Monday, September 9, 2013

God's Work, Our Hands

Yesterday, at church we had several events to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the creation of the ELCA, which is now the largest group of Lutherans in North America (and the world?). Yes, some see us as the liberal branch, while others complain that we're not liberal enough. We've been ordaining women since the 1970's, but there are still barriers. We're only recently coming to compromise about sexuality, a compromise which many people on all sides see as betrayal.

But yesterday reminded me of why I love this church. I started off by listening to an amazing interview with Nadia Bolz-Weber (I waxed euphoric about it in yesterday's blog post).  My church has ordained this woman!  In other denominations, she might well be shunned and outcast.  In mine, she's put in charge.  May she be a bishop some day, if that be God's will and good for us all!

And then I went to 2 services, and again, I'm amazed by how elastic the Lutheran tradition is, how much room for experimentation.  I'm at a church with such diversity, both of age, color, country of origin, class, gender, you name it.

After our worship, we did some service projects to honor the 25th anniversary.  We sorted and put away the food pantry items.  We boxed cookies and encouraging notes which will be shipped to our college students (we have close to 30 in our congregation).  And we worked on a quilt (that's me in the middle, and my spouse who's not afraid to be in touch with his inner quilter on my right).

The other woman in the picture had pieced the front, and we put it together with batting and a sheet for the back.  She stitched the edges by machine, and then we knotted it.  We put one together in less than 2 hours.  And even better, we've decided that we'd like to do this again.  We'll be making more.    These quilts will eventually go to Lutheran World Relief and then around the world.  They'll be used as quilts and floor mats and doors and barriers to keep out the weather.  It's such a simple object, a quilt.  May it be an instrument of grace and good fortune.

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