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Ecumenical witness and the Reformation anniversary webcast

It’s not too late to revisit the webcast!  Join Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton for the webcast that explored ecumenical and interreligious witness on the eve of the Reformation anniversary.

  • What was the Reformation, and what does it mean for Lutherans and ecumenical partners?
  • What is “Declaration on the Way,” and why is it significant for Lutheran-Catholic relations?
  • How might we understand our ecumenical and inter-religious relationships as part of our participation in the ongoing Reformation?

Click here to visit the site.

 

Give us this day our daily bread.
The Lord’s Prayer, 4th Petition, Small Catechism 
 AJ Jacobs, a self-professed agnostic who is not sure he believes in God, spent a year of his life living as literally as possible according to the “rules” or commands that he found in the Bible.  “At the beginning of the year,” he says, “I wrote down every rule, every guideline, every suggestion, every nugget of advice I could find in the Bible. It’s a very long list. It runs 72 pages. More than 700 rules. Some rules were wise, some completely baffling…

Rummage Sale Season
“The Right Reverend Mark Dyer, an Anglican bishop known for his wit as well as his wisdom, famously observes from time to time that the only way to understand what is currently happening to us as twenty-first-century Christians in North America is first to understand that about every five hundred years the Church feels compelled to hold a giant rummage sale. And, he goes on to say, we are living in and through one of those five-hundred-year sales.”

Can we talk?
– Joan Rivers

Sometimes I wonder whether we have lost the ability to talk. I don’t mean the ability to form and speak words. I mean the ability to talk – really talk – with others.

Think about all the “conversations” about race, politics, or religion that you have heard or participated in recently, on TV, at public meetings, in church, on Facebook. It appears to me that, on the whole, we are pretty good at making demands, spewing projectile perspectives, yelling, interrupting, accusing, labeling, and making sweeping assertions about whole groups of people or about how the world ought to work. But we are not very good at conversing, especially when the stakes are high. At least, I don’t hear much genuine conversation going on around the very difficult issues we face together as the body of Christ and in the world, issues like racial tension, violence, politics, religious perspectives, sexual identity, even the future of the church.

They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.

Mary Magdalene, first report from the empty tomb [John 20:2]

She turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus…supposing him to be the gardener…

Mary, weeping outside the tomb [John 20:14-15]

Jesus himself came near and went with them, but their eyes were kept from recognizing him.

On the road to Emmaus, the first Easter evening [Luke 24:16] This life is so new, so fresh, so unexpected that no one sees it for what it is: world changing, life transforming resurrection. People just like you and me squint at the new life through old lenses, lenses clouded by long-held assumptions and colored by fear, yet rendered obsolete the moment Jesus shed the shroud and left the tomb.New life rises from a stone-closed tomb and it goes unnoticed, unrecognized, unappreciated. The first visitors to the empty tomb assume that the body has been moved or stolen. One of them thinks the just-risen Jesus is the gardener. Others ask the traveling companion who comes up alongside them if he’s the only one who doesn’t know what awful things happened to Jesus in Jerusalem…and it turns out the companion is, in fact, Jesus.

We are Easter people. We live on the far side of the resurrection of Christ. We proclaim for seven weeks: Christ is risen! Christ is risen indeed! Yet we so often walk through our days as if Jesus were still lingering in the tomb. Resurrection life is afoot in the world and, squinting through old lenses, we so often miss it.

Thankfully, this Risen One is persistent. He keeps coming up alongside us to give us new lenses to see the new life he offers. A sip of wine and a bit of bread…water and Word washing over us…forgiveness offered or received…a friend living in recovery day by day…a simple sunrise or the complexity of a relationship restored…these and so much more are signs of resurrection and new life afoot in the world, so easy to overlook or mistake for something else. In, with, and under the mundane matters of our drudging days the Risen One comes near again and again to speak our name, open our eyes, stir our hearts, take our hands, and lead us out of dark tombs into resurrection light.

This Eastertide, may God’s Spirit open our eyes wide with wonder to see new life coming near, open our hearts to receive it with hope and joy, and open our hands to share it with all we meet along the way.

Christ, our companion, hope for the journey,

Bread of compassion, open our eyes.

Grant us your vision, set all hearts burning

That all creation with you may arise.

[Susan Palo Cherwien, “Day of Arising,” ELW 374]

Christ is risen! Christ is risen indeed!

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