Bishop's Election Lenten Devotionals

Bishop's Election Lenten Devotionals 



March 6, 2019 (Ash Wednesday)

Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.” (John 7:24)
Do we at times make decisions and judgments too quickly? Being open to God helps us look more deeply to discern what is right for our time.
O God, keep us from hasty judgment based on our human sight. Free us from prejudice. Open us to change where change is needed. Set before us a servant of your choice. Foster true discernment. Give us the right judgment that proceeds from reliance on your Word.

March 7, 2019

See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.” (Colossians 2:8)
Do we sometimes hear what we want to hear? Amidst the banter and noise that surround us, we may forget to listen for the voice of God.
O God, bring us to remember that the office of bishop is a call, not to be filled according to human ambition or desire. Send your Spirit to call a purposeful candidate, and to give us the wisdom to support that leader.

March 8, 2019

“I can do all things through Christ, who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13)
How often do we question ourselves? How often do we wonder if we have the strength, the courage, and the abilities to handle all that is set before us? And how many times do we forget that we are not handling these responsibilities alone? God is always walking with us. As a wise person once said, “Even during a test, the teacher is usually quiet.”
O God, we ask you to be a constant presence in the lives of the people of this synod. Look with favor upon those discerning the office of bishop. Give them the strength, the courage, and the abilities required to handle all that is set before them. In your name we pray, Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen!

March 9, 2019

I am your servant; give me understanding, that I may know your testimonies.” (Psalm 119:125)
How often do we forget that whatever we do in this church, we must act in a spirit of service? If we focus always on serving others, we are more likely to put our neighbor’s needs before our own desires.
God, put our minds in a right place as we discern the call to a new bishop, that we might strive to serve the Holy Spirit and not to rely on human testimonies, however they tempt or appeal to us.

March 10, 2019

“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.” (John 15:16)
What is the difference between the choice of following human will, and the choice of following God’s will? If we are the ones actually casting the votes, how do we allow the choice to be the Spirit’s?
O God, help us to reflect on the nature of choice. Show us the way to use our will to reflect your will. Help us to discover the one whom you would appoint. Amen.

March 11, 2019

"But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth." (2 Thessalonians 2:13)
As Christians and members of this Church, do we ever bicker amongst ourselves? Do we allow ourselves to become mired in pettiness? Do we govern with insistence on our own position, instead of with the gratitude that leads us to hear others?
O God, as we move into this season of election, let us begin and end with gratitude, for in Your church, we have been given the greatest gift.

Electing a bishop is one of the most important responsibilities in the life of a synod. Although a voting process is used to elect a bishop, it is first and foremost a call process.

We invite you to use these Lenten Devotionals, created by members of our Synod Council, to seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit, through prayer or thoughtful discussion.



March 12, 2019 

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8)

Step away from past hurt and pain, and think about our blessings today. Be thankful for the times God has said NO to us, and reflect on how we’ve responded. Would our answers be different today?

God, we ask that you remind us of Your gift of grace and the power of forgiveness. As we call a new bishop, send your Spirit to help us focus on all that is praiseworthy.


March 13, 2019

“But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you.” (Psalm 39:7)

How often have we let our thoughts become weeds instead of flowers? Let’s resist the temptation of negative thoughts and help each other to be optimistic and hopeful.

O God, fill our minds and hearts with Your perfect peace. Help us to know You’ll carry us through this season of discernment, as we call a new bishop.


March 14, 2019

“When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.” (John 16:13)

Does the Spirit of truth come just once, or continually? Do we accept revelation when it comes to us? How can we discover truth?

O God, Your Spirit brings truth. Open our hearts to the work of the Spirit, that we might discern the servant You would have lead us in the days to come.


March 15, 2019

“You will be secure, because there is hope; you will look about you and take your rest in safety.” (Job 11:18)

Do we walk through our day in a state of fog because we’re anxious about our future? Let’s thank God for the lamp placed at our feet to help guide our path. God will never leave us and our future is bright.

O God, quiet our minds and free us from the anxiety that comes from the unknown. Help us to know that our hopes will be fulfilled according to Your will. Remind us that You are in charge and that we are safe because YOU are walking with us during this time of discernment, as we call our bishop.


March 16, 2019

“For God is not a God of confusion, but of peace.” (1 Corinthians 14:33)

How often do we put our face in our hands, and hide our eyes, overwhelmed with what appears before us? Do we cry, ‘It’s too much!’ and forget to meditate on the direction God is leading us? Do we let ourselves wallow in inner turmoil though we worship a God of peace?

O God, let us not be taken aback by the choices before us. Lead us to realize that many qualified candidates are a bounty of riches, not a cause for distress. Take us from confusion to the peace of walking in Your will.


