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A Word of Hope6 min read

My dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

It is a struggle to write another statement upon yesterday’s news of 19 elementary school-aged children and teachers who were killed in a mass shooting in Texas. Some of my COP (Council of Presidents) brothers have done so more eloquently than I, and soon I will also have you read Texas District President Michael Newman’s letter to all of us letting us know how we can help. Most everything seems meaningless to write or say because these acts of violence are so outrageously evil.

Just last week, President Chris Wicher of the Eastern District informed us of the racially motivated shooting that took the lives of ten individuals at the Buffalo grocery store. Now that headline is pushed aside, and Texas is in view. I sincerely pray that we don’t ever—God forbid—callously look at evil and violence and horror … and in any way get used to this.

President John Denninger of the Southeastern District is absolutely correct when he writes that, the “only words that speak into the deepest darkness are God’s words. The Spirit prompted Jeremiah to write words that describe the reality of what we feel. Take a moment and read is words of broken-hearted lament in Lamentations 3. As you read them …

  • Cry with moms and dads who have lost their little ones, and with siblings who sit at kitchen tables staring at a now-empty chair.
  • Allow your heart to break for little lives that are scarred for life
  • Let your laments rise up with all of those who are adjusting to a Lamentations 3:1–20 reality for their life’s story.”

Friends, even God’s Word gives permission to acknowledge that hope died: “So I say, ‘my endurance has perished; so has my hope from the Lord’” (Lamentations 3:18).

After twenty verses of hopeless complaint, one words stands out like no other: “yet.” Yet … this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.”

When we have no words to say, God speaks into our shattered silence. With that little word, the Holy Spirit brings a glimmer of hope to Jeremiah, to me, to you. In the middle of hopeless ruin, God plants this powerful Word of light.

“Yet” is the women seeing the stone rolled away from the tomb!

“Yet” is Jesus speaking to the disciples: “Peace be with you.”

“Yet” is the hug you give to all those who are broken-hearted today.

“Yet” is the turnaround word.

We are the “yet” people. We are people who call to mind God’s great love and many compassions that never fail. We are People of Hope.

Yet this I call to mind

and therefore I have hope:

Because of the LORD’S great love we are not consumed,

for his compassions never fail.

They are new every morning;

great is your faithfulness.

I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion;

therefore I will wait for him.”

The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him,

to the one who seeks him;

it is good to wait quietly

for the salvation of the LORD (Lamentations 3:2126).

The Lord is sending you and me to bring hope again. On the basis of this little “yet,” this familiar verse was written:

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father,

    There is no shadow of turning with Thee,

    Thou changest not, Thy compassions they fail not

    As Thou has been Thou forever will be.

    Great is Thy faithfulness!

    Great is Thy faithfulness!

    Morning by morning new mercies I see;

                   All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;

  Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

My friends, this is the moment to hear God’s “yet.” This is the time to sing the songs of Zion! (Psalm 137) This is the time to speak our credo:

“I believe in God the Father Almighty!”

“I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son!”

“I believe in the Holy Spirit!”

“I believe in the resurrection and the life everlasting!”

This is the time to remember Jesus’ words: “As the Father has sent Me, I am sending you” (John 20:21)

Please read President’s Mike Newman’s letter carefully (below) to better understand how we can pray and help.

May God have mercy.

Sincerely,

Pastor David P. E. Maier, President

Michigan District, LCMS

 

And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true” (Revelation 21:5).

Dear fellow servants of Jesus,

On this eve of the Ascension of our Lord, we hold to the promise of our returning Savior who will make all things new. We groan in the wake of the devastating loss in Uvalde, Texas, and we pray, “Come, Lord Jesus!”

Your prayers have been and continue to be of the utmost importance as we draw near to the throne of grace with confidence, finding mercy and grace to help in times of need (Hebrews 4:16). The people of Uvalde are being blessed and sustained by your prayers.

How else can you help?

Financial donations are key. Trinity Lutheran Church in Uvalde has indicated that this is the best way to help at this time. 100% of every gift will go to help with the many needs families and victims are experiencing. Trinity Lutheran Church in Uvalde is partnering with the Texas District to receive and distribute these donations. You can find a donation link and information at txlcms.org/help-for-uvalde/.

What about other needs?

A member of Trinity in Uvalde is a lead school counselor. She is actively coordinating family care and indicates that an abundance of mental health professionals are on site. No additional counselors are needed at this time. If a change takes place, we will send an update.

As of today, 2,500 people were standing in line to donate blood in Uvalde. The South Texas Blood and Tissue Center is booked with a full appointment schedule through Saturday. The generosity and thoughtfulness are blessings.

Lutheran Church Charities has dispatched a team of comfort dogs and their handlers to Uvalde. These gentle servants are bringing consolation to the grieving and traumatized. We praise God for our Texas churches and churches around the nation that stand ready with this wonderful ministry to help in times of need.

Concordia Publishing House Gospel Outreach is providing free grief support resources to Trinity Lutheran Church in Uvalde to be distributed to community and congregation members in need.

Texas District Emergency Management Director, Julie Tucker, has been working with agencies to provide needs for first responders and community residents. Trinity Lutheran in Uvalde has already housed four Salvation Army workers as they provide food for first responders.

As you can see, the people of Trinity Lutheran Church in Uvalde, Pastor Mark Tews, the Texas District family, and ministries of the LCMS are joining together to shine Jesus’ light during this dark and difficult time. Your donations and ongoing prayers will bring great blessings. I will be sure to share updates on emerging needs via our social media platforms and through other district communication streams.

Thank you for your compassionate hearts and kind action to bless the hurting in Jesus’ name.

Walking in faith and prayer with you,

Rev. Michael W. Newman, President

Texas District, LCMS

Photo © FotoDuets/iStock

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About the Author

Rev. Dr. David P. E. Maier serves as president of the Michigan District, LCMS.

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Jim Elsner - May 28, 2022

Brother David,
Thank you for your words and for sharing the letter from Pastor Newman. At Peace Lutheran – Fremont, IN, I shared your words with the congregation on May 29. I will encourage the sharing of pastor Newman’s “What can you do?” with our people. God bless you in all your endeavors for the Kingdom. The King IS coming soon!
Pastor Jim Elsner

Linda Gerke - May 31, 2022

Your words, Pr Maier, were a balm for my spirit, which has been so heavy. I praise God for your caring spirit and servant heart.

Tom Mueller - May 31, 2022

As usual, well said Rev. Maier. May God provide strength and wisdom to all who are ministering to a “hurting ” community and world.