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A Hebrew scholar would use the word “hesed” to talk about the love of God. It has no exact English translation, but would be used where we look for words like “kindness,” “mercy,” loyalty,” “loving-kindness,” “steadfast,” “unfailing” or maybe just “love.” None of these words can do as much justice to describing the love of God as the powerful, richly-laden hesed.

Some scholars believe that hesed also sums up the ideal lifestyle for God’s people. It’s the way God intended for humans to live together—the “love your neighbor as yourself,” active, selfless, sacrificial, caring-for-one-another brand of living that goes against the grain of our fallen natures.

Two parties are involved in this kind of living—someone in desperate need and a second person who possesses the power and the resources to make a difference. (It’s easy to see how this applies to us and God.) Hesed is driven not by duty or legal obligation, but by a bone-deep commitment—a loyal, selfless love that motivates a person to do voluntarily what no one has a right to expect or ask of them. They have the freedom to act or to walk away without the slightest injury to their reputation. Yet they willingly pour themselves out for the good of someone else. It’s the kind of love we find most fully expressed in Jesus. In a nutshell, hesed> is the Gospel lived out.

As we begin to consider a mission trip for June of 2012, we turn to God for guidance and support. If it is his will, we will focus on how to best be Jesus’ hands, feet and hesed in Haiti.

The Mission Committee is proposing a one-week trip in early June, 2012. We will be working with Lifetree Adventures, an affiliate of Group Publishing Company in Loveland. At our first informational meeting, on September 25, Robyn from Lifetree explained what the trip entails, the financial commitment needed and the type of planning timelines we’re dealing with. While the fundraisers are not the best part of the proposal, the benefits for us as a congregation can be far reaching. Our Sunday School, Human Needs Committee, Quilting Ladies, and other service groups are encouraged to consider what can we do to live out God’s steadfast love for Haiti in 2012.

It has been many years since Saint John’s has sent congregational members to another country. While we do a wonderful job with local missions, the great need in other countries is difficult to ignore. This will be an intergenerational trip, meaning all members over the age of eleven are invited! If you have felt and heard the “mission call” at various times in your life, please prayerfully consider joining us. There will be opportunity to work with construction of a medical clinic, women in a sewing school and children in the community.

Be sure to attend the adult Bible Study class on October 9 to see a video prepared by the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Haiti on the mission need in their country and to hear from people who have been blessed through mission trips like the one Saint John’s is planning.

Check the bulletin boards downstairs for related fliers, visit the website, and watch the bulletin for the next Hesed for Haiti meeting.

“Hesed” is a Hebrew word that means “kindness”, “mercy”, “loyalty”, “loving-kindness” or “steadfastness.” It’s the way God intends us to live together—a “love your neighbor as yourself”, active, selfless, sacrificial, caring-for-one-another brand of living contradictory to our fallen natures. The “Heseders” are continually looking to work together to share some small measure of God’s extraordinary love. Won’t you join us?