27 September 2014


This week I was privileged to speak at the International Disaster Response Conference, held on the lovely campus of Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

I wish I could have attended a bit longer and learned more! I presented on Worship in a Time of Disaster: Semper et Ubique. The radical words of the Preface challenge us to see that the Church gives thanks to God through Jesus Christ at ALL times and in ALL places. 

In an idea I stole from Dr. Joseph Herl I suggested that all of liturgy and hymnody is practice for the worship that takes place in disaster...whether communal or personal. We practice to be able to fall down with Job and declare: "The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. BLESSED BE THE NAME OF THE LORD!" This is possible for us through Jesus Christ because we bow together before Him who knew life as a refuge, who knew what hunger is, who knew what it was to weep at the grave of a friend, and who experienced in his own flesh the violence of those who think they serve God by inflicting suffering and death on others. And He triumphed over them all, loving all the way! So His life never ends and so we are baptized into Him are called upon to offer in and through Him a sacrifice of thanksgiving to God.

When my presentation was over, Ross Johnson, Director of Disaster Response, gave me this beautifully hand-painted original piece of art called "Doxology." The artist is Patti Miller.

We have it hanging now in our living room, a constant reminder that praise to Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is the calling of our lives, the great gift we are given through our Savior.

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