 4 on Wednesday, and 4 on Thursday. You can sign up to attend these services by following this link https://www.signupgenius.com/go/4090C4AA9AD2CA3FE3-worship
You can also sign up by calling the church office and asking to be signed up for a time slot.
These services will be half-hour services with singing, confession, a brief devotional, and communion. All surfaces, (Door handles, pews, and the communion rail) will be disinfected, hand sanitizer will be available, and Communion will be set out in advance to eliminate the possibility of contamination. There will be a half-hour between services for sanitizing and preparing for the next service.
If you are still uncomfortable with going to worship, I understand, and there is no guilt in that decision. If you cannot come and still desire pastoral care I am happy to bring worship to you or pray and share the gospel over the phone. I am your pastor, your shepherd, and I will do anything I can to feed my sheep at this time. You are never alone, you are loved, you have a glorious future, and you are God’s precious child. Please call with any questions.
Free of Fear
Cell: 906-250-2132 Office: 906-485-4432
The reason we’re doing it…
The Sheep Need to Eat!
The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord you know all things: you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.” – John 21:18
I’ll admit that I don’t really have a ton of experience with sheep. When I was younger, I did have the opportunity to spend some time with a small flock that belonged to a farmer who lived next to me but my expertise in the area of livestock is more limited to cows. Growing up on our small farm in east, central Minnesota I was immersed in the daily grind of what it means to feed, tend, and milk cows. And while I have some expertise, I am still not an expert. But I do know something that doesn’t require being an expert to know. Cows need to eat.
And even as I write those words it seems so simple. But I promise you; that simple reality consumes the life of a farmer. Cows need to eat, so we till the land. Cows need to eat, so we sow the seed. Cows need to eat, so we cut, rake, dry, bale, and stack hay. Cows need to eat, and it is the farmers job to make sure that happens year-round. Whether the pasture is covered in grass or snow that simple reality never changes. When the farmer is sick, the cows need to eat. When the cows are sick, the cows need to eat. The stock markets may plunge, the rain may fall, the house may burn down, and the car may not start, but the cows need to eat.
There is no circumstance where the cows do not need to eat. They can go without exercise for a time, they can go without socializing for a time. They can spend days inside, and they can spend weeks locked outside. They can be quarantined for months if necessary, but they need to eat. If they don’t, they die.
Jesus says to Peter, “Feed my sheep.” Today I look back at my ordination vows and remember when I swore that I would preach, teach, and administer the sacraments because this is how the flock is fed. Today, the sheep need to eat. I can’t tell them to find food elsewhere, I can’t lock the doors to the place where their food is and tell them to come back in three weeks. And I know that there are a lot of churches out there that are simply closing their doors and doing online services as we deal with this Coronavirus situation but even when the flock is sick, the sheep need to eat!
We Lutherans have a different understanding of what worship is and what worship does. Worship is how the flock eats, it’s where our food gets served up. And some of this food is the consumption of God’s written word which can be done digitally, but some of this food is real food, real drink, real body, real blood; the kind that can’t be delivered through a screen. The sheep need to eat! Basketball is not essential; travel is not essential, bowling, school, playgroups, trips to the mall are all activities that can be abstained from for a period of time and people will be fine because they are not things that are keeping us alive. But we can’t just stop eating. The sheep need to eat.
I as your pastor have promised before God that I would feed you. I promised that I would be ready in season and out of season. I will do everything I can to fulfill that promise. I know that on the farm when we had sick cows it meant more work. More feedings, special trips, even quarantines. Some cows had to be separated, sometimes we had to feed one group of healthy ones outside, and the sick ones inside. Sick cows meant more work for the farmers. In our context, given the recommendations of our governing authorities (to whom I will submit), that will mean more worship services with small groups. It will mean keeping the sheep healthy with careful sanitary measures. It will mean special trips to feed sick sheep. It will mean more sermons, more music, more planning, and more labor intensive days than I have known for a while. But what can I do? The sheep need to eat, so I will feed them.
Free of Fear, Pastor Thomsen.