October 2019: Sharing Jesus’ Love in Action – Supporting First Responders
Deliver me from my enemies, O my God; protect me from those who rise up against me; (Psalm 59:1).
We pray we’ll never need them but, when we do, we rejoice and praise God for them! From a police officer responding to a minor auto accident to an EMT applying CPR to firefighters running into a burning building — they are all heroes to us. Let’s not forget some of the more specialized emergency response personnel like wildland firefighters (working within the Bureau of Land Management, the US Forest Service, or state agencies); mine rescue crews; and K-9 units. And, then there are the families of all of these heroes — families who carry on when their loved ones are caring for others.
So, when we’re praying that we don’t need them, we need to also pray for the first responders and their families. Every time you pass a police station or fire house, pray for them. Every time you see an emergency vehicle racing to a rescue, pray for them and those who are in need of them.
We can develop good habits that lessen the chance of an emergency responder being in harm’s way. Here are just a few simple things that might prevent you from needing them:
- Drive the speed limit and drive defensively.
- Put that phone down (it’s illegal in most states to be holding your phone while driving).
- Yield to emergency vehicles (pull over) and move over or slow down when passing a stopped emergency vehicle.
- Wear safety gear (helmet, bright clothing, etc.) when riding a motorcycle or bicycle.
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle to reduce the risk of health-related emergencies.
- Check in on the elderly frequently and make sure they have a medical alert system.
- Be aware of your environment and surroundings at all times. Look for things that look suspicious.
- Watch the weather and dress appropriately. Remember to stay hydrated at all times.
- Always let others know where you are going. Check in with them regularly.
October is fire safety month and this is a good time to ensure that we protect ourselves, our neighbors and our first responders from the risk of fires. Check your smoke alarm batteries and make sure your fire extinguishers are in working condition. Then do the same for the shut-ins and elderly people you know. Distribute smoke detectors to those who can’t afford them using a Thrivent Grant.
The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen (2 Timothy 4:18).
Mercy in Action:
There are several ways to show your appreciation for all that these heroes do for us and our communities. Always check with the local agency to learn what their policies are before implementing any of the suggestions below.
- If a congregation has a meal (especially sandwiches or desserts), offer to bring the extras to the police station.
- Coordinate with other churches in the vicinity to do a monthly delivery of bottled water to the nearest fire station.
- Hold a stuffed animal drive and deliver them to emergency services so they can be provided as a comfort when a child (or one of the child’s parents) is involved in an emergency.
- Organize a “First Responder Appreciation Picnic” and invite families from the nearest police and fire stations to attend.
- Invite the local K-9 officers, including the 4-legged ones, to put on a demonstration at your church. This is a wonderful way to teach children to appreciate what the police do.
- Once per quarter have Sunday school classes draw pictures and write thank-you notes to first responders – rotate among police, fire, EMS, etc.
- Prepare care kits using the LWML Toolkit for First Responders.
- Find out how your congregation can support the families of fallen heroes.
- Never pass up an opportunity to say “thank you” to any first responder you encounter.
- Make a personal commitment to serve the heroes who serve you by volunteering to organize and lead a Bible study at a local police or fire station.
- Contact local police and fire department chaplains to find other ways to serve.
- This blog entry from the LCMS web site provides insight and encouragement for first responders suffering from PTSD.
- The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation supports families of fallen firefighters.
- The Gary Sinese Foundation provides resources to first responders in the form of grants for training and equipment.
- The Suicide Prevention Resource Center provides resources for responders aiding an individual in a suicidal crisis as well as those who may be affected by a suicide or death attempt.
Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends (John 15:13).
A Prayer as You Plan:
Thank You so very much for the people who daily risk all they have for us. They are a precious gift from You. Please help us to be aware of their needs and conscious of their suffering. Guide us through the Holy Spirit by providing ideas and inspiration for how to best serve them. And, dear Father, please help us to be sensitive to the needs of their loved ones, especially those who are dealing with tragic loss. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint (Isaiah 40:30–31).
Don’t forget — October is also Pastor Appreciation Month!
Check out the previously published mission servant activity here. And, for additional ideas, see what’s in the Pastor Support Toolkit.
The Gospel Outreach Committee would love to hear about and share your mission service activities! Please contact us through the LWML email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you!