The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


A group sigh

“Increase our faith!” It’s one thing to whisper this plea in private — and another thing entirely to gather with a whole mess of apostles and cry out in unison.

This was my experience at a gathering of young ELCA rostered leaders in August. The gathering, named for its purpose (“Affirming Young Leaders: Thanks Be To God!”), included visitors from throughout the churchwide structure. But the focus was on the voices of our peers and, as I experienced it, our collective sighs. I’m convinced there is no better way to begin affirming leaders in ministry than to let them emit an enormous collective groan. Lord, we are unequal to the tasks set before us. Increase our faith!

Of course, leaders aren’t generally encouraged to groan and sigh in front of those they are meant to lead (especially because said people may be the source of such groans). But stepping away for a time with just our peers affords such an opportunity.

Once the frustrations are pried out of the tight spaces where they were lodged, there is room for the Teacher’s response to take up residence in us. In Luke 17:6 Jesus says, “If you had faith the size of a mustard seed .…” Now that we already know! Every last one of Jesus’ apostles sent out to proclaim the gospel in word and deed does have that seed-sized faith, or they/we would not have turned our cries toward God in the first place. Frustrations out, we have really come together to hear a promise: “You could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.’ ”

There is power in any sized faith that cries out to God for help. I found great hope in a community of my peers who, in turn, shared their frustrations but then great joy. God is at work, we assured each other, through the larger and the smallest shreds of our faithful service. Leave it to Jesus to point out that we already have all the faith we need. But what we really needed, we received those four days on Chicago’s Navy Pier: peers who could cry out with us, and a chance to hear once more the assurance that our Lord Jesus has it all in hand. Thanks be to God.

Machosky was one of 90 young adult rostered leaders who gathered at Navy Pier in Chicago Aug. 6-9.

This week's front page features:

Our mediated conscience: Luther can help us navigate in our graceless, interactive world. (Illustration at right.)

Adopted 'forever': God keeps all children in unconditional love.

ELCA camps evacuate due to wildfires. Holden Village threatened.

Kids care and share: Congregation emphasizes stewardship.

Also: Past, present, future.

Also: God & love songs.

Also: Firstlight and the Jane Austen Book Club.

Read these articles at our front page > > >

Discuss our mediated conscience:

Join Michael Bugeja (right) to discuss how Luther can help us navigate our graceless world.

In his article, "Our mediated conscience," Bugeja writes:

It should come as no surprise to readers of The Lutheran that we communicate digitally as much as interpersonally in our everyday affairs. What might surprise many, however, is how communication technology displaces people, forcing changes in our interpersonal relationships and, perhaps, even in our faith—in which conscience should be our guide.

Do you agree that communication technology displaces people? How has it changed your interpersonal relationships? Your faith?

Join the discussion > > >

This week on our blog:

Sonia Solomonson (right) blogs about the conviction of Warren Jeffs.

Check out our blog > > >

Tell us! Getting pregnant and ART:

Our January cover story will deal with beginning-of-life issues. Many couples are unable to get pregnant in the conventional way and try one or more of the variety of Assisted Reproductive Technologies now available.

If you have had such an experience, would you be willing to share your story in 300 words or less? We'd like to know what questions you asked and what issues you considered as you made your decision to try an ART.

Send your response to sonia.solomonson@thelutheran.org by Oct. 12.

Members: Respond online > > >

Take our 2008 topics survey:

Every year The Lutheran gives our readers the opportunity to help select the major issues we'll cover the following year.

Now it's time for you to contribute to our 2008 cover stories. The Lutheran staff has collected your comments and suggestions throughout the year and has used them to create a list of 25 potential cover stories. Choose 10 from our list or suggest your own.

The deadline to complete the survey is Oct. 31. Results will appear in the January issue of The Lutheran.

Take the survey > > >

Subscribe to The Little Lutheran:

We at The Lutheran think it’s important to nurture the faith of the little ones in our midst. We developed The Little Lutheran for children 6 and younger to help them learn about God’s love for them and the world in which they live. We want them to know Jesus as friend and savior too.

Subscribe now > > >

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