From the presiding Bishop

A deeply spiritual act - June 4, 2021

The first-century church in Corinth must have been a lively place. Its members were competitive, jealous, divided into factions and litigious. The congregation was diverse. There were Jews and gentiles, rich and poor, men and women, young and old, those brand new to the faith and those with more maturity. Paul spent over 18 months […]

Music is personal and universal - May 7, 2021

I had a friend in high school who said, “Wouldn’t it be great if our lives had a soundtrack and we could hear it?” That way we would always know what was coming at us. Suspenseful music, ominous music, joyful music, sorrowful music, heroic music—all would alert us to what is just around the corner […]

Redeemed, reconciled and united - April 9, 2021

Twice in the Gospels there is a story about a woman anointing Jesus with pure nard, one in Mark and one in John. In Mark, an unnamed woman comes to Jesus and anoints his head. In John, it’s Mary of Bethany, the sister of Martha and Lazarus, who anoints Jesus’ feet. In both Gospels the […]

God will transform this church - March 5, 2021

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. That’s our name. At least two parts of our name, “Evangelical” and “Church,” are either misunderstood or an outright stumbling block for a significant percentage of the American population. Pew Research reports that over one-fifth of the U.S. public—and a third under 30—are religiously unaffiliated. These are the “nones.” […]

Connected, generous, free to serve - January 8, 2021

Dear church, We have been living with this pandemic for nearly a year. So much has changed. Bubbles, personal protective equipment, social distancing and one-way grocery aisles are part of our lexicon and everyday experience. Who knew, a year ago, that face masks would be advertised as ideal stocking stuffers? Our homes have become offices, […]

We are never alone - December 4, 2020

The room was spare and dimly lit. We sat on folding chairs in a circle—young Honduran women and some of us from the ELCA. We had come to Honduras to observe the work of AMMPARO (Accompanying Migrant Minors with Protection Advocacy, Representation and Opportunities). This is the ELCA’s strategy to help youth who have been […]

At the table together - November 6, 2020

Editor’s note: In keeping with this month’s theme issue, Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton is sharing her favorite food and faith story, which originally appeared in her September 2017 column. Old recipes are precious things. They give instructions about how to prepare a dish, but they are so much more. They are filled with memories. They […]

Set free - October 2, 2020

A colleague of mine once pointed out that Martin Luther wrote far more about freedom than he did about reform or reformation. Liberation in Christ through faith was the freedom that transformed Luther. This freedom is what he wrote about most frequently and most passionately. In The Freedom of a Christian, Luther makes the case […]

Uncertain times - September 4, 2020

Between 1527 and 1529, Martin Luther wrote and composed his famous hymn “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.” He based the text of this hymn on Psalm 46: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (verse 1). Luther knew about trouble. He had been excommunicated by the church and declared […]

God’s beautiful dark works - July 31, 2020

Perhaps one of the best-known verses in the New Testament is John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” It comes toward the end of a deep conversation between Nicodemus, a leader of his […]