Thursday, April 9, 2020

Sermon -- Maundy Thursday (April 9, 2002)

1 CORINTHIANS 11:26

WITHOUT A BODY AND BLOOD SACRIFICE, THERE IS NO LIFE.

In the name + of Jesus.

      Our Lord Jesus Christ, on the night he was betrayed, celebrated the Passover with his disciples.  The Passover is the festival of the Lord's great act of salvation in the Old Testament.  God's covenant people were set free from slavery and oppression.  He granted them a great victory over their foes—a victory in which Israel did nothing.  The Lord fought for them.  Israel simply feasted and rejoiced as the recipients of God's gracious work.
     The Passover, in particular, celebrated God's sparing the people of Israel from the death which was to come upon all of Egypt.  The Lord had told them, “I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the LORD.  The blood shall be a sign for you, on the houses where you are.  And when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you, when I strike the land of Egypt.” (Exodus 12:12-13)  By their annual celebration of the Lord's deliverance, they learned that deliverance from death came by the blood of the lamb.  Without a body and blood sacrifice, death was certain.  With it, there was life.
     God's deliverance has always been linked to a body and blood sacrifice.  The first came when the Lord put animals to death so that Adam and Eve could have their shameful nakedness covered by the skins of these animals.  The first recorded act of public worship was Abel's body and blood sacrifice from the flock.  Then there was Noah's thank offering after he left the ark, Abraham's offering of a ram substituted for Isaac, and all the offerings made according to the Law of Moses.  Gallons of blood were spilled over the years as lambs and bulls were turned to smoke on altars.  Upon every offering presented, the worshiper placed his hands to indicate: “This one bears my guilt.”  Over every unblemished animal, the worshiper confessed: “This one dies for me.”  Without a body and blood sacrifice, there is no life.
     Without a doubt, the Bible is a very bloody book.  It might even appear that our Lord is savage in his demand of deadly slaughter and bloody sacrifice.  But the problem is not that the Lord is vicious and inexplicably bloodthirsty.  The problem is that we are evil and incurable.  The problem is that our hearts continue to be defiant. 
     The Lord is a loving and generous God.  His gifts are given to all—the righteous and the unrighteous.  His blessings are given in abundance and variety.  God is good.  His word is good.  And he calls us to serve him according to his good word.  But we do not.  We consider ourselves to be good, even though we say horrible things about our neighbor and to our neighbor.  We seek what we can get from others rather than what we can give to them.  We still call ourselves good.  We even credit ourselves being better than God.  We boast about how we would stop wars, eliminate debt, and cure cancer.  We make great boasts with our mouths about how we would fix problems, but our schedules and our checkbooks show us that our words are empty.  We've invested nothing toward our neighbor but our own self-praise.  Boasts are easy to make when we are not accountable for them.  But we are accountable.  The Lord holds us accountable for all our boasting and pride.  You regard it as unbearable when you have to endure a braggart.  What response should a holy God have toward you when your glory-seeking comes at his expense?  Repent.  A merciless slaughter is deserved.
     And a merciless slaughter has been carried out.  Behold!  The Lamb of God has taken away the sin of the world.  The Lord has laid upon Jesus the iniquity, the boasting, and the glory-seeking of us all.  “This one bears my guilt.  This one dies for me.”  Without a body and blood sacrifice, there is no life. 
     Every body and blood sacrifice in the Old Testament points to Jesus.  To save us, God took on a body in order to bear our sins.  All of our guilt is transferred to Jesus, for “the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:6)  Jesus is presented as our substitute under God's wrath, for “he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities.” (Isaiah 53:5)  Jesus is the perfect, unblemished Lamb who was slain for us.  John the Baptist declared, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29)  John the Apostle declared that the pure and precious blood of that Lamb purifies us: “The blood of Jesus … cleanses us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7)  Without a body and blood sacrifice, there is no life.  The body of Jesus bore our sins on the cross.  The blood of Jesus now marks us so that death and damnation pass over us.  By the holy, precious blood of Jesus and by his innocent sufferings and death, we are forgiven of all sin, saved from death and hell, and delivered from the oppression of fear and shame and guilt. 
     Now, if the body and blood of Jesus supply our life and purify us from all sin, wouldn't it be wonderful if he could supply them to us so that we are assured of life?
     Our Lord Jesus Christ, on the night he was betrayed, took bread and took the cup.  “Take and eat,” he declared.  “Take and drink,” he summoned.  “This is my body, given for you.  This is my blood, shed for you.”  Under the bread, Jesus delivers to you the body which has borne your sin.  Under the wine, Jesus supplies the blood which was shed to cleanse you of all sin.  He does not leave you to imagine his sacrifice; he makes you partakers of it.  He does not ask you to re-enact, to pretend, or to put on a play.  Instead, he provides to you what actually bestows forgiveness of sins, new life, and salvation.  This is why St. Paul wrote to the Corinthians: “As often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.” (1 Corinthians 11:26)  
     Christian worship has always had two main focal points—the preaching of the word and the administration of the Lord's Supper.  The word of God does much more than deliver information to us.  God does not tell us about body and blood sacrifices just so we can know what life was like in the days of Noah, Moses, and David.  In his word, God communicates with us.  He professes his love and grace in many ways.  By words and actions, he revealed to his people of old that without a body and blood sacrifice, there was no life.  And his word shows us that this is fulfilled in Jesus.
     The other focal point of Christian worship is the sacrament of Holy Communion.  [Sadly, the COVID-19 quarantine is forcing us to fast for a while.]  “As often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.” (1 Corinthians 11:26)  The death of Jesus Christ was a body and blood sacrifice.  It did not merely picture forgiveness, it purchased forgiveness of sins.  Likewise Holy Communion does not merely picture the death of Jesus, it delivers Jesus' body and blood.  Whenever we celebrate the sacrament, we are proclaiming the Lord's death.  We are confessing: Jesus' body and blood were given into death to atone for our sin, and Jesus' body and blood are now given here to us to forgive our sin.  By delivering the body offered on the cross and the innocent blood shed there, Holy Communion gives here what Jesus won.  It is a communion—a uniting with Jesus so that everything he won he gives to us.  The body and blood of Jesus Christ were not only given into death for us, they also conquered death for us.  Therefore, we feast on life itself.  We take into our bodies that which lives and reigns forevermore, so that we will live and reign forevermore.
     “As often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.” (1 Corinthians 11:26)  We do not slaughter lambs, burn up bulls, or mark our doors with blood.  We do not even bother with seder meals.  There are no promises connected to these.  Instead, we proclaim the Lord's death by word and sacrament.  This is where we find the promise which sets us free from the slavery to sin and the oppression of guilt.  But even more, it delivers us from death.  For, the blood of Jesus marks us righteous, and the body of Jesus sustains us as we journey toward our heavenly home.  In this way, Jesus makes us partakers of a victory that we did nothing to win.  Instead, we feast and we rejoice that we are the recipients of God's gracious work.

