“And suddenly there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it.” Matthew 28:2

It’s my favorite detail from Matthew’s account of the resurrection. The angel rolled the stone back and sat on it. I picture him dangling his legs, giggling over the surprise he gets to share with the women. It’s a picture of playfulness, of joy and of confidence. The angel perched on the stone that had represented death, sorrow and finality. What does it represent now? Total victory! Jesus has conquered death, nothing can contain him, he is out and free and fully in charge.

The joy of Easter is not dampened by the events of today. Rather the reverse. Even as we are surrounded by threats of disease and death we do not lose heart. We know how this story ends. It ends with life, resurrection, eternal joy with our creator in heaven. It is that knowledge that allows us to persevere in the hard work of serving our neighbor during this time. We can persevere and not lose heart because we know the tomb is empty. We remember the angel dangling his legs over the rolled away stone. We may not be happy now, but our hearts are full of hope that comes from the joy of Easter.

-Pastor Travis

Mosaic Needs Your Help

Things are changing rapidly, and we are doing everything we can to keep the people we serve and their caregivers safe from COVID-19. Our host home families are in need of face masks. This is an immediate need and we are calling on the community in a way we have not done so in years due to the pandemic affecting our community and country. Mosaic stands alongside people with intellectual disabilities to bring awareness to issues that affect their lives.

Our hope is that some of the amazing people at First Lutheran might be willing to take this on and help. We are looking for several of the congregations we work with to commit to producing a certain number of face masks based on capacity.

Overall, we hope to secure 400 fabric face masks within the next 1-2 weeks. No one person can meet this need, so we ask First Lutheran to be a crucial part of making this happen by considering a commitment to produce 50 masks.

We are looking for adult size masks without a wire nose piece so that they will be easy to launder regularly.

Here is a link to mask patterns we are using across the country:

Sweet Red Poppy (http://ow.ly/zSQp30qrEeq).

I am the point of contact for this project and will coordinate pick-ups/drop-offs of completed masks. Please email me at emily.plotkin@mosaicinfo.org with questions. God bless, and thank you for any help you can provide.

-Emily Plotkin, Mosaic

April Church Update

Following the order of our Governor and recommendation of our Bishop, we will not hold worship services in the sanctuary for the month of April. Our Bishop continues to recommend remaining closed through the middle of May, and that may indeed be what we do, but we’re making decisions on a monthly basis.

Please continue to join us for worship online. Every Sunday we email out our services at 7:00am. If you haven’t been receiving them, please click here to add your email to our distribution list. We also watch worship together on Facebook through Facebook Premier at 9:00am on Sundays- which is a nice way for us to interact in the chatroom during worship. You can find all of our worship services on our YouTube page, by clicking here.

We are thankful for your faithfulness during this time and look forward to the day we worship together in person again!

College-Student Zoom Connection

Attention college-age students! We miss you and want to provide a space for us to chat!

The world is drastically different than it was a month ago. We have had to adapt to new ways of connecting and learning that many of us never would have chosen. As college students it may feel even more overwhelming if you are far away from home and now separated from your peers and classmates, not to mention the new challenge of online classes. We want you to know that we haven’t forgotten you and we want to encourage you in this new (but hopefully temporary) way of living. 

If you feel comfortable we would love to have your names and emails so we can keep in touch. If a lot of you are interested we could even have a group Zoom hangout. Email Michaela Eskew, our Minister of Faith Formation at michaela@flccs.net to be included in our new college email chain. 

Fallow Time

The LORD said to Moses at Mount Sinai, “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you enter the land I am going to give you, the land itself must observe a sabbath to the LORD. For six years sow your fields, and for six years prune your vineyards and gather their crops. But in the seventh year the land is to have a year of sabbath rest, a sabbath to the LORD. Do not sow your fields or prune your vineyards. Do not reap what grows of itself or harvest the grapes of your untended vines. The land is to have a year of rest.’ ” Leviticus 25:1-5

The idea of a fallow year, or year of rest for the land is an ancient one for farmers. God commands Israel to give their land a rest every seven years. No plowing or planting, no reaping. Just let the land do nothing. We know now that this is important to keep the land healthy, to allow it to recover from being farmed so it can nourish plants for generations to come.

We are in a fallow time now. The difference is we didn’t choose this; we have to stay home and do little for the sake of our neighbor. But most of us are at home now running out of things to do. I wonder if God could redeem this slower time for us. Could this turn into a time of rest and renewal? I’m spending a lot more time with my kids now and feeling the bonds of our relationships strengthened. I’m really glad I like my wife; our relationship is strengthened as we pitch in together to meet these challenging times. We actually get to worship together, as a family. My son started making Bible scenes on his Minecraft game. My girls are playing with Sam more than ever. Both my wife and I are exercising more. We’re eating more too, but that’s beside the point. Maybe God is redeeming this fallow time.

I’ve been interested to see that pollution is way down across the globe. The waters in Italy are clear again. Animals are coming out of hiding. Maybe God can teach us about what our planet can be like, again.

Please don’t misunderstand me. This virus is real, and it’s scary. Some of us in essential services, like healthcare, are working harder now than ever to fight against it. And some of us have gotten sick and others have died. This is a terrible time in our world. We are all affected differently.

God is here with us. God is with the nurses and doctors on the front lines. God is with those who are doing their part by staying home. God isn’t just with us; He is working through us and on us. For those of us who find these days to be quiet and still, God may just be doing the work of renewal deep in your soul. What is God reminding you of? How is God giving you new life? Pay attention and embrace God’s work, even when it’s invisible.

-Pastor Travis

“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. 

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