Letter from Pastor John 3/19/20

For All the Saints – March 19, 2020

Gathered Church?

Dear friends,

As I walked into the coffee shop to pick up my usual drink, the dining room was empty and the chairs put up on the tables. It’s “take out only,” for the same reason that nearly everything in our lives is modified or turned upside down right now. The barista asked me, “So, how’s everything going at work?” (He probably remembers that I’m a pastor; we’ve had that conversation before!) I looked at him for a moment, and replied, “It’s weird doing church when you can’t gather.”

It’s weird doing church – and perhaps I could have said, “being church” – when you can’t gather. And yet that is the time in which we find ourselves. Not because of persecution or lack of religious freedom, as so many around the world have experienced, but simply out of obedience to the recommendations of civil authorities as we seek to look out for the life and health of the most vulnerable among us during a unique time of high health risk. Therefore we wrestle with the command in the book of Hebrews chapter ten, “Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful. And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Heb. 10:23-35, NRSV, emphasis mine)

This will not last forever. But for the time being, we hold fast to the confession of our hope and we provoke one another to love and good deeds while staying connected through one-on-one conversations, through digital communication, and through family devotions:

1. While we temporarily won’t see each other as frequently, pick up the phone – or rather, make use of that device that’s quite likely already in your hand! – and reach out to a church family member that you haven’t spoken to in a week or two. Text, call, or email; ask them how they’re doing, what they need, and how you can pray for them. As a staff, we at ASLC will be doing more of this as well, but let’s make it a family affair! Additionally, if you would like prayer or communion, please contact the ASLC office or text me at 817-296-8670. I would be glad to bring you communion, stop by to pray, or set up a time for you to drive through the entrance to All Saints to receive such ministry.

2. For this week, All Saints is posting links online for the Wednesday Lenten devotional, and a more comprehensive set of links for the Sunday order of worship, including the sermon. We’ll look at additional creative options for bringing worship to you in the weeks to come, especially if these closures extend beyond the current two-week window. When the Apostle Paul was confined to prison or under house arrest, he wrote many of the Epistles that we now enjoy as part of the New Testament. Imagine what he could have done with a laptop and WiFi! And imagine what God will continue to do in our midst, as the Gospel continues to circulate even through digital means.

3. This is a wonderful time to re-emphasize the role of the family as a mini-church, where the Christian faith incubates and takes shape. If you aren’t already, try a family devotion together. Whether you and a spouse, a family with kids, or you and a next-door neighbor, build up your home as an expression of God’s Church! One resource to help with this is “Holy Families,” an NALC sponsored resource for family devotions in the home: https://www.holyfamilytime.com/.

It is indeed weird being the church when you can’t gather. But God has not self-quarantined. He is still with us. His message of courage is as applicable to us today as we face the unknown “enemy” of a new and novel virus, as it was for Joshua in days of old, as he faced enemies in the Promised Land. God says, “Be strong and bold; have no fear or dread of them, because it is the LORD your God who goes with you; he will not fail you or forsake you.” (Deuteronomy31:6 NRSV)

God’s richest blessings, health, and peace to you all,

Pastor John


Daily Scripture Readings through the first week of Easter: March 19 – April 19

Thursday, March 19

1 Samuel 15:10-21

Ephesians 4:25-32

Psalm 23


Friday, March 20

1 Samuel 15:22-31

Ephesians 5:1-9

Psalm 23


Saturday, March 21

1 Samuel 15:32-34

John 1:1-9

Psalm 23


Sunday, March 22 – Lent 4

1 Samuel 16:1-13

Psalm 23

Ephesians 5:8-14 (Used in worship)

John 9:1-41 (Used in worship)


Monday, March 23

Isaiah 59:9-19

Acts 9:1-20

Psalm 146


Tuesday, March 24

Isaiah 42:14-21

Colossians 1:9-14

Psalm 146


Wednesday, March 25

Isaiah 60:17-22

Matthew 9:27-34

Psalm 146


Thursday, March 26

Ezekiel 1:1-3, 2:8-3:3

Revelation 10:1-11

Psalm 130


Friday, March 27

Ezekiel 33:10-16

Revelation 11:15-19

Psalm 130


Saturday, March 28

Ezekiel 36:8-15

Luke 24:44-53

Psalm 130


Sunday, March 29 – Lent 5

Ezekiel 37:1-14 (Used in worship)

Psalm 130

Romans 8:6-11

John 11:1-45 (Used in worship)

