Dear Brothers & Sisters in Christ,
It is so good to speak with you even though we are unable to meet face to face. I pray that each one of you is doing well, staying healthy and using this time of quarantine to focus on the things that are most important to us. I know that this has been a time of struggle! In the times of Covid-19, I would guess that we all at times only see the darkness and hard challenges before us. It is a time when we find ourselves asking questions like: “What did we do to deserve this?” “Why is God allowing this to happen?” Maybe we get angry with God? The fact of the matter is that we live in a sinful and broken world and the hard truth is that we do not always receive the answers we desire. Sometimes God tells us “yes,” sometimes “no,” and sometimes it feels as though His merciful presence has left us for the moment.
I imagine the story of Moses in Deut. 31. Moses is now 120 years old and has been leading the Israelites for the last 40 years through the desert. Just when he is about to cross over the Jordan River and go into the Promised Land, God says “No.” So did Moses storm off and get angry? Did raise his fist and curse God? No, he did not. Moses turned to Joshua who was given the charge of leading the people, and Moses encouraged him. He reminded Joshua to be strong and courageous. He reminded him that the Lord God himself goes over before him and will never leave or forsake him.
Maybe God has told you no recently. Maybe you have fallen upon hardship. Use this time to encourage one another. Remind your brother and sister in Christ that the Lord God himself has gone before us. That we too are to remain strong and courageous … for the ultimate battle has already been won. Remind each other of our baptisms. Remember that our crucified and risen Savior Jesus Christ has gone before us and has given us the Holy Spirit and anointed us with His promise of eternal salvation. As you hear the words of the Epistle reading during worship services this weekend … “The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever,” remember that the living Savior speaks today to all of us.
May the love of Christ guard and keep each one of you, knowing that He has gone before you and he will never leave you or forsake you.
In Christ, Seminarian Aaron Beckman
*Maurice Schneider has entered his eternal rest: Early today Maurice was called home to his Savior after a brief battle with the Covid-19 virus. A small committal service is being planned for the middle of next week with a larger service here at St. Paul’s at a later time. His funeral arrangements are being made though Lawler funeral home, and his obituary will be on their web site very soon. Thank you to all who prayed and sent words of encouragement to him through various cards and email posts. We were able to deliver those to the hospital earlier this week. Maurice, who turned 100 a few months ago, was a former congregational president who served his country in World War 2. The Lord blessed many through this man’s service. He will be dearly missed.
*Michael Maske has entered his eternal rest: On Wednesday our dear friend and servant Mike Maske was also called home to his Savior following a stroke. A graveside committal will take place in Joilet, Il sometime next week with a larger service here at St. Paul’s at a later time. His funeral arrangements are being made by Tezak funeral home in Joilet https://www.tezakfuneralhome.com/. They will have his obituary information available on their web site at a later time. Mike was presently serving as an Elder and was instrumental in getting our worship screens up and running. In the past he participated in a young adult Bible study, and for many years he served as a Sunday School teacher. He was a servant who will be missed by many especially those of us part of the body of Christ here at St. Paul’s.
*Outreach Yard Signs: We have about 15 yard signs that say 2020 “ What a Time to fix our eyes on Jesus” Hebrews 12:2. Then at the bottom it says “St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Columbia, IL. If you would like one, stop by the church office or give us a call and we can deliver that to you. My phone number is 618-363-0121.
*Food Pantry Items: Preferred donation items are Pasta sauce, canned fruit, canned meats, cannedc pasta, breakfast cereal, breakfast bars, oatmeal, and toilet paper. You can drop off donations at any time in the bins located at the church front porch. The next food pantry distribution will take place on Wednesday, May 6th from 1:30pm-3:30pm.
*Check out the New Banner that is now visible on our church property on Admiral Parkway (Highway 3).
*Check out our Facebook Page at : https://www.facebook.com/stpaulscolumbiail/
*St. Paul’s postponed events include- This Sunday’s confirmation (rescheduled for the end of August) and our April Voter’s meeting. Due to the stay at home order being extended through the month of May, the acivities at the church will again by very curtailed. Specific decesions on church activities will be made early in May.