March 17, 2019

“Let my cry come before you, O Lord; give me understanding according to your word!” (Psalm 119:169)

If we ask God to answer us but hear no response, has God failed us, or have we failed to listen? Have we forgotten the promises and covenants we’ve received? Would a loving God fail the church?

O God, we cry to you for guidance. Hear our pleas. Send us the understanding that transcends our limited vision.



March 18, 2019 

“If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame.” (Proverbs 18:13.)

When we converse with others, do we always listen before we respond? Or do we fail to hear, because we are too busy coming up with something clever to say? Do we allow for pauses, and silence, to process what we are told? Do we honor the difference between conversing, and merely talking? What about when we converse with the Holy Spirit?

O God, open my ears. Give me the patience to listen and the will to comprehend. Guide my thoughts by what I learn. Help me not to cling to former understanding. Bring me to genuine conversation with my fellow members of the Body of Christ as we discern new leadership.



March 19, 2019

“Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.” (Proverbs 11:14.)

What does leadership mean within our Synod? Do we expect our new bishop to “do it all”? How will the bishop find counselors to assist the role? Can we make ourselves into useful counselors?

Heavenly Mother, scripture tells us the necessity of an abundance of counselors. Send us candidates for bishop who possess the wisdom and humility to listen to others. Help us search out ways in which we can assist the new bishop in mission for our Synod. Bring us an abundance of counselors of all perspectives and backgrounds. Smile upon Your servants. 


March 20, 2019

“What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God.” (James 4:1-2.)

Do we quarrel and fight within our Synod? Do we do so because we rely on ourselves, instead of on God? What do we covet? Does that which we covet align with what God would have us possess?

O God, when we cannot choose for ourselves, let us submit to Your will. Let us not quarrel or fight over the election of bishop but trust the Holy Spirit to make known the one whom You call. We ask You, so that we may receive the leader You intend. 



March 21, 2019

“For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” (Luke 14:11.)

What does it mean to be called to a position, versus to want that position? Is the desire incompatible with a call? Does the better candidate for bishop want the job, or not want the job? Does wanting the job matter?

The office of bishop is a difficult one. We pray to you, O God, that the candidate we raise up may desire the office based on a right sense of calling, and not only desire for higher office. 



March 22, 2019

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with my eye.” (Psalm 32:8.)

From whom are we to take instruction? How do we know which way to go? What does it mean to be guided by God’s eye? What role does Scripture play, or prayer, or fellowship?

O God, guide us. As we engage in collective discernment to elect a new bishop, help us see through your eye. Let us remember the tools you have given us, including Your Word. Form us into students of Your will. 


March 23, 2019

“And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues.” (1 Corinthians 12:28.)

What do the different offices mean within a church? How do gifts of healing and helping and guidance interact with the church body and its leaders? What are ‘different kinds of tongues’—backgrounds? experiences? temperaments? What role do we as individuals play in the life of the church ordained for us?

Each of us brings to the table a unique vision. O God, You have gifted each of us, in different ways. Help us to utilize our own talents while respecting those of others. Let us combine all that we have in order to find the one path Your Spirit would have us follow. 



March 24, 2019 

“For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. Do not be afraid, for I myself will help you,’ declares the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.” (Isaiah 41:13-14.)

Does the election of a bishop fill us with hope, or with fear? Do we worry that we lack the resources to make the right decision? Upon whom are we relying? How can we let ourselves be led?

O God, when the Holy Spirit is at work, it is not myself in whom I trust, but You. Take my hand and lead me out of fear. Fill my heart with knowledge that help and guidance are present for me, if only I will take them.


March 25, 2019

“How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?” (John 5:44.)

What does it mean to seek glory? In our accomplishments, do we glorify ourselves, or God? If we fail to recognize from whom all gifts first come, do we truly believe?

The office of bishop is an exalted one. We uphold the office in following the bishop’s leadership. You, God, uphold the office by sending Your Holy Spirit to bring us a servant with the gifts and talents for leadership. May we honor the one who finds glory in You. 


March 26, 2019

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39.)

What is “at stake” in the election of a bishop? If we are anxious about lifting up the right candidate, what do we fear in being wrong? Would God forgive us an error? Would it separate us from God’s love?

God, may we proceed not with trembling but with ease. May we recognize that no task You put upon us is beyond our capabilities, and may we shoulder our burdens not with fear of admonishment but with humble confidence in Your guidance.



March 27, 2019

“The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task.” (1 Timothy 3:1.)

These words follow Paul’s declaration that women are unfit to hold positions of authority over congregations. Here, Paul makes clear also that male gender alone does not render a servant qualified to become a bishop. What is a “noble task”? How has the view of the church, in faithful discernment, changed regarding qualifications for leadership? How can we, today, see through societal constructs to uncover those essential characteristics that empower a true leader? Where do we find our examples?

