The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


March madness

Life is a grand mixture. I revel in its complexity, thankful to live in God's promise

"[God] kills and gives life, he wounds and heals, he destroys and helps, he condemns and saves, he humbles and elevates, he disgraces and honors" (Martin Luther's Basic Theological Writings, edited by Timothy F. Lull; Fortress Press, 1989; page 88).

My wife and I attended a noon Ash Wednesday service of communion and imposition of ashes. "Remember that you are dust and to dust you will return," the pastor intoned. From lunch an hour later, I went to the emergency room for a three-day hospital stay. The cross on my forehead, unwashed, worked its way into my own flesh. "You could have returned to dust yourself," my doctor said. Obviously, I didn't. That's still for tomorrow.

Spring arrives March 20, the middle of Lent, promising not death alone but rebirth. Caught between winter and summer, the month is a parable of theodicy (is God just?). Life is mixed, it suggests. Death can follow communion. What is the Father's point?

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February issue


Embracing diversity