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In Jesus’ Name. Proclaim the Gospel - Make Disciples - Do Justice.

A Pastoral Message from Bishop Yehiel Curry

November 5, 2020

Dear Partners in Ministry, 
Grace to you and peace in this anxious and yet undecided time. 
As votes come in, are counted and recounted, as we watch, pray, wait, and wait some more, there has been something burning in me, and it’s something that I’d like to share with you.
It seems to me, as Lutherans, and as Christians residing in the United States, no matter the outcome of this US presidential election, there will be no clear win for anyone. 
As we look closely at the numbers and the maps, at the national, state, and local levels, we see clearly that, as a society (and likewise as a church), we remain polarized and polarizing, separated, unable to perceive our neighbors, hear our neighbors’ pains, view our neighbors as humans like us, and invite them into the life-saving work of Christian community.  
Like society, we the church remain possessed by a spirit that disallows us from encountering and responding to our neighbors with attentiveness, authenticity, and love. This has often been the case in societies throughout history, and now, as always, Jesus invites us into a different Way. “Who is my neighbor?” we still ask. “The one you especially hate.” “Love your neighbor.” “Love your enemy.” “Go and do likewise.” “Become one as my Father and I are one.”
As this election draws to a close, perhaps the question before us is not about who won or who will win—though certainly, these outcomes will make a difference for all of us. But perhaps our question, as the church, is about how to move beyond the winner/loser binary. Perhaps it is not about who won, but about how we will be a church where everyone benefits, where everyone is transformed, and where the world, especially the least, the last, and lost, benefit in return.
Siblings in Christ, will we be the church who is able to shatter the red and blue walls that divide us? Will we transcend parties and powers that polarize, demonize, and distort our perception of one another? And will we do this for the sake of Christ’s mission—a feast for the hungry and a world where prisoners are set free? Will we do this, or will we remain captive to the same spirit that is tearing the world apart?
Whoever wins this week, there will be no clear winners. And yet, as the church, our work goes on. Let us be this work. Let us embody this work. And let us hold in our hearts Christ’s prayer that the last become first and that all who are hungry will be able to eat.
In Christ,
Rev. Yehiel Curry, Bishop
Metropolitan Chicago Synod, ELCA


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