In Paul’s letter to the Phillipians he writes, “Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4:9)
Over the past couple of months, it’s been difficult not to reflect on everything we’ve experienced since that fateful day in 2020 when the world shut down and ask: What have we learned from all this? What will we bring forward? What will we leave behind? How do we test this learning in the community?
You’re probably experiencing something similar in your life and communities as well.
It would be easy to try going “back to normal” but of course that’s not possible—nor is it even advisable!
At Luther Seminary, here are some of the things we’re planning to hold onto. What does your list look like?
- We’re more flexible than ever before in terms of remote work, online worship, and distance learning. We know how to build community online and how to include remote as well as in-person participants at the same time. This has increased accessibility and expanded the boundaries of our community. We plan to continue to learn and grow in these areas.
- At the same time, we’ve been reminded of the power of in-person collaboration, learning, worship, and community. As creations of a relational God, we are made for relationships! We are anxious to come back together, and we will savor those moments as they come.
- We discovered we could pivot quickly if we needed to. When the pandemic started, we were able to get all our classes online overnight. Many of you had similar experiences in your church communities. We built confidence in our ability to make quick, responsive adjustments when we need to—quite a lovely thing for a 153-year-old institution to learn!
- We learned how to better support one another, even in the midst of disagreement. Some in our community were more risk-averse than others. Some were more vulnerable to severe disease. We came together to navigate the pandemic as safely, compassionately, and responsively as possible. It took our entire community,
Of course, who knows what the future will hold. There could be new variants or other challenges on our horizon. Yet when I think of all that has transpired over the past couple of years, I am deeply grateful for the remarkable resilience that has been on display throughout the pandemic. We’ve made it through together, bound by the promises of God’s love and grace for all. As the book of Philippians closes with the blessing, may this be a word of blessing for you too: “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.”
Thanks be to God!
Robin J. Steinke, President