A Message from our Senior Pastoral Counselor, Rev. Keith Beasley
I am looking forward to Easter Sunday this year to hear this wonderful response shared among our people again.
Last year Good Shepherd in Roanoke did not have Sunday services for 13 consecutive weeks from mid-March to mid-June, including Palm Sunday and Easter. I count every opportunity to gather since that time as a great blessing because I realize how much I missed being with our congregation as we worshipped together.
Like many of your churches, our congregation is still not back all the way. We are still spread out (social distancing), covering our faces (wearing masks), and still not lifting our voices as we all desire (refraining from singing). We still have folks that we have not seen since March of last year as they remain safe at home for the sake of their family and themselves. Yes, we have had outdoor services when the weather has cooperated (and we hope that we may be able to do that again soon), but being outside has presented challenges for others who cannot attend that type of service either.
Throughout all of this, we have all dealt with the uncertainty, frustration, dismay, and anger that living through a pandemic may bring. What has been encouraging to me is that I have seen people make great sacrifices so that we can both meet here at church in person and bring the Word of God to those at home through internet streaming. I am thankful to God for our Chesapeake District LWML leaders who continue to carry out the work we are committed to do. I am grateful to God for those who love Him and seek the best for our brothers and sisters in Christ and for our neighbors.
At this time as we have grown weary of the pandemic restrictions and have a desire just to be free of what limits us, let us, as dearly beloved children of the heavenly Father, remember two things:
1) The overriding reason for the approach we take toward the pandemic is for the sake of our neighbor. The Small Catechism tells us in the explanation to the Fifth Commandment: We should fear and love God so that we do not hurt or harm our neighbor in his body, but help and support him in every physical need. We need to keep this at the forefront of our thinking as we look ahead; and
2) As dearly beloved children of the Heavenly Father, we take heart in the Word of God as it gives us strength and endurance for the days ahead: “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:9-10). Again, I emphasize what Saint Paul says: “Let us not grow weary of doing good.”
In Jesus, our Good Shepherd,