Monday, March 30

1 Kings 17:17-24

Acts 20:7-12

Psalm 143


Tuesday, March 31

2 Kings 4:18-37

Ephesians 2:1-10

Psalm 143


Wednesday, April 1

Jeremiah 32:1-9, 36-41

Matthew 22:23-33

Psalm 143


Thursday, April 2

1 Samuel 16:11-13

Philippians 1:1-11

Psalm 31:9-16


Friday, April 3

Job 13:13-19

Philippians 1:21-30

Psalm 31:9-16


Saturday, April 4

Lamentations 3:55-66

Mark 10:32-34

Psalm 31:9-16


Sunday, April 5 (Palm / Passion Sunday)

Matthew 21:1-11 – Procession with Palms (Used in worship)

Isaiah 50:4-9a

Psalm 31:9-16

Philippians 2:5-11 (Used in worship)

Matthew 27:11-54 – Passion Narrative (Used in worship)


Monday, April 6 – Monday in Holy Week *

Isaiah 42:1-9

Psalm 36:5-11

Hebrews 9:11-15

John 12:1-11


Tuesday, April 7 – Tuesday in Holy Week

Isaiah 49:1-7

Psalm 71:1-14

1 Corinthians 1:18-31

John 12:20-36


Wednesday, April 8 – Wednesday in Holy Week

Isaiah 50:4-9a

Psalm 70

Hebrews 12:1-3

John 13:21-32


Maundy Thursday – April 9

Exodus 12:1-4 [5-10], 11-14

Psalm 116:1-2, 12-19

1 Corinthians 11:23-26 (Note: Used in worship)

John 13:1-17, 31b-35


Good Friday – April 10

Isaiah 52:13-53:12 (Note: Used in worship)

Psalm 22 (Note: Used in worship)

Hebrews 10:16-25

John 18:1-19:42 (Note: Used in worship)


Holy Saturday / Vigil of Easter – April 11 **

Creation – Genesis 1:1 – 2:4a / Psalm 136:1-9, 23-26

Flood – Genesis 7:1-5, 11-18; 8:6-18; 9:8-13 / Psalm 46

Testing of Abraham – Genesis 22:1-18 / Psalm 16

Deliverance at the Red Sea – Exodus 14:10-31; 15:20-21 / Exodus 15:1b-13, 17-18

Salvation Offered Freely – Isaiah 55:1-11 / Isaiah 12:2-6

Wisdom of God – Proverbs 8:1-8, 19-21; 9:4b-6 / Psalm 19

New Heart / New Spirit – Ezekiel 36:24-28 / Psalm 42 & 43

Valley of Dry Bones – Ezekiel 37:1-14 / Psalm 143

Gathering of God’s People – Zephaniah 3:14-20 / Psalm 98

Deliverance of Jonah – Jonah 1:1-2:1 / Jonah 2:2-3, 7-9

Garments of Salvation – Isaiah 61:1-4, 9-11 / Deuteronomy 32:1-4, 7, 36a, 43a

Deliverance from Fiery Furnace – Daniel 3:1-29 / Song of the Three 35-65 ***

Romans 6:3-11

John 20:1-18


Easter Sunday – April 12

Acts 10:34-43 **** (Used in worship)

Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24

Colossians 3:1-4

Matthew 28:1-10 (Used in worship)


Monday, April 13

Exodus 14:10-31; 15:20-21

Colossians 3:5-11

Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24


Tuesday, April 14

Exodus 15:1-18

Colossians 3:12-17

Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24


Wednesday, April 15

Joshua 3:1-7

Matthew 28:1-10

Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24


Thursday, April 16

Song of Solomon 2:8-15

Colossians 4:2-5

Psalm 16


Friday, April 17

Song of Solomon 5:9 – 6:3

1 Corinthians 15:1-11

Psalm 16


Saturday, April 18

Song of Solomon 8:6-7

John 20:11-20

Psalm 16


Sunday, April 19

Acts 2:14a,22-32

Psalm 16

1 Peter 1:3-9

John 20:19-31


* Note: During Holy Week, each weekday’s readings are designed for use in a full worship service. Therefore four distinct readings are listed in the same pattern as Sunday, rather than the typical daily pattern of two readings and a Psalm.

** Note: Traditionally, an Easter Vigil service is held late into the night and sometimes even until the Easter sunrise. Twelve readings and Psalm or psalm-like responses are assigned. They trace Salvation history throughout time. I have listed them all, that you might choose as you wish for your private reading.

*** Note: This is an addition to the book of Daniel, found in the Apocrypha but not in the Protestant canon of Scripture.

**** Note: During the season of Easter, readings from the book of Acts are traditionally used in place of an Old Testament reading, marking the continuation of salvation history through the formation of the Church in Acts


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