I’ve Been Waiting

Date posted: Wednesday 11 January 2017

On Sunday evening, January 22, there will be a service of Evening Prayer at 5 pm at Central Lutheran Church in downtown Minneapolis. Though the hymns and the liturgy will be familiar, this is no ordinary service. Hosted by the Saint Paul Area Synod, the Minneapolis Area Synod and the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, this worship service marks the formal beginning of a year-long observance of the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation in the Twin Cities.


Some of you have been waiting for an opportunity to worship in this way because your spouse is Roman Catholic, your grandparent was Roman Catholic or you grew up as a Roman Catholic and have long wondered why Lutherans and Roman Catholics, who seem to have so much theology in common, often live very separate lives. Gather up those relatives and come.


Some of you have studied the history of the Reformation era and concluded that the divides between countries and faith traditions had as much to do with politics as with religion. Born on one side of a border you would have been Roman Catholic; a few kilometers away you would have grown up learning Luther’s Small Catechism. Over the generations many of those borders have given way to deep and mutual understanding. Come give thanks for the good gifts that flow from the Reformation.


Some of you went to see the Art and the Reformation exhibit at the Minneapolis Institute of Art and those artifacts stirred a new interest to discover what has transpired in the last fifty years of formal dialogue between Roman Catholics and Lutherans. Come and join the prayers that call us forward into common work and witness in this century.


Some of you know that terrible turbulence and violence occurred between Lutherans and Roman Catholics in the decades immediately after Luther’s lifetime. You know that much of that warfare was based on rumor and resentment, bold-faced prejudice and deliberate misinformation. Like me, you wonder how we can cure the warring madness of our world. Come and join the litany in which we pledge as Lutherans and Roman Catholics to work together to witness to God’s mercy and serve together in the world.


Finally, I have been waiting to introduce Archbishop Bernard Hebda to you. He brings with him to his new call in the Twin Cities a long history of ecumenical engagement, as well as a commitment to refugees, immigrants and walking with the poor. I am eager for you to hear him preach at this service. I am so grateful that our two ELCA synods and our Roman Catholic neighbors are finding fresh ways to raise a common voice for the good of the communities in which we live. Come and see how fitting it is to have three bishops – two faith communities – and many people of faith standing together on this evening. I hope to see you there.


Yours in Christ’s service,

Bishop Patricia Lull