In the name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen. 

Update from Good Shepherd (April 9, 2020)

Greetings!


WORSHIP DURING COVID-19
Services will be broadcast on Facebook Live.  
The schedule for Holy Week is:  
Maundy Thursday – Thursday, April 9 (7:00 PM) 
Good Friday – Friday, April 10 (7:00 PM)
Easter Sunday – Sunday, April 12 (10:00 AM)
Please share our Holy Week schedule and invite friends to tune in to our services.

GOOD SHEPHERD ON YOUTUBE
         We are now posting our services on YouTube.  When you go to YouTube, do a search for "Good Shepherd Novi" and they should pop up.
The link for Palm Sunday (April 5) is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CrxzAvAwbhg
         Bulletins for services can be downloaded from here (scroll down): 
http://goodshepherdnovi.org/worship

ADULT BIBLE CLASS
We will be resuming our series entitled, “Bible Symbols” on Wednesdays at 7:00 PM.
While the Bible is written in clear language, it sometimes uses symbolism to reveal God's word to us.  Such symbolism, while it can be confusing, also serves to illustrate God's mercy and salvation to us.  In order to gain a deeper understanding of God's mercy and salvation, it serves us well to be familiar with the Bible's symbolism and word pictures.
If you happen to have the book, God's Imagery, you can refer to that for each class period.  The chapters that correspond to each session are below.  Although it is not crucial to have for the class, reading the chapter which corresponds to the upcoming class may foster more discussion for the class.  You can order your own copy through Northwestern Publishing House here: https://online.nph.net/gods-imagery.html 
This class will be done on the website Zoom, and there will be sheets emailed to you in advance.  In order to make sure you receive the study guides and to get the password for the Zoom sessions, you will need to register for this class.  Even if you will attend only occasionally, please register.  I am also hoping to record these sessions so that they will be available on demand.
The class schedule will be as follows:
April 15    --     Spring OT Festivals: Symbols of Christ's first coming (Chapter 3)
April 22    --     Fall OT Festivals: Fulfillment of Christ's work (Chapter 4)
April 29    --     The Symbolism of numbers (Chapter 5)
May 6    --     Symbols of the Savior (Chapter 6)
May 13    --     The People of the Lord (Chapter 7)
May 20    --     Apocalyptic Literature (Chapter 8)
May 27    --     Types of Christ (Chapter 18)


