From the presiding Bishop

The cross is the true gift of Christmas - December 3, 2021

I remember this jarring image: It was the Christmas Eve candlelight service at my home congregation. A banner depicting Mary and Jesus in the manger had been hung from the ceiling at the front of the nave completely obscuring the large suspended cross. I had seen that banner on Sunday mornings, but on this Christmas […]

God has given us a mission - November 5, 2021

Remember the Beatles? John, Paul, George, Ringo! I was into it. I had Beatle boots, love beads and granny glasses. My big brother gave me a model of Paul (the cute Beatle) for Christmas one year. It was one of those paint-it-yourself kits. I knew the lyrics to the Beatles’ hits better than I knew […]

We are invited into silence - October 1, 2021

There are very few times in my life when I experience silence. There is the ever-present ambient noise of the city or the office: traffic, planes, power mowers, power tools, the intrusive alerts from computers signaling new emails or texts, ringtones. I find myself obsessively plugged in to the news, Twitter and YouTube—all available all […]

We are the body of Christ - September 3, 2021

There was once a time when two distinct peoples were trying to comprehend how they could be one people. One was a millennia-old people who had persevered through enslavement, oppression and exile. And they still preserved their identity and trust in God. They believed that God had blessed them to be a blessing to all […]

The life he promises will prevail - August 1, 2021

I planted a garden last summer during the pandemic. Here in Chicago, March and April 2020 were cold and dreary. And it snowed. All around us was the oppressive reality of COVID-19: the lockdown, the fear, the daily grim statistics of rising cases and deaths, the isolation. I longed for a project that would look […]

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, […]