Elde, Steve

Steve Elde is a pastor at First Covenant Church, Seattle.

In whom do you put your trust? (Fall/Winter 2015)

While I was in seminary, students and faculty took retreats together at Covenant Harbor in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. We got out of the classroom, sat at table together, rested and played, reflected on the scriptures together, prayed and worshiped together, and got to know each other. One experience that brought us closer together was the ropes course.

Turning the world upside down (Spring/Summer 2020)

Paul and his friend Silas went into Thessalonica, a bustling town on the coast of the Aegean Sea. When Paul showed up he started talking and he stirred up trouble. He did this wherever he went. He couldn’t keep his mouth shut. He went to the marketplace, he went to synagogues. It didn’t matter whether it was Jews or Gentiles, Greeks or Romans. He argued with them all. In Jerusalem he argued with the original apostles. They didn’t consider Paul a real apostle because he didn’t know Jesus personally, just in a vision on the road to Damascus. He argued with philosophers in Athens. He was kicked out of towns, his life was threatened. In Thessalonica some people were jealous of Paul, they felt threatened by him. So they stirred up a mob in the marketplace, made trouble, put the city in an uproar. They spread rumors, told lies, and looked for Paul and Silas. Unable to find them, they grabbed Jason and a few others and took them to the leaders in town. “These are the people who have been turning the world upside down!” they told them. Now they’re here! A better translation: “subverting the civilized world.” “They are defying the emperor, they say there is another king named Jesus.” Paul, like Jesus, is accused of treason. Paul would eventually be executed in Rome for this, beheaded. The leaders were “disturbed.”

Strength renewed (Spring/Summer 2021)

A leader defines reality. A leader doesn’t always tell us what we want to hear. A leader doesn’t tell us lies. A leader defines reality. Such were the Hebrew prophets. Sometimes they spoke a direct word that felt like a punch to the guts. It knocked the wind out of you. Left you gasping for breath. They warned. They scolded. They pleaded. They shook Israel out of its complacency. But they also shook Israel out of its despair. A despair learned in exile.

A clean heart and a bridled tongue (Fall/Winter 2021)

I wouldn’t say I’m an expert on the slapstick comedy of The Three Stooges, but I did watch a lot of their movies as a kid. My friends and I would laugh and mimic their jokes and comic routines. I was even a member of The Three Stooges Fan Club. I got a letter from them that reminded me not to hit my friends with hammers. One of my favorite Stooges lines was from Curly. When someone asked him a hard question he would say, “Oh! Wise guy, eh?” A wise guy was a know-it-all who made everyone else’s business, his business. A wise guy was a smart aleck.

Use what you have (Spring/Summer 2022)

Jesus said with a smile, “You give them something to eat…” The story of the five loaves and two fishes from the gospel of John is the only miracle story that appears in all four gospels. It is the story of a lonely place and lots of hungry people and very little to work with.

“Love your enemies…” (Spring/Summer 2023)

“I say to those of you who listen,” Jesus said, “love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and if someone takes your coat, give them your shirt as well…If you love only those who love you, what good is that? Even sinners love those who love them.”