2016

Letter from our Presiding Bishop of the ELCA

 

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

God’s work. Our hands.

 

June 13, 2016

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, 

 

 “So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them.” Genesis 1:27

We are killing ourselves. We believe that all people are created in God’s image. All of humanity bears a family resemblance.

Those murdered in Orlando were not abstract “others,” they are us.

But somehow, in the mind of a deeply disturbed gunman, the LGBTQ community was severed from our common humanity.

This separation led to the death of 49 and the wounding of 54 of us.

We live in an increasingly divided and polarized society.

Too often we sort ourselves into likeminded groups and sort others out.

It is a short distance from division to demonization.

Yesterday, we witnessed the tragic consequences of this.

There is another way.

 In Christ God has reconciled the world to God’s self.

Jesus lived among us sharing our humanity.

Jesus died for us to restore our humanity.

God invites us into this reconciling work.

This must be our witness as the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The perpetrator of this hate crime did not come out of nowhere.

He was shaped by our culture of division, which itself has been misshapen by the manipulation of our fears.

 

That is not who we are. St. Paul wrote, “So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation; everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new. All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. So we are ambassadors for Christ.” (II Corinthians 5:17-20)

 

Our work begins now. We need to examine ourselves, individually and as a church, to acknowledge the ways we have divided and have been divided.

We must stand with people who have been “othered”.

We must speak peace and reconciliation into the cacophony of hatred and division.

We must live the truth that all people are created in God’s image.

This morning your churchwide staff came together to mourn and to pray.

We prayed for those killed in Orlando and remembered the Charleston Nine killed only a year ago.

We prayed for the family of the shooter, for our LGBTQ brothers and sisters and for our Muslim brothers and sisters who now face the threat of retaliation. And we prayed that the Prince of Peace will bring us to the day when we stop killing ourselves.

Your sister in Christ,

Elizabeth A. Eaton

Presiding Bishop Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

                                   Here is a prayer to use in the name of Christ!
 

  A Prayer for the New Year

Thank you Lord for giving me
The brand new year ahead
Help me live the way I should
As each new day I tread.

Give me gentle wisdom
That I might help a friend
Give me strength and courage
So a shoulder I might lend.

The year ahead is empty
Help me fill it with good things
Each new day filled with joy
And the happiness it brings.

Please give the leaders of our world
A courage born of peace
That they might lead us gently
And all fighting may cease.

Please give to all upon this earth
A heart that's filled with love
A gentle happy way to live
With Your blessings from above.

~ Charlotte Anselmo ~

 
                         

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Prayers

  

 

Heavenly Father, 

Thank You for loving us so much that You sent Your only Son, Jesus, to become one of us, to suffer for us, to die for us, and to rise from the dead, to give us new life.

As we celebrate Christmas this year, may we reflect on the unending depth of Your love. Help us to share this precious gift with our families, friends, and all those who have yet to learn of the good news of Christ. 

May the beauty and new life of Spring be a reminder of our new life in Christ. Help us to share Your love with all those we encounter in our daily walk, as we continually strive to serve You in spirit, deed, and truth. 

Be with us, dear God, and remain in our hearts always and forever. 

May we find hope in the Cross this day, hope because Jesus is Risen! 

Amen. Hallelujah!

 


 

This is how God showed his love among us: 
He sent his one and only Son into the world
that we might live through him.
- 1 John 4:9



February 21, 2018

WORSHIP TIMES10:15am

 

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