Greetings, and thank you for your interest in the ministry of RISEN SAVIOR EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH during this health crisis.
The apostle Paul wrote: “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established” (Romans 13:1). The only exception God gives for this obedience is when the governing authorities issue commands or laws contrary to his will, as expressed in the Scriptures (Acts 5:29). Yes, it is true that God also wants believers to gather together in person (Psalm 122:1; Hebrews 10:25), but the current county and municipal orders prohibiting religious gatherings are not aimed at religious services as such. They apply also to other gatherings like sporting events, social events, and parties. Furthermore, they are intended to promote the health and safety of the residents of Travis County and the city of Austin, which is certainly also something Christians care about.
We are therefore complying with the current orders regarding gatherings. But we want you to know the following:
- We as a congregation are still here to serve you in any we can—in good conscience and according to our ability. If you have any needs you think we might be able to fill, please contact me—firstname.lastname@example.org.
- I as a pastor am still here to serve your spiritual needs as best I can. If the current crisis is troubling you and you would like reassurance or are simply curious about Christian teaching in general, please contact me (see #1).
- Our digital resources have become that much more critical during this time. Please use the resources on our website, especially Our Sermons. If you see a speaker icon associated with a date on or after March 18, 2020, you can click on it to hear not just a sermon, but also an abbreviated service with Scripture readings and prayers.
- Once the most recent ban expires on April 13, we will also be attempting to hold smaller services—for nine people or less—at various times. If you are interested in these, please contact me for more information (see #1).
Thank you for reading. We know that Jesus Christ is still ruling over all things for the good of his believers at God’s right hand. He has a good and gracious purpose for this crisis, and will bring it to a resolution in his own time and way.
Serving you in Jesus’ name,
Pastor Nathan Biebert
PRAYER Lord God, our Redeemer and Protector, we come to you seeking the help that only you can give. We ask that you spare people in our country and around the world from any harm to body and soul. Grant healing and comfort to those who may be afflicted with this or any other disease. Be with those who care for the sick and keep them from danger. Give wisdom and steadfastness to our nation’s leaders and a spirit of courage and cooperation to our communities. Calm our fears of the unknown. Use your Word to work in us a strong faith and trust in your promise to use all things to work for the good of those who love you. We can be confident in you and your promises in this uncertain and difficult time because of the love and faithfulness you demonstrated in sending your Son Jesus to the cross for us and for all people. Help us to keep our eyes fixed on you, our Refuge and Strength. Amen.