Is That the Sound of Singing

Pastor Steven Borst

One of the struggles Christians are facing these days is that our singing has largely been silenced. We’re silenced because we expel more droplets from our lungs when we sing. We’re silenced because indoor worship has been suspended again. We’re also silenced because we don’t really feel like singing praises in the midst of this pandemic.

Our shelter at home orders remind me a little bit of a story in Acts 16. In the town of Philippi, Paul and Silas were speaking openly about Jesus Christ and healing in His name. This offended the Roman officials, and so “the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten. After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. Upon receiving such orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.” (Acts 16:22-24)

Then comes the amazing part: About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. (Acts 16:25) They were singing! Despite bleeding backs, wearied limbs, and a darkened cell, their faith gave them great joy. They knew that God would not forsake them, and they considered it a great privilege to suffer for His name.

Notice also that other prisoners were listening! These captives knew the extreme pain Paul and Silas were in because they had experienced similar beatings. When they were whipped, they didn’t sing. Their lives were enslaved by their circumstances, and so they could only curse their misfortune. Yet here were these Christians singing. On this night, their simple song of faith spoke just as powerfully as any street sermon that they had preached the day before.

Despite our own situations, we too can sing of our salvation. Whatever real evil we might face, we know that Christ our Savior has rescued us from the worst catastrophe imaginable: being judged by a Holy God. Through the calamity of the cross, Christ paid for our sin. By the devastation of His death, He destroyed death so we might live. We are no longer under judgment. By the hand of our Great Physician, our bodies will receive an ultimate and everlasting healing when Christ comes again. So we sing! How can we not?

I am not trying to minimize the suffering that people all around the world are suffering right now. Neither would I try to diminish any difficulty that you personally are facing. After all, economic depression is depressing. Sickness can sap our strength. Troubled relationships trouble our spirits. Yet despite all this, we are not trapped by our trials. Through faith we find true triumph.

Therefore, follow St. Paul’s advice. He writes, Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:4-7)

So sing praises to God! Not only is He worthy of your praise, but it will do your own soul a world of good. Sing on your couch when you are worshiping online. Include a hymn of praise with your daily devotions. Belt it out with your favorite Christian Radio station while driving your car. Sing because you were designed to sing. Sing because Jesus brings true joy.

Our sheltering in place is not as extreme as Paul and Silas’ imprisonment in a cell, but like them, we have a song to offer our world. Is that the sound of singing I hear? Remember, others are listening.

PLEASE NOTE: Our current pandemic has not silenced the voices of our choir. Starting in September, they will be producing several Virtual Choir Anthems for our online Sunday worship services. Would you, or someone you know, like to participate? Please contact our Choir Director, Alexander Waggoner, at awtrombone@gmail.com for more information.



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Please continue to tithe and give offerings, and if you are able, give generously! You can do so by sending a check or give online through our website


Board of Directors Announce New Voters Meeting

Due to the state mandate, our August Voters Meeting was cancelled. The Board has scheduled the following events instead:

Zoom Informational Meeting

Wednesday, September 30 at 6:30pm — An online meeting to review the proposed budget, meet BoD candidates, and receive updated School information.

Outdoor Voters Meeting

Saturday, October 3 at 8am — An official meeting to vote on budget, candidates, and other matters.

Please watch for updated information and agendas in September. For questions, please contact one of our current Board Members:

  • John Lundi, President
  • Carol Kessler, Secretary
  • Brad Davis, Treasurer
  • Lori Breunig
  • Joy Fosgett
  • John Uhles
  • Chip Sartorius, Head Elder (ex-officio)

Immanuel Needs Tech People

As you may be aware, we are currently taking steps to install equipment in our sanctuary so that we can live stream our Sunday morning services. When the system is finally installed, we need a team to come together and help run the software on Sunday morning so that everyone who is not able to join us physically for sanctuary worship will be able to worship at home. If you would like to use your technology talents to learn the new system and help us in this new season of ministry, please contact Pastor Robert by sending an email to robert.jones.immanuel@gmail.com.

Singers Wanted for Virtual Choir Project

Attention singers! The choir is currently in search of singers for a new project in September. Due to current restrictions, the choir can’t meet and praise the Lord in person so they’re doing it virtually. If you ever felt like you were too busy or shy to sing for choir, now is your chance! Vocalists will record themselves singing a hymn on video safely at home and then submit via email to be edited together into one big video, which will result in a big virtual choir! To participate in this recording project all you will need is a heart full of praise, a device that can record video
(camera, phone, laptop, webcam etc.), headphones, and a device that can play music over headphones (phone, laptop, computer, mp3 player etc.). Since this is online, participation is open to anyone who has an internet connection and can be submitted from anywhere! If you would like to find out more please contact Alex Waggoner at awtrombone@gmail.com or 707-490-9023.


2020 ROADRUNNER GOLF CLASSIC

This past November many members of our church and school parents participated in Immanuel’s “Roadrunner Golf Classic.” We had a fantastic day at the Victoria Club. We have reserved a date for our 5th Annual Roadrunner Golf Classic. MARK YOUR CALENDARS FOR MONDAY, NOVEMBER 2 for a fun day to support our school. The event will be held again at the Victoria Club. Don’t be left out. Mark your calendar TODAY!


Outdoor Sunday School!

During part of the outdoor worship service at 8 a.m. children will be invited to their own special Bible story and craft just for them. Children 4 years old and up will be invited to meet in the shade for this special time. We will social distance and please have them wear their masks.

High School Youth

We have some High School small group Bible studies for guys and gals that meet in the Youth Lounge (wearing masks, keeping social distance) to keep us focused on growing our faith in this time of Covid19. Guys meet on Tuesdays and Gals meet on Wednesdays, 6-7:30 p.m.


Community Outreach Report

We’re continuing our collection of the Blessing Bag contents for our Homeless Neighbors! Bring donations to the Church Office M-F 10am-2pm.

Also, please ring the bell outside the church of ice so that someone will come to open the door for you.

Items Still Needed:

  • Men’s (crew) Socks,
  • Water Bottles, Snack Bars (soft),
  • TRAVEL SIZE:
    • Tooth Paste,
    • Soap Bars,
    • Shampoo & Conditioner,
    • Deodorant,
    • Tissue or Washcloth

Love Riverside

Save the Date: Join us for our Annual Serve Days:

Saturday, October 10, 2020 – 8am-Noon

(COVID SAFETY WILL BE IN PLACE) Contact Julia in the Church Office for more information, OR go to: LoveRiverside.org & Click on Projects


Immanuel Lutheran Church and School
5455 Alessandro Blvd., Riverside, CA 92506
www.immanuelriverside.com