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In recent UPdates we highlighted the broad scope of our planning to safely re-open Messiah Lutheran Church for in-person worship. In line with guidance from the Churchwide Office and Presiding Bishop in Chicago, our Synod Office and Synod Bishop in Tampa, and CDC Guidelines, in-person worship requires several steps in order to proceed safely.

The minimum safety precautions include, among others, hand sanitizing stations at all public entrances, the use and wearing of masks, and the taking of temperatures of all persons entering the building.  We have had these items on order with suppliers since the latter part of March. At the time the sanitizer stations and sanitizer, masks, and thermometers were ordered, they were immediately placed on backorder with an anticipated shipping date of mid-June.

In line with the anticipated receipt of the necessary safety equipment in mid to late June, this is the earliest that we can anticipate safely opening our building for in-person worship. Other ELCA congregations in our Conference and Synod are following a similar timeline.

Your personal safety, the safety of our friends and neighbors, as well as our pastoral staff needs to remain paramount in our decision-making processes. These are certainly trying times, and we appreciate your patience and understanding. The risks of getting this wrong, and re-opening too soon and/or without the necessary safety precautions in place, are too dire to imagine.

In the meanwhile, we will continue to provide our thrice-weekly devotions from Pastor Rich, Deacon John, and Deacon Scott, we continue to offer times during the week to gather for study and conversation (with plans to increase these opportunities in the near future), as well as our weekly service recording on the weekend. Our recorded service will likely continue to be posted each weekend, as when in-person worship resumes, there will be social-distancing limitations placed on the number of attendees.

We all long for the day that we can resume in-person worship, and the future time when all limitations will be able to be lifted, until that time, please be assured of our prayers for each and every one of you.

Should you have any questions, you may direct them to us via email

God, our peace and our strength, we pray for our nation and the world as we face new uncertainties around coronavirus. Protect the most vulnerable among us, especially all who are currently sick or in isolation. Grant wisdom, patience, and clarity to health care workers, especially as their work caring for others puts them at great risk. Guide us as we consider how best to prepare and respond in our families, congregations, workplaces, and communities. Give us the courage to face these days not with fear but with compassion, concern, and acts of service, trusting that you abide with us always, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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When a Yoke Means Freedom

Fifth Sunday after Pentecost - July 5, 2020


Today’s gospel reading contains iconic words from Jesus: “Come to me all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light (Matt. 11:28-30).” Jesus offers a yoke to tired listeners and tells them that a yoke will give them rest. The yoke as a means to rest was a strange idea for the disciples. A yoke as a means to rest ought to sound strange to us, as well. The early hearers of this biblical passage would have known a yoke to be a means of engaging the energy of oxen as heavy lifters in the enterprise of farming. Yokes are still employed in our world and they are still a burden and a way of harnessing animal’s hard work, especially in places where people don’t have access to the internal combustion engine. The first ancient readers or hearers of Matthew also viewed a yoke as a symbol of obedience to God’s law and wisdom. Generally, our instinct is to resist yokes and laws, or at least not immediately connect them with the idea of freedom. Through the image of the yoke, however, Jesus invites us to think of God’s law and wisdom as a means to surrender, give way, and accept something graceful and positive—rest, ease, lightness. Jesus reframes the idea of a yoke by telling us that a yoke will help us grow as disciples. The gospel links humility to freedom.

(c) 2020 Sundays and Seasons

Contact Information  
Messiah Lutheran Church
2691 NE Pine Island Rd
Cape Coral, Florida 33909
Phone 239.995.0133
Fax 239.995.2720
Mobile 941.548.6163

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