The Word Abounds

It’s not good for Christians to be forced to sit at home, absent from one another when it’s time for worship. The only thing worse is to be part of the massive problem of spreading the Covid-19 infection. So we stay home from Sunday worship, and shopping, and eating out, and seeing friends and family, and…

I used to joke that the Holy Spirit called me to be a pastor because the only way I was going to be in worship every Sunday was if I got paid to do so. I’ve never been a worship junkie like so many of my colleague pastors and other rostered leaders. But I have to admit that this locked-in time has renewed in me the desire to be part of the body and especially to be fed by good preaching.

So, one upside of this locked-in time is the sermonic smorgasbord available in the digital diaspora. I could barely stand to hear my own sermons most weeks much less to take the time to listen to three or four others. But now, Sunday mornings include an online journey from the Omaha metro to places near and far for ELCA worship and preaching.

I’m grateful for the leadership, scholarship, wit, and clarity of my friend, Merle Brockhoff at St. James Lutheran Church in Kansas City, Missouri. We were delighted today to hear about the tragedy of the grilled cheese sandwich amidst the piscatorial delights of Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco. Check out his message on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/StJamesVivion/videos/654999228505537

We were fed and nourished by our home congregation, Luther Memorial Lutheran Church here in Omaha. It’s been a tough stretch for our pastor and community with several funerals amid the skyrocketing numbers here in Douglas County. We’re grateful for Pastor Carm’s love and leadership. There were a few technical struggles as they work to upgrade their equipment, but we’re glad for their ministry. Here’s the worship: https://www.facebook.com/LutherOmaha/videos/2723425667919997

We dropped in on the wonderful worship and powerful preaching of Pastor Susan Friedrich at Bethany Lutheran (and their partner congregation, Emmanuel) in Elkader, Iowa. It’s nice to take a digital excursion to the Turkey River Valley and the beauty of Iowa’s Little Switzerland. Not only were we treated to the abundance of God’s Word in Susan’s sermon. We were also treated to an abundance of rooster crows as she preached in the barn on the Friedrich ranch. It was awesome! Here’s the video: https://www.facebook.com/Emanuel.Lutheran.Church.ELCA/videos/731609840803813/

We have been relatively anonymous guests several Sundays at the online worship of the Bethel AME congregation in North Omaha. I especially appreciated Pastor Vicki’s connection of an expired quart of chicken broth sitting unused on the shelf and today’s text about the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25. We deeply appreciate the music, the prayers, and the authenticity of the pastoral leadership and the congregational experience. They had a few technical glitches today, but it’s worth tolerating a minor issue here and there. I can’t get their worship link to work here right now. But if you search for Bethel AME Omaha NE, you’ll find them on Facebook and get to their service.

We didn’t get to some of our other favorites yet today. It’s always good to catch the message from Pastor Kris Bohac, north of Lincoln. It’s great as well to drop in on worship and preaching at Our Saviour’s in Lincoln, where Pastor Tobi White always speaks with clarity, courage, conviction and compassion. Maybe we’ll get to those spots later. You can catch Pastor Kris’s messages on youtube.com at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCtKQroBFKNk5cKfkRnTIhmg

You can find worship led by Pastor Tobi at Our Saviour’s in Lincoln on youtube.com at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCN3hdQOCFmX6kdScjYTvf5g

It is indeed difficult to be apart, isolated and so much on our own. Yet, with very little effort, we can be part of a much larger church in this time of trial. There is lots of good ministry and lots of good preaching happening. And I for one am so very grateful to be able to access so much of it.

What online services and messages would you commend to us?

We pray for courage and steadfastness in this time of Covid that seems unending. We know it will end, of course, and look forward to that day. In the meantime, thank you, colleagues and fellow disciples, for sharing your lives with us.