When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you, when you walk through the fire you shall not be buried, and the flame shall not consume you. — Isaiah 43:2
Reports of rising waters in our coastal communities and fires in the American West have filled our news headlines over the last several weeks. Hurricanes, the strength of which we haven't seen for a decade or more, have battered the Gulf Coast and Atlantic Seaboard with unrelenting winds and rain. A severe lack of rain in parts of the west has resulted in fire activity comparable to the record-breaking fire season of 1910. Lives, livelihoods, and businesses have been lost passing through the waters and walking through the fires. And yet, in the midst of such destruction and loss, we trust in God's promise: "I will be with you."
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. — John 14:27
In Genesis we hear that God created the earth our of formless chaos, but that chaos did not entirely end with creation. Natural disasters such as hurricanes, fires, earthquakes, floods, famines, and tornadoes remind us of this. So where is God in the midst of these events? God is present in our Christian response to our neighbors who have been affected.
Brothers and sisters, do not be troubled or afraid. Rather, be Christ-like to our neighbors in need. Together we pray for those who grieve. Together we commit to being good stewards of the creation entrusted to us by God. Together we rely on the peace that only Christ our Lord can provide when the unthinkable happens.
As we observe the 500th anniversary of the Reformation this month, I invite you to join me in challenging ourselves to continually reform, reimagine and reinvigorate our commitment to living as Christ's disciples. May we be Christ-like to our neighbors near and far, may we trust in God's presence in the midst of our troubles, and may we serve one another in the name of Christ, our Price of Peace.
Again I thank you for your warm welcome in September as we begin our life and ministry together. Emily and I are grateful to be a part of the American Lutheran Church family and members of the La Porte City community. May God bless our time together richly!
If you are so moved to financially respond to these recent disasters, Lutheran Disaster Response is a ministry of the ELCA that directs 100% of your giving to support direct relief efforts and volunteers before, during and after such events. For more information about Lutheran Disaster Response, call (800) 638-3522 or visit www.elca.org and search for "Lutheran Disaster Response."