Heavenly Parent, we recognize that we live in a particular place and a particular time, and that these facts influence us in our view of others. As we discern the next leadership for our Synod, help us understand the characteristics most important for this noble task.



March 28, 2019

“He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, ‘Quiet! Be still!’ Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.  He said to his disciples, ‘Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?’” (Mark 4:39-40.)

How often do we hear a person refer to “faith but not church,” or “spirituality but not religion”? What does it mean to have faith in the context of church governance? Two thousand years have Jesus’ earthly ministry, do we still count on Him to calm the wind and waves, or do we lose ourselves in administration?

Jesus, the one holy catholic and apostolic church is Your body. You, risen Lord, remain eternally our leader. In that reflection, may we act in peace to identify a right servant.


March 29, 2019

“. . . but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:31.)

For more than a year our Synod has been well-served by an interim bishop, who has led us through town halls, Synodical profiling, and now the culmination of the long process to identify our next bishop. Are we grown weary? Do we look for the strength to continue this path? Where will we find that strength?

O God, in You is our strength. We are not grown weary or faint. You sustain us through this journey. We thank You.



March 30, 2019 

“Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone.” (1 Corinthians 12:4-7.)

We all bring gifts from God, we all are called to love and serve God. How can we use our gift of discernment in support of God’s church in this time and place?

God, we ask that your spirit might guide us as we seek to discern your will in electing the next bishop of the Metropolitan New York Synod. 


March 31, 2019

“[The Lord said], ‘So come, I will send you to Pharaoh to bring my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt.’ But Moses said to God, ‘Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?’ He said, ‘I will be with you.’” (Exodus 3:10-12a.)

Being called by God to challenging service can be daunting. The most gifted, faithful servants might doubt their worthiness. How can we support the pastors who are pre-identified or nominated by ecclesiastical ballot as they discern their response?

God, we give thanks for all who open themselves to your call to serve as bishop of the Metropolitan New York Synod. Help us to honor their willingness with sincere, prayerful discernment. 


April 1, 2019

“He has showed you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8.)

I understand the temptation to seek one earthly being that can fix all that is broken. Let us look for one, who can guide us in a gospel partnership. One, who will guide us as we hope and heal. Together, reflecting the face of Jesus, not only to MNYS but to the whole world.

Loving God, unite our hearts as we seek our next bishop. Prepare us for one another.  Help us to set aside our requirements, open us to the unlimited wonder of you. Guide us this day as we seek justice, embrace loving kindness, walk humbly with you and with one another.



April 2, 2019

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9.)

If our own hearts are sick, can we trust them? If we deceive ourselves, what can we trust? The Word of God is eternal and trustworthy always.

O God, our understanding is weak, but Your Word reveals all in time. Let us take what we see, and what we hear, and test the substance against Your Word. There may we find truth.



April 3, 2019

“But [the Canaanite woman] came and knelt before him, saying ‘Lord, help me.’ [Jesus] answered, ‘It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.’ She said, ’Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.’ Then Jesus answered her, ‘Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish’.” Matthew 15:25-28a

Who is worthy to receive God’s mercy and grace? Who has the wisdom and standing to speak truth in love?

God, keep us mindful that your spirit may speak, your faith might be proclaimed, in unexpected ways, from unexpected sources. Help us to be open to you doing a new thing in our midst.  


April 4, 2019

“I lift up my eyes to the hills—from where will my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121:1-2.)

Who is our ultimate source of strength? Who can we turn to as we seek to do God’s will?

God, creator of all things, help us to place our trust in you. Amen.



April 5, 2019 

“Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us.” (Philippians 3:17.)

What example has Bishop McCoid set for leadership in our Synod? What example do we have from those who preceded Bishop McCoid? No person can completely do a job, only strive to keep learning. What have we as a Synod learned? How have we taught our bishops?

God, You have set before us examples of a bishop. May we seek the characteristics that have benefitted our Synod. Call to us the candidate who will best fulfill the office, and who will continue to learn with us.


April 6, 2019 

“Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.” (Hebrews 13:7.)

What is a role model? What kind of model do we seek in a bishop? How can we discern the candidate who will be that role model?

We know that, as the leader of our Synod, the bishop is also a role model for us to imitate. Help us to consider the way of life and the faith that we would imitate. Help us to contemplate what is pleasing to you in conduct and in faith.

April 7, 2019 

“For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.” (John 13:15.)

What is the example set for us by Jesus, the Christ? Do we look to His miracles, or to His patience, humility, forgiveness, and lovingkindness? How has He shown us what service looks like?

