Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
It is needless to say that the evolving socio-political shift in our country is raising concern among many of us. I am reminded of my seminary friend, Musa, whom I may have told some of you about. He was/is a Zulu chief and shared with me many of his experiences during the years of apartheid in South Africa. I sat is stunned silence then asked, “so what do you preach?” He replied simply, “I preach Christ's death and resurrection!”
Please do not read into this reflection that I sense our country turning to an apartheid like culture. I am hoping you will hear that we must do what we Lutherans have done over the past 500 years, preach Christ's death and resurrection. The hope and promise embedded in the Good News is the non-anxious presence needed in an troubled time. The demonstrations that have turned violent, and the cowardly hate crimes as near as Maple Grove, Minnesota, are evidence that someone must step into the breach and repair the gap (Ezk 22:30). This is what the church must do!
That said...even though Cindy Wells and I have been attending the ELCA Latin American Companion Synod Consultation in Lima, Peru, I have been communicating with our newest pastor in the synod, Pr Filemon Diaz, in Denison. He told me that tension is high in the Latino community and growing. Today's news that deportations of up to two million non-documented people will only add to the disquiet. Please pray for Filemon, his family, and those he now is called to minister to and with. You can send him notes of support to firstname.lastname@example.org.
My devotions these past few days have included some readings that I would encourage you to explore. Biblical references to peace, civil unrest, Christ's expectations of the church, and how we are to care for neighbors and strangers. I have also reread portions of Bonhoeffer's ETHICS.
+Rev. Rodger Prois
Bishop, Western Iowa Synod