Grace and peace to you from our Lord Jesus, the Prince of Peace.
Together with other residents of metropolitan St. Louis, I have been saddened and worried by the events of the past week in Ferguson, Missouri. The shooting of Michael Brown and subsequent riots have produced a tempest of emotions in this region and throughout the country. Fear, anger, animosity between races, and a general nervousness are rife.
There is no panacea for such unrest, for it is simply one more tragic result of a world where sin and death continue their regime. Wars, rumors of war, tension and animosity between peoples we will always have with us (Matt. 24:6, 26:11).
The good news is that violence and distrust and animosity are not the last word. Christ, the Word made flesh who dwelt among us, full of grace and truth and life and salvation; Christ, whose death atoned for the sins of all humanity and whose resurrection trampled sin and Satan; Christ, the Prince of Peace—Christ gets the last Word. His is a Word of peace, despite sin’s turmoil (1 Thess. 5:23).
So, I write today for one simple reason—with one great need. I write to ask for your prayers.
I ask your prayers for our city, St. Louis—this is the city the Missouri Synod, in a certain way, has called home since 1847. I ask your prayers for the Brown family in their grief. I ask your prayers for the law enforcement officer involved and his family. I ask your prayers for the community of Ferguson, its people, their officials, and all who live and serve there. I ask your prayers for the churches of Ferguson, as they seek to be instruments of peace. And I ask your prayers for our Synod and our work, especially for work in the urban centers of our country where there is such a crying need for the Gospel and the Lord, whose peace “surpasses all understanding” (Phil. 4:7).
The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod’s Black Ministry, Urban & Inner-City Mission and Disaster Response teams are working together with local church leaders to assess both immediate and long-term needs in Ferguson. Plans are now underway to provide a way for the life-giving proclamation and comfort of the Gospel to be sustained into the future, so that true and lasting reconciliation in Christ may be restored to this community.
Finally, let us pray, dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Father, You reveal Yourself as a God of both order and compassion. We ask for the restoration of order in Ferguson and for compassionate hearts on all sides. Give wisdom to those entrusted with temporal authority; give comfort to those who grieve; give peace to this troubled community. We ask these things in the name of Him who is our Prince of Peace, even Jesus, whose blood has made us one.
Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison
President, The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod
The Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison is the current and 13th president of The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod.