While we have been preparing and bracing ourselves for this storm for nearly a week, today we woke up to the images and reports of the unimaginable devastation from Hurricane Ian in Southwest Florida. It is unbelievable the damage and destruction this storm has caused.

Many of us in South Florida have family and friends in the areas most affected and many of us even travel often to these places. This storm has hit close to home and we all know that it just as easily could have been us. We are very mindful of the depth and pain of this situation.

This week our scripture comes from the famous verse in John 15:1-11 when Jesus says, “Abide in me as I abide in you…I am the vine, you are the branches.” Today, even in the wake of Ian, I am reminded that we are held together by God. Even when tragedy strikes, God’s love is what holds us together and keeps us going. It is the love of God in our hearts that binds us together and supports us through the worst of times.

I pray that each of us feels wrapped in the love of God today and that we might also surround in love those who have been directly impacted by this storm. Know that God abides in us, and we too abide in God. We are held together in divine love.

I bid you peace with the words of Jan Richardson:

I cannot claim
to still the storm
that has seized you,
cannot calm
the waves that wash
through your soul,
that break against
your fierce and
aching heart.
But I will wade
into these waters,
will stand with you
in this storm,
will say peace to you
in the waves,
peace to you
in the winds,
peace to you
in every moment
that finds you still
within the storm.

We hope to see many of you in worship this Sunday at 11am either in person or online as we celebrate World Communion Sunday and our International Potluck! Let us draw near to the vine and be nourished in the divine love together.

Peace and love, 

Pastor Kipp