It is just a few days until the ELCIC gathers in its National Convention in Saskatoon, SK. Many have said that this will be a turning point in the life of the church and it will not look the same post-convention. I do believe those statements are true, but what will the “other side” hold for us. I have heard statements of despair, fear, powerlessness, wilderness wandering, pointlessness and others that have created a sense of gloom and doom in relation to the convention. It has undertones of “post-apocalyptic” living in which the life we have known will be no more.
This outburst of change is for me a sign of hope in the life of the ELCIC. Even as we are still a young church, we have fallen into a lifestyle (faithstyle?) that is killing us. We gather in small groups to do again and again what historically has been produced for us to do. We constantly look to the past and “what has been” for the “true” way to be Lutheran. We lounge in a sense of entitlement and comfort in knowing who we are historically as Lutherans, but have no idea what it is to live a “Lutheran” life in today’s world. And I believe that we fear the identity crisis that the future still holds for us.
Is it time that we renew our commitment to the Truth of Christ, instead of defending the differences that make us “Lutheran”? How would our lives change if we truly embraced the transformation that comes in the Love shown to us through the man Jesus? How could we transform this world by remembering that as we are found in Christ we are in an interdependent relationship with each other and all creation?
What might we be as the ELCIC if we look forward in hope toward a life of abundance given to us through Jesus the Christ? I am excited to see what God has in mind for the future of the ELCIC. I believe the decisions made will indeed break us from the past “institutional” identity of church (which scares some people) into a transformed life that lives in relationship with God and the Creation in love and joy and hope.