CONCERNING THE CORONAVIRUS
        General thoughts regrading the Church, its services, and pastoral care during a health scare such as the coronoavirus, I refer you to some thoughts I had written earlier.  You can find them at my blog here, under the title, "A Pastoral Concern: The Church Militant, Pastoral Care, and the Coronavirus."
        Regarding worship, particularly home devotions and prayer during this time of quarantine, you can refer to this letter which offers encouragement, advice, and resources for worship at home.  
        Home Devotions: A link to provide materials for home devotions and prayers is here.

CONCERNING PASTORAL CARE
        Online Worship:  Besides Facebook Live and YouTube, you can find the pastor's sermons archived on this blog.  You can use the search bar to find a particular date, day of the Church Year, or Scripture reference.
        Person-to-person care: Pastor Schroeder will be in his office to offer private devotions, Holy Absolution, and Holy Communion to members in small groups or to individuals.  You may come in without appointment at these times: Mondays and Thursdays, 8:00 AM - Noon and 6:00 - 9:00 PM.  You may also set up an appointment at any time.  Visits by appointment can be done either at church or at your home.
        In case you contract COVID-19:  Please contact Pastor Schroeder.  He will alert the congregation so that your fellow members may pray for you, and he will keep everyone informed of your condition.  If possible, Pastor Schroeder will visit you during your quarantine.  At the very least, he will keep in contact with you and provide devotional materials.  If you want to ask for intercessions for loved ones, we will certainly remember them in our prayers, too.  If your loved one has no pastor, ask if they would like Pastor Schroeder to visit them.  

PRIVATE COMMUNION DURING HOLY WEEK
Private Communion is available by appointment at any time.
Private Communion is available during Holy Week without appointment at these times:
Thursday, April 9   8:00 AM – Noon
Friday, April 10           8:00 AM – Noon
Saturday, April 11  9:00 AM – 1:00 PM
To limit the risk of contracting COVID-19 as much as possible, please review the protocol we will follow when you come in.  You can see it here.

OFFERINGS
While we may not be meeting for worship, we do have financial obligations to meet.  You may either mail your offering into Good Shepherd, or you can set up your offering to be transferred electronically from your bank.  If you are interested in the automatic transfer of funds for your offering, please contact the church at welsnovi@aol.com .

INTERCESSIONS 
Intercessions that are requested prior to the bulletin’s printing will be included in the bulletin.  Requests may be made prior to the service as well.
>  For Rawland Storm who continues treatment for cancer
   >  For Kevin Spillane, friend of Dan Rauchholz, who suffered a heart attack and will be having a procedure on his heart soon
   >  Supplication during the COVID-19 pandemic

In our prayers....
While we offer up prayers for specific requests in our services, petitions and intercessions can be offered up throughout the week for continued concerns.  Please continue to remember these in your prayers:
>  Josie Shipe, niece of Bob & Susan Shipe, now diagnosed with ataxia,  a degenerative disease of the nervous system
>  Jan Papson, who continues to suffer from the effects of cancer at home

OFFICE HOURS
Office hours at Good Shepherd have adjusted during the COVID-19 quarantine.  Pastor Schroeder will be in the office Mondays and Thursdays, 8:00 AM - Noon and again 6:00-9:00 PM.  Lisa is doing most of her work from home.

DO YOU LIKE US?
Look for Good Shepherd on Facebook.  Then “LIKE” us for updates and other postings.  Be sure to share posts with friends.

SHARE THIS POST!
We desire as many as possible to rejoice in the Gospel which we proclaim and confess.  Share the information from our weekly email blast, links to our web page, and even to the pastor's blog to let others know that we have a space in our congregation for them!

God bless you.


