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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Living in joy and gratitude

Perseverance, mercy flow from Jesus

"Bishop Hanson, how are you?" I have been asked this question frequently as I meet members of the ELCA. I hear the question as an expression of heartfelt concern both for me and for this church, just as I trust the same heartfelt concern is leading to caring conversations with servant leaders throughout the ELCA.

When I am asked, I can give a variety of responses depending on the moment, including a conventional "just fine" that moves the conversation away from me and toward the work before the church. Yet there is a deeper and more constant response beneath the various answers. My heart is filled with a deep and abiding joy and an equally deep and enduring gratitude.

This joy is more than the happiness that depends on the external ups and downs of the economy, the challenges in family life, or controversies in church and society. This joy has its ground and source in Jesus, who promises that his joy will be complete in us (John 15:11).


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