Pastor William Cwirla at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Hacienda Heights, CA recently shared on Facebook an excerpt from a 1918 edition of The Lutheran Witness. This article reminds me that the Church has been through dark times before, but the Son of God has risen from the dead. The day of the resurrection sometimes will look like the sun at Noon. High and lifted up. There will be other times in our lives when the the twilight of the night still surrounds us but we see on the horizon the promised truth of the Light of the World shining.
The article says about the flue epidemic of 1918:
Family Devotion - During the present epidemic the Boards of Health of many cities have requested that congregations close schools, churches, and Sunday-schools until the danger had passed. Not only our pastors, but also the ministers of others churches advised their people through the public press, or otherwise, that during the closing of the churches they should read the Scriptures at home and have family prayers. In those homes in which this had been the custom before it was easily arranged. To others it was a novel experience. It is to be hoped that some who tasted the spiritual delight of family devotion will continue the practice in the future. Let no one imagine that the churches or the pastors fear that people will take to prayer in the family and neglect public services. The family that enjoys the reading of the Scriptures and family prayers during the week is the one which is most ready to visit the house of God whenever the doors are thrown open. The more members of a congregation practice home or family devotion, the better will be the church attendance in that congregation. That father and head of the house who gathers his household together each day because it is his intention and determination: "I and my house will serve the Lord," - that father will be of the same mind on the day when the churches are open and the pastor proclaims God's Word.
Are you looking for some good work to do? Would you do something to glorify God, something whereby you may show your gratitude towards the Savior, something whereby you may be yourself blessed, and whereby you may bless your neighbor, something whereby you may be a blessing to your whole country? Institute family devotion daily in your home. Go about it in a cheerful, friendly, evangelical manner. If that is daily done, you have accomplished something that will bless you and yours in time and eternity."
- From page 1 of the October 7, 1918 St. Louis Globe-Democrat.
We do not need to fear the present pall of fear and virus that has befallen our world. Romans 8:31-38 expresses the great confidence that has been true of the Christian faith from the beginning:
"What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."
I have no fear that a stay at home order can destroy the faith of believers and the institution of the church. Faith comes by hearing. Hear the Word of God in your homes. When this is all over our doors will be thrown open and we rejoice to dwell in the habitation of our Lord.
Psalm 24 finishes with a celebration:
Lift up your heads, O gates! And be lifted up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord, strong and mighty, the Lord, mighty in battle! Lift up your heads, O gates! And lift them up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, he is the King of glory! Selah
Daily, Pastor Woodfin and I are posting devotions at 8:45am and 8:45pm on Facebook Live and YouTube: You can find the playlist of devotions on our YouTube channel.