Trinity Lutheran Church Update:  For the Week Beginning January 17

COVID 19: As you may have read in an email from our Council President and Elders’ Co-chairs, and heard in the announcements Sunday, one of our members is quite seriously ill with the coronavirus.  He had been in worship on January 10.  We are not aware of anyone else in our congregation who has developed symptoms since then.  Typically, the incubation period is 5-7 days after exposure.  The decision was made to keep the church open for worship for those who choose to attend.  We continue to practice good precautions: masks, social distancing, sanitizing, etc.  Our Council will not meet in person on January 18; business is being conducted electronically.  We will inform everyone if the Congregational Voters’ Meeting needs to be rescheduled.  The Ash Wednesday (February 17) service will hopefully go on as scheduled.  I will be limiting my visits to the homebound until the spike in coronavirus cases abates. 

Stewardship:  The mission and ministry of our congregation go on even in difficult times.  Offerings are correlated to attendance, and, with the pandemic, church attendance is understandably less than usual.  We are grateful for the many members who have mailed in their offerings when they cannot be in worship.  Your generous support is appreciated.

Sports News (Not Really): It looks like I picked a good time to come to Western New York.  The Buffalo Bills are in the AFC Championship game this year for the first time in more than 25 years.  All of the political posturing at the beginning of the season had really turned me off to pro sports, but I do enjoy watching professional football.  So, I just decided to ignore the politics and concentrate on the games.  (Ignoring politics is a good way to maintain friendships these days!) 

Sports does make a nice diversion from the stress of everyday life.  We can debate the coaches’ strategy and the general managers' personnel moves, we can let our emotions rise and fall with our team’s fortunes, and, and in the end, who wins or loses a football game, even a playoff game, is not a life and death matter.  We have enough of those to worry about already!  Most importantly for me, sports makes a great analogy for the Christian life.

Certainly, I am not the first to compare sports to faith.  St. Paul used illustrations from running and boxing in his epistles.  At its best, sports can teach us discipline, teamwork, respect for authority and fair play – all good Christian values.  They can especially teach us about commitment and hope.  If you have been a Bills fan over the years, you have known some disappointment: four Super Bowl losses, a decades long playoff drought, promising players who flamed out.  To continue to root for the team despite all the disappointments, that takes character and commitment.  To stay loyal to the team takes hope:  hope for a better future, hope for ultimate victory.

The Bills may or may not beat the Chiefs next week.  We may or may not agree with our new president.  We may or may not get COVID 19.  Whatever may happen, in the NFL, in politics, in life, we can be certain that Christ is still King, God is still in charge, and Jesus will come again.  That puts things into a better perspective for us.  Despite losses and disappointments, we can remain loyal and committed to Him and our faith because we know that ultimately, He will be victorious.  In the End, God wins, and we are blessed to be part of His team.  God bless the Bills.  God bless America.  God bless you. – Pastor Ash