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Students at commencement

Ministry in Context

Welcome, Karen!

"When was the last time you did something for the first time?" Currently my days are filled with “first time” experiences as I begin my new call at Luther Seminary as Contextual Learning Associate. And I am thrilled! My “first time” experiences are varied, ranging from learning how the office copier works to the details of the Internship Handbook.

As I’m reading the Handbook, I am very aware that each intern at Luther Seminary encounters “first time” experiences every day during this incredibly impactful and transformative Internship experience. I wonder how each one is doing with all the first time moments? Which moments are exciting? Scary? Energizing? Transformational? I am grateful that each intern is taking the personal and vocational risk and challenge involved with the internship experience, learning how God has uniquely designed and equipped him or her as a Child of God to do God’s work in the world.

Sometimes we are surprised, too, at how something that seemed so familiar in a previous chapter of life now feels so new, like a “first time” moment. It reminded me of the Lutheran calling of “Always Being Made New”, and what other interesting places this invitation shows up in twenty-first century culture. An example that came to mind was the menu item of macaroni and cheese! Many childhood memories include a serving of macaroni and cheese. But who could have known that “mac ‘n cheese” would take on a whole new place in grown-up restaurant menus everywhere, with a variety of interpretations! Who knew a delicacy like lobster could be paired with a humble serving of macaroni and cheese, and become a sought after entree! New and old imagination makes for "first time" moments!

Sometimes this is how first time moments unfold in new jobs and ministry calls. Using a copy machine is familiar and known, but each time feels a little like a first time until one understands the vocabulary, settings, options, codes, and features available. This too, can be what it feels like when you begin an internship. You may have history with experiences like worshiping with a congregation, meeting with people in small groups, arranging to visit someone in their home, or inviting people to join you in serving the world. But maybe in this internship chapter it feels like a “first time” as you wear the new hat of an intern. You are tasting both new and known cuisine, and possibly learning that you like some things more than you thought, others not as much as you expected, and others are tried for the first time with a surprising response!

Being a part of the Luther Seminary community is not new to me. I am a graduate of Luther, have frequently participated in Learning events, shop at the Luther bookstore, and often enjoy the menu at the coffee shop. But serving as Contextual Learning Associate is a “first time” for me! I am so honored, privileged, and blessed to be a partner with each of you while we share the “Luther Seminary” chapter of life’s journey.

I look forward to meeting you and hearing your stories of “first time” moments! Let’s connect whether it’s with questions, concerns, “bright spots”, or conversation. And maybe sometime we can even gather around a table for a serving of mac ‘n cheese!

God’s Peace,

Karen

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds;  and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:22-24

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