Always read the plaque. I used to be annoyed whenever I visited a museum while on vacation as a child because dad would take sooooo long to get through the exhibits. He would stop and read each and every little plaque that there was to read! But then a few years back I actually felt a bit sorry for him. He was on a trip with my mom and little sister and they stopped in Dayton, OH for the afternoon at the National Museum of the US Air Force. I was quite jealous as I love airplanes and flying. I later got to visit this museum with my uncle. Now, my uncle and I spent two whole solid days between its four hangars, reading every plaque and marquee. This is where I felt sorry for my Dad; a short afternoon is nowhere enough time to enjoy this museum!

I mention this because I’m someone who likes to gather as much solid and accurate information as I possibly can so that I can be as informed as I can. I don’t seek to be an expert in all things, but I never wish to portray or project anything false or inflammatory. These recent days have been extraordinary as the world collectively, and we individually take in, digest, discern, and begin to wrestle with the Covid-19 pandemic. I certainly want to let you all know, as I did with our staff and LCM leadership, that I am not here to cause panic; raise any sort of undue alarm; stir up any fear or do anything that will cause harm to anyone. In fact, I seek to do just the opposite.

From speaking with health officials and taking in several resources, the vast overall risk to individual health is drastically low. Additionally, our commonplace and everyday practices at LCM such as our daily cleaning from spaces throughout the food pantry and preschool are the very things prescribed to help keep that risk low. We will continue to do these things. However, there are those for whom this virus does present a significant risk.

As Christians, part of our collective call is to care for the least of these. And if there are things we can do to care for our community, those around us, as well as things that will help to mitigate the spread of this virus, then they will be things we’ll do. First of all, as it stands today, we are still gathering for worship! Our worship gatherings are less than 250 people and we will be implementing practices to reduce physical contact; all things that have been deemed safe practices while at the same time effective social distance practices.

I will ask, as our bishops have suggested and asked, that as we share the peace with one another we do so in ways without hand to hand contact. Sunday morning, I’ll show you several ways we can do so 🙂 August even knows some already! And when we come to the table to share in the meal together, we will do so not by intinction but with individual cups. Again, these measures we take are not out of any sense of panic or duress, but out of our collective calling as the Body of Christ to care for our neighbors and the least of these in the best way possible.

Overall, I cannot thank you all enough for walking through these times together. I remain forever thankful for this community, the joy found here, the hope that is born here, and the good news that is carried forth from here. These very things will continue. And our

Christian call that we focus upon this Lenten season remains to be our best guide; To care for the least of these. Oh, and wash your hands 😉

God’s Peace & Lenten Blessings,

Pastor Dave Elliott