WELCOME BACK WEEKEND
September 11 and 12
- Festive Worship Services on Saturday and Sunday
- 9/11 Remembrance During Services
- Sunday School Classes Begin on 9/12 – 10:15 to 11:15. Click here to register your children.
- New Bible Study – Getting Reconnected to the Old Testament
DATE AND TIME: Sunday, Sept 12 from 11:30 to 1:30
LOCATION: Lemont Township Community Center – 16300 Alba St in Lemont
MENU: Portillo’s hot dogs, chips, and a variety of desserts including Portillo’s chocolate cake!
WHAT TO DO: Games for Kids, Hiking Trails and Room to Relax. Pull up a chair (or go on a walk) with a friend you haven’t seen in a while!
ENTERTAINMENT: Music by DJ Dave Latimer and Crew.
COST: Thanks to a few generous donors and Thrivent Financial, the picnic will be FREE!
Brothers and Sisters,
Our epistle reading for this weekend, from Ephesians 6, is appropriate for this time. It is the well-known passage where we are told to “put on the whole armor of God,” and it includes these words, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”
Many of us have been feeling anger this week. Depending on your political perspective, your frustration might be with the Republicans or the Democrats. You might have feelings of indignation toward the president or leaders of our military. Or you might be deeply hurt and angered by the actions of the Taliban or ISIS-K. It is good for us, in moments like these, to realize that our enemy is not “flesh and blood.” Our enemy is Satan. The demonic forces of evil are seeking to make a mess of this world. Spiritual warfare is taking place in this country and every country. From Afghanistan, we hear heartbreaking stories of persecution. It looks like our brothers and sisters in that country are being hunted down by the Taliban, but we know they are really being hunted down by the evil one who “prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). The Taliban is merely a weak instrument of the one who has already been crushed by Christ at the cross.
What does all of this have to do with masks? Well, let’s look underneath the surface and see how Satan could be at work. He would love to destroy the ministry of St. Matthew. The spiritual forces of evil would delight in seeing us becoming deeply divided over an issue like face-coverings. I’m sure there are members who feel strongly that we should follow the governor’s mandate and have all people inside our church wear masks. There could be others who feel strongly that we should take full advantage of the exemption that is being made for religious organizations. There is no “right” answer to this dilemma. There is only one “wrong” move, and that is letting Satan win by getting us to think that people on the other side of the mask issue are our “enemy.” No, the enemy is the enemy and – through the power of Christ in us – we will not let him win.
What are we going to do? We are going to love one another and slowly move through the next few months with care and caution. The Leadership Council has decided not to require masks during this time. Could that change in the weeks to come? Absolutely. This is our approach – slowly moving forward with loving-kindness and being willing to adapt and change as needed. One of those changes – made just this week – is the guidance for Sunday School. The Board of Christian Education and Youth Ministry is asking Sunday School students and teachers to wear masks starting September 12. Like all things in this world, this is a temporary move.
May our focus never be on the temporary obstacles we face in this valley of sorrows, but on the eternal hope that is found in our Risen and Victorious Savior, Jesus Christ.
In His Service,
Pastor Mike Gudgel
P.S. We will continue to live-stream the 9:00 AM Sunday service every week for those who are unable to attend in person. Pease join us at www.facebook.com/stmatthewlemont
If you or your family are experiencing financial hardship at this time due to the pandemic, we ask you to reach out to Pastor Gudgel. Our congregation is part of a collection of Lemont churches helping members who are in need.