Over the last 15 years there has been a resurgence of congregational mercy work within congregations in the LCMS. Much of this was due to the guidance of the Rev. Matthew Harrison, who in his capacity as executive director of WRHC wrote to pastors and lay leaders of the LCMS on the theology of mercy and how to incorporate a mercy that flows from Lutheran congregations to the needy in their community.
Paul’s ministry was also an example of caring for people in every need. Paul gives a model for congregations and individual Christians to care for their members and for the unchurched community around them. Paul encouraged the Galatians, “Let us not grow weary of doing good … So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Gal. 6:9–10).
During a crisis people tend to turn to God and their faith for strength. During these times it is common to make supplications or petitions to God. It is a godly and pious act to pray and to bring one’s petitions to the Lord. The Large Catechism calls this “calling upon God in every need” and it says, “He [God] requires this of us and has not left it to our choice.”
The act of pastoral blessing is nothing new. In fact, Aaron gives a blessing in what is referred to as the Aaronic benediction, “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift us his countenance upon you and give you peace” (Num. 6:24–26).