“… but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”
— Isaiah 40:31

Sisters and brothers in Christ,

Sunday August 29th, 2010 marks the five-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina making landfall on the Gulf Coast. Across our country, and even around the world, there will be solemn remembrances as we keep alive the memories of the people and the places that were lost to that terrible storm. The passing of time cannot fully heal, but only lessens, the anguish and grief felt in the days that followed the disaster.

I encourage Lutherans everywhere to take time Sunday August 29th to remember in your worship and prayer all of the people affected by Hurricane Katrina. Please especially remember the pastors and people of the ELCA Texas Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod, the ELCA Southeastern Synod, and the LCMS Southern District who have served so faithfully in the five years following Katrina. The ELCA Worship and Liturgical Resources Unit has produced excellent worship resources to assist in these commemorations and has posted examples of prayer vigils created by congregations in the ELCA. To download these resources, click here.

I also want to encourage you to think about the five years that have passed since Hurricane Katrina. Living in an Easter world of faith and hope, we recognize that it is our response to tragedy, that which follows, that truly defines us. Indeed, on Sunday August 29th 2010 we remember the amazing things that have happened along the Gulf Coast since August 29th, 2005, which cannot be summed up or defined merely by a single day.

In these five years, we remember the courage and steadfastness that the people of the Gulf Coast have shown in rebuilding their communities. We give thanks to God for their witness.

In these five years, we remember the countless many who prayed and gave gifts to support the work of the church in these communities. We give thanks to God for their faithfulness.

In these five years, we remember the more than 50,000 Lutheran volunteers who have traveled from near and far to help their neighbors in need. We give thanks to God for their enduring generosity.

In these five years, we remember thousands of Lutheran young people who gathered in New Orleans as a hopeful witness of the Resurrection. We give thanks to God for their energy and their service.

In these five years, since August 29, 2005, God has been showing us signs of help, hope and healing in these and many other ways. So let us remember together all of these five years, as we continue to accompany and comfort those who mourn, and in deep gratitude for the many signs of continued recovery.

In Christ,
Rev Kevin Massey – Director – Lutheran Disaster Response