October 9, 2017
Then the Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces, and the disgrace of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken.
[Isaiah 25:8]
It seems that we have been besieged by tragedy in recent weeks. At any time, there is always something distressing happening somewhere in our world, but recently, disasters have come in droves.
The litany is long - tornadoes, earthquakes, mass shootings - and there seems to be no end in sight.
I had no sooner finished writing my reflection last week when the horrific news started streaming out of Las Vegas and the death toll rose with each subsequent report.

Aftermath of Las Vegas shooting - Courtesy on NBC News
We are never unaffected by these events. They touch each and every one of us to a greater or lesser degree. One vivid example is Pastor Chuck Knerem, whose son, David, was present at the concert when the gunman began firing. In his weekly blog, Pastor Chuck offers a personal glimpse into that encounter with terror. Click [here] to read the post.
We are weary, we are exhausted, we are fatigued.
But as we've come to expect, God's providential sense of timing offers us comfort and assurance in the form of the lectionary readings for this upcoming Sunday. They are a balm to heal our sin-sick soul.
Though at first glance they may not seem so reassuring, in the midst of images of destruction, ruin, conflict, and murder, we see the promise of God's grace and peace.
While we aren't given an earthly means for overcoming all disasters and tragedies , we are given a glimpse of a world in which death is swallowed up forever, where God will wipe away the tears from all faces, where all our worries should be made known to God, and where all are invited to the heavenly banquet.
The Word of God can be challenging, but at the same time rewarding when one commits to wrestling with it. I encourage you to spend some time with God in the reading of Scripture and prayer.
I don't often carry over announcements from week to week, but just this once I want to repeat a request I made last week for the benefit of those who may not have seen it.
As many of you know, Puerto Rico is where I was born and lived until the age of 8. I still have relatives there, as well as many friends. They are all okay, thanks be to God. I thank you for your kindness and expressions of concern over the past several weeks.
But the people on the island will most likely never recover to the level of life they knew before the disaster. And it is in times like these that God's love is made known by our willingness to extend some form of aid.
I would ask us to do three things:
  1. keep the people of Puerto Rico in prayer.
  2. Consider a financial gift to Lutheran Disaster Response. This is an organization that remains on the ground long after others have left. If you send a check, indicate "Hurricane Relief" on the memo line.
  3. If you wish to help by sending items, they are in need of water, batteries [AA, C, D, 9volts], flashlights, battery lanterns, nonperishable food, tarps.
We will be collecting those items at the Lutheran Center, 1890 Bailey Road, beginning Monday, October 9, until Friday, October 13. For more detail on the collection process see our weekly E-news or click [here].
Saturday, October 14 , beginning at 5 p.m., I will join the people of God at St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church in Lakeville as they kickoff of their "Building Our Future" campaign with a hog roast and square dance.
(I must say that I get invited to the oddest events at St. John. But such creative approaches are a sign of congregational vitality that keeps its people engaged in ministry.)
Sunday, October 15 , I am with the people of God at St. John, Perrysville, as they celebrate their 175th anniversary, beginning at 10:00 a.m.
In the afternoon at 2 p.m., I will be with the people of God at Pleasant Valley Lutheran Church in Lucas, as they celebrate their 150th Anniversary.
This week and always, may the Lord God wipe away the tears from all faces, and may the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
+Bishop Abraham Allende