St. Luke is postponing the celebration of Holy Communion until it is safe to do so once the danger of COVID-19 is past. This is why:
- We cannot gather in these current circumstances of “shelter at home;”
- Even if we could, there is no safe way to gather, handle, and distribute the elements in a way that guarantees the avoidance of contagion and the safety of those who receive communion and those who serve it;
- We will still receive God’s grace when we open God’s Word, hear it proclaimed, sing it, and share it with others. Remember: In the Word, God has promised to give us grace through two means: His Word, and the sacraments of baptism and holy communion. When we receive the body and blood of our Lord, he strengthens our faith, renews in us his forgiveness of sin, and gives us joy in the union we have with each other through Jesus Christ. He accomplishes the same thing through the Word, so even though we refrain from communion for a time, God will not fail to bring his grace through the Word;
- We’ve been here before. There have been many times in the history of the church when holy communion was infrequent because of circumstances or because that was the best practice. In the last century, some of us grew up receiving the sacrament every other Sunday. Before that, our grandparents received it once a month, once a quarter, or twice a year, depending on their context. The practice of holding communion every time we worship is a current phenomenon (and was also in the very earliest days of the church). Our need to refrain, then, has precedent.
I know that none of those reasons address how you and I feel about not being able to have communion. Receiving our Lord as he comes to us in his body and blood is one of the most precious experiences we can have. Knowing and facing the facts, then, doesn’t make this easy.
Please consider, then, that the reason I have made this decision, with Pastor Matt and our elders in agreement, is because we love you. We want you to be safe, because of love. That’s how shepherds feel about their sheep.
Won’t it be a wonderful day when we are gathered again, and receive this precious gift! I invite you to believe that this will not last. Things will not always be this way. We will gather around the altar of our God in his good time.
I invite you to connect with me, Pastor Matt, or any one of our elders (they are listed below) for further clarification or comfort in this regard.
The Lord Jesus, as the “Great Shepherd of the sheep,” will always lead us to green pastures and quiet waters (Ps. 23) which will feed, bless, and not harm us. As his under-shepherds, we will do the same.
The Lord be with you.
Our elders: Steve Hoover (head elder), Andy Smith, Jim Putz, Ron McCarty, Sean Egmon, Tom Kamrath, Jarrod Cunnings.