In Christ,
Pastor Schroeder
==============================
SUNDAY SCHOOL -- suspended until further notice
ADULT BIBLE CLASS -- Wednesdays at 7:00 PM (via Zoom: registration is necessary)

DIVINE SERVICES -- Sundays at 10:00 AM
 (Facebook Live only)

GOOD SHEPHERD’S WEBSITE

Good Shepherd Evangelical Lutheran Church
41415 W. Nine Mile Road
Novi, Michigan  48375-4306
+   +   +   +   +   +   +   +   +   +   +   +

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Holy Week greetings from Pastor & Laura Schroeder

YouTube -- 6th Sunday of Lent: Palm Sunday

Here is the Palm Sunday sermon from Good Shepherd, Novi.

The bulletin can be found here: http://goodshepherdnovi.org/yahoo_site_admin/assets/docs/WORBulletinPalm_Sunday_4520_FB.9493124.pdf


Sermon -- 6th Sunday in Lent: Palm Sunday (April 5, 2020)

MATTHEW 21:1-11

BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES TO SAVE!

In the name + of Jesus.

      When Jesus entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, he was greeted as both a prophet and a king.  The crowds confessed with their words: “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee.” (Matthew 21:11)  The crowds testified by their actions: “Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road.” (Matthew 21:8)  For not even the king's mount should touch the ground.  The best and greatest statement they made, however, was the refrain which was commonly heard at the Passover: “Hosanna to the Son of David!  Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!  Hosanna in the highest!” (Matthew 21:9)  
     The crowds were spot-on with their song of praise.  “Hosanna to the Son of David!”  While it was true of his genealogy, it was uniquely true of his Messianic office.  He is the Son of David and he is the King of Israel.  “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”  He was sent by his Father for the benefit of his people.  He is the Lord, and he comes to do the work of the Lord.  Hosanna!  “Lord, save us now!”  If they call upon him to save, then he is also a Savior.  All of these things were true, and true only of Jesus.
     Blessed he is who comes to save!  It was the cry of many people who were in Jerusalem on that Palm Sunday.  It is still the cry of many people today.  “Blessed is he who comes to save!”  But the question is this: saved from what?
     What do you want to be saved from?  COVID-19 rises to the top of the list these days.  We want ourselves and our loved ones spared from this highly contagious virus, especially since it endangers lives.  The medical staff who are dealing with this every day describe what a horrible death is brings.  And the COVID-19 virus is having residual effects on our lives as well.  Feelings of isolation and loneliness have been increased exponentially.  God designed us to have contact with other people.  When God says, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” that suggests that you will deal with others.  If that is cut off, loneliness sets in.  If someone is already struggling with depression, this only makes it worse.  Temptations for suicide become more intense.  Perhaps you have been laid off from work, or fear you will be soon.  Even if work stops, bills don't.  So we have the stress of running low on money.  All of these are problems you may wish to be saved from.  And who can blame you?  No one enjoys problems. 
     But all our problems are merely symptoms.  They all result from the fact that this is a corrupt world.  Even the creation desires to be set free from this corruption.  St. Paul writes to the Romans: “The creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.  For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption.” (Romans 8:19-21)  COVID-19, poverty, stress, depression, and death do not happen in a perfect world.  Our Lord taught us to pray, “Deliver us from evil,” for a reason.
     But if this is all you long to be saved from, you will find Jesus to be a very disappointing Savior indeed.  You my long to be saved from COVID-19, a thin wallet, loneliness, or the loss of employment, but these are short-term problems.  What if Jesus had you win the lottery?  What if Jesus miraculously emptied the hospitals?  What if Jesus got you your dream job and delivered all kinds of friends to you?  If that is all you want, then you will find Jesus useless.
     Blessed is he who comes to save.  Jesus comes in the name of the Lord to do what his Father sent him to do.  And it was not to make you rich, to provide health, to win you friends, or to produce an economy to guarantee jobs for everyone who wants one.  Politicians promise that.  We vote for the ones who sound the best making those promises, and then we mock them when they can't fix the world or our lives.  Jesus is no politician.  He never promises to make you rich, popular, successful, or even healthy.  That's because these are not your problems.  Your problem is not that you have struggles or even that the world is corrupt.  Your problem is that you are corrupt and that you are going to die.  Whether that is by COVID-19 or not is irrelevant.  “The wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23)  Death comes to sinners.  Sinners stand under God's judgment.  That is the problem we all share.
