As we gathered for worship this past weekend, we echoed the prayer of the ten lepers (Luke 17:11-19): “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” Many of us offered that prayer earlier in the week as Hurricane Matthew approached. For those of us in the greater Vero Beach community, we shared our gratitude that, for the most part, we were spared the worst of the storm. Yet, in our gratitude, our prayer for mercy continued on behalf of those who were devastated by the storm, especially those in Haiti where the death toll has passed 1,000.
As we communed with Jesus at the Table of Mercy, we cried, shouted, and pleaded together, “Lord, have mercy” as we recalled Christ’s death, resurrection, and promised presence in every time and in every place. As recipients of God’s mercy, by which we are all healed and made whole, we were reminded that we are called again and again to be agents of God’s mercy for all of God’s people.
One way to share in the work of mercy may well be to make a special offering gratitude to benefit those whose needs are both immediate and long term. Haiti Partners is a ministry well known to Our Savior Lutheran Church. As they continue their long term mission of helping Haitians change Haiti through education, they stand ready to partner with schools and churches as they reach out to those dealing with the storms aftermath. Lutheran Disaster Response is poised to bring immediate aid, in Haiti, Cuba, and the Bahamas, as well in areas in our own country as they work with longstanding partners and companion churches in the work of relief and recovery.
As we prayed together this weekend, we pray again, “Merciful God, we show ourselves to you, and we bring before you our deepest fears and worries and needs. We give thanks with a grateful heart that the storm has passed our doorstep. At the same time, we pray for those left with a devastating aftermath. Protect those who are vulnerable and in need, and bind us together as we reach out and help one another. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.”
We give thanks for all those who prepared our church campus for the storm and cleaned up in its wake. A special word of gratitude to our Boy Scout troop, families, leaders, and congregational members who cleared gathered on Sunday afternoon finish the job.