From the presiding Bishop

I wonder … - April 28, 2017

Recently, I heard the Bach cantata O heilges Geist und Wasserbad. The cantata’s text is based on John 3:1-15, which was the Gospel lesson at the service where the cantata was first performed. The image that stuck with me and about which I have been doing a lot of thinking was the story of the […]

Falling and not afraid - March 31, 2017

Our living and our dying are great mysteries. Not long ago a young reporter contacted me wanting to talk about death. She had suddenly come to the realization that she would one day die. She wanted to know what happens to us when we die, was there life after death and what did Scripture say […]

The good Samaritan - February 23, 2017

I have been thinking a lot about the parable of the good Samaritan lately (Luke 10:25-37). Parts of it are so familiar—the unfortunate victim, the robbers, the priest, the Levite, the Samaritan—that I miss points of deeper meaning. We all know the compassion and generosity of the Samaritan has become the standard by which we […]

“It’s not what we do” - February 2, 2017

At the end of the sixth chapter of the Gospel according to John, many disciples who had been following Jesus left him. Looking at the 12, Jesus asked, “Will you also go away?” Simon Peter answered, “Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life” (John 6:66-68). It was a kind […]

Happy New Year! - January 3, 2017

Ah, a new year! It opens up before us with infinite possibilities like brand new notebooks at the beginning of the school year or the beginning of football season in Cleveland—everyone has a 4.0, everyone is undefeated! At the turn of the new year it seems possible to slough off the failures and disappointments of […]

Hear the good news - December 2, 2016

But about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. For as the days of Noah were, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in […]

I was a stranger - October 31, 2016

I was a stranger and you welcomed me … (Matthew 25:35). Today there are more than 60 million displaced people in the world, more than at any time since World War II. From Syria, South Sudan, Central African Republic, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Somalia, Afghanistan and Colombia, people are fleeing for their lives from war, […]

Big look at Small Catechism - September 30, 2016

Editor’s note: This is reprint of ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton’s column from July 2014. Just as she did at the 2016 Churchwide Assembly, Eaton encourages people to “dust off” their Small Catechism and take another look at the basics of our faith as we near the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.  Several years ago […]

How will people know? - August 30, 2016

On Wednesday, Aug. 10, the voting members of the 2016 ELCA Churchwide Assembly received the document “Declaration on the Way.” More than 99 percent of us affirmed this significant ecumenical statement in which Lutherans and Roman Catholics have achieved agreement on 32 issues regarding communion, ministry and the church, declaring that these are no longer […]

A proclivity for paradox - July 28, 2016

A Christian is a perfectly free lord of all, subject to none. A Christian is a perfectly dutiful servant of all, subject of all, subject to all (Martin Luther in Freedom of a Christian). Wow, Lutherans love paradox! Law and gospel. Saint and sinner. Free and bound. David Swartling, former ELCA secretary, often noted that […]