Editor’s Comments – Liturgical Ethics

[1] Melinda Quivik poses the question to us in her essay: How do we know what to do? Christians look to the liturgy, the work of its people, to find the answers. Confession, praise, prayer, Word, sacrament, and blessing form us even as we decide what musical setting to use and choose (or do not choose) which version of the Lord’s Prayer to speak, and shape them in return.

[2] At the intersection of ritual and formation, ethics urges us to ask on what basis we are making the decisions we make, and what symbolic meanings they impart and what concrete influence they have. Melinda Quivik probes the relationship between liturgy and justice. Gregory Walter advises Christians to practice the eucharist by giving up the power of the host. Jennifer Phelps Ollikainen urges us to think of ourselves as midwives of the liturgy, educated and prepared in a common way, but able to adapt as circumstances demand. Anna Mercedes speaks of preaching the law (and sex) to youth, which requires being prepared for the possibility that this implies gospel for bodies, as well as law.

[3] This month, in conjunction with a focus on liturgical ethics, we begin our series on preaching on social issues. Authors will choose a Sunday from the lectionary in the latter half of the month and guide potential preachers through exegesis, ethical possibilities, and present-day applications. Preaching editor Clint Schnekloth inaugurates our series with the parable of the good steward.

[4] Marc Kolden bolsters our series on the Christian life by writing on Gustaf Wingren. Stewart Herman offers observations from building a dam in Jebeliya. Jeff Fitzkappes details what happens to “recycled” cell phones.

Kaari Reierson

Kaari Reierson is the founding editor of the Journal of Lutheran Ethics and is the Chair of the Journal of Lutheran Ethics Advisory Council.