I appreciated a letter from Arie Bertsch or District President. He prayed blessings on our worship however it might be done this week. Then added this –
I pray this because here we are in the third week of the virus crisis with expectations of more weeks to come. I appreciate with great delight in the dedication you are all showing in finding ways to continue to minister to the sheep God gave you amidst these most restrictive orders. This isn’t the first time our Synod has faced a virus attack that effected pastoral care. In 1918 the Spanish Flu invaded our nation. It did so with devastating consequences to life and limb. When it did, the Rev. Dr. John Fritz wrote to the LCMS pastors in St. Louis “for the Lutheran pastors of the city I suggest that in every Lutheran home the lessons for the day be read from the Bible in lieu of the church service. It is customary among Lutherans to have family worship (devotions) daily, but pastors ask that this be particularly observed.” It was certainly a difficult time for the country and the church. The Lutheran Witness vol. 37 of 1918 had an article by R. Jesse that said “The production of natural resources is crippled. Our output of coal in the anthracite regions alone is reduced by an average of 1,200,000 tons a month. Business is suffering; places of amusement, schools, even the churches are closed in many and large sections, and the fear of death is tormenting many.” Sounds very much like April 2020. Indeed fear of death is filling the air waves and taunting our religious activities. I might also recommend a read of Luther’s Works vol. 43 pages 119-138 “Whether One May Flee From A Deadly Plague.” It is an interesting letter to Pastor Johann Hess. In it Luther directs the vocations of service to remain and tend the sick. Pastors are included in that list of vocations. At the same time he stresses the caution of making sure one tends the sick without being a carrier of the virus to others. Much more is in the letter, and I do recommend it for a salutary read.