Friday, February 04, 2011

Mid-Winter Convocation

by Jenny

I made it to Convocation yesterday! I had some stuff to do in the Library, so I made a point to go to chapel while I was on campus. It was great to see the chapel full, although I felt a little out of place at first because I hardly saw any current Luther students there (but plenty of Norwegian sweaters, as promised!).

Then I ran into one of my friends that I have not seen since the end of fall semester. It was fun to see her, and hear of her adventures in Georgia for a J-term trip she went on. Slowly the pew I was sitting in filled up with students, and I felt a little bit better about being surrounded by life-long Lutherans!

Before the service started, three Faithfulness in Ministry awards were given to Luther graduates who are making a difference in the world by fulfilling their calls. The common thread in all their stories was working with or starting new congregations, in the US or overseas. This was encouraging to hear, since there is a great need in many communities for a church that meets the needs of the people there.

Then came the service, and a sermon by President Bliese. He addressed the general topic of “Engaging Scripture as Communities of Moral Deliberation” by speaking of some of his own humorous and trying experiences with difficult issues in the church. He reminded us that throughout history, God’s people have often resolved serious challenges in their lives of faith only through hindsight. Recognition and repentance can lead to communal discussions of what needs to change, and this also gives space for communities to retell their stories with a new perspective of faith.

It was a great sermon, and reminded me that for as much preparation as we get at Luther, life with a congregation involves a lot of trial and error and working things out together. I am sure we will all feel unprepared at some point to deal with some issue that comes up in ministry, but remembering that the process can be as important as the specific outcome is helpful. Communities grow together, and “failures” can be opportunities to reflect and start in a new direction.


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