“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God every time I remember you” (Philippians 1:2-3).
St. Paul often begins his letters by offering a word of thanks. Paul knows that it is good to be grateful. In my morning prayers, I like to begin with words of thanksgiving. Today, I want to express my gratitude to the people of God of the Northwestern Ohio Synod for calling me to serve a second 6-year term as your bishop. Below are the words that I shared with the Synod Assembly upon learning of my re-election.
Since the first day of this year, I have been dwelling deep in the Book of Psalms. And I know that many of you have accompanied me on this sacred journey. I think about Psalm 34 as an appropriate way to give thanks and praise this day.
I will thank the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul makes its boast in the Lord; let the humble hear and be glad.
O magnify the Lord with me and let us exalt his name together.
I sought the Lord, and he answered me, and delivered me from all my fears.
Look to him, and be radiant; so your face shall never be ashamed.
This poor soul cried, and was heard by the Lord, and was saved from every trouble.
The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him and delivers them.
O taste and see that the Lord is good; happy are those who take refuge in him.
O fear the Lord, you his holy ones, for those who fear him… have no want.
Dear Friends in Christ, I am humbled, and I am grateful to have this call reaffirmed by the Living God through you. Thank you. It is an honor to serve as your bishop.
Let us pray, O Jesus, I thank you for the gift of this call and for the promise of your presence. I thank you for the willingness to say yes with both courage and fear. Your church is changing, but your mission endures. Help us to follow, and to dream, and to trust. And when the way grows hard, lead us to that next place of strength, and purpose, and adventure. This we pray in the name of the crucified and risen One, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. Amen.