The ELS Catechism reminds us of our duty to our country: What is our duty to our country? It is our duty to love our country, obey its laws, assist its officials in keeping law and order, and promote its general welfare. (ELS Catechism, p. 56)
Given the current pandemic growing in our country, the President of the United States has recommended that public gatherings should be limited to ten people or fewer. This recommendation is being made for our protection and for the safety and protection of our neighbors and does not ask us to violate God’s Word.
Following a unanimous resolution from our ELS Doctrine Committee, I am asking that our churches suspend public services and urge following the health recommendations and restrictions of our national, state, and local governments. The coming days will be difficult for our pastors and our members. Although we are unable to meet for services, the financial needs of the congregation will continue. Please continue giving to the Lord’s work during this time. The work of the church will continue, albeit differently, and the financial needs will also continue.
We remember that no matter what hardships, challenges, or deadly pestilences come our way, we as children of God, redeemed by the blood of His own Son, have nothing at all to fear. It is times such as these when God the Holy Spirit moves us to take to heart personally the wonderful promises of both the Old and New Testaments intended to carry us through on our heavenward journey. “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior” (Isaiah 43:1-3). Then there is this steadfast assurance from our loving Almighty as we struggle along in this present world with all of its ugly realities: “God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it” (Hebrews 12:10, 11).
To assist you during this time, please visit the following links:
If your church does not offer a live-streamed service, visit www.els.org/streams for a listing of churches offering live services.
Video devotions are available at www.peacedevotions.com
Daily devotions are available on our website: www.els.org/dailydevotions
May the God who gave His life-blood in order that each of us through faith will join Him in eternal bliss and glory be with you and give you His strength!
John A. Moldstad,
President of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod