Dear brothers and sisters in Jesus,

In short, we will be canceling worship services tomorrow in favor of keeping everyone safe.  In years past, we have held worship for walkers.  We are not going to have any form of worship at 13611 Laurel-Bowie Road tomorrow morning.

However, God’s Word tells us “This is the day that the Lord has made.  Let us rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24).  I encourage you to worship in your homes! (see below*) And then continue that worship by helping someone in your neighborhood tomorrow. See this as an opportunity to get to know your neighbors if you don’t, and to build on those relationships if you do.

For those who would like to receive communion this week, please contact me at the office, or make plans to come to church on Wednesday night.  After the Wednesday night Bible Study (an in-depth look at the Gospel of Luke which we JUST began last week) which begins at 6:15, we will have a brief service of Confession and Absolution with Holy Communion, beginning at 7:15.  Come for dinner starting at 5:30, Bible Study (6:15) and communion (7:15).  If you would like to bring your offering for the week, Wednesday would be a great time to do it–otherwise hold onto it until next weekend.

*For those who would like them, here are some thoughts for an informal home worship service:

Open with Prayer:  In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen!  We pray…  Gracious God, we thank you for preserving us this day and for protecting us through this storm.  We pray that you would now bless us with your presence and strengthen us with the assurance of your grace, through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit.  Amen!

Have one person read Psalm 118 (the whole thing!) Notice the Palm Sunday themes!

Have another person read Nehemiah 2:11-20

Read A Thought:  God had placed the task of rebuilding Jerusalem on the heart of Nehemiah, who had a very nice, even “cushy” job of being the cup bearer to the King Artexerxes in Persia.  Why anyone leaves comfort and security in favor of God’s mission is a powerful witness in itself.  But Nehemiah left in order to lead a ragtag group of pioneers in rebuilding the city they all held dear.  It, like the piles of snow outside our homes right now enveloping cars and trucks, must have seemed like an impossible task to undertake.  But they committed to the task, and believed that “the God of heaven will give us success.” (v. 20)

The next chapter in Nehemiah’s short book details the manner in which they succeeded in rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem.  Each man and his family worked to build just a portion of the wall.  Each man’s name is recognized in this chapter for all to hear about, along with the section of gate or wall that they rebuilt.  For us today, these may be just names, and it might be easy to skip over this detailed listing.  But Nehemiah recorded what they did, because this act of teamwork demonstrates how God accomplished the mission through all of them working together.

For the last several weeks we’ve been talking about the importance of everyone in ministry–as a part of the body of Christ.  He loves this world with his life, and shows that love through us.  We are his hands, feet, and mouth–along with all the other parts as well.  God’s Word teaches us that everyone has something to offer–and often times much to offer in service to others.  We also believe that God wants us to work together–both inside the ministries of Our Savior Lutheran Church–and outside those organized ministries in the larger Body of Christ called the Church.

This Sunday, we can’t meet together as our local church, but that doesn’t prohibit our service as a part of the Church.  See this as an opportunity to serve your neighbors and shine with the light of Jesus in your neighborhood.  Like the families who worked together to rebuild the walls, chip away at this snow chunk by chunk, and you’ll get there!

Not all of us are shovels.  Some are encouragers, or prayers.  Regardless of your gift or ability–let Jesus shine brightly through you!

Prayer time:  Spend a little time allowing each member of the family to share their “highs and lows” –that is the best part about yesterday or this last week, and the low point of yesterday or this last week.  Pray for each other and any other concerns you want to share.

Closing:  Sing a song like the doxology (Praise God from whom all blessings flow) or simply share a blessing.  May God richly bless us as we shine with his love today!  In the name of Jesus, Amen!

I hope you find this useful.  God bless you, dear church family, and keep you safe, until we are able to be with one another once again.

In the joy of Jesus,

Pastor Peter


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