There is an invisible undercurrent to living in Germany in late summer 2022. It is still sunny and warm. People are relaxing in outdoor cafés and bars; dog walkers are out in droves; the kids are back in school. But at the same time, only some 1,200 miles southeast of us, the “biggest war between European countries since World War II” (WSJ, Aug. 23, 2022) is being waged. And because Germany’s energy supplies have been completely upended by this war, the German government is preparing for potential energy rationing in the months ahead. No wonder consumers all across the country are snatching up space heaters to be able to keep their apartments and homes warm this coming winter. In addition, the many refugees from Ukraine have depleted available living space, and apartments are hard to find—all around Germany. And yet, there is a bright side to all of this: Thanks to the many generous people in the U.S. who have been moved to alleviate the plight of Ukrainian refugees, the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod has been able to call a Ukrainian Lutheran pastor and his family (who are themselves refugees!) to serve their fellow Ukrainian refugees now living in the region around Wittenberg. This meaningful work is being coordinated by Rev. James Krikava (Director of OIM Eurasia of the LCMS), Rev. Roger Zieger (director of the SELK’s Office of Mission), and Mr. Viktor Bender, a brilliant project leader based in Hamburg who is managing the disbursement of LCMS funds to the SELK (see my FB post from June 21). The result: last Sunday the regular Divine Service held in the Old Latin School—the LCMS’ headquarters in Wittenberg—was packed, with almost 50 people worshipping. The words of Scripture best explain the “bright side” of the historic upheaval we are experiencing: “For those who love God ALL things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28)! (Photo courtesy of Viktor Bender).