“Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!” Matthew 21:9

The word Hosanna literally means ‘save us please.’ While it can be shouted in a crowd as a term of praise, these days it feels more like a prayer we pray in the silence of our homes. Palm Sunday is this Sunday, the beginning of Holy Week. It’s usually a time of great crowds on the Sundays and even a good showing at the special services of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Vigil. We won’t have the crowds this year, although I believe we will have greater attendance than ever before for the Great Three Days before Easter. Palm Sunday, which kicks all this off, is about the coming of someone who can save us. I don’t have answers for this Corona Virus. I have fears. Fears that we will lose people from our congregation to the virus. Fears that our people will be hurt by the economic impacts. So, this Sunday, instead of shouts of Hosanna, I have prayers of Hosanna. Directed at the only one who has power. Dear Jesus, save us please.

-Pastor Travis

A Monday Gift For You

Happy Monday everyone. Our organist, Eric Wicks, has shared an organ recital for you as a gift. We know many are missing the beautiful organ music each Sunday, we hope this helps. 

Sunday School Update

I hope you are all well and finding success in navigating our “new normal”.  It can be so fun to have extra family time, and it can also be a challenge to fill that time.  Regarding their Christian education we want to provide consistency and structure for the kids while we all stay home.   We also want to continue with the lesson plan that is mapped out for the rest of the school year.   

To do this we are asking all of you to get your kids to online Sunday school!  Simply click on the Zoom link provided for each grade at the appointed time.  Then click on the link to open the meeting in your browser.  Please plan to attend the class for the first few minutes.  You will need to help your kids with meeting etiquette, the mute button, etc.  As you will see, every time there is noise on your end the video feed is on you.  We recommend using a device with a large screen – we want the kids to see faces!  The meeting information for Kindergarten – 5th grade is as follows:

Kinder / 1st Grade Tuesday, 7-7:30pm:
Join Zoom Meeting
https://zoom.us/j/673429984
Meeting ID: 673 429 984

2nd grade, Sunday, 10-10:30am:
Join Zoom Meeting
https://zoom.us/j/779314033
Meeting ID: 779 314 033

3rd grade, Wednesday, 7-7:30pm:
Join Zoom Meeting
https://zoom.us/j/726401318
Meeting ID: 726 401 318

4th grade, Sunday, 7-7:30 pm:
Join Zoom Meeting
https://zoom.us/j/488852972
Meeting ID: 488 852 972

5th grade, Thursday, 2-2:30 pm:
Join Zoom Meeting
https://zoom.us/j/366844514
Meeting ID: 366 844 514

These  classes will be hosted by your child’s Sunday school teachers, Pastor Travis, Pastor Carrie, and myself.  We are hoping kids will stay connected to each other, their teachers, and First Lutheran.

We encourage families to worship together on Sunday mornings.  Worship is posted to our website www.flccs.net on Sunday mornings.  You can also find the link on Facebook or on the Blog on our website.  We will also post links to resources that will help you fill the time with faith building activities such as:

  • A Lenten Devotional (with activities) written by Michaela Eskew
  • Rainbow Trail and Sky Ranch Lutheran Camps – Tune in using Facebook Live at 3:00 pm Monday – Thursday for song, scripture, prayer, stories, and fun
  • Illustrated Ministry – receive free weekly coloring pages and family devotions in your email

Lastly,  please send in a short video clip for use in our online worship.   Holding your phone horizontally, take a selfie video of you and your family saying ‘And also with you’ and send it to theresa@flccs.net.

While our ‘pause’ button is on, enjoy the blessing of your kids and family!  Be well and let me know if there is anything you need.

Blessings,

Shelly Schmidt

Prayer Practice Fridays – 03-27-20

Fasting

Yet even now, says the Lord, return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; rend your hearts and not your clothing. Return to the Lord, your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and relents from punishing.
-Joel 2: 11-12

One of the Lenten disciplines that is always encouraged is fasting. During this particular Lent we are most certainly fasting in ways that we had never intended. We find ourselves fasting from face-to-face interactions, from going about some of our daily routines, perhaps from picking up our regular items from the store and from experiencing Holy Communion together. None of this comes to us as an intentional fast to make room for prayer but, all of it allowing for time to reflect in prayer on so many different things. This forced fast has been pretty eye opening, allowing time to think about the things that we can’t currently have access to, or that no longer seem like a big deal, and it makes me wonder what things that we are currently fasting from that may not return.

When we talk about fasting as a prayer discipline we speak of filling the space of something we consume with time for prayer and reflection. This is a time of prayer and reflection can be spent giving thanks for what we have been blessed with and praying for those who lack the same. We might find that when we give up a comfort in our lives it readies our hearts for more urgent sacrifices that might be called upon us from time to time. Today it seems we are living in a vulnerable state of fasting. I know that it is one that creates anxiety and a sense of helplessness in not knowing how to help. I urge you to take this time of fasting and create space to pray, to reflect on the blessings that abound in our lives and trust that God is faithful.

