The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Fragile relationships

Handle ecumenism with care

Recently I shredded an envelope only to discover the contents were still inside. The damage was irreparable. Precious things can be destroyed in a moment.

What of the church? Can this precious body of Christ be similarly broken? The church has experienced many divisions through the centuries. The bitter pain of this brokenness threatens to undermine its ability to proclaim the gospel. Yet to many, a divided church appears to be normal rather than contrary to God’s will — and brings no pain.

Some steps in recent decades have restored a high degree of trust and affection between Christians of various traditions. ELCA pastors regularly preside at the eucharist in many of these traditions. ELCA members participate with Roman Catholics in joint Bible studies. Christians set aside divisions to care for the stranger in need through disaster response. But our steps toward church unity are tenuous and can be quickly undone.

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February issue


Embracing diversity