Abide with us Jesus.

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4

Back in the day during the first year that I was living in Haiti my only personal line of audio communication with the U.S. was using a satellite phone that I bought from Synod and when storm came or I was in a remote part of Haiti I could pull out that old phone, raise the antenna and say “can you hear me now…over?”  Watching Hurricane Irma slowly push westward across Hispaniola yesterday there was an empty feeling in my stomach as I knew that the cell phone towers would be down and power would be out and it would be days until we begin to hear of the damage to schools and more importantly…lives.  Our Christian brothers and sisters living in Haiti will be facing many different kinds of trials in the coming days and we pray for them and yearn for that first time we hear them say to us “can you hear me now?”  May their faith be a light of Hope and shine brightly in the eyes of the people who are living in hopelessness in Haiti; abide with them Jesus.  I am closing today with the words from the hymn ‘Lord Jesus Christ, With Us Abide’ that were written by Nikolaus Selnecker (1532-1592).

“Lord Jesus Christ, with us abide, for round us falls the eventide; nor let Thy Word, that heavenly light, for us be ever veiled in night.  In these last days of sore distress grant us, dear Lord, true steadfastness that pure we keep, till life is spent, Thy holy Word and Sacrament.  Lord Jesus, help, Thy Church uphold, for we are sluggish, thoughtless, cold. Oh, prosper well Thy Word of grace and spread its truth in every place!  Oh, keep us in Thy Word, we pray; the guile and rage of Satan stay!  Oh, may Thy mercy never cease!  Give concord, patience, courage, peace.  O God, how sin's dread works abound!  Throughout the earth no rest is found, and falsehood's spirit wide has spread, and error boldly rears its head.  The haughty spirits, Lord, restrain who o'er Thy Church with might would reign and always set forth something new, devised to change Thy doctrine true.  And since the cause and glory, Lord, are Thine, not ours, to us afford Thy help and strength and constancy.  With all our heart we trust in Thee.  A trusty weapon is Thy Word, Thy Church's buckler, shield and sword.  Oh, let us in its power confide that we may seek no other guide!  Oh, grant that in Thy holy Word we here may live and die, dear Lord; and when our journey endeth here,
Receive us into glory there.”

Dear Heavenly Father, you have called your servants to ventures of which we cannot see the ending, by paths as yet untrodden, through perils unknown.  Give us faith to go out with good courage, not knowing where we go but only that your hand is leading us and your love supporting us through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.  Amen.

May God be with you…Jay