2 Corinthians 6:1–13
The Word of Christ Bestows Peace on His Creation through His Forgiveness of Sins
Memory Verse for the week of June 20
Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust.
Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.
N E W S L E T T E R
A Message from Pastor -
This newsletter article addresses the voters meeting on May 16th and the vote to continue worshiping in two services, with 9:00 a,m. remaining a “Mask Mandated Service” and 10:00 a.m. opening up to “Mask Optional Services.” The vote was very close, and consequently it proved we have a very divided congregation on this issue. And I believe that I need to address the division and clarify my pastoral approach in this matter. When the CDC announced their new recommendations on Wednesday, I must be honest, I expected the vote on Sunday to become moot. I expected a return to normal worship was automatic. I was very surprised and somewhat unprepared to give a proper response. I have given this a great deal of thought in the meantime. Certainly, I have my own opinions on how our nation’s media and government handled the response to the COVID-19 virus. But my opinion is not God’s Word. I won’t pretend that it is. My opinion is that this has been politicized and mishandled from the beginning, and this resulted in a complete lack of trust in the information we have been given. Much of which is contradictory and had led to polarization across the board. There is no agreed upon science to guide us. We must therefore rely upon the word of God. But what IS that word in THIS matter? Does the Bible say anything about pandemics and wearing masks? No. Not really. So as we face a division, what is the “God pleasing” course of action? Which “side” would God want us to take? We are created in God’s image. That image was corrupted in the fall into sin, but nevertheless we were created to please God and serve in his kingdom - not as slaves but as his children. As such we are intended to be a free people, able to choose how we will live and what we will do. We are, by nature, creative and social. Broken by sin, the world we live in is often a miserable place to endure. Putting in place policies that require it to be even more miserable and broken seems wrongheaded. Especially if (as many rightly believe) masks and social distancing are a minor risk at best. The major news sources are still reporting a 1.8% mortality rate, and less than 1% of those who have had COVID or have been vaccinated have suffered a recurrence. If these numbers can be trusted, (and many people do) then I cannot fault those who desire to live “mask free.” Living according to your conscience is generally considered among Christians to be God pleasing. On the other hand, we have those who are unwilling to put anyone at risk, no matter how small. Since we are told that an asymptomatic individual can spread the virus, and once again, even if some report that the odds of this are infinitesimally small, it does not matter. I can well sympathize with someone unwilling to take even a small risk. We are talking about life and death. And I myself would be careful to avoid the death of anyone on my conscience. If I give my permission and someone should die as the result… I can understand why someone might vote for an option that takes that risk off the table. It’s a matter of conscience. And I would be hard pressed to say that was not a “God pleasing” choice.
So… what do we do, when we have people of GOOD CONSCIENCE on either side of this issue? And neither side is able to appeal to REASON, because the facts are not available or trustworthy? Example: The “fact” that the vaccine works. And statistically you are more likely to die driving to church than from being in a room with a majority of people who are vaccinated, and asymptomatic. But many people seem to doubt that claim. I’m not in a position to say one way or the other because the story keeps changing. What doesn’t change is the Word of God… Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and soul and your neighbor as yourself. That boils down to: Treat your neighbor the way that you would want to be treated. I would argue that you would want to be treated kindly and with patience. And if we are to love as Jesus did, putting our own needs aside for the sake of the other, and as St. Paul said… “If eating meat causes my brother to stumble, I won’t eat meat.” That last one need clarification, because it’s often misapplied as “offense”…it has nothing to do with offending your brother. If your action causes him to “lose his faith” then avoid the action. This is consideration of the “weaker” brother. But that brother is not supposed to remain happily nursing on milk all his adult life. He is to move on to the meat, and his stronger brother is to assist that spiritual growth. So what we see is balance between serving one another and protecting one another. They are not in opposition. They are complimentary. So bear with one another. There are those who are not yet ready to move back to normal, because they are afraid to risk others. That is God pleasing. Others recognize the need to return to a worship life that reflects the boldness of our confession now that the need for caution has passed. That, too, is God pleasing. I have said that I am willing to be patient. And so I am. But this is not going to be the new normal. This cannot continue long term. I’m finding it harder and harder to say that what we are doing is a God pleasing solution. We made concessions to the governing authorities because we HAD to. So long as they did not prohibit our worship, we must obey the authorities that God placed over us. But to continue to restrict ourselves, when the government is no longer mandating what we can do? That is wrong. And it is based in fear. I think we can be patient for a little while, with those who are fearful. But I’m ready to be bold in Christ and move forward in love. Pastor Richard Boshoven
Sunday Morning Services beginning on June 6, 2021:
Social distancing with collection plate and bulletins remain on the back table for both services. 9:00 a.m. service – Masks mandated & communion in the pew 10:00 a.m. service –Masks mandated while entering the building and leaving the sanctuary. Masks optional while in the sanctuary with continuous communion at the rail (no kneeling).
The Congregations of Merrillville have been trying to show appreciation to our first responders. They have tried several times to provide meals, but that has not worked. Now they deliver donuts to the police station and fire department once a month. Each church in the group has done this since last year. Our church will be helping with this also. For the month of July and October, we will be responsible for delivering baked goods to our first responders. The police department receives 6 dozen. The fire department, which also houses the EMTs, receives 4 dozen. If any particular group in our church would like to help with this, please let me know. Also if there is someone that would like to be our delivery person for those months, please let me know as well. This is our opportunity to help God’s people in a small way. Thank you for your help!
Feed the Flock: Save the Dates for our next serving events July 10th and October 16th.
Welcome Back Students!
It’s great to see you again! When you get a chance… Please update the office with your upcoming new fall address!
"Wilderness Escape" VBS is June 21-25
One of the many things we missed throughout the COVID pandemic was getting together for Vacation Bible School. You'll be happy to know that in-person VBS is back at Trinity Memorial this summer, with safety precautions. It's June 21-25! Our theme is "Wilderness Escape: Where God guides and provides." Caravan with Moses and the Israelites as they escape from Egypt. A kid-friendly meal will be offered nightly at 5:30 p.m. and the program runs from 6 to 8 p.m. As part of our safety precautions, attendance is limited to 40 children and pre-registration will be required this year. It's open to age 3 through those who just completed 6th grade. You may register up to 6 children at a time using this link: https://forms.gle/NQQA297UCBpkxvv18 Volunteers are still needed in several areas, also! -Chris Boshoven, Kelsey Buckley, Pam Buckley, Heather Farrar, and Connie Hoernig (The TMLC Board of Education)
CONGRATULATIONS TO THE CONFIMATION CLASS OF 2021
We extend words of Congratulations, as well as WELCOME, to Peyton Anthony Argullin, Joanna Faye Clausing, Avery Lin Deedrick, Samuel William Gorman, Cole Lee Hurst & Karli Vivian Klimowicz Who were received into communicant membership on May 23rd. They have completed their confirmation study, confirmed their faith to the congregation and made their promises of faithfulness to God. May God richly bless them and may they strive through God’s Word and Sacraments to keep their faith strong and active throughout their lives.
Workday Coming June 12th
Spring Cleaning around our church property will be held on June 12, 2021. Please join the trustees on Saturday Morning 8:00 AM for Trimming, weed pulling, day lily sprucing, raking and a general cleaning around our church.
Thank you, Doug Wainwright