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Global Mission Update: Mercy Sunday (November 2012)
“Genuine righteousness seeks to serve others.” Religion in this case refers to “the deeds that a person does because of his beliefs” (Lutheran Study Bible Notes).
Let me tell you the story of Ruth a person that lives her beliefs through her deeds of mercy.
Ruth Hahn is a good friend of the ministries of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. Recently she shared with us the concept of “noisy offerings,” a term I had not been acquainted with until I heard her story. It seems that Ruth, who lives in Holland, Mich., where she attends Zion Lutheran Church, has served on her congregation’s mission board for many years. She’s 70, and her husband, Hal, is 83. They can’t do all the “running around” they used to do. But “pushing” mission efforts at her church is still something she can do. Ruth and Hal have organized animal projects, orphan projects, water projects and the like – all mercy projects.
A number of years ago, Ruth heard about using soup cans and milk cartons to collect funds for these projects – shake them and they’re noisy. The children in her congregation like to hear the noise of the coins being emptied into a bucket carried by the ushers as the cans are passed down each pew. So whenever it was time to take on another project, her pastor would say to her: “Ruth, it’s time for another noisy offering” – of course checks and paper money make their own kinds of noise.
November is mercy month in our Synod. This used to be called World Relief and Human Care (WR-HC) Sunday, which was always observed on the Sunday before Thanksgiving. When I heard of this “noisy offerings” story, it reminded me of the mercy ministry we have done and continue to do.
Mercy work has always been a “noisy” ministry, especially when a major disaster hits and the LCMS Disaster Response ministry generates lots of helping activity. Missionary support, too, has made its own consistent “noise” through the years, in preparing and sending men and women in service to the Lord throughout the world.
One of my six priorities for our Synod is all about the mercy work we do together: Perform human care in close proximity to Word and Sacrament ministries. Mercy work is just one example of our integrated global mission efforts and why your gifts to the Global Mission Fund, which supports both mercy and witness work — whether noisy or quiet — are so important.
All of the LCMS ministries are now united under the theme Witness, Mercy, Life Together. It’s what our global mission is all about. Working together, we proclaim the Gospel to a world that needs to hear the message of salvation. And we perform works of mercy for our brothers and sisters in Christ throughout the world. In all
that we do, Christ is at the center, leading and sustaining us and keeping us focused on our mission. This will never change.
It is the reason your support of LCMS global mission efforts is so important. Your “where needed most” gift provides for the expansion of God’s mission and the work of mercy across the world. Your gift today for Synod’s Global Mission Fund will assure that our efforts — and our human-care work with our global church partners — will continue on your behalf.
Your gift of $50, $100, $500 or more, as God has blessed you, will help to accomplish the global strategies of our LCMS, not only for our witness and life together ministry, but also for our mercy work.
Our God is rich in mercy toward us. He has forgiven, redeemed and adopted us as His sons and daughters. With His rich mercy in view, I’m asking you to consider your gift and pray for the destitute of the world that through our acts of mercy people are helped and shown Christ’s mercy.
Please pray for our mercy work:
Merciful Father, you have graciously provided in abundance for all my needs of body, mind, and spirit. You feed me with your Word and Sacrament; you fill my thoughts with peace and grace; and you nurture my body with food and drink. All this you have done out of love for me. Now, Father, as you have graciously provided for my needs, I ask for a charitable spirit. Help me see the needs of others so that they, too, may experience Your goodness and grace. This I ask in the name of Christ Jesus, my Lord. Amen.
Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison
PS: Please be assured that your Synod’s work of mercy – Christ’s “mercy forever” continues.