From a Bishop's Desk

A series of opinion articles and essays from bishop's of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and ecumenical partners.



Jun 25, 2020
Come to me, all you that are weary and carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” -Jesus (Matthew 11:28)
These words are such a blessing to my soul in these wearying days. As I seek to meet each challenge that comes our way, I begin to feel I’ve reached my limit. I just don’t have energy or the mental/emotional/spiritual capacity to let in one more thing. And then I am reminded that Christ’s Church never did and never should rely on my/our ability or strength. In these words from Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus invites us—repeatedly—to rely on him.
One way to understand our mission as the Church, and especially the Church in these times in our communities, is to be a place of refuge for the weary. Haven’t we often valued just that aspect of the gathered community, whether it was to sit quietly in a peaceful, familiar sanctuary or greet fellow worshipers who loved and accepted us? (Those days will come again!) And we invite God’s weary children to come not to us, but to Jesus.
This week in our world and in our synod, we celebrate Pride. In these events, we recognize those around us and in our congregations who have suffered because of their orientation and identity, and we celebrate with them and thank God for the gifts they bring as members of our communities. We are invited to turn rejection into welcome, after too many years of exclusion.
Maybe this is more than you or your congregation feel you can get your head and heart around in these stressful days. Let me offer some perspective that I hope you find helpful. This is an observance and celebration of our synod. In the midst of our God-given diversity, we take this time to recognize those among us who are queer* and who are just as much God’s children as anyone else. In these events, we are seeking to bring awareness and raise a spirit of acceptance, and to put those in the context of God’s family. You are invited to participate with your whole self. Or sit and listen and learn. Or just rest. That’s the nature of an offering, which this is. You don’t have to be “there” yet, but we hope you will, at last, be on the road with us and open to the journey.
It is in this Spirit that we celebrate MNYS PRIDE 2020. Join us as you are able. Live as disciples of Jesus, who opens his arms to all.
In Christ,
Bishop Egensteiner
*If the word “queer” causes concern or confusion, follow this link from “ReconcilingWorks: Lutherans for Full Participation” for helpful background on its proper use.