The Church

Friday the 13th!

It was Friday, March 13th, that we made the call to suspend worship because Corona Virus #19 had entered our world.  That was 12 Sundays ago. 

How our experience of living in the world has changed in these past 12 weeks!

On the one hand – caution, care, uncertainty and concern safety and health – our own AND the ‘other’ –  has risen to priority #1. “Sheltering at home”, “social distancing”, hand-washing, hand-washing and more hand-washing,  masks and a constant vigilance about health have become normative.  Our lives have been crimped, and our sense of ‘go anywhere’ ‘do anything’ at ‘anytime you please’ has been checked by self-restraint.

On the other hand – the skies are bluer, the smog above LAX is all but gone, people in New Delhi, India can see the Himalayan mountains for the first time in 50 years, the canals in Venice flow with clear water!  Here at home, Grace, Tampa has moved quickly to an online presence with our services of worship, Bible Study, Youth Group, Confirmation, Choirs, Bell Choir and Stephen Ministry.  “Zoom” has become a way of life. The Church is not ‘closed’ – the Church has been deployed so as to be ‘at large in the world’.

“The Church” is learning to be “the church” in new and different ways.  A re-forming of how things are done?  Hmm…the Lutheran type of church should know a thing or two about that!! 

I give thanks for your faithfulness.

Mega Thank You’s! to those who have brought our online presence not only to reality but also a high level of expertise. Music staff and worship leaders gathered weekly to conduct services through the liturgical year. We experienced Lent, Holy Week and Easter, like never before!  Each week, the end result was a little more polished, more expertly produced, more excellent.  Music was selected, prepared and presented by Jim, Lisa and Nancy. Camera angles and positions were selected and then shot by Matt Cox and Pastor John. 

Film editing was done by Lisa Watson and Jim Sawyers.  (Now I know why there is an Oscar at the Academy Awards for “Film Editing”.  Makes the final product shine!)  Lisa and Jim have become masters.  So again… mega thanks are due, to all who have worked so tirelessly. For every 45 mins you ‘view online’, there are 4 – 5 hours of work behind the end result.

Finally, as we move into resuming real-time worship on Sunday mornings, we do so with an abundance of caution.  You should have received a letter about June 7.

That is already being modified a bit in that we will likely NOT include Communion. And stay tuned – there may be additional variances and modifications coming.

Watch your email.  And watch this link: 

It presents a perspective of how things might be different.  Yes – things won’t be the same as in January.

Nonetheless, we move forward in faith, confidence and careful respect for one another.

                       Pastor John

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