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Evalgelical Lutheran Church in America Northeastern Ohio Synod
Letters from Pastor Alan Smearsoll

April 2020

Corvid-19 is like a natural disaster. It has come out of nowhere and dramatically changed the landscape. It has been referred to as an enemy with which we are at war. We have been asked to keep at least six feet distance from one another. To avoid rapid spread, we have been asked to keep from gathering, even as a church in worship. An economy that was breaking records just a few short weeks ago is now failing rapidly. By the way, give thanks to God for such a robust economy, for if it hadn’t been, things would be so much worse than they are right now.

When bad things happen, I like to ask “how is God taking this (in this case “natural disaster”) and   using it for good. How is God thwarting the devil once again? In this case I see churches discovering new and creative ways to continue to spread the Gospel message via a system that is known for the mass spread of “garbage.” The message of Jesus Christ is most likely more accessible to the population now than just a few short weeks ago as churches find ways to use social media to provide      worship opportunities that can go well beyond just their members.

The practice of “social distancing” or “physical distancing” has caused an extremely busy and always on the go society to slow down. Stores can operate on reduced hours. With schools closed, children are home and families can learn to be “family” again. With dine-in restaurants closed, more meals are being prepared at home (healthier ones too?). With sports not being played, children (and adults) are finding other ways to fill their time or simply just be together. Businesses are stepping to the plate to sacrifice profits and provide assistance where they can. And one of the biggest things that is happening? Democrats and Republicans have found that they can work together. J 

I know that the threat of Covid-19 has created a lot of trouble for many. Many are inconvenienced and have to change their daily habits. Many are sick and many have died. 401-K’s that many people depend on for retirement have taken a huge hit. There is much suffering as a result of job loss. But, in the midst of that suffering, a lot of good is emerging. The church is not the building. The church is not what happens on Sunday morning. The church is the people. When we come together in worship, we are the church “gathered.” When we leave worship and go about our everyday lives, we are the church “scattered.”

What will all of this teach the church about being “church?” A Mighty Fortress Is Our God…(please refer to the entire hymn, which I think very appropriate for what we are enduring).

Pastor Alan

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