Mount Calvary Family,
As I write, we are preparing to celebrate Pentecost Sunday in the annual life cycle of the Church Year. Pentecost is a time of dramatic change in God’s plan of redemption. Not that God’s plan itself ever changed. From before the World began, God knew and set the course of human history, including His plan for redemption through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus, on the Cross. What changed on Pentecost was the context and direction of that ministry. From this time forward, God is calling His people out of the “Promised Land” to deliver the gift of God’s saving grace in Christ Jesus to the World! It was as Isaiah promised long before, “My righteousness draws near speedily, my salvation is on the way, and my arm will bring justice to the nations. The islands will look to me and wait in hope for my arm.” (Isaiah 51:5 NET Bible) It wasn’t enough for God to redeem Israel. God’s desire is that “all men be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth!” (1st Timothy 2:4) That long-awaited change in the direction of God’s mission -- from bringing His people together into a nation, to sending His people out to all nations – has brought that saving grace to our context and meant salvation for you and for me!
It has certainly been a time of great change for us at Mount Calvary as this COVID-19 Virus has pushed out into new contexts once again for sharing our faith. I don’t know where I heard it first, but I have heard it several times now in various forms, “The Church hasn’t closed. We have just been operating in a new way.” Lori has belonged for some time to a forum of Lutheran pastors’ wives on Facebook. She has shared with me a number of times lately that women there are noting a higher than usual attendance for on-line worship experiences! I did not expect that, but it has been our own experience as well. Granted, some are people visiting multiple sights as they hunger for the assurance of God’s presence in the midst of this pandemic, but that’s not all of it. We have seen members from our past joining us once again. We have had friends and family join us, sometimes from quite a distance away . . . some of whom may have no church home. It has been suggested by some, that perhaps this is why God let us be struck by this devastating disease. Perhaps God recognized that this is what it would take to move us in these directions. We will never know whether that might be true; we can only see this reality and seek to serve others as best we can through this new-to-us (certainly not new to our children and grandchildren!) medium of internet worship.
To that end, the Board of Elders has been exploring how to best continue some form of internet worship option as we look to re-opening our building. Remember, “The church hasn’t closed. We have just changed locations.” (As another voice I have heard has put it.) It may or may not include a “live” option. We would like to do that, but may not be able to accomplish it from our building at an affordable equipment cost. It may or may not include music. We do need to honor those who hold copyright to materials and that is not necessarily an easy forum to navigate. We are exploring the possibilities in that area as well. We will need assistance from members willing and able to learn the skills (or already knowledgeable in them) to record/film, edit and upload the media to the internet. The intent is to stay connected as we look past COVID restrictions, to those who are not yet ready to return to God’s House for worship and to those who are not able to return to Chalmers & Seymour for worship either because of health or distance. If you would like to learn more about this project or help with it, contact our Elders’ Chairman, Jerry Roy, or Elder Adam Kurtz serving as point-person on the project. You can get their contact information through Terrie Buchanan at the Church Office.
God’s peace and blessings – May God keep you safe and healthy as you serve Jesus through this COVID pandemic and beyond!
God’s peace and blessings to all,
Pastor John Carrier
About The Author
Since 2015, Pastor John Carrier has been Mt. Calvary Lutheran Church's pastor in Detroit, Michigan. He is also the Director for Camp Restore Detroit. Mt. Calvary has a bi-monthly newsletter, which opens with words from Pastor Carrier, called "From The Pastor's Desk..."