Lastly, this week I’ve started reading (literally just started) a book titled “Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals” by Shane Claiborne, Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, and Enuma Okoro. It speaks to the ways that Common Prayer helps today’s diverse church pray together across traditions and denominations. It seems most appropriate to me now in light of our current pandemic situation. Early in the book, page 19 on my Kindle to be exact, they have this to say about prayer: “We never pray alone, even when praying by ourselves.” I take great comfort in that during this time and I hope you do too. Remember that we continue to hold you in prayer and long for the day that we gather to pray together.

-Pastor Carrie

Children’s Sermon Caterpillar Craft

Hello families!

Last Sunday Michaela shared a fantastic Children’s Sermon with you, where she shared the story of “The Very Hungry Caterpillar.”  This week Betsy Tuma has created an at home art project for you to go with the caterpillar story!  We are so excited to be able to offer this resource to you and thankful that Michaela and Betsy have the gifts to bring this story to life!  It promises to be a fun project and we hope that you’ll share it with us! 

Take a picture of your projects (mom and dad can do one too!) and be sure to email them to theresa@flccs.net.  We can’t wait to see what your caterpillar looks like!

To find the caterpillar project click here.

To find the children’s sermon click here.

Lenten Devotional for Families

In this time of distance and ample time with our families, First Lutheran would like to offer you a Lenten Devotional that is specifically adapted for families with grade-school children (though believers of all ages are welcome to explore their faith in a new creative way through this resource).

As you seek to fill your time with arts and crafts, home schooling and screen time, we hope you can also add in some faith formation. The Lenten Devotional was written to carry you week-by-week through the Lenten season with special devotions for Holy Week, but please adapt it to your own family’s needs. The devotional is thematic rather than tied to the lectionary readings each Sunday, so if there is a particular story that interests you, go there first! This devotional was never intended to be overwhelming, but rather expansive to allow for free choice and flexibility.

We pray your family finds a meaningful Lenten journey within these pages and we look forward to the day when we can once again return to worship and learn together.  

It can be downloaded directly to your computer or device by clicking here.


Blessings, Michaela Eskew 

The Lord is with you Mighty Warriors

One of my favorite stories in the Bible is the story of Gideon starting in Judges chapter 6. The beginning of the story gets my attention today. The nation has been overrun by the Midianites and all of Israel is in hiding. Gideon is hiding in his wine press, trying to thresh wheat in there to keep it from the enemy. Basically, he’s working from home 😊. An angel of the Lord comes to him and says, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.” Gideon’s response is classic, and maybe something we’re all thinking. Gideon says to the angel. “But sir, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all his wonderful deeds that our ancestors recounted to us saying, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt? But now the Lord has cast us of and given us into the hand of Midian.”

Gideon is honest. He’s fearful and feeling unsafe and he’s wondering where God is. Where is God while he’s trying to thresh wheat in a wine press? Where’s God when we’re trying to be work from home? Where’s God when the schools are closed? Where’s God when jobs are lost and the money we had to live on disappears? Where’s God when the church can’t even gather to worship? Gideon’s question “Why has all this happened to us?” is on the lips of so many these days.

We don’t know why the coronavirus has happened to us, not ultimately. We can trace it back to a strange animal in an unclean market in a foreign country, but that doesn’t answer our questions. What we really want to know is why are we suffering, how long will it last, how bad will it get, and why doesn’t God do something about it.

I can’t answer all those questions, but the angel’s greeting to Gideon is a good place to start. First of all, the Lord is with us in this. I’ve seen so much evidence of this, it’s mind blowing. Our first online worship service received over 1000 views as people shared with friends and family. People who haven’t been able to attend church in years, or stopped coming for other reasons expressed great appreciation for hearing God’s word. Those who have volunteered to make phone calls to fellow members to check in are sharing amazing serendipitous moments of connection. The Lord is with and will be throughout the entirety of this experience.

I also like the angel’s declaration to Gideon who is hiding in the wine press. The Lord is with you MIGHTY WARRIOR. I’m sure Gideon didn’t feel mighty and he certainly wasn’t much of a warrior. But God believed in him, saw in him something He didn’t see in himself. I believe the church is a mighty warrior too, and each of you are part of that. Our battle is against invisible enemies. A virus. But also against fear, despair, selfishness, and isolation. There are more things that will come against us in the weeks to come, but God is with us and is stronger than anything that threatens us.

Read the rest of the story of Gideon and see how the Lord teaches him to trust in God. May we learn the same trust and reliance during our hour of need.

The Lord is with you mighty warriors,

Pastor Travis

May we Pray for You?

Now that we are attending church online, our usual way of submitting prayer requests has changed. You may now email your requests to flc@flccs.net. Names are generally kept on the list for 2 weeks. If you need them on for a longer period of time, please include this in your email. Our prayer list will continue to be published weekly in the Ekklesia so your church family can support you and your loved ones through prayer.

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