Bishop Rimbo recently wrote this brief reflection that was mailed to all congregations with information on reports and events in the new year.
Almighty and ever-living God, you revealed the incarnation of your Son by the brilliant shining of a star. Shine the light of your justice always in our hearts and over all lands, and accept our lives as the treasure we offer in your praise and for your service, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen
Living in New York City, I’m intrigued by the celebration of "Good Riddance Day" held annually in Times Square on December 28 where hundreds of people gather to publically say "good riddance" to the past year’s worries and fears. Participants either bring with them or simply write down what they want to lose on a sheet of paper and then feed it into a shredder in order to pave the way for new memories, opportunities and possibilities in the New Year. Many allowed the media to photograph what they had written before it was inserted into the shredder’s mouth and gobbled up. Some were humorous, some personal and others deeply communal. It was a turbulent year. Anxiety, fear, suffering, violence, injustice and greed were included. Our world is full of vulnerable people and places.
As we enter the Epiphany season, we celebrate God’s presence that breaks into our world to dispel the darkness and hopelessness that would swallow us up. By faith, we gather in community to love, encourage and support one another. By faith, we confess Christ’s presence in the Eucharist, where we are invited to leave our "good riddance" list at the altar rail and receive the promise of forgiveness and new life in the bread and wine. By faith, we acknowledge that we are the light of God’s presence to others and part of God’s mission for the life of the world. As we enter into this milestone year that will commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, I pray that we live by faith and not fear. Many events and gatherings are planned for 2017 under the theme "Reformation 500: Faith Not Fear". Please participate and invite others to join you.
Here are items for ELCA Rostered Ministers, Synodically Rostered Deacons, and congregational leaders to be attending to: