Messages from Pastor Raddatz

Sunday, March 22, 2020

John 9:8, "Suddenly, when they looked around, they no longer saw anyone with them but Jesus." (NIV)

Dear People,

Eyes on Jesus is not only the Theme at Mount Olive Lutheran Church for the season of Lent in 2020 but seeing Jesus can be found even during this pandemic. Following the governments guidelines to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus we have cancelled services. How can we see Jesus during this time?

The Church has been dealing with Pandemics for over 2,000 years.

Lyman Stone wrote "practical theology says care, sacrifice, and community are as vital as ever" (, March 13, 2020). "Historians have said that pandemics contributed to the explosive growth of Christianity. During the 2nd Century the Antoine plague wiped out a quarter of the Roman Empire. Cyprian's sermons told Christians not to grieve for plague victims (who live in heaven), but to redouble efforts to care for the living". Stone cites that, particularly the Lutheran church has addressed this issue in history. In 1517 Martin Luther wrote: The plague does not dissolve our duties: It turns them to crosses, on which we must be prepared to die. We are called to practice safety measures, but this does not stop God's love.

When a student of the law approached Jesus, he asked him, "What is the greatest commandment in the law? Jesus replied, love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. The second is like it, love your neighbor as yourself" (Matthew 22:35-40, a personal summary).

How can we see Jesus during this time? We see him in his Word in the Bible and we see him act in our love for him and our love for our neighbor!

What have you seen during the last couple of weeks? I have seen store shelves emptier than ever before. Just last week after wanting to buy toilet paper and paper towels I saw a bunch of people following a pallet of toilet paper down a HEB aisle. This was a first! Never seen this before. It was like hungry animals looking for food. As I got closer, everyone formed a line (on both sides of the pallet). Everyone took their turn. The worker handed out one pack per person. I said to another customer, "It's going to be a good day, I was able to get what I came for!""

Christians have always been encouraged to follow this guideline of Jesus, "Love your neighbor as yourself". This is where we see Jesus. Our response to this pandemic is a call to care. This virus is not the act of an impulsive God who wants to punish sin, but a symptom of our broken creation. God has punished sin by sacrificing his only Son, Jesus Christ on the cross. This was meant for us, but God loved us so much that he punished his son for our sin.

During this time our services have been cancelled to follow safety precautions to hinder the spread of the virus. We still see Jesus in his Word. If you have a copy of our Lenten devotions "EYES ON JESUS" you can reflect on the daily readings. Open his word: read a Psalm and a Proverb. Reflect on what God is saying to you. Caring for others means that we can still follow the safety precautions that are recommended. We can also pick up the phone and call someone to check on them. Ask them if they need anything. Hey, they may even need a roll of toilet paper, or milk or a couple of eggs?

Your Fellow Servant, in Christ,

Pastor John Raddatz, Vacancy Pastor

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Sunday, March 29, 2020