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Saturday, March 19, 2011

Transitioning home

For the last two weeks I've been in Camrose, Alberta, Canada, teaching a group of 28 second year students at the Canadian Lutheran Bible Institute (CLBI). It's been a great time and I have had a blast teaching this intensely! I am flying back home this afternoon and I am incredibly glad to be seeing my family tonight. I have seriously missed Julie, Erica, and Teya. An addition to the frustration is that Erica's been on spring break this past week and I have missed getting to spend that much time with her.

The class was "Spiritual Formation" which is sort of a catch-all of personal relationship with God, theology, church history, and a few other odds and ends like exploring your family of origin and what spiritual assets and liabilities you have gained from that upbringing. I'll have to go back through my notes and post some of the things we discussed on this blog if I have time in the next couple weeks. One of the things that was fun was to be able to direct my CLBI students here to access some of the articles I've posted -- especially "Luther and Decision Theology" and "Hillside Reflections," both of which were directly related to topics we discussed in class.

Yesterday, our final day of class, we talked about my daughter Teya's baptism. When she was baptized, we knew we would be leaving Port Orchard, WA, where we had lived for seven years, and moving to St. Paul so I could attend seminary. Pastor Jan Otto preached Teya's baptism sermon to her, carrying her in her arms up and down the church aisle, talking about the Body of Christ that extends across the world, and how even though the congregation of Elim Lutheran was the church that got to baptize Teya, others would nurture her, teach her, and become a home for her. We have seen the reality of that so strongly in our lives -- from Roseville Lutheran during seminary, to Good Shepherd and West Prairie in Williston, ND, and now Central. God is faithful. We talked in class about how these students are like dandelion seeds, blown on the wind of God's Spirit, going where he leads them. They will land in various places and put down roots into new communities, drawing nourishment from the soil and from what God is doing already in that place. Hopefully they will blossom and reproduce, spiritually speaking, so that there comes a time when people are blown from their influence on the wind of the Spirit to new places, and the Body of Christ is revitalized.

So Christians are like dandelions.

I'm glad to be blowing home again. This is a good place, and CLBI has become one of those dear places to me -- a place where God is working in mighty ways, where people are doing exciting, innovative ministry, where the name of Jesus is not only lifted up but where people take his name on their hearts and their foreheads and go out into the world. Exciting stuff. But my heart lives at home, and it's time to go.

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