     When you end up lying on your death bed, Satan will not mock you about your bank account.  He will not tell you that you should have had more friends or better job security.  He will not even belittle you if you die of COVID-19, as if there is great shame in it.  Satan will only be there to taunt you about your sins.  “You said that.  You did this.  You should have behaved better, and you didn't.”  The devil knows these are the things you will have to answer for.  Satan will be there to darken your mind with guilt, to burden your soul with fear, and the pierce your heart with guilt.  For Satan wants to squeeze every last bit of hope out of you.  He does not need pandemics to do it; he only needs to show you what you are.
     Fear not!  For behold!  You have a Savior!  Blessed he is who comes to save!  Jesus has come in the name of the Lord.  He comes meek and gentle.  Jesus does not come making threats, issuing ultimatums, or breathing fire.  He comes to do the work his Father has given him to do, and that is to bear the burden and to suffer the curse for sinners in order to save you. 
     Blessed is he who comes to save!  Jesus enters Jerusalem to answer your prayers of Hosanna!  Lord, save us now!  He comes to save you from matters much worse than the threats to your health, your wallet, and your isolation.  He comes to save you from divine wrath you have earned because you find more value in a government stimulus check than in divine mercy.  In order to save you from death and damnation, Jesus left eternal glory to come to the world corrupted by sin.  Jesus even denied himself the earthly glory that could have been his.  He knew what he was getting into when he rode into Jerusalem.  He could have rallied excited crowds to himself and brought a life of health and wealth to Jerusalem.  But his was not a parade of tossing candy and coins to appeal to the crowds.  His was a journey to suffer on behalf of those people to rescue them from death and damnation, even if they would have preferred candy and coins.  Instead of coming to receive a crown of gold and a throne, Jesus came to receive a crown of thorns and a cross.  Rather than bask in the praise of men, Jesus submitted to the wrath of God. 
     Blessed is the one who comes to save!  He comes to save you from your sin and from the cursed death that results from it.  Jesus makes himself a sin offering—designated to die on your behalf, shedding his blood as the payment for your guilt, and consumed in the fiery judgment of God's wrath.  Instead of leaving you to have your heart pierced with grief over sin and regret, Jesus' heart is pierced at the cross.  From his wound would pour forth blood and water to show you how the Lord delivers his forgiveness to you.
     Blessed is the one who comes to save!  It is one thing for Jesus to suffer and die at Mt. Calvary to make the payment for your sins.  It is another that Jesus actually bestows to you the gifts he has won for you.  In the waters of Baptism, he cleanses you of your sins.  In the sacrament of the Altar, he supplies the blood which has atoned for all of your sins and feeds you with the body that died and overcame death.  Behold!  Your King still comes to you in gentleness and meekness.  He still comes without threats or ultimatums or fire.  He comes in water, word, bread and wine to provide the forgiveness of all your sins and deliverance from death.  He even shushes every accusation from the devil by proclaiming divine pardon for every mark against you.  Jesus lives, and his word stands.  Hosanna!  Blessed is he!  For, he blesses you!
     Blessed is he who comes to save.  All the little things you long to be saved from, Jesus will finally grant those too.  He does not promise temporary relief, but everlasting glory.  He will deliver us from all evil for all eternity when he delivers us out of this world and to the glories of heaven, when he converts this corrupt world into the home of righteousness.  There, Jesus puts an end to all problems and pain.  There, we are united with all the saints, never to be parted again.  Even if you suffer crisis and chaos now, glory and grandeur are coming.  For the king who came in meekness to suffer and die for you lives and reigns.  He will come again in glory to bring you to glory with him. 
     Blessed is he who has come to save by his cross!
     Blessed is he who comes to save now by his word and sacraments!
     Blessed is he who will come again to save us from every evil forevermore!
     Hosanna!  Lord, save us!  Hosanna in the highest!

