March 2006 cover image: black dog shadows surround a man

Vol 21 No 2 March 2006

Columns

National Bishops's Turn

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Waiting on the Lord

By the time you read this, we will have entered the Lenten season. Spring is almost here, and depending on where you are, that can be a true resurgence of life, or a disappointing time of snow and slush. Either way, we know resurrection will not be long in coming, and we set our sights on that time.

But we still have several weeks to wait, and this time of Lent is a period of introspection, of 'waiting on the Lord' as we meditate on his life, suffering and death, trying in some way to accompany him in prayer and action. Often the action takes the form of either denying ourselves or striving to do something more for someone or something, always with an eye to the promise of the goodness to come.

It is this promise that is paramount for those struggling with the blackness of depression, where one is surrounded and beleaguered by what has been described as 'the black dogs', a mental condition that is still widely misunderstood. Sufferers are often chastised as being weak, allowing the condition to overwhelm them. But it is a condition that can be ameliorated, and almost inevitably, there is a light that finally, eventually, dawns in the midst of the darkness. It's this hope that often sustains the sufferer.

The feature story of this issue addresses the subject of depression, and social attitudes both historical and contemporary towards this mental illness, including a comprehensive list of symptoms, effective approaches and treatments.

Depression can be pervasive and not only individual. National Bishop Raymond Schultz, in an interesting approach, applies its characteristics to the church-at-large, making the leap from the particular to the general.

As well in this issue, we continue our "Articles of Faith" series with a challenging article by Dr. Sharon Betcher on living our Christianity effectively in the modern world. She offers some intriguing ideas of application from theory to practice.

Marla Burnie's "This Side of Heaven" gives us another peek into how the gospel is woven into her life. In this issue, she distills her perceptions into some of the important questions: What do we really need? How does that fit with what we (think we) want?

Our March issue, then, is one of challenges. I hope you enjoy wending your way among them.

Coming soon: By the time you read this, National Bishop Raymond Schultz, along with Rev. Paul Johnson, Assistant to the Bishop for Ecumenical Relations, Ruth Vince, Executive Director of the ELW and Sara Faulhafer, a seminary student at Waterloo Lutheran Seminary, will have returned from their attendance at the World Council of Churches (WCC) Assembly in Brazil. The WCC meets every seven years, and in our next issue, you will learn what the main areas of discussion were, who made significant contributions and what was decided.

As well, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Lutheran campus ministry in Canada, our April/May feature article will spotlight two people who have been profoundly influenced by campus ministry. (Check "Inklings" in this issue, where Michael Rodgers talks about his own experience of this important ministry.)

And those are just a few of the upcoming articles. We have an interesting and busy year planned. The challenge, I think, is how to fit everything we think you'd like to read and see into what seems like a smaller and smaller space!

Ida Reichardt Backman
Editor