My second intensive at Concordia Seminary, Fort Wayne, is complete, and I am happy to be back in worship again with you all. It was a long time to be separated from my family but a very good two weeks in terms of the training I received. I took three classes, Pauline Epistles, focusing on Romans and Galatians; Heaven on Earth, focusing on worship and liturgy; and Into All the World, focusing on missions. I am now wrapping up these classes and turning in assignments in order to complete this semester’s work.
A few thoughts from my studies that I hope will encourage you:
- One of my classmates asked a question of our professor regarding justification. He said something that has continued to roll around my head and my heart: “Jesus is the only true believer. He gives us His belief.” What a blessing to know that Christ stands before the Father and perfectly represent us in all things, including faith.
- Our human tendency is to tack things onto the gospel message. Paul’s letter to the Galatians is a reminder to us all that it is by faith alone in the saving work of Christ that we are adopted into God’s family. To add requirements to the gospel, such as that circumcision was being required of the gentiles at Galatia, is to proclaim something other than the gospel. I have been asking myself this question: Are there things I add to the gospel because of modern culture, tradition, or the desire to live a faithful life?
- The chair of the committee and author of the Lutheran Service Book, Dr. Paul Grime, taught my worship and liturgy class. I have a new appreciation for this resource that serves us and its content therein. One tip: if you are looking for a list of daily Bible readings, you can find a daily lectionary on page 299. The same resource is also provided via an app (called Pray Now) for your smart phone.
One part of this on-campus experience is the ability to interact with students from around the nation and globe. I had the opportunity to talk with pastors from Tanzania and South Africa as well as deaconess students from the east to west coasts and many places in between. During our next winter intensive in January, we are looking forward to having two women from Tanzania who will be joining our training program and studying to become deaconesses. The distance deaconess program continues to grow, and we had 20 women on campus this intensive (up from 13 last time).
Paul’s words to the Philippians carry the weight of my appreciation for each of you, your encouragement to me, your support of my studies, and the opportunity to serve each of you:
“I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now.”Philippians 1:3-5
Peace of the Lord be with you,