"I have come to live out of the Bible. It’s the first thing I pick up so often. I am committed to understanding what those Gospels meant in a context."
"At Luther, we focus on reading and interpreting the Bible for the sake of the mission of the Church," says Sarah Henrich. "It's the liveliness of that story as a present-tense engagement that we're really interested in."
Dr. Henrich, who confesses that she sometimes longs to return to the parish ministry, is sometimes amazed that "I have come to live out of the Bible. It's the first thing I pick up so often. I am committed to understanding what those Gospels meant in a context."
When she teaches the Gospel of Luke or Acts, two of her specialties, she takes pains to expose students to a variety of critical interpretations. "Ecumenical relations are very important to me; we need to hear how people of other traditions interpret those texts. I don't think every interpretation is as good as every other, but thinking about the others is crucial," she says.
Two areas she'd like to continue to develop in the curriculum are a richer sense of the historical background of the New Testament and an appreciation for biblical interpretation through the visual arts.
Henrich has served on the Sacramental Practices Task Force, as well as a team that has worked on Baptism and Affirmation of Baptism for the ELCA's Renewing Worship resources. She is a member of the Society of Biblical Literature and of the Arts and Christian Enquiry.
Her current research interests include work on the visual arts in scripture as well as on the connections between cathedral mosaics and sermons of a fourth century bishop in northern Italy. She also volunteers as a docent at the Minneapolis Institute of Art and studies art history to further both her theological and museum work.
She grew up in Pennsylvania and attended Muhlenberg College, Bryn Mawr, and Lutheran Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, before receiving her doctorate at Yale. Dr. Henrich then taught at Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago.
Minnesota and Luther Seminary are now called upon to participate in a multicultural society, full of powerful images and more information than any one of us can address. The challenge for the seminary is to assist our students to understand and lead from the promise of God in this context.