National Bishop Raymond Schultz

Rev Raymond Schultz, National Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, writes a regular column for each issue of Canada Lutheran.

ELCIC congregations are welcome to republish this material in their church publications. Please acknowledge its original publication by including the credit line:

Canada Lutheran, July/August 2005

Further Reading

More of Bishop Ray's writing can be found in From the Bishop including texts from sermons and addresses.

National Bishop's Turn

God Never Abandons Us

Well, the biennial convention is behind us and the local option resolution was defeated. Many people, pro and con, wanted to get past that resolution and get on with the business of the church. I hope we will. Our call is to be In Mission for Others.

Right now my hope is muted. We are a divided church. We were divided 45% for, 54% against on the blessing resolution. Many pastors and congregations intended to leave the church entirely and came prepared to make such announcements had the vote gone the other way.

The convention decided I should continue to serve as National Bishop but it is a difficult mandate to receive. The work of the National Church is, by nature, public and engaged with ethical and political matters. It will be hard to know just where to take initiative when, on any particular point, one may be tripped from behind because a policy decision is unpleasing to one side or another. The authority of elected representative leadership to set direction has been under heavy attack these past two years.

I have been amazed at the disrespect that has been expressed to our seminary faculty and to members serving the boards of this church. I personally have received breathtakingly abusive and slanderous email this past year.

The sermon I sent out for use in congregations on July 24 contained the following:

Humans do not have the gift of foretelling the future. Therefore, when they face the future, what they can do is trust, look forward in hope and get involved in the needs of others. If it goes nowhere, it goes nowhere, but by hoping in the future, they leave the door open for something more to happen.
When Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, he prayed in a posture of surrender: "Not my will but yours be done."
...when we are silent enough to let God do the talking, God often surprises us with new directions. Maybe not the action we think is on the agenda for religious people; maybe action that is not as esteemed as we would like it to be; but action that is meant to alleviate the world's pain through God's compassion. God has enough salvation available to include every human being. We don't have to be stingy with it.

This is what I hope for–what I hope in.

Bishop Raymond Schultz

Canada Lutheran, July/August 2005