By Pastor Bernt
As a church in the time of “shelter-in-place” due to the coronavirus, we have entered new territory: we are not able to gather together for the Lord’s Supper. Our national church has shared some helpful words on worship during this time, and a way to do Sunday worship in our own home. FLC is hosting a Sunday morning Service of the Word online – click on the logo above to find the link.
Every time we say grace at a meal, it is – in a way – like saying thanks (Eucharist) at the Lord’s Table. The God who gives us dinner and keeps us healthy is One with the Son whose body and blood are given for us and the Spirit who draws us together in love.
The following is a table grace incorporating Psalms 103 and 42. It in no way replaces Holy Communion, but it’s an attempt to express both gratitude and a longing for the Lord’s table.
One person prays:
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and do not forget all his benefits—
who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the Pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
who satisfies you with good as long as you live.
Those at the table may share personal reasons for gratitude. Then, one prays:
Gracious God, we thank you for the gifts you set before us today.
We ask that you heal the sick, comfort those who are isolated, and protect us all.
Watch over your church. Bring us closer in communion with you.
Unite us with joy at the Supper of the Lamb.
As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When shall I come and behold the face of God?
All together pray:
Our Father in Heaven …
(Thanks to Bishop Guy Erwin for suggestions which I tried to incorporate).
Use a smartphone, tablet or computer – pretty much anything that can go on the internet and has a microphone and video recorder built in. (Alternatively, you can just dial in with a phone – see instructions below). On the zoom website, there are simple instructions for getting started available here: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/201362193-Joining-a-Meeting
A few pointers – we’ll provide more as we go:
- You’ll see options to turn off and on your video and/or microphone. It’s OK to have both of these on. The person running the meeting can mute everyone’s microphone if it’s needed (such as to hear one person speaking or singing). As for video, we’d love to see you, but understand if you’d rather not be shown on screen. If you’re on video, it’s harder to see your face if there’s light coming from behind you
- If there’s more than one device tuned into the zoom meeting in the same room, it’s important to have one of the device microphones muted at all times. Otherwise, there will be loud feedback audible to everyone.
- Consider using headphones in order to hear better. Some headphones have a built in microphone which may make your voice easier to hear.
- It’s fine to tune into a meeting a few minutes early and hang around a few minutes afterwards. That way, you can see and catch up with others doing the same thing (and get a little practice with zoom)
- Let us know if you’re having trouble – friends at FLC would be happy to help get you going.
Here’s the instructions for using the phone to access Sunday worship meeting (thanks to Michael A):
Update (3/13/2020) – there will be no on-site worship March 15, 22 or 29. Check back here for updates.
We’re in cold and flu season, and the new coronavirus (COVID-19) makes front page news every day. We are blessed now as always with God’s loving protection and the FLC community. How can we best participate in church life and show care for one another during this season?
FLC leadership is in touch with the synod, other churches and health care professionals – please check back regularly for updates. For now, here are some practices we’d like to try:
Attendance: though some events have been cancelled, we’ll continue to provide opportunities such as worship and prayer. There should be ample space to sit a distance from one another. If you’re sick, it would be best to stay home and take care of yourself, contacting a doctor as needed. Some people – especially those with high risks – may certainly choose not to attend any gatherings. Keep in touch! In this time of uncertainty and isolation, we want to continue to care for one another, even if it’s by email or phone or prayers.
At worship – sharing the peace: originally it was the “kiss of peace” – but practices change! For now, instead of a handshake, we invite you to try a bow – it’s a way to be in solidarity with Christians in places like China, South Korea and Japan. Or, try an elbow or fist bump.
Communion: we’ll continue to provide the word and sacrament each Sunday. We will have hand-sanitizer readily available, and those who are serving will be scrupulous about hygiene. Some may opt not to receive communion every Sunday, or to just receive the bread: as the church has long taught, the body and blood of Christ are both truly present under the bread and the wine. If you receive the wine, you’ll be invited to take a small cup with an individual portion of wine or grape juice from a tray. Ask if you’d like the cup handed to you.
In daily life: again: keep in touch, pray for those who suffer from illness, and follow the advice of those who provide us with healthcare (for example, cdc.gov).