A Compassionate God, A Compassionate People
The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.” Exodus 34:6
This verse is how God describes Himself to Moses after Moses has broken the two stone tablets in anger. It is the classic description of God that is found throughout the Old Testament. God is not an angry judge, who takes delight in chastising His creation. Rather, He is slow to anger, full of love, grace, and mercy. Since God had been merciful towards us, we show that same mercy to others in their need.
The fourth objective of the Synod is to “Provide opportunities through which its members may express their Christian concern, love, and compassion in meeting human needs.” As six thousand congregations we are able to address human care needs on a larger scale in ways that one congregation cannot. Such examples would include disaster response work and human care projects down in conjunction with international mission work. Here in the Missouri District, a great example of an opportunity to express such compassion has been our SHINE! Servant Events. Over the last two years, more than 13,000 people from 250 groups were involved in mercy work in their communities.
St. Luke’s Gospel recounts Jesus’ walking upon the funeral procession for a young boy in the tiny town of Nain. Jesus looked upon the widow and had compassion on her. Feeling empathy for her was not the end of the story though. Jesus’ compassion moved Him to action and He raised the boy and gave him back to his mother. From Lutheran Women’s Missionary League groups banding together to the LCMS Youth Gathering, from Lutheran Early Response Teams to circuit servant events (like Grace Day in the Arnold Circuit), together we show love and compassion to our neighbor because our Lord has shown love and compassion to us. May our congregations reflect our Lord’s love for us in showing mercy to our communities and neighbors in need.
Prayer – Almighty and ever-living God, You make us both to will and to do those things that are good and acceptable in Your sight. Let Your fatherly hand ever guide us and Your Holy Spirit ever be with us to direct us in the knowledge and obedience of Your Word that we may obtain everlasting life; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Fraternally in Christ,
President Lee Hagan