We’ve been talking about whether or not we are being punished and watching the hurricanes and the devastation it gets hard to parse the understanding that Lutherans have about suffering and God’s place in it.  We do believe that God is in the midst of suffering and devastation with mercy and grace.  “In the middle of one of the worst natural disasters in history, “we have seen honor in action, love in action and service in action through governments, agencies, churches, families and individuals. But we’ve also seen God in action,” writes Greg Seltz former Lutheran Hour preacher.

There is time for offerings and gifts, physical presence, and volunteerism of all kinds.  In the Caribbean right now we have missionaries and personnel in the path so please pray for them and their charges and families.  The great Psalm of the Reformation that inspired “A Mighty Fortress” may be  a wonderful opportunity for mediation on what it all means,  The big take away from all of this is that because Christ gave it all for us we can give our all for our neighbor.

46 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;

Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.

There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High.

God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early.

The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth melted.

The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.

Come, behold the works of the Lord, what desolations he hath made in the earth.

He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire.

10 Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.

11 The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.