March 5, 2021
GOD WILL TRANSFORM THIS CHURCH
Pew Research reports that over one-fifth of the U.S. public—and a third under 30—are religiously unaffiliated. These are the “nones.” The religiously unaffiliated, whether never churched or dechurched, don’t have a favorable impression of church. They see it as extremist, full of hypocrites, judgmental, anti-science, anti-intellectual, dogmatic, overly concerned about other people’s morality, naïve and out of touch. Ouch.
In the eyes of the nones, the ELCA gets lumped in with everyone else. Though we aren’t perfect, and some of the characteristics of church apply to us at various times, we have a theology based on a liberating gospel of Jesus Christ that is the euangelion—the good news. The “Evangelical” in our name points to the transforming love of Jesus, to reconciliation, to freedom, to grace. It’s expansive, for everyone and all creation. It doesn’t require our effort or our merit, only our trust in God’s promise.
[Through our] Future Church [initiative], God is calling us into this exciting mission, and the Spirit will activate each of us to invite people to know the way of Jesus and discover community, justice and love. The ELCA can hold up our evangelical witness, which is an alternative face of Christianity—not for institutional survival, but so that more people will experience the deep love of Jesus, be transformed and liberated by that love and “work for justice and peace” (Evangelical Lutheran Worship, Holy Baptism).
This mission will take all of us, and it means actual relationships with real people led by an incarnational God. I believe that God will transform this church.
Bp. Elizabeth Eaton, March 5, 2021, Living Lutheran
During our Lenten journey, pray that God will help us reflect on aspects of our life and faith that we find difficult to examine and confess, and that we will remember we are always loved and made new through the life, suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ—our Savior, redeemer and source of hope.
Prayer Ventures, Living Lutheran, March 5, 2021