The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Those why questions

Children are the expert inquisitors into the “why” of things, aren’t they? But they aren’t the only ones. The air is full of seasoned sighs and whys these days in the face of so much suffering—from natural disasters to terrorism, with myriad personal burdens in between.

Then there is God’s agonized “why” question that crops up in Isaiah 5:1-7. The prophet Isaiah provides a picture of God’s side of things in a parable. Why, God asks, when in love God created all the proper conditions for cultivating a promising vineyard, why did it not yield grapes? Why did it yield only wild, sour grapes? All that rain, all that hoeing, all that weeding, all that pruning and protecting, calluses and sweat: What more could God have done?

God’s “why” is like a bolt out of heaven. We mortals are the ones who are supposed to ask the questions, after all. When things go wrong, we are the ones who get to demand answers from the Almighty, aren’t we? Why is God grieving? Who is in charge here anyway? Who is taking care of this place?

As it turns out, God is grieving over God’s beloved people—the vineyard. God’s expectation was a people who, given every opportunity, would live in the right way and understand and practice justice. Instead, God saw bloodshed and heard crying. And God asks, “Why?”

Check out this week's articles:Cover 1

Seminary library holds rare books & Bibles: (right) Discoveries include works by Luther and Melanchthon.

In Honduras, Lutheran grandmas raise grandchildren.

Challenges met: Kids, congregations step up efforts to help those in need.

'Lego' to church: Pastor's hobby works as evangelism.


Also: Reforming the church.

Also: Authority & power.

Also: China: Continued relief after earthquake.

Read these articles at our front page ...

This week on our staff blog:Andrea

Amber Leberman blogs about a Chicago congregation's ad campaign.

Julie Sevig blogs about National Punctuation Day.

Andrea Pohlmann (right) blogs about casual attire in church.

Sonia Solomonson blogs about patriarchy and women in Papua New Guinea.

.Check out our staff blog ...

Last chance to take our 2009 topics survey:

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Results will appear in the December issue of The Lutheran.

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