A Note from Bishop Paul D. Erickson: June 2020
As I think back to what life looked like in early March, it’s hard to grasp all of the changes that have taken place. Few of us could have imagined the impact that the novel Coronavirus has had on the world, and the changes from this global pandemic in how we travel, work, worship, eat, and play are likely with us for many months and even years to come. Then, in late May, the death of George Floyd and others forced us to pay attention, once again, to the long, tragic, and painful history of race relations, law enforcement, and economic injustice and the ways that our country and our church have not only allowed injustices to persist, but in many ways have perpetuated the inequities that have plagued us for centuries.
With so much change and uncertainty in the air, I’m aware that many of us are struggling to know what to think, say, feel, and do. In times like this, I’m drawn to recall the words of the prophet Jeremiah, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” The fact that God’s steadfast love is never changing, yet always new reminds me to not hold too tightly to the forms and structures of this life while clinging ever more tightly to the eternal truths of God’s righteous reign.
There is a lot in our world, our churches, our communities, and our hearts that needs to change so that God’s justice, mercy, love, and peace might be become more than lofty thoughts and pious phrases. God is calling us, I believe, into a time of radical renewal and innovation, not just to find a new way to do what we’ve always done, but to find new ways to do what God has always wanted to get done, building a world that more closely resembles the dream God had when creation began.
In many ways, these past three months have been the most challenging and exhausting of my 30+ years of ordained ministry. But they’ve also been among the most rewarding times, as I have witnessed and been a part of so much creativity, resiliency, and dedication to figuring out how best to follow Jesus in the midst of so much change. Through it all, what has grown most in my heart is hope. This hope is born not so much in the fact that we’ve got it all figured out, but because we know that we don’t. We have to trust in God, whose love never ends and whose mercies break open new possibilities each and every morning. I can’t wait to see what God has in store for us all.
Bishop Paul D. Erickson