The Bach Cantata Vespers at Grace Lutheran Church, River Forest, IL began its 51st season on September 26, 2021 with an in-person congregation as well as livestreamed participants at home. This is a full order of Vespers according to the use of Lutheran Book of Worship with a full Bach Cantata and a full homily. The cantata […]
Beginning in February 2020 a new reality began to dawn on the world, a novel Coronavirus outbreak that quickly became a global pandemic named COVID-19. Suddenly we are told to wear masks, maintain social distance, and stay at home except for essentials. Events and group gatherings are canceled, including public worship. Churches are closed. We are connecting through online technology like Zoom and social media like Face Book. How do we maintain worship and pastoral care in a situation in which we can only communicate virtually?
We invite pastors and theologians to submit sermons and articles that address the COVID-19 pandemic from theological, liturgical, spiritual, and pastoral perspectives. It is precisely in crisis situations that we must draw deeply from the well of the theological tradition. Share how you are doing this.
We invite submission of papers and talks from members of the Metropolitan Chicago Synod of the ELCA, talks given to members of the Metropolitan Chicago Synod, or articles from other pastors and theologians, not limited to ELCA. Send submissions in Word docx. to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Matthew Riegel is Bishop of the West Virginia-Western Maryland Synod of the ELCA. He answers the question: “What shall we do about Ash Wednesday in 2021?” This article appeared on the website of the West Virginia/Western Maryland Synod and is reposted here with Bishop Riegel’s permission. How this question gets answered in any particular place […]
Preached in Zoom Service, St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church, Wilmette, IL. Fifth Sunday after Pentecost. Year A. July 5, 2020 Text: Romans 7:15-25a I haven’t given a sermon since before COVID-19 made us go into Zoom church. So this is my first experience of preaching to virtual images on my computer screen. I trust that there […]
By Frank C. Senn For years I wrote an opinion column for Let’s Talk at the invitation of the editorial board called “As I See It.” Even though Let’s Talk has adopted a blog format rather than an issue number format, I feel the need for another one as our states begin opening up society […]
By Maxwell E. Johnson What will become of the centrality of the Eucharist in Lutheran worship as a result of the current pandemic? I have been thinking about this question ever since many of our congregations moved rather quickly to Zoom and You Tube liturgies with an increased emphasis upon the oral proclamation of the […]
Sermon preached at St. Augustine’s Episcopal (Zoom) Church26 April 2020 Easter 3A: Acts 2:14a,36-41 & Luke 24:13-35 I want to start my reflection here with an observation:Today’s readings show us two pretty different ways of telling the resurrection story. In Acts, Peter is all confidence. He gives this powerful speech. Full of conviction, and with […]
The following is the pastor’s column appearing in the May Grace Notes newsletter of Grace Lutheran Church, Dodgeville, Wisconsin Breaking Our Fast from the Lord’s Supper: Sharing Communion from Home One of the hardest things about our suspension of in-person gatherings since mid-March has been the related hiatus on celebrating Holy Communion together. Numerous bishops […]
By John A. Lang When the religious leaders saw the outrageous things He was doing, and heard all the children running and shouting through the Temple, “Hosanna to David’s Son!” they were up in arms and took Him to task, “Do you hear what these children are saying?” Jesus said, “Yes, I hear them. And […]
Pastor David R. Lyle offers his Palm Sunday sermon. He is senior pastor of Grace Lutheran Church in River Forest, IL. Together with Pastor Michael Costello they have been live streaming services from the sanctuary of the church. There is social distance between the chancel and the organ loft. We thought that the sermon brings together the context of the at home congregation, the COVID-19 social context, and the readings for Palm/Passion Sunday.
A question has been raised about whether virtual communion is a possibility. This question is addressed negatively by Professor Paul R. Hinlicky of Roanoke College in an article entitled, “Why Virtual Communion Is Not Radical Enough.” He draws on the Lutheran insistence on bodily eating and drinking and the eucharistic fellowship (koinonia). But he also suggests that we should be preaching about the wrath of God in this situation. Dr. Hinlicky gives a Pauline and Lutheran understanding of the wrath of God.
Johann Sebastian Bach Gwen GotschMark Bangert Edited by Frank Senn On November 24, 2019 (what for us contemporary Lutherans was Christ the King Sunday, a twentieth century Roman Catholic festival we adopted in 1978, but for the old Lutherans the Last Sunday after Trinity with its eschatological theme of the last judgment) the Bach Cantata […]
Pastor Benjamin Dueholm Preached at Lutheran Church of the Messiah, Wauconda, IL on September 17, 2019. Sisters and brothers, grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen. I found some lost sheep this week as I cleaned out my office. Lots of them, actually, lost and hiding in […]
Frank C. Senn We all need dedicated times to be present to God and to our bodily selves. In both we address our soul, that which makes us uniquely who we are. I could just say: you should have a time for personal prayer, maybe first thing in the morning using a good prayer […]
Richard O. Johnson It is my pleasure and my joy to be with you this evening for this event, and to contribute in some way, I hope, to “refreshing the hearts of the saints” here in the Metropolitan Chicago area. My thanks to Pastor Keith Forni for inviting me, and for being such a splendid […]
Maxwell Johnson December 12, 2016 Professor Johnson invited Let’s Talk to use a version of his talk published in Church Life Journal. A journal of the McGrath Institute for Church Life at the University of Notre Dame. Tim O’Malley, the director of the Institute, immediately gave us permission to republish this article. For some Christian […]