Hello OSLC of Outing.
My name is Luke Lekander. Your leadership and I have agreed to do ministry together in the coming months and I am both excited and full of questions as I begin my journey with you in the midst of Covid-19. “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not be in want.” These words from Psalm 23 resonate with me as I ask questions I have never had to ask before. It is hard to find many answers during a pandemic. Covid-19 has turned the our world upside down yet, “I shall not be in want?” I don’t know exactly what will happen in the coming weeks and months, but I do know that the Lord is our shepherd. We will find ways to continue to love and support one another through this time. We will sharpen online/video worship. We will develop and improve our connectivity through social media, email, and telephone. We will use the gifts of technology to stay in contact. We will get creative and be church in new and exciting ways. All of this is being developed as we speak. You have a great leadership team and I look forward to working together with them to make sure nobody is forgotten. The powerful and moving blessings of prayer, worship, and even the Eucharist are being discussed among church leaders everywhere and we are participating in these conversations. Share your concerns with us. Connect with the church to share your ideas, your needs, your sorrows & your joys. Watch for new ways to stay connected. Let us know if you need help accessing technology. We will rise up to care for and support each other in these times. The apostle Paul compels us as he did the Ephesians to “Live as children of the light” (Eph. 5:8) and that is exactly what we will do.
Now, some important things to remember: Covid-19 is a serious pandemic. We must figure out how to both take it very seriously and how not to panic. Although these seem like opposing goals, they are both equally true. First, social distancing is always important. If you must go out in public, maintain a minimum of 6 feet distance between yourself and anyone else. If you become symptomatic, self-quarantine is important. If you are in a high-risk population due to age, immunocompromise, or other health issues, call your doctor to see if you should be tested. If someone in your home is symptomatic, you not only need to quarantine that individual, but household quarantine also becomes necessary. Your entire household should stay home until everyone is symptom free for a minimum of two weeks. Most importantly, do not panic. Regularly check-in with your emotions. Where do you feel them in your body? Respect the fact that we will have emotional responses to this and that is how our bodies show us that we are in need of something. Contact us at the church with all of your needs. We will get through this, with God, and with each other.
Finally, I want you to close your eyes and think of the day when all of this is over. A day when we can come together once again; when we can shake hands, embrace one another, and partake of the body of blood of our Lord together. Hold that image in your mind for it is going to be a great day! The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord’s face shine on you with grace and mercy. The Lord look upon you with favor and give you peace. Amen.