From Our Bishop's Desk


A series of pastoral letters from our Bishop, The Rev. Paul Egensteiner


It’s OK to Be Alright

Apr 24, 2020
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and from our Risen Lord and Savior Jesus the Christ in the power of the Spirit. Amen.
“I think I’m alright.”
A dear friend of mine used to answer the question, “How are you?” with this response. I like it. I use it myself from time to time. It seems perfect in many ways. First of all, it’s positive and balanced. Despite what’s going on in and around me, I think I’m alright. Not “great” (which may be too optimistic for most days, especially in these times). Not “terrible” or “miserable” (which, especially for a person of faith, seems too pessimistic). But “alright.” Hanging in there. Managing.
Secondly, this response puts the matter squarely in the realm of opinion. Your opinion, of me or yourself, may be different and I can take that as information. (I would occasionally say to my friend, “I think you’re better than alright!”) But my personal opinion is that I’m alright. And that’s hopeful. That’s what I think and what I’m going with. And, as you know, outlook has a lot to do with outcome (though not everything).
“Alright” doesn’t exclude either the miserable or the great from time to time. That’s life. But it reflects a spirit of hopefulness and a steadiness that I treasure.
So, how are you? These really are challenging times for our physical, social, emotional and spiritual well-being. Fear, anxiety and isolation form an almost perfect storm of experience that threatens to overwhelm us. I notice little things bothering me more which betrays the underlying presence of tension, stress and frustration. I can’t wait for all of this to be over! But, in the meantime, I think I’m managing my well-being as best as I can. I hope you are, too.  I hope – and pray – you’re alright.
How’s our Church? How are we, as communities of faith, weathering these desperate times?
I wish I knew. What I see among our leaders, congregations and ministry sites is hopeful: flexibility, adaptation, concern, hope, generosity, mutual care and love, and a resiliency of faith that is powerful! But I know all this takes its toll. Adapting to not only the changing situation but also the dramatic shifts in information and opinion exact a price. As I said to our leaders in an email last week: Stop. Breath. Take care of yourself.
And please don’t mistake uncertainty for passivity. Like you, I and my staff, and your synodical leaders are working hard and faithfully to meet these present challenges and help bring into being the Church that will still be proclaiming the good news of a living Christ, in word and action, on the other side.  Hopefully more than ever. But we don’t know what that will look like yet.
Two of my favorite Scripture passages are these:
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. (Hebrews 13)
Thus says the LORD, “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are mine! When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you. When you walk through fire, you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, and your Savior. (Isaiah 43)
I don’t know what the future will hold. But this I know: We will get through this. We will get through this together. We will look different. But we will still be Church. And God will be with us. And we’ve got work to do. Because God is good, and God has given us all that we need, I have confidence that, at the very least, we’ll be…
Yours in the Risen Christ,
Bishop Egensteiner