Election Day evokes many emotions: hope, fear, anger, frustration, impatience and so much more. For weeks and months the electorate is subjected to negative ads, character assassinations, a variety of perspectives on the truth and outright lies. I, for one, feel fatigue from elections as they wear me out!
But even after the mid-term elections of November 6, there will still be plenty of other news stories that are hard to bear. Hurricane disaster zones, the opioid crisis, the mass incarceration rates of minorities, climate change, ongoing US involvement in multiple wars, millions of uninsured sick people and the list goes on and on and on both locally, nationally and globally.
What is the place of the Church in all this? Where is God in all this? And what does First Lutheran have to offer you as you attempt to be a faithful citizen?
Perhaps the most obvious ways we address the difficult issues in our world are through Lutheran Social Services and Lutheran Disaster Response. Each year, our members contribute generously toward the mission of each; to projects like SCAN—Stop-Child-Abuse-and-Neglect. Tens of thousands of kids in our own state have been visited in their classrooms by this LSS project that seeks to “educate kids at a young age about child abuse so they know when to ask for help.” Katy Adler, SCAN program director, explains by sharing a recent story: “A seven-year old child told the SCAN presenter about long-term sexual abuse by two family members,” recalls Katy. “The child had kept this from other close family members, school staff and other trusted adults. The information presented by SCAN, as well as the SCAN facilitator’s compassionate demeanor, taught this child that what was happening was abusive and was not the child’s fault and it gave the child the courage to follow through and tell the secret.”
As for Lutheran Disaster Response, just go to their website, and you’ll see their blog gives “situation reports” for more disasters than you even know have happened. Of course, there is Hurricane Michael and Florence, but there is also the tsunami and earthquake in Indonesia, an ongoing crisis in South Sudan, Typhoon Mangkhut, flooding in Kenya and a refugee crisis in Rohingya. If you have ever felt overwhelmed by the problems of the world, as though there are so many that you don’t even know where to start, know that through First Lutheran YOU HAVE STARTED. The support of First Lutheran, combined with the almost 4 million other members of the ELCA who worship in almost 10,000 congregations make a response to disasters that is worthy of our call in Christ to remember those who are in need. Together, we change lives!
The ‘E’ in ELCA stands for “Evangelical” which means “Good News!” I wish we would just change our name to “Good News Lutheran Church in America”, because “Evangelical” is one of those church words that no one really understands. Just know this: we ELCA Lutherans, even amidst all the bad news of this world bring good news as we respond to natural disasters like hurricanes and as we seek to prevent personal disasters like the abuse of children. We remind each other of God’s mercy as, at worship, we say, “Peace be with you” and we proclaim that God’s love and grace are more powerful than any elected leader, powerful storm or overwhelming issue of the day. There is no election needed for our Prince of Peace!