Message from Bishop Gronberg
Dear Partners in Mission:
“But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies…”
Today is election day across our territory and nation. Many have already voted, others like me will vote today. By tonight our TVs, social media, radios, and every other way we communicate will be filled with election results and pundits telling us what they believe this means. Some will rejoice and celebrate. Others will be deeply concerned and even fearful. In many cases we will have to be patient and wait as mail in ballots are counted. And in other cases we will hear cries that the election is a fraud if the results do not match a desired outcome.
Into all this we have Jesus’ words for us from Luke’s gospel in last week’s lectionary. The blessings and the woes, which fit perfectly into a law and gospel hermeneutic, ending with his admonition to “love your enemies.” It would appear, given the state of the political and economic landscape in our nation that Jesus is exceptionally naive. And it is also clear that many who claim to be disciples of this Jesus, from all political ideologies, have no intention of fulfilling this command. Yet there it is. A challenge to the baptized who claim to follow Christ and his teachings that if taken seriously speaks a word of law to us all.
The law tells the truth about our reality and the reality is that our identity as baptized followers of Christ often takes a backseat to other economic, social, political identities. Some of this is our own choice, ways we understand ourselves to be in the world. Sometimes it is a label placed upon us by others, usually in an effort to marginalize and make us the “other” or even the enemy. And the reality is in our sin we all participate in it and the systems that support it. The challenge for us then, when faced with this truth, is how we respond.
The blessings and woes of Luke’s gospel remind us that in Jesus’ economy those who the world would not and has not blessed are in fact blessed. This corresponds directly with the song his mother Mary sang, The Magnificat, when she learned she would bear God into the world. God who looks for and lifts up the lowly and the marginalized. Those whom our economic, social, and political systems too often overlook and in some cases actively oppress.
As the results of the election come in tonight and we hear our leaders speak, I pray that Jesus’ command will impact their speech. However, in our deeply divided times I fear that will not be the case. Despite that, we as followers of Jesus can temper our thoughts and words. Holding strong beliefs and speaking for those but also choosing how we speak of those with whom we disagree. Speaking also for justice, prioritizing those whom Jesus has commanded us to prioritize. In so doing we then choose to lead with our identity as baptized followers of Christ. Choosing, in a time when it is easy to demonize the other, to live counter culturally and love, serve, and lift up.
In Mission Together:
Webinar: Practical Stewardship Tips Using Four Mindset Shifts
Generosity in the next generation invites us all to make a few mindset shifts, redirecting our thoughts to live into the sufficiency of God rather than becoming paralyzed in a mindset of scarcity. But have you ever wondered how to put theoretical ideas around stewardship into practice? Hosted by the ELCA’s Congregational Stewardship and Generosity team and the Lake Institute on Faith & Giving, this webinar for lay leaders and rostered leaders will delve into both the theory of stewardship and the practical application of these concepts as our church discerns the way forward in 2022. The webinar is free and open to all.
Monday, November 14, 6 p.m. Central time
Click to join the Zoom webinar
Lutheran Men in Mission Updates
Lutheran Men in Mission has released their next quarterly Ambassador-Gram full of events, discussion groups, and more: https://www.lutheranmeninmission.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/2022-10-LMM-Ambassador-Gram.pdf
Featured Resources for November
Lutheran women have a long history of Bible study, discipleship, and desire to deepen their spiritual life and learn about issues.
Women of the ELCA offers FREE downloadable program resources—including many in Spanish—to help you grow in faith and engage in ministry and action:
Recent Blog Posts
(https://www.ntnl.org/re-formation-event-oct-20/ – published Nov. 1)
(https://www.ntnl.org/anniversaries-galore-in-mcgregor/ – published Nov. 7)
Where in the world is?
Across a context as wide and different as NT-NL, the reality of Covid-19 is very different. As such, NT-NL synod staff are doing more in-person Sunday visits for worship and occasional meetings. However, as good stewards of time and travel dollars, we will be utilizing online meeting formats into our new hybrid future. Given the rise of breakthrough infections and in order to protect those gathered, the synod staff will choose to wear masks as is deemed appropriate unless preaching or presiding and sufficient social distancing can be provided.
Nov. 13: Abiding Grace, Southlake
Nov. 19-26: Thanksgiving Family Vacation
Dec. 4: Midland Lutheran, Midland; Retirement of Pastor Bob Barndt
Dec. 10: Conferencia Latina Celebration Service at Santa Maria, Irving
Dec. 11: Festival of the Virgin of Guadalupe, San Gabriel, Alvarado
Dec. 18: First Communions, Santa Maria, Irving
Dec. 18: Kyrie Pub Church, Fort Worth
Jan. 7: King of Glory, Fort Worth
Jan. 8: Walnut Hill, Farmers Branch
Jan. 21: PLMA Graduation
Jan. 24: First Call Pastor Check-in, Zoom
Jan. 28: TLU Corporation Board
Feb. 4: Synod Council, Online
Nov. 13: Wedgwood Arts Memorial Concert, St. Matthew, Fort Worth
Nov. 15: Synods and Seminaries summit, Zoom
Nov. 19: Candidacy Committee, Briarwood
Nov. 20: First United, Dallas
Nov. 22: First call pastors, Zoom
Nov. 27: Grace, Carrollton
Dec. 1-Feb. 28: On Sabbatical
Nov. 8-10: ELCA Candidacy Working Group, Chicago, IL
Nov. 12: Quinceañera XV, Santa Maria, Irving
Nov. 13: Worship service, Santa Maria, Irving
Nov. 13-15: Region 4 DEM’s and Latine Leaders Retreat, Briarwood.
Nov. 17: Meetings with Mission Developers
Nov. 19: Visioning Retreat, Grace, Abilene
Nov. 20-27: Personal days and Holidays
Nov. 28:Meeting with Mission Developer
Nov. 29: ELCA Mission Support Strategy Team meeting
Nov. 29: Meeting with Mission Developer
With the ever-changing guidelines and recommendations in our world right now, as we maintain physical distance in social solidarity, please keep in mind these events may be moved online, postponed, or cancelled:
- Nov. 9: Courageous Leadership – Adam Stockton – PTSD and Companionship, Zoom
- Nov. 12: Public Witness Team meeting, Zoom
- Nov. 16: Courageous Leadership – Myron Herzberg – Communal Discernment, Zoom
- Nov. 19: Parish Lay Ministry Academy, Fall 2022, Course 3, Hybrid
- Nov. 23: Courageous Leadership – Christina Costa – The Importance of Gratitude, Zoom
- Nov. 30: Courageous Leadership – Danielle Groth and Vicky Lovell – Reiki and Faith, Zoom
- Dec. 7: Courageous Leadership – Coaching – Choose Your Own Adventure (breakout rooms by topic), Zoom
- Dec. 10: Public Witness Team meeting, Zoom
- Dec. 14: Courageous Leadership – Karen Kretschmann – Mission Interpretation and Story Connections, Zoom
- Dec. 21: Courageous Leadership – Coaching – Christmas celebration, Zoom
Access our full online Calendar here. Updates made regularly.
Do you have news or announcements to share? Please submit to Jason (firstname.lastname@example.org) for consideration for upcoming editions of our weekly news.