Loving God, thank You for sending Your Son to show us true leadership. You have given us the task of selecting a servant who will follow the example You gave us. In the name of Your Son, our Lord and Savior, we ask for the Holy Spirit’s guidance.

April 8, 2019 

“Not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:25.)

How are we pursing together, as the body of this church, the task of electing a bishop? Are we meeting for discussion? Studying scripture? Working with one another to identify the characteristics of a bishop most important to the greatest number among us?

Heavenly Parent, the task before us is vital. Give us the wisdom to learn and to share from one another; to refresh, encourage, and uplift each other; to receive the ideas and hopes of all among us. Help us fulfill the work for which you would assemble us together.

April 9, 2019 

“Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” (Philippians 2:3.)

Do we consider our own ideas about a bishop more important than others’? Are we ever convinced that we know better, or that we have all the answers? What does it mean to act as a group, to function as the Body of Christ in establishing leadership for this church?

God, You have bestowed gifts upon each of us. To value our own gifts above what You have given others leads us to rivalry and conceit. Teach us humility, that we may work together to select the servant You would have for us.

April 10, 2019 

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17.)

What does it mean to be “in Christ” and to become a new creation? Is this a process that happens just once, or is it ongoing in the lives of Christians? How can we faithfully allow the old to pass away, in order to enter the newness prepared for us?

O God, Your church is a body of constant renewal. The election of a bishop is a natural transition in the life of our Synod. Give us the will to participate fully in this process, and to welcome and support the bishop who is called to lead us.



April 11, 2019 

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord.  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9.)
We don’t have everything figured out, but Jesus does. Do we trust that He can manage any circumstance and every situation? Let’s be confident that Jesus knows exactly where we’re headed because our Heavenly Parent and the Holy Spirit have it all planned out. 
O God, as we call a new bishop, help us to support each other and listen not just with our ears, but with our hearts. We know that your plan has rewards for us and will renew us for such a time as this.

April 12, 2019

“Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” (1 Timothy 6:12.)

What does it mean to fight the good fight, to take hold of eternal life? What does it mean to command our future? When we look forward, do we envision a bold future, or are we chained by past practices and habits?

God, with the election of a new bishop, a new era comes upon our Synod. Give us the strength, and the courage, to make the most of this opportunity and the changes the election will bring. Let us indeed fight the good fight and take hold of what you have prepared for us.

April 13, 2019

“But as the one who called you is holy, you also are to be holy in all your conduct.” (1 Peter 1:15.)
Do we think we must live as holy people live? What is our standard for ourselves and for each other?  
God, help us to accept that we will fail along the way but in Christ, we are holy. Remind us that through our faith in Christ and by Your grace we are saved. Help us be children of obedience as we prepare to call our new bishop.

April 14, 2019 (Palm Sunday) 

“This is how you are to eat it: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste; it is the Lord’s Passover.” (Exodus 12:11.)

We all have heard that we must slow down, that we must be deliberate, that we must “stop and smell the roses.” Yet sometimes scripture commands us to stand at the ready, for we do not know when the hour is upon us. We have seen so many changes in this Church and our Synod. How shall we respond?

Heavenly Parent, keep us ready. As we discern which servant shall lead us best, have us stand with the new bishop. A new vision is coming; prepare us to fulfill it.

April 15, 2019

“Who put wisdom in the heart or gave the mind understanding?” (Job 38:36.)

Do we sometimes feel we lack knowledge or experience? Do we feel small in God’s great universe? How do we make wise decisions when we feel we don’t have enough information? 

O God, we know You have all the knowledge. Help us to trust the Holy Spirit as we’re walking through this discernment process that will result in calling our new bishop. You are the lamp at our feet and will guide us. Help us to listen to each other and be open to change. Help us to pray constantly for the grace to trust Your wisdom. 

April 16, 2019

“‘Do all that you have in mind,’ [Jonathan’s] armor-bearer said. ‘Go ahead; I am with you heart and soul’.” (1 Samuel 14:7.)

As we close this season of discernment, the time grows near for the election of our new bishop. Some of us, though in reliance on the same Holy Spirit, may reach difference conclusions about which servant is the best leader for such a time as this. What will it mean to accompany the new bishop with heart and soul?

O God, the election is soon upon us. Much will change. Every member of our Synod will have a role to play. Help us to find our roles, to serve Your church with heart and soul. Amen.


April 17, 2019 

Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.” (John 7:24)
Do we at times make decisions and judgments too quickly? Being open to God helps us look more deeply to discern what is right for our time.
O God, keep us from hasty judgment based on our human sight. Free us from prejudice. Open us to change where change is needed. Set before us a servant of your choice. Foster true discernment. Give us the right judgment that proceeds from reliance on your Word.