Current Worship and Bible Study Information
Christ Our Savior Lutheran Church now hosts the Divine Service each Sunday at 9:00 am. Worship is also live streamed on Facebook.
During Lent and Advent, Wednesday evening services are at 7:15 pm.
Recordings can be accessed by anyone either live or on demand by going to facebook.com/COSLC.Freeburg.
Sunday Bible study (10:30 am) meets in-person and is also live streamed at facebook.com/COSLC.Freeburg.
Midweek Bible Studies meet in person each Wednesday at 10:00 am (at Cedar Trails Senior Living in Freeburg) and at 7:15 pm (at church). The evening study is also on Zoom. Please email the church at firstname.lastname@example.org to receive a Zoom link.
A note from Pastor Keseman during this time of difficulty
Testing: A Note of Encouragement
Testing, testing, testing. That’s not a microphone check. That’s a description of our lives right now.
Like many other congregations, we recently read Exodus 17:1-7 in worship. Moses tells the Israelites that they are testing God. That isn’t good. At the same time, God is testing the Israelites. That is good.
Maybe you remember the story. The Lord dramatically rescued those Israelites from Egypt with a Passover and a parted sea. But in Exodus 17, those rescued people camp in the desert with no water to drink. God promised to provide for them, but they don’t trust God. They want to know why God brought them out of Egypt only to let them die of thirst in the desert. The Israelites test God with their doubt.
We test God with our doubts, too. We want to know why He sent His Son to rescue us from eternal death only to let us suffer now. Sometimes we wonder if He’s really in control. Why would a loving heavenly Father allow COVID-19? Why does He let Christians lose their jobs or their money because of the coronavirus? Why did He let a dear (and still young) friend of mine die last week from cancer, especially when God knows the current restrictions won’t permit us to gather for his funeral?
Might it be that God is testing us? God doesn’t test us so He can find out if we have faith. He already knows how much faith we have. He tests us so we learn to trust Him, so we learn He’s providing for us.
That’s why St. Paul actually urges us to rejoice in our sufferings (Romans 5). I’ll admit I haven’t thanked God for the virus threat. But I should. Because, as St. Paul explains, our suffering ends up producing hope–hope that trusts in our Lord, even when our world seems to be in chaos.
Moses talked to God—even complained to God—about the lack of water in the desert. Follow the example of Moses. Talk to God about what is happening. Complain, if necessary. Your Lord promises, “Call on Me in the day of trouble and I will deliver you.” That’s not “I might deliver you.” It’s “I will deliver you.” He doesn’t always rescue us at the time or in the way we think is right. He does always rescue us at the time and in the way He knows is best.
God miraculously provided water from a rock to end the Israelites’ thirst. I don’t know how He’ll end this pandemic. But He will. Like He ended the H1/N1 pandemic a decade ago and the Spanish flu pandemic a century ago. Maybe this is the time that He’ll end everything evil, destroy this world, and gather His people in His home where there is no more sorrow, crying, cancer, coronavirus, or death.
Dear Christians, do not respond to this crisis with fear and anxiety. That is the way of unbelief. Respond with care for the people around you. Respond by doing everything you can to limit the spread of this disease, including obeying your government (it is God’s gift to provide order) and thoroughly washing your hands (that’s taking care of your body that is a temple of the Holy Spirit). Most of all respond by knowing that your heavenly Father has made you His child, and He will never leave you or forsake you.
As St. Paul reminds us in Romans 5, “at the right time, Christ died for the ungodly” (that’s us). “One will scarcely die for a righteous person–although perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” While we were still testing God and doubting Him, Christ offered Himself as the sacrifice that paid our debt to our Father!
God gave His dearly loved Son to restore our broken relationship with Him. He certainly will not abandon us now.
But He will test us. Like He tested Israel. So that we learn that we can trust Him, so that we learn that He will take care of us, no matter what may happen on this earth.