Dear Friends,

With my Hurricane HD app and the Weather Channel app on my iPad, along with TV images and reports, Superstorm Sandy has captured our complete attention the past few days, and the attention of our region. Now for the clean-up. I have prayed continually for our churches, all of our pastoral leaders and congregations, and the communities at large. Many in our communities continue to suffer from damage to life and limb, and power outages, flooding, and thousands are in need of shelter.

I hope you are safe, and that your families are secure. My family and I are safe and sound as we endure mostly the inconveniences of power outages and minor leaks and drips. I have not received any reports of church damages or other storm-related issues just yet. Please let me know if you have heard of any particular concerns that we need to address.

As with all severe weather events, we are reminded of our frailty and dependance on one another and our support systems. I am grateful for these resources from state and federal government, and the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance team. These resources are available to your church. In a separate place on the website, I have attached a building damage assessment reminder that is also being sent to our churches. Most importantly, I want you to know of our commitment to support those who need assistance.

Let's also remember God's presence with us all in the storm. It's awesome that not only does God bless us, but the Spirit also sends us out as a blessing, as Christ's own ambassadors of hospitality and hope. God is with us through the storm, and its aftermath. I am grateful for every way you demonstrate this confidence in Christ and offer God's presence in our communities.

I've been reflecting on Isaiah 43 in a different way in this storm. Take a look at the first few verses:

Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you. I’ve called your name. You’re mine. When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you. When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down. When you’re between a rock and a hard place, it won’t be a dead end— Because I am GOD, your personal God, The Holy of Israel, your Savior. I paid a huge price for you: all of Egypt, with rich Cush and Seba thrown in! That’s how much you mean to me! That’s how much I love you! I’d sell off the whole world to get you back, trade the creation just for you. So don’t be afraid: I’m with you.

What shimmers to me, what I notice most, is when Isaiah writes: "When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down." Many of our neighbors remain in rough water, and they deserve our help. Our confidence is in God's presence with us, right now, in the midst of the storm. We can have super confidence even in the face of a super storm, like Sandy.

In the text above, what shimmers for you, what attracts your attention?

I hope these words encourage you, as they do me. Pass them on.

Thanks for being a gift to the world. Let God capture your attention in a new way today. Together, we do more, even in the storm.