In the name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen. 

Thursday, April 2, 2020

A Pastoral Concern re: COVID-19 and Holy Week

NOTE: This congregational letter is also being  mailed out to all our members and prospective members as not everyone sees this blog, looks at the email blast, or has Facebook.

Greetings in the name of our Savior!

It was strange to have to suspend our Divine Services a few weeks ago.  We have made the most of it by offering Facebook Live broadcasts of our services and by putting recorded services on YouTube (search for “Good Shepherd Novi” and they will pop right up).  I also encourage you to make use of your time with your family to have home devotions.  God's people should make it a priority to talk about God's word, and by making it a part of the family conversation (perhaps after supper) you get to build each other up.  While we often use our busy schedules as an excuse for failing to do this, most of us have the time to do it now.  Make the most of this time!  For an order of service you can follow, look to www.GoodShepherdNovi.org under the COVID-19 quarantine resources.  Tweak it as you see fit.  If you should desire other materials, call the church office and request it.

If it is strange to have services suspended in general, it will feel especially out of place during Holy Week.  Based on the input of several nurses who are seeing first-hand the effects of COVID-19, based on the fact that we seem to be adding 1,000 cases of COVID-19 to Michigan on a daily basis, and based on the fact that I am not willing to risk the spread of COVID-19 to our members no matter how bold they feel, I cannot in good conscience open the doors to everyone who desires to be in God's house throughout Holy Week, even on Easter Sunday.  We are continuing to observe the 5th Commandment: “We should fear and love God that we do not hurt or harm our neighbor in his body, but help and befriend him in every bodily need.”  But we will most certainly honor the 3rd Commandment: “We should fear and love God that we do not despise preaching and his word, but regard it as holy and gladly hear and learn it.”  Therefore, we will still have Holy Week services (schedule at the end of this letter) on Facebook Live and posted to YouTube, but we will not be able to meet together as a whole congregation.  Bulletins and hymns for each service can be found through links on our church's web site: www.GoodShepherdNovi.org .

While we must endure this cross for the foreseeable future, how glorious it will be when we all gather together again!  We will keep you informed about when that service will be, and we will make it an exceptional day of thanksgiving and celebration.  

Our services are centered on Word and Sacrament.  I am able to administer the Word over the internet (although it is a weak substitute for real, personal proclamation), but not the Sacrament.  Therefore, many of us are observing a fast from the Lord's Supper.  This is not done by our choosing, but out of difficult circumstances.  Still, there are ways you can partake of the body and blood of Christ for the strengthening of faith and for the assurance of forgiveness.  Your pastor is here to serve you, as best as he can, by administering the sacrament to you in a small or even private setting.  

There is a schedule for you to come for Holy Communion during Holy Week at the end of this letter.  To reduce the risk of COVID-19 as much as possible, we will adopt the following protocol.

– Call me from the sidewalk when you arrive.  I will open the door for you so that you do not have to touch the handle.  The door to the chapel will already be propped open.  If you choose to wash your hands as soon as you come in, use the kitchen sink.  This will enable you to wash your hands and avoid touching a door handle immediately after you have washed.
– I will limit the number of people who come in for a service to no more than ten who will be asked to space themselves out in the chapel.  If you happen to arrive and see a number of cars in the parking lot, please be patient and wait until the previous visitors leave.  Understand that I will not be able to take your phone call if I am conducting a service.  If you want to come inside and wait, you may go to the fellowship hall.  I will try to keep the door handle disinfected, but if several people choose to come in together while a service is going on, I will not be able to wipe the door handle down while I am conducting the service.
– Take a bulletin labeled “Order of Service for Shut-Ins.”  This order of service will be only 7-10 minutes.  The bulletin you take will be strictly for your use.  Take it home when you leave.
– When you come for Holy Communion, we will limit the tables to three people on each side of the altar.  Spread out.  You will take the host in your hand.  You may choose between the individual cup or the common cup.  Studies have shown that the risk of spreading disease through the common cup is minimal.  It will be washed thoroughly after each use.
– When you leave, I will either open the door for you, or you may back out to avoid touching the door with your hands.
– Any handles on doors, faucets, toilets, etc... which would have been touched during someone's visit into the church will be disinfected after they leave.  As much as possible, I will do what I can to limit any risks to people who come in for the Lord's gifts.

If you receive this letter in the mail, you will find some self-addressed stamped envelopes which you can use to send your offerings into church.  While we may not be meeting together, expenses have not ceased.  We especially want to remember that the work of our synod continues with training of future pastors and teachers as well as with missionaries in the USA and around the world.  Huron Valley Lutheran High School is also continuing with online classes.  Your generous offerings are always beneficial and pleasing to our Lord who remains generous and faithful to us even in challenging times.

If there is anything in particular that I can be doing for you during this COVID-19 isolation, please let me know.  I am willing to come and see you—whether at home or in a hospital.  God bless and keep you.

In Christ,
Pastor Schroeder

HOLY WEEK SCHEDULE
Palm Sunday         April 5 at 10 AM
Maundy Thursday         April 9 at 7 PM
Good Friday         April 10 at 7 PM
Easter Sunday         April 12 at 10 AM
Private Communion is available by appointment at any time.
Private Communion is available during Holy Week without appointment at these times:
Monday, April 6         8:00 AM – Noon and 6:00 – 9:00 PM
Thursday, April 9  8:00 AM – Noon
Friday, April 10         8:00 AM – Noon
Saturday, April 11 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM