Looking forward in hope…

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.

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4 Responses to Looking forward in hope…

  1. Gutsy words, but the only words of hope I have heard. If the ramp up to this convention is the best we can muster as a church, then maybe it is time for us to step aside.

  2. Ty says:

    The world is a changing, and yes within that worldly reformation there is a deeper call within the Spirit’s heart as to what it means to be a community…what does it mean to truly live as Jesus called us to?
    The ELCIC may be taking the first few steps and can either become a beacon of hope, or allow fear to consume it. I akin it to Peter stepping out of the boat and walking on water, if fear grips you sink, it you let love lead you walk.

  3. Miranda Gray says:

    At LutherHostel In NS this spring, Dr Bob Kelly spoke on the history of the Lutherans in Canada. One of his points that none of our congregations is all of one thing. Within each congregation are all the parts of our history.

    I feel that I could remain a Christian following in the Lutheran tradition if I was to worship among Christians of other traditions.

    As a Canadian, I work and live with people of many traditions and backgrounds. I can see how my faith would be strengthened by reflection and engagement with other faithful people.

  4. Barry Bence says:

    First off, I appreciated your Bishop’s pastoral letter concerning the Convention just concluded. I watched this Convention via the live webcast, and since then I’ve tried to find attendees’ reactions as well. My initial reaction was that this Gathering had aspects of a car crash I was in: a slow motion drive to division that we seemed powerless to stop. But I believe that our divisions have always been there–but now we’ve voted them into history.It was hard for me to supply preach on Convention Sunday since I felt that we have entered some sort of divorce proceedings in our Church. Our congregation’s lay delegate gave me some wisdom: what happens “out there” (Synod, ELCIC) has never been as important as what happens here in the congregation. That may be so, but we’re really going to need a lot of grace to get through the future. I pray that these decisions will not forestall our mission-passion!

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